Mayor Rahm Emanuel has long enjoyed the shrieking support of certain reporters in the Chicago media. From Rahm’s cooked Chicago murder statistics scandal (Tiara Groves was a homicide, not a non-criminal death investigation) to public rage over mass public school closures (50 schools in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods), media reports critical of Emanuel are still few are far between. Even regular downgrades to the city’s credit rating have not dissuaded major Chicago newspapers from endorsing and defending Emanuel and touting his so-called “competence.”
To wit, CBS reporter Jay Levine has proven himself one of Rahm’s most reliable media cheerleaders. However, with the Mayor’s re-election at risk in the April 7th runoff race, Levine’s pro-Emanuel bias has sunk to a desperate new low: using race to manipulate Chicago voters.
In a recent CBS interview, Levine openly played the race card with former Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson, attempting to bait Wilson on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s Hispanic heritage.
Here’s the video:
“But the elephant in the room here and everywhere looming over his [Willie Wilson’s] decision [on which candidate to endorse for Mayor] were the strange [Hispanic] bedfellows his supporters and Garcia’s would be,” commented Levine in his report.
“There is a problem between Latinos and blacks. There’s certainly a problem. There’s a big problem,” Wilson responded to Levine’s unaired question.
“Does that [Garcia’s Hispanic heritage] preclude you [Willie Wilson], with the support of all of those behind you, from supporting Chuy Garcia?” questioned Levine again.
“I’m going to have to do a comment on this one here ‘cause hell I just don’t know,” a clearly bewildered Wilson stated.
Levine’s interview begs the question: Why didn’t CBS air Levine’s full interview with Wilson and cut off his leading questions? Why would Levine attempt to bait Wilson on racial tensions between blacks and any other race or ethnicity and specifically Hispanics?
Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s race should not be an issue in this campaign so why is Jay Levine trying to use Willie Wilson to make it one?
This is not the first time Levine has overstepped the ethical lines of journalism (or committed violent acts) in defense of Rahm Emanuel.
Back in October 2010, Levine, in a violent outburst, threatened to “deck me” as I was questioning then mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel. This was prior to the Columbus Day parade kickoff and I had initiated my interview with Emanuel first as this video clearly shows.
However, as I continued to ask tough questions, Emanuel refused to answer. Levine jumped in with softball, parade-friendly questions, not the kind of hard-hitting questions a real reporter would ask.
Shaking with rage, Levine turned to me with his arm up and screamed, “Let him [Rahm] finish or I’m gonna deck ya!” Levine exploded.
Amy Jacobson, a disgraced former NBC reporter, defended Levine at the time.
You may recall, Jacobson was fired after CBS2 aired a secret video of her taking a bikini romp with a bare-chested Craig Stebic poolside at his home. Stebic has been a “person of interest” in the disappearance of his wife, Lisa Stebic, since 2007. Jacobson brought her two young children with her to Stebic’s home. Since then Jacobson has attempted to make her living trying to decide whether she is a liberal or a conservative commentator on Salem Radio’s low-rated AM 560 WIND, which has a 0.9 share and is largely brokered-time.
Strange bedfellows indeed.
It is time for ethical journalists and other real reporters to stand up against this detestable kind of race-baiting reporting. Jay Levine and CBS owe Chuy Garcia, his campaign, and his supporters an apology.
Chicago deserves better from Jay Levine, from CBS, and from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
To register your complaint about Jay Levine and CBS2 and demand they air the full interview with Wilson and Levine, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.