Chicagoans who believe local news coverage of the Bears Super Bowl run has already gotten out of hand received further confirmation Tuesday night when WMAQ-TV ran a Bears ticker during President Bush’s State of the Union address.

“Can’t this city go 44 minutes without hearing about the Bears?” asked Cynthia Sherman of the Gold Coast. “It’s difficult enough to concentrate on the President in the first place, let alone when a news ticker is bragging to Chicagoans that their gun-toting defensive tackle is free to play in the Super Bowl.”

In addition to the Tank Johnson update Sherman references, the ticker also included such tidbits as “Chris Harris’ was born in Arkansas” and “Rex Grossman’s mother’s name is Maureen.”

Die-hards were delighted to see the Bears news scrolling during the speech.

“I hadn’t planned on watching the President’s speech,” said Bob Kuzmanski of Naperville. “But when every network had it on, what else could I watch? I’m glad I turned to NBC-5, otherwise I never would have learned that [defensive coordinator] Ron Rivera was the first Puerto Rican to play in the NFL.”

The station defended the decision, saying it was just “giving the people of Chicago what they want.”

“We actually toned down what we were going to do,” said Scott Tanner, WMAQ’s news director. “We had considered quietly looping an ‘America’s Got Talent’ contestant’s version of ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears’ during the President’s speech, but we thought that was a little much.”

heckler editorial staff