Mike Royko called Rupert Murdoch The Alien. He landed on the Chicago Sun-Times like a bug-eyed monster from outer space and extruded poisonous slime. I was an eyewitness.
Under the leadership of publisher James Hoge, the paper had won six Pulitzers and should have won another one (for the ingenious idea of opening a bar named the Mirage and baiting it to attract the flies of Chicago corruption). Hoge had just overseen a redesign of the paper that made it then (and in my opinion still) the most elegant tabloid I had ever seen.
The Sun-Times was poised on the edge of something great. The Chicago Tribune remained tethered to its hidebound past. Morale was high.