Chicago reporters mock Sen. Rubio, trash 'white male' GOP (VIDEO)

Chicago reporters raise media bias to a whole new, and troubling, level. Watch and see why. Photo: AP

CHICAGO, February 19, 2013 — Opinion-blurred journalism has reached epidemic proportions. Recent polls show six-in-ten Americans have an unfavorable view of the mainstream media, recognizing news coverage as anything but fair or balanced.

But Chicago media bias is a special case. Chicago reporters have long been an extension of entrenched political leaders, their campaigns, and the ideologies that fuel them.

Facts are colored to tilt favorably to one position over another. Stories that diminish liberal progressive storylines are buried by Chicago media outlets. Stories that bolster the liberal progressive storylines are pushed to the top story slot and aggressively promoted.

There is a reason corruption flourishes so well in the City of Big Shoulders. Powerful politicians routinely get a pass. Major scandals are one day stories if they are covered at all. Pay-to-play politics is the norm. Chicago political reporters have been reduced to cheerleaders for their “team.”

Nowhere was the journalistic cheerleading more evident recently than on a local PBS program in Chicago called, “Chicago Tonight.”

PBS host Eddie Aruzza couldn’t contain his laughter recently as he asked a panel of Chicago reporters what they thought of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address, and his now infamous “water sip.” ABC7 political reporter Charles Thomas, the Chicago Reader’s Mick Dumke, financial columnist Ilyce Glink, and Chicago Sun Times columnist Dan McGrath can be heard snorting derisively in the background.

With the exception of Glink, who comments on financial news, the panelists were all reporters, not columnists. Not pundits.

Bias is not supposed to be their business; facts are. But this is, after all, Chicago.

Aruzza began the conversation, laughing at Rubio:

“Nobody focused (laughter) on really what he [Rubio] had to say – they focused on this (video of Rubio) (laughter). That he took a sip of water. That he was brushing aside what appeared to be flop sweat (background laughter),” Aruzza said. “He [Rubio] had a little dry mouth. A little sweat around his mouth and they replayed his Poland spring moment (laughter) that it’s now being called. Or Poland Watergate. Poland Spring Watergate.”

Then ABC7’s Charles Thomas questioned whether Rubio should have given the Republican response, citing credibility issues.

“The bigger question is how does the Republican Party get up off up the canvas at this point? I think they haven’t figured that out yet and I think this [Rubio’s response] was indicative of that,” Thomas said. “They [the GOP] put Sen. Rubio out there, who, as you mentioned, is a rising star but does he really have the credibility at this point? Should it have been him there?”

Credibility?

At this point, Sen. Marco Rubio’s political life mirrors that of a presidential candidate named Barack Obama in 2008. Sen. Rubio has been the junior Senator from Florida since January 2011. He previously served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 – 2009. From 2007 – 2009, Rubio served as Speaker of the House. Obama was also a junior senator from Illinois that had served several terms in his state district seat.

Where were the questions about Barack Obama’s credibility then?

But when it comes to matters of media bias, anything is fair game; “anything” can mean playing “the race card” or even an innocent sip of water.

Glink chimed in, “This [Rubio’s response] is the second time that we have seen a response to the State of the Union where the rising star, gets on stage, stumbles [Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal] – where he came off and everyone said, “Oh no, he was supposed to be the Big White Hope.”

Then the Republican Party and white male bashing really began.

“But it’s [the Republicans Party] so disingenuous though,” said Thomas. “Here’s the party of the white male, the rural suburban white male. They [Republicans] suddenly throw these people of color out. They are all of a sudden – and you go, ‘whoah – did they [Republicans] change overnight?’ There needs to be – you know a subtle grade there.”

“I completely agree with that but the problem is that it [Rubio] was the same speech – just putting another guy out there who is a Latino, or an Indian American – giving the same speech as these other guys made. There’s no difference,” Dumke concluded. “The most interesting thing about the speech was when he [Rubio] leaned over and got a sip of water.”

What kind of speech was Dumke hoping for? The liberal progressive speech President Obama gave? And as to this “subtle grade,” the Republican Party has numerous examples of minorities in leadership positions and has for some time. The liberal media has chosen, out of convenience, not to focus on those aspects.  

Their knee-jerk conclusion is that minorities are better served by entitlement programs and social welfare, i.e., by Democrats. Consequently, a conservative message – by media standards – is naturally anti-minority.

The politics of division is fundamental to national and local Democrat Party strategy. Liberal media have helped perpetuate the storyline that the GOP is the party of the “white male.” It is a racist argument. It always has been.

Free market principles apply to everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. That’s why the Republican response may have sounded the same to a left-leaning journalist. Because it is.

Principles are principles.

But the journalistic glee against the Republican Party is always revealing.

“Boehner being whipsawed by Obama’s popularity,” McGrath said. “I think Rubio had a bit of that too. Like, what do I say? This guy is riding so high and he really didn’t have a message that refuted anything. He knew what he wanted to say but he really wasn’t sure that he was refuting anything the President had said earlier. So how do I counter this – the guy is riding so high right now – how do I counter this? And he didn’t do a very good job.”

Divisive political strategy that divides people based on race is like the dark side of the force. It is quicker, easier.

But it is not stronger.

At least that is what Republicans hope.

A partial transcript of the segment, which aired on PBS on February 15, follows:

PBS HOST: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio calls for a balanced budget amendment but he’s overshadowed by his awkward sip of water while delivering the Republican response. But before we get to that, which has been the focus of a lot of comediennes, Charles Thomas you were in Washington for the State of the Union and you saw the family of Hadiya Pendleton, who were guests of Michelle Obama. The President calling for stricter gun laws, do you think his emotional plea will have any resonance in this upcoming congress?

THOMAS (ABC): (on guns) He wants a vote in Congress because he knows he can’t win. He can’t get an assault weapons ban in either the house or the senate, really, even though the Senate is dominated by Democrats. But if he gets a vote, he’s going to put a lot of lawmakers on the record and he knows that American public opinion is for assault weapons ban….And they are going to point to a lot of Republican lawmakers who voted against these gun control measures and they have an eye toward 2014.

PBS HOST: (to Thomas) So this is just a ploy for the midterm elections? Aimed at the midterm election at this point?

THOMAS (ABC): Now perhaps after the midterm elections perhaps they will be able to do these things. But right now if you look at the numbers, if you look at the quiet roll calls happening in the senate and in the house, they cannot win an assault weapons ban.

PBS HOST : So why is he taking this message on the road? Or is it just more of what you are talking about?

THOMAS (ABC): It’s just more of what I am talking about because they are setting up Republicans for a fall in 2014. I think they want to get this over with quickly so they can get with the business of immigration reform which is something the president has to deliver and he believes he can do that now because the Republicans are thirsty for Hispanic/Latino vote. They are going to vote for immigration reform or some form of it and he can win that. I think in the short term gun control – he’ll try to get votes. Lose but with an eye toward the future, move immediately toward immigration reform.

DUMKE (Chicago Reader): I don’t know if it is cynicism so much as it is just being realistic about the politics of the situation. I do think Charles is right. I think it is actually very smart of President Obama and if you are a President Obama fan – you have to be cheering on just the political strategy of trying to put the Republicans on the spot, showing some forceful leadership.

THOMAS (ABC):  That’s the big story that I saw at the State of the Union. The President was unabashed liberal progressive, center-left in this speech. Unapologetically so. He’s telling the Republicans that I won 53% of the popular vote. I won a landslide on the Electoral College and I got a million people to see my second inauguration. Here’s what I’m going to do. Here’s what I want to do. I could see John Boehner in the back with this look on his face, really backpedalling politically and we all saw Marco Rubio, who’s supposed to be pulling the Republican Party off the ground, have this incredible case of dry mouth, right in the middle of his speech. They really [the Republicans] are punch drunk right now.

PBS HOST:  Well, the questions about whether he was just towing the narrative that has been put before – we’re going to get to that in a second….Let’s talk about Sen. Marco Rubio and his speech – the Republican response to the State of the Union. Nobody focused (laughter) on really what he had to say – they focused on this (laughter). That he took a sip of water. That he was brushing aside what appeared to be flop sweat (background laughter). He had a little dry mouth. A little sweat around his mouth and they replayed his Poland spring moment (laughter) that it’s now being called. Or Poland Watergate. Poland Spring Watergate.

PBS HOST: Was it a big deal in this case that he was a rising star in the Republican party – a Latino, a Cuban, a fellow Cuban I should add. That he was going to give the response and this is how it turned out. Was it a disaster or are we making too much out of that?

THOMAS (ABC): We might be making too much out of that. But the bigger question is how does the Republican Party get up off up the canvas at this point? I think they haven’t figured that out yet and I think this was indicative of that. They put Sen. Rubio out there, who, as you mentioned, is a rising star but does he really have the credibility at this point. Should it have been him there? That’s what – that’s what (cut-off).

PBS HOST: There’s a lot of talk about him running in 2016 for the Presidency. That he would be the Latino face, the minority face, the young face of the Republican party….

GLINK: (ThinkGlink.com): He’s trying to save everybody, right? So when somebody has  - there’s such high aspirations, you can’t possibly come off looking well. This is the second time that we have seen a response to the state of the Union where the rising star, gets on stage, stumbles – Eddie – you’re referring to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – wer’re he came off and everyone said, “oh no, he was supposed to be the big white hope.”

THOMAS (ABC):  But it’s so disingenuous though. Here’s the party of the white male, the rural suburban white male. They suddenly through these people of color out. They are all of a sudden – and you go, whoah – did they change overnight? There needs to be – you know a subtle grade there.

DUMKE (Chicago Reader): I completely agree with that but the problem is that it was the same speech – just putting another guy out there who is a Latino, or an Indian American – giving the same speech as these other guys made. There’s no difference. The most interesting thing about the speech was when he leaned over and got a sip of water.

MCGRATH (Sun Times and New York Times): I think what Charles referred to Boehner being whipsawed by Obama’s popularity. I think Rubio had a bit of that too. Like, what do I say? This guy is riding so high and he really didn’t have a message that refuted anything. He knew what he wanted to say but he really wasn’t sure that he was refuting anything the President had said earlier. So how do I counter this – the guy is riding so high right now – how do I counter this? And he didn’t do a very good job.

PBS HOST: Well, he [Rubio] gave Poland Spring some unexpected advertising at least that came out of it.        

*****

William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.

Email questions to him at williamjkelly@gmail.com. Find him on Facebook/WilliamjpkellyRead more of Bill Kelly’s Truth Squad in The Communities at the Washington Times

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William Kelly

 

Conservative commentator, satirist, and radio talk show host William J. Kelly pens the “Kelly Truth Squad” and “The Tea Party Report” for the Washington Times Communities and is a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. Kelly is also a producer of Emmy award-winning TV and received an Emmy nomination himself for outstanding achievement on-camera. He was previously the Executive Director of the National Taxpayers United of Illinois, a taxpayer watchdog group. He is a native of Chicago’s South side. For more information, visit www.kellytruthsquad.com.

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