Monday, June 28, 2004

Dated June 28, 1:30 am

An Open Letter to Bruce Dold, Ann Marie Lipinski, John Kass, Eric Zorn, Don Wycliff and Tribune Management.

Leader Media President Dan Proft announced last Friday, in an Illinois Leader opinion piece, that plans to file suit to obtain Massachusetts' Senator John Kerry's, the presumptive Democrat nominee for President, sealed divorce records from his first marriage to Julia Thorne which was later annulled.
"The Chicago Tribune and a Los Angeles Family Court judge have established a new standard for the release of marital and custodial documents," said Proft referring to the recent Jack Ryan decision. "Okay, then everyone in the public arena needs to be held to that standard. John Kerry is the start, but there will be others we will seek to hold to this new standard."

Proft was a senior advisor for the Jack Ryan for US Senate campaign in Illinois. Ryan announced last Friday that he would be withdrawing from the race.

Of course, taking on John Kerry in the Boston courts, can get expensive, real fast. Yes, it is rumored that former State Senator Patrick O’Malley is an owner and backer of the Illinois Leader [O’Malley has declined to confirm or deny that on the “Public Affairs,” television show], and he perhaps has the resources to fund such an effort.

But, why wouldn’t other media jump in to align themselves with the Leader’s efforts. Aren’t they interested in preserving the Public’s right to know.

Hmmmm, I wonder who those other media would be.

The Chicago Tribune argued recently in defense of its motion to unseal the California Court records in Jack and Jeri Lynn Ryan’s child custody/visitation dispute that, “This nation has a long tradition of open courts. There's good reason for that. A court shrouded in secrecy is a court far more at risk to be corrupted or abused, a court that is more likely to favor those who are wealthy, powerful or politically connected.....That standard of openness is all the more crucial when it comes to information regarding candidates for public office. Voters need information about the views, background and character of the people they elect to office. Voters can't make informed decisions about a candidate's positions or character without such information. That's why, as part of their coverage of candidates for political office, reporters seek a wide range of documents and opinions to help voters understand the candidates.”

Well, Let’s see, Senator John Kerry is running for President of the United States of America, including the State of Illinois. So, if all of that Open Court stuff applies to Illinois and to California, which is where the Tribune went to pry the sealed records open, then I would imagine that the Open Court stuff even applies to Massachusetts. And, senator Kerry, if he wins the Presidency, will be president of all the people, including the people and corporations in Illinois. So, that alone should be enough to induce the Chicago Tribune to file a lawsuit in Massachusetts to unseal the Kerry divorce records.

But, if for some reason, the folks at the Trib need more motivation—well, then, I remind them that, the Tribune Company, which owns the Chicago Tribune, also owns a paper—the liberal Los Angeles Times—in California, and has economic interests through-out the Country, including, as Drudge pointed out on Sunday night, in his radio show of June 27, 2004, a television station in Boston. A rowdy station, I think Drudge said. That should be yet another motivator to the Tribune to file to unseal Kennedy.

And, Dold, will be “standing up,” to his bosses at theTribune and telling them to file suit to unseal Kerry? Presumably Dold has done this already and he will be calling all the liberalstream media and telling them they can pick up his previously written memos on this subject tomorrow. Or, better yet, he will publish them in the Tribune.

And, finally, all of those Tribune columnists and editors who supported the Tribune lawsuit to unseal Jack will also demand that the Tribune unseal Kerry, and do so promptly, as in Monday, June 28, 2004?

Come on, Bruce Dold, Ann Marie Lipinski, John Kass, Eric Zorn, Don Wycliff and Tribune Management. Let’s see if you will rise to the Drudge challenge and show the world you really are consistent. After all, if you are not consistent, then you will be lacking in integrity, which, Mr. Dold argued yesterday is the ballgame.
Don’t let us down, please live up to your mission statement. We are counting on you to stand up to those who are wealthy, powerful and politically connected.

Let’s see, Teresa Heinz Kerry has an estimated net worth of 500 million to 1 billion dollars. She runs a powerful foundation, with lots of economic interests. John is a powerful U. S. Senator. I would say both John and Teresa are well connected. They would seem to quality as your well-defined targets who should not be allowed to hide behind sealed court records.

Further, if Teresa is hiding something in her undisclosed tax returns, and someone finds out, then you have the Kass extortion argument. Same with John’s sealed divorce record. Same with Teresa’s sealed Foundation information.

I, and I am sure your and my readers, enthusiastically await your individual and collective responses. Partial credit will be given. But, only for responses that are consistent. So, please do not give me any of those “foolish consistency,” arguments. Although oft quoted, they are neither logical nor convincing.
Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at