Saturday, July 11, 2009

WTTW’s Chicago Week in Review: Liberal media bias or simply, wacky errors in its portrayal and analysis of the 2010 Republican field for Governor?

Revised at 1:10 pm on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 to correct an erroneous or "poorly worded statement," by the author of this blog, Berkowitz, about Dan Hynes' intentions for 2010. See discussion, below, of the WTTW graphic listing Hynes as a potential guv candidate.

WTTW misplaces two declared Republican candidates for Governor but finds an undeclared Democratic candidate. Balance?

Joel Weisman, host of Chicago Week in Review, which has aired weekly on one of Chicago’s Public TV stations, WTTW, for the last thirty years, listed only four of the six Republican declared candidates for Governor, when the topic arose on last night’s show: State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard and Matt Murphy; and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom. Omitted were two additional declared Republican Primary Guv candidates: businessman Adam Andrzewejski and communications/political campaign consultant and media personality Dan Proft.

In Weisman’s defense, he did characterize his list as including only “some of the people that are going to apparently seek the Governor…post.” The question is why he would work with an incomplete list of “declared Republican candidates.” Further, why did the graphic displayed on the screen include Democratic State Comptroller Dan Hynes sandwiched by the Republican candidates when Hynes has given no indication that he is running, let alone declare himself to be a candidate for Governor. [Ed. Note: as one of our gentle readers noted, this is incorrect. Or, as as many of the supporters of Judge Sotomayor said about her "Wise Latina," comment, it was "poorly worded." As most political junkies know, Hynes has not declared himself to be a candidate for anything in 2010, but prior to Lisa Madigan's announcement last week that she would seek re-election in 2010 as AG, most thought that Dan Hynes would run for AG in the Dem Primary if Lisa left that office open to run for either Guv or the U. S. Senate. Once Lisa announced she would not run for Guv or Senate, it was rumored and seemed logical that Hynes would consider running against Gov. Quinn in the Dem Primary for Guv. It is possible that Hynes would consider running instead in the U. S. Senate Dem primary-- he came in 2nd to Obama in 2004 with about 24% of the vote to Obama's 53%, or so. However, Guv seems to be a more likely race for Hynes. So far, Hynes does not seem to be saying much, publicly, about his 2010 plans. As Ronald Reagan used to say about his not so good record on taxes as California governor-- At least when I make a mistake, I admit it and change policy. Regrets to my gentle readers for any inconvenience caused by my error or "poorly worded statement." In short, Chicago Week in Review's listing of Dan Hynes as a possible candidate for Guv in the 2010 Dem Primary was quite appropriate.

Andrzewejski and Proft: What’s a candidate got to do to get noticed by WTTW?

Adam Andrzewejski, 39, claims to have a family net worth in the ten to twenty million dollar range [most of it earned, apparently, by Adam, in a successful ten year business career; and the asserted magnitude of his net worth is supported, at least to some extent, by his tax returns recently posted on his website- the only candidate, Democratic or Republican, to do so, so far] and he carries a bright torch for transparency in government; Dan Proft has about thirteen years of political campaign experience and is able to produce, at will, a fountain of sharp, original, conservative, thoughtful proposals and analyses quite relevant to Illinois public policy issues. Those are attributes that would seemingly make Adam and Dan worthy of mention on anybody’s list of Illinois’ gubernatorial candidates, but not Mr. Weisman’s. Why? Inquiring minds want to know.

WTTW’s Joel Weisman: Conservatives win Republican Primaries because moderates split the base vote.

Further, there was this peculiar exchange by Weisman and NBC-2 News political editor Mary Ann Ahern:

Joel Weisman: …sometimes in Republican primaries, if you have moderates and liberals and one conservative, the conservative often emerges—

Mary Ann Ahern: Right and maybe Bill Brady, that’s what he is hoping for, he’s tried this once before, this is his second time around on the state office, but he is not someone that is as well known in the Chicago area as he is downstate.
Ahern: Bill Brady is the lone conservative candidate for Guv?

What did Weisman have in mind when he referred to Republican primaries with “one conservative.” In the 2010 Republican Primary, you have six declared candidates and all but one, Schillerstrom, appears to be conservative on cultural issues. What did Ahern mean when she said, “Right and maybe Bill Brady, that’s what he is hoping for…”

Ahern thinks Senator Bill Brady is hoping he will be the only conservative in the 2010 Primary? He or she can hope all they want, but as of the moment that is far from the case. I don’t think many are going to agree with Ahern that Dillard, Murphy, Andrzewejski and Proft are not conservative, especially with respect to cultural issues. Indeed, as of now, it would seem it is more likely that Schillerstrom is hoping he will be the only moderate and that the conservatives will split the conservative base vote.

The evidence from 2002, 2004 and 2006 supports Weisman? Not so much.

Further, maybe Weisman was referring to the 2006 Republican Primary for Governor. But, in that primary, Topinka and Gidwitz would have been the cultural moderates and Oberweis and Brady the cultural conservatives. So, that doesn’t fit Weisman’s description of a Republican primary with one conservative.

Maybe Weisman was referring to the 2004 Republican Primary for the U. S. Senate, but that race had one or two moderates (Borling and possibly Kathuria) and five cultural conservatives (Jack Ryan, Oberweis, Rauschenberger, McKenna and Wright). So, that can’t be what Weisman had in mind. Maybe Weisman was referring to the 2002 Republican Primary for Governor. But, in that primary, Pat O’Malley and Jim Ryan would have been the cultural conservatives and Corinne Wood the cultural moderate. So, what was Weisman thinking? If we hear from him, we’ll let you know.

Are Republicans alien beings for Chicago Week on Review?

This kind of weird exchange happens frequently on Chicago Week in Review. One or two of the panelists or the host says something wacky and the others give tacit agreement by saying nothing. Isn’t the idea of a panel to have sufficient diversity of perspective and thought to provide a check on the wacky or mistaken views of one or two panelists prevailing for the group? Further, these kinds of peculiar exchanges seem to happen much more when Republicans are the topic, as opposed to Democrats. It is as if Republicans are an unknown or unfamiliar commodity for most of the panelists or host of Chicago Week in Review.

Dan Proft Responds.

When asked by this journalist to comment on WTTW’s Weisman’s omission of his name from the list of Republican Primary Guv candidates, Dan Proft, as you might have anticipated, was no shrinking violet, responding:

This week the Chicago Tribune and WTTW’s Chicago Week in Review slighted both Adam [Andrzewejski] and me as gubernatorial candidates because the liberal Democrats that run the show in the Chicago media are little more than handmaidens for the established political order. Joel Weisman of WTTW, for example, is a pay-to-play hack who for a long time has represented as an agent many of the regularly-featured guests from the Chicago media he has on his Week in Review program. This obvious and undisclosed conflict of interest is typical of the dubious ethics of liberal Democrats in the Chicago media who are unbounded by their own hypocrisy when it comes to chiming in about the ethics of others. [Proft has engaged with Carol Marin at WTTW before about accusations regarding each other’s ethics, see here].

The liberal Democrats in the Chicago media are not interested in a political outsider intent on taking the fight to the Democrat and Republican protectors of the status quo. The liberal Democrats in the Chicago media see the main qualification for Governor as either having been responsible for the policies that destroyed Illinois’ economy or having done little to stop them. The liberal Democrats in the Chicago media are not interested in assessing ideas. To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, the liberal Democrats in the Chicago media are not interested in any candidate that seeks to offer Illinois voters a choice but only those who offer Illinois voters an echo. [Emphasis added].

Jon Zahm, Political Director for the Andrzewejski for Governor campaign, while more succinct, also was not shy in firing back at WTTW:

We have noticed that some media outlets have omitted serious, viable candidates from the horse race listings. That will end after the campaign finance reports are released later this month. Our campaign is successfully executing our grassroots plan and are right where we expected to be after four months.

WTTW mitigates its damages?

Perhaps WTTW could argue that the damage from its errors above was mitigated, albeit unintentionally, by the fact that the program did not air in its scheduled 7:00 pm slot-- due to technical problems. It did air, however, in its scheduled encore airing at 5:00 am this morning.

As of the time of this post, we were unable to reach Joel Weisman for his comments on this matter. Stay tuned for possible updates.
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 Chicago Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, a candidate for Cook County Board President in the 2010 Democratic Primary, 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, , 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.