Six days before the election, the Chicago Tribune published its first in-depth coverage of the Republican candidates in the IL-2 race. The paper began covering the IL-2 seat back in November when Jr. resigned and has been comprehensive in its coverage of the Democrat primary. This first look at the Republican candidates by “watchdog” reporter Bill Ruthhart is more a political hit piece than in-depth coverage.
Some of the information Ruthhart presents is of genuine interest to voters. He discloses three of the candidates’ tax problems, and that Paul McKinley served time in prison for robbery. However, he presents virtually no information about the candidates platforms, reception on campaign trail, or funding.
Ruthhart’s piece, GOP 2nd District hopefuls carry baggage, includes candidate Eric Wallace’s “baggage” by writing:
But when it comes to policy specifics, Wallace sometimes struggles to articulate his position. When asked by the Tribune editorial board how he would cut Medicare, Wallace began to read from a conservative think tank’s proposal. Wallace also couldn’t say whether he would have voted for Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s controversial budget last year, admitting he hadn’t studied it closely.
Citing a think tank in an answer, Ruthhart would have it, thusly warrants Wallace’s inclusion in a piece about Republican candidates’ baggage.
(Certainly, Democrats never refer to the institutional-left’s talking points when asked to explain their positions on the issues.)
In reporting on the other candidates actual baggage, Ruthhart reports that candidate Lenny McAllister owes the state of North Carolina over $32,000 in tax, Paul McKinley owes $14,147 in federal income tax, and that Beverly Reid had in the past failed to pay over $42,000 in federal taxes, but is in the process of paying them; additionally, he notes that Paul McKinley has served time in prison for robbery.
Ruthhart did not mention that while Paul McKinley is a convicted felon, he has been more than open about this fact since the very beginning of campaign. McKinley has credited this experience with driving his desire to bring justice to the streets of his community by fighting against Chicago Machine politics. In fact, the Tribune’s readers might have appreciated some reporting from the candidate forums themselves. McKinley alone has garnered support from Republican and Democrat, white and black, rural and urban audiences, even after explaining “ex-offender” status to them.
Unfortunately for Illinois’ 2nd district voters who rely on the Chicago Tribune to learn about their candidates, it will be hard to discern much about the content of the Republicans’ campaigns. What they will find out is that, just like many of the Democrats in the race, the Republicans do not have a full slate of perfect candidates.
The Tribune’s Ruthhart has accomplished little more than to omit content and smear Wallace in a guilt-by-association placement. By leaving out any real details about where the candidates stand, it is possible that its readers will find little reason to head to the polls next Tuesday.
Bill Ruthhart did not reply to Breitbart’s request for comment regarding whether or not he would be filing a similar report on the Democrat candidates’ tax and/or any criminal histories.
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