Thursday, July 02, 2009

Eye on Carol Marin:A liberal’s dilemma-- what to do when not all Democrats favor a state income tax increase;Does Marin need a tough,but fair co-host?

Revised at 12:25 pm on Thursday
At this point, if you had been say a conehead from France and had just parachuted into the Chicago Tonight audience, you would have thought Democratic Senate President Cullerton was the fair journalist and WTTW's Carol Marin was the Democratic partisan.
Maybe Carol Marin needs a co-host who is capable of asking some questions from right of center. But, who that co-host could be I just don’t know. Who that co-host could be I just don’t know.
The polish of Carol Marin

Watching Carol Marin interview Senate President John Cullerton [D-Chicago] last night on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, you had to be struck by two things. One, Marin is really quite polished at what she does. She has the right look for a public TV station. Not too glitzy, but well groomed, well dressed and well mannered. Lots of good facial expressions, lots of animation and a pleasant voice, but all controlled, civil and courteous. No, this is not a cable political interview show, this is Public TV.

Marin—always questioning from the left?

Two, Marin is all left, all the time. Marin had as her guest a man who is unabashedly liberal. Cullerton [D-Chicago], as Senator, not as Senate President, said on this journalist’s show one year ago that Democrats hoped to elect more Democrats to the State legislature in 2008 and that those new Democratic legislators and some downstate Republicans would help pass a big increase in the state income tax. [ Read and take a link to Watch Cullerton here]. And, Senate President Cullerton was quick to point out last night, as he has repeatedly over the last few weeks that the Senate Democrats did what he views as the “right thing,” recently by passing a 66% increase in the income tax, which would have given the state five to six billion dollars in new tax revenue if the bill had become law {It did not even come up for a vote in the State House. A bill providing for a 50% increase in the state income tax was defeated in the State House]

Marin then questioned Cullerton repeatedly from the left. Wouldn’t it strike Marin that it might be good journalism to probe her subject, who is considerably left of center, from the right, at least occasionally? Apparently not. Marin is fascinated with the fact that although the Democrats control the State House and State Senate by very large margins, and they control the Governor’s mansion with a Governor who is liberal and unlike his predecessor, pretty honest and interested in governing, they can’t seem to pass an income tax increase to finance “the programs Democrats have put in place.” [The Republicans, so far, have been hanging tough and no Republican legislators have voted for an income tax increase this year].

Earth to Marin, not all Democrats want to increase taxes

It was then left to President Cullerton to explain to Marin, with the patience of Job, that politicians, especially those who face elections every two years—as do State House members—may not be thrilled to vote for a big tax increase, even if they are Democrats. Although Marin suggested maybe Speaker Madigan was somehow responsible for a majority of his Democratic members not supporting an income tax increase, she didn’t really develop the argument with Cullerton.

Is Speaker Mike trying to help his AG daughter?

Marin, for example, never asked Cullerton if maybe it was Speaker Madigan’s efforts to help his daughter [AG Lisa] in her likely bid for Governor that led Speaker Mike to sabotage Governor Quinn’s bid for a tax increase in the State House, which has the effect of calling Quinn’s leadership into question, especially with many Democratic primary voters. [This journalist doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the view that Speaker Mike had those motives, but it is a legitimate line of inquiry, unless journalist Marin is protecting Lisa Madigan].

Marin- all good people want to increase taxes

Marin asked Cullerton sarcastically if the legislators were getting lots of calls telling them “what a great job,” they were doing. Again, implicit in Marin’s way of looking at the world is that good people will raise taxes. And, if the legislators don’t raise taxes, it must mean that constituents will call and complain.

Was Cullerton the journalist on the set?

Once again, Senate President Cullerton quite fairly pointed out to Marin that a lot of constituents are calling their legislators to tell them not to raise taxes, especially in these hard times. Cullerton made that point, even though he himself favors a big income tax increase and he has mobilized his Senate Democratic Caucus to pass one. At this point, if you had been say a conehead from France and had just parachuted into the Chicago Tonight audience, you would think Cullerton was the fair journalist and Marin was the Democratic partisan.

Does Marin need a tough, but fair co-host?

At least once, you might have thought Marin, as a journalist, would probe Cullerton from the right. For example, there are lots of non-Draconian spending cuts and savings to be found in the Quinn budget that could be implemented in lieu of a Quinn tax increase. Go here for links to read and watch videos about those spending cuts, reforms and savings. Carol Marin could have questioned and probed Cullerton about these spending cuts, reforms and savings--and yet she didn’t ask one such question. Maybe Marin needs a co-host who is capable of asking some questions from right of center. But, who that co-host could be I just don’t know. Who that co-host could be I just don’t know.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
"Public Affairs," is a weekly political interview show airing in Chicago on CANTV, in the Chicago metro area, Aurora and Rockford on Comcast and also often on the Illinois Channel. You can watch the shows, including archived shows going back to 2005, here.
"Hot," recent posted shows on the Public Affairs YouTube page include a show with economist Art Laffer [inventor of the Laffer Curve] and FNC's Steve Moore about their book, "The end of Prosperity," and the Obama Administration's economic policies; the fastest five minutes on the web- a New York Times video about Obama-Berkowitz, a show with State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), a show with Professor Stephen Presser, a Northwestern University Law School Professor, about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court, a show with State Rep. Hamos (D-Evanston) about Illinois' budget deficit and Hamos' likely run in the 2010 Attorney General Dem. Primary , a show with the most recently announced Republican Primary Guv candidate Dan Proft (will announce his decision by end of June) , the second fastest five minutes on the web- a segment of Bill O'Reilly with Berkowitz discussing a clip of Obama from 2002 on Blagojevich and many more shows.