Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tribune hasn't been very objective lately on the Foster-Hickey race for Congress

Bookmark and Share

Cheap Classified Ads

Most subscribers to the local newspapers know the newspaper industry often has a double standard when it comes to balance and fairness, especially in politics.

The Chicago tribune is a good example. The Tribune has taken a pretty hard stand in favor of Bill Foster, the failed former congressman who founded a major non-union business in Wisconsin that his brother now heads.

Foster has a closet full of skeletons but the Chicago Tribune doesn't want to report on them. Instead, the Tribune has taken out after everyone else, not to inform the public but to influence the election on Tuesday.

For example, the Tribune has done an extensive and detailed "story" on the fact that Jim Hickey, the president of the Orland Fire Protection District and the leading candidate in the March 20 Democratic primary race int he 11th Congressional District, filed bankruptcy.

I know Hickey very well since I work with him on the OFPD board. He's done a lot of good things there as have the other four board members.

But what strikes me as hypocritical by the Chicago tribune (and don't confuse the Chicago Tribune with the highly ethical Tribune Local, by the way), is that the Tribune is willing to report on the scandals of others but not the candidates it endorses like Foster. (I'll have an analysis of how badly Tribune endorsements do in elections. Most of the candidates who win will undoubtedly not have the Tribune's endorsement so it doesn't help Foster.) But what does help Foster is that the Tribune is doing Foster's dirty work and his campaign work, too.

The newspaper slammed Hickey in an unfair profile of his past bankruptcy. Hickey made a great point responding to the ridiculous story by saying that he is proud to be standing in the trenches with millions of Americans who have also filed bankruptcy in this terrible economy and that he would rather fight for their rights and the rights of other Americans who haven;t filed bankruptcy but who face tremendous financial hardships. Hickey blames today's economy on elected officials like Foster, who held a seat in Congress until he was thrown out by the voters two years ago for failing to do his job.

Despite that failure, which the Chicago Tribune doesn't do much to report on, Foster has their endorsement? Ridiculous.

But worse is the Tribune's unfairness.

For example, Foster was involved ina  terrible divorce. His ex-wife at the time charged her husband with domestic violence. Sometimes, domestic violence is a result of tensions between two parting spouses. But sometimes, it reflects horrible realities and an abuse and disregard for the rights of women. That's the case in Foster's past. The guy has no respect for women.

Read about it on Hickey's web site, which is backed up with many citations of sources. (Click here)

Of course, his ex-wife now works for the Wisconsin company so maybe she doesn't want to speak out too much about what her ex-husband did to her.

The Tribune also doesn't want to report on Foster's current marriage. Now, you would think marriages and information about marriages should remain confidential and not be a part of an election campaign. But Foster's wife doesn't even live in Illinois! She's in New York. And that raises a question about where Foster really lives. He says Batavia but he spends his time in New York or with his non-union company in Wisconsin.

What is the truth?

The truth is the voters won't get a chance to know the truth. They won't get a chance to ask the questions about Foster's domestic violence past or about the company he founded that is now run by his brother. They won't be able to ask why a so-called pro-union advocate like Foster has a major company with more than 600 employees that are not union at all?

And, the voters won't be able to get answers to questions about where Foster calls home. Does he live in Illinois?

I've tried to interview Foster several times on my radio show but he won't discuss any of the issues. That's exactly the kind of representative you do not want in Congress. The guy is a multi-millionaire, swimming in riches he earned through a non-union company that is not even located in Illinois. You would think voters in an Illinois Congressional District would want a representative who lives in Illinois and who cares about Illinois workers and who has a better record on treatment of women.

But we won't get to ask those questions because Foster is being protected by the Chicago Tribune, a Republican newspaper that is pushing Republican Judy Biggert. The 11th District has a Democratic majority but the Tribune is pushing Foster because they know that Foster is the weaker candidate going into an election fight with Biggert. So they want to help Foster make it past the Democratic primary, slamming Foster's challengers including Hickey who has openly discussed his personal life and answered every question about his bankruptcy.

Why is it that the Chicago Tribune prefers a candidate who is wealthy and rich and has an unanswered or addressed past but they are slamming a candidate like Hickey who is open, above board and going through what millions of other Americans have gone through?

The fact is Foster OWES the public an explanation of his treatment of women starting with his ex-wife. The public deserves to know the truth behind the domestic violence charges.

But you won't get that from the Chicago Tribune unfortunately, which carefully picks and chooses which public officials it will hammer and which ones it will protect.

That's not journalism. It's called hypocritical politics. The Tribune is a better newspaper than that.

If there is nothing of substance in the domestic violence charges filed against Foster, then Foster should be a man and address them head on. But I have a feeling that he is running away from those issues for a specific reason, and it's pretty clear he has the protection of the Chicago Tribune for reasons other than ethical election fairness.

You know what's really hypocritical? That the Chicago Tribune hammers Hickey for having filed bankruptcy. Yes, the Chicago Tribune wants you to think filing bankruptcy is a bad thing when it comes to the Hickey versus Foster battle. Of course, they wouldn't want to bring in the FACT that the Chicago Tribune filed bankruptcy, too, but that it gets favors and benefits from government that other people like you, me and Jim Hickey are denied.

The Tribune filed bankruptcy. If that's a bad point against Hickey it should really raises questions about the Tribune's unethical role in trying to manipulate rather than report on an important congressional election.

-- Ray Hanania

No comments: