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Incumbent Media Asleep at The Wheel During Primary Coverage

Jim Leahy 4 February 2010 9 Comments

I think we Chicagoans were witnesses to the beginning of the end of the credibility of local Main Stream Media in Chicago last night. Since when does the news media get to choose who is going to be the states elected officials? This whole election cycle the Chicago media seemed to have singled out their favorites by who they chose to cover. They kept calling Jim Ryan, Kirk Dillard and Andy McKenna the big three. Why? Because they were so far ahead of the others in the race? Did recent polling show that these three were uncatchable? No there was no recent polling, the poll all of the media referred to last night for the Republicans was over 2 weeks old. 5 points separated the top 5 candidates on the GOP side.

How about this, at the end of the election night they went to a candidate who was in third place and out of the running and let him declare he would continue the race until tomorrow so he could go home, What is that? Because that’s where their cameras were?

Not once did the Chicago media cover the Republican winners camp! They kept going to where they had a camera and asking that candidate there to claim victory. First it was Jim Ryan then Andy McKenna, even though the camps were thousands of votes behind! The Chicago media was caught with their pants down. They had no idea who was going to win, they kept referring to polling from 2 weeks before that had nothing to do with the outcome. As it turned out this was a race to the end. It was so close that no winner was declared before all of the networks finished coverage well after midnight. The final results might not be known for weeks! I think one of the reasons Senator Dillard is slow to concede is the encouragement the media gave him.

On the GOP side if the media would have given coverage to all of the candidates instead of anointing the ones they knew, people might have taken more of an interest. This was a historic race because of the low turnout. Could that be because the media showed no interest and were parroting what some campaign told them was happening instead of investigating and doing their work. How can the media in this day and age be caught so unprepared? None of the networks sent a camera to any of the other campaigns but the “big three”. Bill Brady ended up the night with the most votes and Adam Andrzejewski, was in this race yet nobody would hear their speeches. Instead the public had to hear that

Dillard was going to maybe come from behind or should come from behind.

The Democratic side of the Governors race was covered at every campaign stop in the last few weeks because it was going to be close. Quinn won by over 5000 votes Brady by 500 yet the other GOP candidates were not important enough or apparently close enough to get more than a mention in the last few weeks. Even when Brady was surging and had taken the lead, the news teams were trying to shape their stories to fit their template by allowing the losers to tell the people of Illinois that the race wasn’t over. This election has shown without a doubt that the Chicago media is a tool of the Democratic party and is one of the reasons this is a one party city and now state.

Adam Andrzejewski brought in a true historical figure who had never endorsed anyone before in Lech Walesa and yet not a mention not that Lech was in town or as to why he was in town. Yet there was the media following the Democrats in churches documenting the reaction to a commercial that featured Harold Washington from 20 years ago. Chicago is supposedly a world class city; the people who live here deserve better from the media than what they have been exposed too this election cycle. It was an embarrassment.

Jim Leahy is  regular contributor to the Chicago Daily Observer.  He was a field organizer for the Adam Andrzejewski campaign.


  • Windy City Commentary said:

    You’re right Jim. This state relies on Carol Marin as being the political expert. There are so many smart people who could be in Chicago media. Many Chicago media figures are imported from other midwest states. (Neil Steinberg, Eric Zorn, etc.) These guys are treated as the intelligentsia, probably because they were in the right place and the right time, and probably knew someone in Tribune or Sun-Times HR Dept, but they seem to have little substance in answering questions; and they always take the liberal bent.

    I was at the Andrzejewski post-election event, and there were no news cameras. There may have been a guy from a newspaper because I saw someone with a heavy duty camera.

  • Ted Baxter said:

    Al Salvi talked about Bill Brady on WGN TV before the polls closed…

  • John Powers said:

    Al is a man of much wisdom and forbearance. I enjoyed his presentation very much, as I did Jack Ryan and Cliff Kelley.


  • Eileen said:

    As a longtime and avid fan of the western swing band “Asleep at the Wheel,” I take issue with the use of their album cover for your political discussion. They have nothing to do with Chicago politics, or politics in general. They represent quality entertainment, fun, great music and happy times. Please don’t drag them into the political messiness of Chicago!

  • John Powers said:


    Your point is well taken, but the photo was inserted to juxtapose the incompetent archaic media coverage with the old-timey fun of Asleep at the Wheel, while using the name in the title of both.

    Asleep at the Wheel is a great band, that certainly has a sense of humor. Here is a sale or 10 for the 41 year long veterans of western swing band…



  • Rosanna Pulido said:

    Come on JIM! LOL! Why did you think our local white Liberal media would wake up? For the elections? I think not. I congratulated Paul Mitchell for winning his race, because I saw it posted on WGN news that he had won. Paul informed me he did not win, WGN had it WRONG. That was not asleep, that was a DUI!!

  • Eileen said:


    Thank you for your comments, and for the link.

    Actually I have every recording AATW has made in their long career, including their debut album “Comin’ Right At Ya” from 1973. I have met many of the band members over the years as I traveled to enjoy them in concert, and have some excellent memorabilia that I have collected as a fan. I believe Ray Benson is a genius!

    They are top notch in every way, and I just felt it was inappropriate to drag such a great musical group into a discussion on politics. I really do have a good sense of humor but for some reason this particular reference to “my band” hit a nerve.

    Thank you for taking the time to address my comments.

  • Dan Kelley said:

    The print media did an exceptionally poor job of covering the election. Missing the opportunity to publicize Scott Lee Cohen’s back story is “Exhibit A” for the media’s dereliction of duty. Nice to see that Mark Brown’s journalistic insticts are so well honed that he decided that the story was a total non-starter.

    On Election night, it was difficult to follow many of the election races online. On the next day, several papers omitted to include the election returns for the legislature and local races. I imagine that the two major Chicago newspapers are operating with skeleton crews, so it may be asking too much for better political coverage.

  • Jack Striker said:

    John Powers is a much nicer man than I. I don’t think I would have been as accommodating to her shrill reaction. Eileen should take a “Chill and Perspective Pill” cocktail and appreciate the agility of English language metaphors. In fact, I think I take umbrage to her intimation that politics is not a worthy forum in which to use all of the respectable verbal tools of our culture — Pop or otherwise.

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