Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tonight’s Illinois Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Forum and the likely Main Stream Media liberal coverage bias

As all seven Republicans in their gubernatorial primary head toward tonight’s show down forum sponsored by the State GOP at the Hilton in the Loop, it is useful to review the liberal journalism bias in this town. Tuesday night’s discussion on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight [Public TV] gives Republicans an idea of what they are up against in terms of Main Stream Media ("MSM") liberal bias in their coverage of the gubernatorial primaries and then general election. A partial transcript of Tuesday night’s program is included, below.

The MSM want a tax increase

Clearly, two of the three panelists [WGN’s Lisnek and the Chicago Reporter’s Lowry] think a major tax increase by the State of Illinois is in order. Pallasch doesn’t quite take a position but he certainly doesn’t challenge his co-panelists when they pop for increasing taxes. And, moderator Brackett never challenges her guests with the argument that maybe we shouldn’t increase taxes.

The MSM is deaf to proposed spending cuts

Further, nobody challenges Lisnek’s statement that the Republican candidates are “murky on spending cuts.” Has Lisnek not heard any of the Republican candidates talk about using managed care to cut Medicaid costs? Has Lisnek heard any of the candidates discuss reforming pensions for new state employees to be based on defined contributions, not defined benefits. Has he heard any of the candidates discuss increasing the state employee share of healthcare costs? Hell, even Quinn suggested that [until he met union resistance]. Perhaps make state employee salaries comparable to their private sector counterparts? Perhaps cut the number of state employees? Is all of this foreign to Lisnek? To his co- panelists? To Brackett?

Which party wants to increase taxes?

For the Republicans, six of their candidates for Governor say they oppose an income or sales tax increase [Jim Ryan did take a different position two years ago], and one, Dan Proft, wants to cut state income tax rates by 50%. On the other hand, the two major Democratic candidates for Governor, Quinn and Hynes, want to institute major increases in state income tax rates. Do you think the Democrats will get better treatment from WTTW than the Republicans during the gubernatorial campaign? Is the Pope Catholic?

Structural Deficits or excessive growth in state government spending?

And, you can apply that pretty much across the board with the MSM, at large. It is the conventional wisdom in and outside of Illinois that most States are suffering “structural deficits,” and the problem in those states is that their tax rates are too low. The fact that in most of those states, as in Illinois, spending increases in the last decade have far outstripped population growth and inflation will not deter the MSM from thinking that tax rates should be increased.

Far Left and Far Right

Further, others in the MSM in Illinois will join Lisnek in finding Brady and other Republicans to be “on the far right,” but you’ll never hear the MSM discuss any Democrats as being “on the far left.” I am sure it must be because this State has no “far left,” Democrats. There certainly could be no other explanation.

WTTW: Fair and Balanced?

Take a listen to what was said on WTTW on Tuesday night. You’ll be hearing much more of that left of center bias from the MSM in Illinois during the next year. You can make book on it. It might be nice if WTTW added a journalist who is in the center, or maybe even slightly right of center. But, who that person could be-- I just don’t know.
Paul Lisnek, WGN News: But [Senator Bill] Brady is the most conservative of them all… in a Primary that may play well…[and] he may have some challenge to that—but this state I don’t think will be comfortable with that far right of a Governor. That said, Brady is quick to say-- forget the social issues, I am running on business and jobs.
Abdon Pallasch, Chicago Sun-Times: …Dan Hynes first [ad] said that Pat Quinn wanted to raise taxes on everybody, which is partially true because his plan would have only taxed the rich, but then at one point he had to drop part of it so that it would have taxed everybody [Ed. Note: Actually, Quinn proposed expanding the level of exempt income per dependent, which meant that his plan would have resulted in income taxes increasing only for a family of four with incomes greater than 60K—which doesn’t seem to support Pallasch’s statement that Quinn initially “would have only taxed the rich.”]
Elizabeth Brackett, WTTW panel moderator: Alden, do you think either one of them [Pat Quinn or Dan Hynes] is giving voters the sense that they can handle this fiscal crisis?

Alden Lowry, Chicago Reporter: At this point, no, but I’m not sure, though, anybody could- could really kind of come up with a magic pill that kind of gets us out of this; it certainly seems like it’s going to involve bringing new revenue in of some sorts, so whoever can present a tax package of some kind that seems fair and reasonable and something that people can swallow may be the person who can get a little bit of an edge; right now, though, we are seeing a lot of attack politics and that I think is the easier way to handle this kind of thing; whoever can throw up the biggest stone can move themselves ahead in the race.

Elizabeth Brackett: But both of these two candidates [Gov. Quinn and Comptroller Hynes] do say that there is going to be some sort of a tax increase, which is—none of the Republicans are saying that.

Abdon Pallasch: They both advance it, but neither has the political skills to pass it, so far.

Paul Lisnek: And, isn’t it interesting that you have campaign ads basically saying, “here’s how I am going to tax you.” Since when do we allow that, right? So, these guys basically say get ready for it. We all know it’s coming. It is coming. It just won’t come until after the primaries are done and probably after even the general election. Republicans keep saying, “No taxes,” we”ll keep cutting. When you ask them what they’re cutting, it gets a little murky at that point… Except that Dan Proft says-50%, cut everybody. [Ed. Note: Proft does favor cutting the individual and corporate income tax by 50%, but that is not what Lisnek said. Lisnek seemed to be having an out of body theatrical experience of some sort.].
Elizabeth Brackett: There is one anti-tax Democratic candidate and that’s Ed Scanlan, the attorney. Do you think this will bring him any momentum?

Abdon Pallasch: …in the Republicans, there is a big enough field where surprises could happen down on the ticket [but] I think they would have a much harder chance for the further back candidates [Ed Scanlan and Doc Walls] in the Democratic Party to emerge.
Panel Discussion, Chicago Tonight, WTTW, November 3, 2009
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
More than 114 of our shows from the last two years are posted on the Public Affairs YouTube page .