Monday, February 8, 2010

Personal Asides: Public Radio Web Editor on Why He Voted Scott Lee Cohen…Eric Zorn Equivalences Jason Plummer to Cohen: Nice Guy. More.

                                             Feast of St. Jerome Emiliani* 
              Good Reason Not to Take Political Advice from CPR                                 

          And the winner for kid fatuousness in journalism is Chicago Public Radio Web Editor Justin Kaufmann who explains his vote for Scott Lee Cohen, the millionaire pawnbroker who Sunday resigned from the ticket.  
         Says Editor Kaufmann:  
      “He did have the best campaign commercial, though, where, in a poorly filmed shot he stares down someone off-screen and kind of yells at them about needing more jobs.  It was effective. I was scared. I voted for him because his tie was loosened a bit and I didn’t want him to stare me down anymore.  I’m like that.”  
          “I was scared…I didn’t want him to stare me down anymore. I’m like that.” 
         We see that, Justin.  
         Also the editorial maturity we get from the outfit that’s supported by  tax dollars and “listeners like--”—others, not me. .    
                 Zorn Equivalences Cohen with Plummer.  
       For someone who yearns…oh how he yearns…to be a full-time political columnist with newspaper, radio and TV outlets instead of a general interest feature columnist…The Tribune’sEric Zorn might just someday get the assignment: if he switches to The Huffington Post or Daily Kos. The other day he did a think piece on Scott Lee Cohen, the pawn-broker ex-Dem Lt. Governor nominee, now resigned who… 
         Admitted to having taken injectable steroids…tried to choke his wife…forced himself on her after she said “no,”,,,was forcibly removed from his house by police…is being sued by his ex-wife for child support after having spent $2 million on his campaign for Lt. Governor…wrote threats in lipstick on his wife’s mirror…maintains the wounds on his prostitute ex-girl friend were self-inflicted and insists he didn’t know she was a prostitute, believing she was a masseuse as he met her in a massage parlor.  
        I impart my congratulations to Zorn who as a brilliant  partisan wants to be sure Illinois Democrats don’t stand alone with such allegations but strives to show equivalence between the two. His reasoning is worthy of David Axelrod at his finest.  
         So in his first paragraph he links Cohen to Jason Plummer, the Republican Lt. Governor nominee.  To Zorn they’re equivalent unknowns.  
        Zorn: “…[V]oters Tuesday nominated inexperienced, unknown [sic] rich guys to be the running mates for their gubernatorial candidates, touching off memories of 1986 when another unknown slipped his way onto a major party ticket.” 
         This shows not a little big-time journalistic Chicago snobbery but  also supreme arrogance maintaining Plummer, of Edwardsville, is inexperienced and unknown since Zorn never heard of him.     

At 27 Plummer is indeed a rich kid, scion of a wealthy family, a U of grad in finance.  He’s had a variety of experiences in business and public policy. Before he got involved in his family’s business he served as a legislative assistant to Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, and a research assistant at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D. C…although I imagine those jobs rate very little in Zorn’s book.  It would have been far better for Plummer to have been a legislative aide to Barbara Flynn Currie, a research assistant for the Institute for Policy Studies and regional grassroots leader of Then presumably he’d be a quality young man ready to move into the lieutenant governorship.  
        After Washington, Plummer went to work in his family business, planned shopping centers and new buildings.  There’s nothing in Plummer’s background within a country mile of Scott Lee Cohen.  Because Zorn never heard of him…or maybe never heard of Edwardsville for that matter —Jason Plummer is “unknown”: Despite the fact that he served as Republican chairman of Madison county and as a candidate went about the state for eight months appearing in candidates’ forums where debating and from-the-floor questioning is usually intensive. He appeared on my WLS Radio show sparring with veteran Democrat Clint Krislov, a Democratic candidate for comptroller,  who is no slouch at debate forensics. Something Cohen or another son of a rich father, Andy McKenna didn’t do.     
          Where was Zorn when Scott Lee Cohen was running TV ads and billboards all over the state? Did Zorn ever wonder who he is? Mark Brown of the Sun-Times touched on Cohen’s background—although as he cheerfully acknowledges, certainly not enough. At least Zorn’s Trib colleague John Kass, apologized for the oversight and vowed it won’t happen again. Zorn evidently didn’t know about Cohen or think his defects were newsworthy. Perhaps he was satisfied because Cohen was endorsed by Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Personal PAC.    
       The other day one of Zorn’s journalistic ilk, Lynn Sweet of the Sun-Times angrily demanded of Mike Madigan the Dem state chairman why Madigan hadn’t vetted all the candidates…and because he hadn’t in Cohen’s case suggested the Dems get a better chairman.  
         Gee, I hate to be defending Madigan but that’s what I thought we had media for. Having Zorn’s and Sweet’s papers come out after Cohen was nominated with the full story was not very helpful being it was too late. For that matter where was the Trib’s high exalted chief political guru  Rick Pearson who’s made a career of worrying who Jack Roeser (no relation)   supports with his legally reported funds that Pearson must have dozed when Cohen sneaked under the gates in what appears to be Pearson’s own party.   
       In trying to suggest equivalence between Cohen and Plummer Zorn resembles one of those candidates in duplicity—and it’s not Jason Plummer. 
                                  Berkowitz for the Persecution.  
         Last night on my WLS program, Jeff Berkowitz sided with Zorn’s contention that Plummer is a nobody—pointing out as proof that Plummer turned down an invitation to be on Berkowitz’s access television program…a sure way to lose Berkowitz’s…ahem…objective journalistic (his words) approbation.  As a state senator. Barack Obama did do Berkowitz’s program and since then has been rated supremely high on JB’s objective journalistic card…Berkowitz having agreed with the president that thus far he scores B+ in accomplishments.  Be that as it may, then the program veered in the direction of personal abuse.  
         The program’s title “Political Shootout” could well have been re-titled “Personal Assault” when Berkowitz cited anonymous supposed criticism of a fellow panel member without journalistic verification.   In more than a quarter century of broadcasting, I have never witnessed an allegation made against the character of a panelist  with no basis in fact supplied: a stunner coming from one who maintains he’s “an objective journalist.”  
                            Edgar Folds, Says Brady Will Win. 
        Former Gov. Jim Edgar who backed Kirk Dillard says Jim Brady will win because Brady is ahead by some 400 votes. I don’t know where Edgar gets that stuff—evidently basing it on who’s ahead on election night—the  shallowest kind of determination. I was in Minnesota state government when we had the longest gubernatorial recount in the history of the U. S. which lasted four months, spanning to March, 1963 from November, 1962.  My boss, the Republican governor, was ahead by 300 votes on the supposed final tally on election night. The recount discovered that the Democrat who ran behind us won by 91 votes out of 1,200,000.  See, Mr. Edgar, you’ve had no experience with recounts but let me remind you election night returns are not necessarily determinate. And it would have been nice of you…given that you endorsed Dillard so highly…not to toss in the towel before all the votes are counted. 
        More examples of recount turnarounds. 
        On election night 1960 John Kennedy was reported to have carried California over Richard Nixon by 37,000 votes. A recount there showed Nixon carrying it by 36,000.  
      In Hawaii Nixon was called the winner by a little over a thousand votes but a recount showed JFK won by 115.  In New Hampshire in 1974 for the U.S. Senate, Republican Louis Wyman defeated Democrat John Durkin by 355.  But a recount showed plus 2 for Wyman.  (The state ran the election again which Durkin won by 27,000.)   
         Then, of course, there was the famous Bush-Gore election of 2000. The see-saw election night tally switched by the hour, then the minute, then the week and finally landed in the U. S. Supreme Court. Ten minutes after the polls closed, some of the networks called Florida for Gore.  Then at 2:30 a.m. the next morning, the networks reversed themselves and called it for Bush with Bush appearing to lead Gore by more than 100,000.  Then at 4:30 a.m. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach narrowed Bush’s number to a little over 2000 over Gore. A week later as more ballots were tallied, Bush’s lead dwindled to a little more than 300 over Gore.  Then military votes upped Bush’s margin to 980.  More counting and Bush held on by 537. 
        Gore who had conceded to Bush rescinded his concession and called for a recount.  Gore was supported by the Florida Supreme Court. As the possibility of a recount seemed to threaten what was called the “Safe Harbor” deadline of Dec. 12 and inauguration day grew nearer with the possibility of no president, the U. S. Supreme Court overruled the Florida Court and called a halt to the recount.  The Court signified that Bush was the winner and carried Florida although in popular votes it was Gore over Bush by 543,895.  The controversy over that carried over and is still a sore point with those who never accepted Bush’s election.  
        That’s why for the life of me I can’t fathom Edgar’s statement  that Brady’s already won when 5,000 plus ballots are out even before a recount is required.   
                          Here’s Skippy with His “Perspective.” 
         I don’t welcome Walter (Skippy) Jacobson back to Channel 2 with his “Perspective” not because Jacobson is old (at nearly 74)—but because his flighty misnamed commentaries are prosaic, cliché-ridden and as flat as a soufflé that, having fallen once, cannot rise again.  His prima donna temper tantrums have been legend around TV studios and for the life of me aside from the conventional Lefty instinctively-held and un-researched baseless hunches he brings to the task, I cannot see his value in the  slightest.  Then there’s his idiosyncratic moods.  
         One of them came home to me quite a few years ago when I was supposed to appear on his Sunday AM TV panel.  As we were getting mike’d up for the telecast he mentioned that since I am Catholic I might  as well explain the details of virgin birth to him.  With seconds to go for a program that would, presumably deal in politics not the sinlessness of Mary, I gave it a reasonably good try saying that since she is called by Catholics the Mother of God, she would have to have given birth not to a mere man but to God Himself—known as the hypostatic union—the procedure where the two natures of Christ were joined together in the humanity evolving in Mary’s womb so as to present the whole Christ.  
       All Greek to Jacobson.  
      He shook his head and said “I still don’t get it. I still don’t get it.”  As if the theology that began to be formulated after the crucifixion and perfected by Augustine and Aquinas totaling more than 2,000 years was spurious if Skippy couldn’t grasp it within ten seconds following its explanation. 
           I wondered as the red TV camera lights went on whether we’d continue this for the edification of the audience. But no, we swung into a far more prosaic conversation about mundane politics. 
            What a strange, arrogant little man. 
*: St, Jerome Emiliani [1481-1537].  Born in Venice he was a carefree, profligate soldier, rising to commandant of the League of Cambrai forces at Castelnuevo near Treviso. When Castelnuevo fell to the Venetians he was captured and imprisoned. He escaped and reformed his free-wheeling lifestyle and was elected mayor of Treviso but eventually returned to Venice where he was ordained a priest in 1518. Venice was hit with a plague and famine which led Jerome to become a leader in the drive to feed and supply medical care to orphans who were left parentless by the scourge. He founded orphanages and a hospital at Verona as well as a refuge for prostitutes.  He founded an Order known as the Clerks Regular of Somascha named after the town where they formed their first house devoted to caring for orphans and the destitute.  He contracted the plague while caring for the orphans and long after his canonization was designated  Patron of Orphans and abandoned children in 1928..

No comments:

Post a Comment