Q&A with a ChicagoNow Blogger -- The Nexus of Economics and Politics

When I was assigned to interview fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Jeff Berkowitz, I mistakenly thought we were in the same business of public affairs, but nothing could be further from the truth.

A University of Chicago-trained economist and lawyer, Jeff learned economics from one of the best, Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman.

During our interview, Jeff scoffed at the news media’s lack of knowledge and understanding of economics and its importance in our modern economy. He saw a great chasm and seized the opportunity to fill the void via his ChicagoNow “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz” blog and his weekly public affairs TV program, which airs on cable access stations reaching viewers in the North Shore and other Chicago area communities. Most, if not all of his shows, can be seen on his YouTube Channel.

“I started my Public Affairs TV program as a lark but it’s now a love,” said Berkowitz.

So far, Jeff has nearly 800 shows behind him featuring a wide variety of local and national political newsmakers including John McCain, Dick Durbin, Carol Moseley-Braun, and a host of other Chicago and statewide politicos. Jeff also has been a guest on the Fox News Channel and local Chicago media outlets. Since 2006, he has been a contributor to the Illinois Channel.

While admittedly right of center, Jeff is most proud of his early interviews with Barack Obama (long before he was a household name). Jeff explained Obama’s loss in a bitter 2000 election against political veteran Bobby Rush. Even with the huge loss, Berkowitz had a keen eye to see that Obama might be a rising star in local politics, so in 2002, he called Obama, who at the time was teaching at the University of Chicago. He agreed to meet with Berkowitz at a studio in the North Shore where Obama talks about foreign policy and the potential war in Iraq, which seems appropriate today with the recent news from the region.

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