Kathy Posner

Usually there are three sides to every story: your side, my side and somewhere in between is the truth. Not so in the cases of Independent Gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen and 9th Congressional District candidate Joel Pollak (R) in their recent dealings with Chicago media. In both instances, the media has declared what “the truth” is with no regard to the veracity.

An enfant terrible (French phrase) is a person whose unconventional behavior embarrasses others. Through lies, the Tribune has dishonored Cohen and the Sun-Times has tried to disgrace Pollak. Unfortunately, in our Internet world, those lies last forever and will be everlastingly accepted as “truth.”

I was at an event on Saturday where Congresswoman Melissa Bean said we are now in the “silly season” of the media. She was wrong! We are in a “spiteful season,” and there is still a month left before the November election, giving them plenty of time to continue on a downward spiral of vindictiveness.

Scott Lee Cohen’s meeting with the Tribune Editorial Board was reported so unfairly, one would think he could almost have a lawsuit against the newspaper. Just like in the Kennedy/Nixon debate in 1960 where those who watched on television said Kennedy won, yet those who listened to the radio thought Nixon won, the truth is in the tapes.

I watched the footage of the Tribune Editorial Board meeting with the gubernatorial candidates and their print reporting of Cohen’s session was totally different from what Cohen actually said.

If one read the print edition of the newspaper, they would have thought that Cohen side-stepped when he was asked about past allegations of events in his life. I transcribed that portion of the tape:

Cohen: “Let me ask you a question. At any time in your life have you been accused of doing something you haven’t done? Do you know what that’s like? (In the background someone said, “No.”) I am sure there are people in this room accused of something they did not do, especially the Governor. It’s not a good feeling. It’s a sad, frustrating, angry feeling. The people of Illinois are concerned with their jobs, providing for the families, concerned with corruption and pay to play politics, not with what happened in someone’s past. Especially when they are half truths and lies.”

During the session, Cohen announced his plans for a solution to the budget woes with a comprehensive plan to help solve the crisis. Was that written about at all? No. Did the Editorial Board even follow up with questions or comments? No!

The Tribune Editorial Board had decided before they walked into the room that they did not want to give Cohen a chance and that was made clear by their actions and by what they wrote.

On the same day, the Sun-Times published an editorial supporting Democrat Jan Schakowsky for re-election to Congress. Some of their statements about her opponent Republican Joel Pollak were totally bogus. I have printed below the statement the Pollack campaign sent out last Friday, October 1st.

“The Pollak for Congress campaign has contested a false allegation made by the Chicago Sun-Times in today’s editorial endorsing Jan Schakowsky for the 9th district.

“The Sun-Times was wrong to say that Joel Pollak ‘completely runs afoul of the truth...in his effort to portray Schakowsky as insufficiently pro-Israel,’” noted Ashley Kain, Pollak’s campaign manager.

“That is completely false. The Sun-Times cannot prove it. If you accuse someone of being untruthful, you had better be able to point to something they have said or done that is untrue. Apparently, the Sun-Times has confused its opinion with its facts.

“Joel has always told the truth about Jan Schakowsky’s stance on Israel. He has publicly acknowledged (e.g. at his town hall meeting in Skokie on Aug. 12) that her voting record is good. Joel has, however, criticized Schakowsky's silence on certain key issues, and her questionable views and alliances. His exact position, as reflected in a statement he published on September 17th, is as follows: ‘Jan Schakowsky is not anti-Israel, but she is clearly failing to lead on Israel.’

“His evidence is the fact that Schakowsky has said (Pioneer Press, Sep. 16) that she wants the U.S. to pressure Israel into making more concessions, that she has failed to speak out against the Obama administration’s confrontational approach to Israel, and that she has failed to indicate that she would support a military option against the Iranian regime if necessary to protect the U.S. and Israel.

“Joel has also pointed out that Jan Schakowsky held a fundraiser with the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Helen Thomas (May 2010);traveled to embrace Manuel Zelaya, the anti-Israel anti-Semitic former leader of Honduras (November 2009); and took tens of thousands of dollars from the far-left group J Street, which opposes Israel at every opportunity and which was recently revealed to be supported by George Soros and foreign donors. Those are not pro-Israel actions.

“Voters can judge for themselves whether Schakowsky’s views and behavior are pro-Israel enough for the 9th district. But nothing Joel has said about Schakowsky’s stance is untrue.

“We do not agree with the editorial's opinions about Joel or his opponent, but we are not protesting those--only the completely false statement about Joel's portrayal of his opponent's views on Israel. Joel has stuck to the facts. In the spirit of fairness and accuracy, the Sun-Times must issue a correction.”

I am sure that neither the Tribune nor the Sun-Times will admit to their basis and unfair reporting. As citizens, what can we do to ensure that we get “the truth, the while truth and nothing but the truth?” I really don’t know, so help me God.

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