Kelly responds: Hate and media bias in NBC's coverage of Chicago mayoral race

Media malpractice is getting more and more common these days. Major Illinois newspapers are sadly endorsing GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner despite his refusal to give ANY specific details about his plans to solve the pension crisis in Illinois and every other crisis. This is a disservice to Illinois voters.

Journalism really is dead.

The latest laughable example comes from NBC Chicago and its little known blogger Mark Anderson who are guilty of media malpractice and hypocrisy in their coverage of the Chicago mayoral race.

A few weeks ago, this blogger squeaked about the unfairness in the Chicago mayor’s race and scolded media pundits for picking their favorites and ignoring the other candidates. The Chicago media coverage of this race has been egregiously hypocritical with some reporters writing pieces about Rahm Emanuel’s favorite beer, his need for petition circulators, and CTU President Karen Lewis loaning her campaign a mere $40,000. Lewis has since exited the race.

So I agreed with Anderson the blogger on this point: It isn’t the media’s job to pick or promote their favorite candidates for public office. That is for the people to decide.

Anderson scribbled in his online blog post:

Other candidates—such as Amara Enyia, Frederick Collins and Robert Shaw—are also running. As legal candidates for the office of Mayor of Chicago, any of them, too, could win if their campaign caught fire. It’s important to remind ourselves of these basic truths for one simple reason: More than five months out from Election Day, a number of political operatives and media types are already working to craft a narrative that doesn’t square with the these facts. In an effort to prove themselves savvy and aware political observers, these folks are picking winners and losers in one of the most important political races the city has ever seen before voters ever get a chance to have their voice heard.

I reminded him – politely, at the time – that he neglected to even mention my own candidacy for mayor of Chicago.

So this blogger at did exactly what he blasted other media for doing.

Anderson didn’t answer me and, frankly, I really didn’t care. It is very common for the biased liberal media to pretend conservative and Republican candidates for office do not exist. Their hatred and bias blinds them with regard to any fair reporting.

I have spoken to other media about this and the level of unprofessionalism varies from media outlet to media out. I’ve had reporters and editors scream at me before hanging up. I’ve had them call me every obscene name in the book. I would not have thought it possible but I’ve found reporters at the Chicago Sun-Times to be the most fair and even-handed when it comes to political reporting. They seem to understand their role and their responsibility.

Without fair reporting or even mention of the candidates that are running, media are just propaganda machines for the political establishment. Please don’t kid yourselves that you are real reporters.

Anyway, back to the blogger.

As you can imagine, Anderson was really, really angry this week when I donated $100,000 to my campaign and busted the campaign caps in the mayor’s race. Oh no! Now reporters had to mention my name and candidacy. In response, he wrote a nasty diatribe about it in his blog. The entry was juvenile, hate-filled, biased, and unprofessional but, after all, that’s what too many bloggers do. 

NBC Chicago even used a file photo from my one-time appearance at Zanies Comedy Club. A kindergartner with a crayon would have had more journalistic sense. Is this what qualifies as journalism?

Anderson made the usual tired, typical potshots, accusing me of pulling media stunts to “get my name in the spotlight.” He lashed out at my “history of befriending conservative figures in Illinois only to turn on them later.” (Of course, not true). Then he linked to an article by another puny little blogger paid by John Tillman and the Illinois Policy Institute to write a personal opinion attack piece on me in an even punier online rag that anyone can contribute to. This is Anderson’s “source.”

Guess what Mr. Blogger, all the people that I criticize in conservative and Republican circles deserve intense criticism. They were never friends or pals and I never befriended them. Frankly, I consider them “thugs.”

I am not alone in believing these people should be investigated and sanctioned.

Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield Journal Register has done some great work criticizing John Tillman, Illinois Policy Institute, and his colleagues for their ethically-questionable behavior and more people should be doing this kind of tough reporting.

So is that the best you can do, NBC?  Is this what you think is good reporting or opinion?

Mark, since you reference it in your blog, I know some of you “real reporters” are still angry about the incident with CBS reporter Jay Levine when he interrupted my interview with Rahm Emanuel on a public sidewalk. If the tables had been turned and I had threatened to deck another reporter on-camera like he did with me, I would have been arrested. In fact, after showing the video to the Chicago Police Department, I was advised to file a police report and I did. I’m not sorry about that in the least.  Levine’s lawyer got the judges changed in that case at the last minute and Levine was gifted with a lenient judge who doesn’t even give jail time to drug offenders. So much for your moral high ground.

If you are going to be a “real reporter” one day, it is time to start telling both sides of the story. Lashing out in hatred and bias is unbecoming even of a blogger.

To be clear, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a fundraising advantage to begin with in this race and that was not going to change. Neither I nor Ald. Bob Fioretti will be able to catch up to Rahm financially. However, that is not the goal. The mayor’s race is not necessarily determined by how much money a candidate raises. The winner is not necessarily the one who raises the most money.

There is only one game changer in this race: If Rahm’s opponent can raise enough money to get his or her message out and that is what I intend to do. By busting the caps, I have given donors who oppose Rahm Emanuel a last opportunity to dethrone him.

I know you said that thinking is “illogical” but I disagree. Maybe it would have made more sense to you if you had actually asked me about it.

After all, that is what real reporters do but then, again, yours was just a blog.

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