By: Mark Glennon*
When a story is headlined “How to press a candidate in a bubble” you should expect to see some “how to,” right? Especially if it’s written by a highly regarded journalist on something pretty important — how to get candidates to give detailed answers to serious questions. Well, not if that journalist is the most overrated one in Chicago, Carol Marin.
“Is there a solution” for how to get candidates out of the bubble they hide in, Ms. Marin asks in her article last week?
“Not that I can see,” she answers. She offers no “how to.” There’s nothing in the article about that except for some vague reference to fairness. At least she’s honest.
Here are few suggestions for journalists complaining about candidates who won’t give them serious interviews, aside from conforming the headline to the story. There are a number of journalists bitching about that besides Carol Marin:
– Tell your colleagues not to write these kinds of things while you are lecturing about fairness and journalism, which Ms. Marin’s at the Sun-Times were writing last week: While waiting for Bruce Rauner to appear at an event Natasha Korecki (another one who has been complaining about not getting details) tweeted “Character Baron Von Moneybags nowhere to be seen.” And Micheal Sneed wrote about whether Rauner’s wife’s rule requiring that shoes come off at home will apply in the Governor’s Mansion. Those kinds of things, I suspect, don’t make a candidate feel he’s going to get a fair shake or have details reported seriously in your paper.
– Don’t disguise a hit piece on a candidate as a high-minded article about quality journalism. The article was in fact a shot at Rauner. She singles him alone out for setting up “an almost impenetrable barrier ” from the media. If you want to say Rauner is more evasive than Quinn, fine, but do it explicitly (and good luck with that).
– Do your homework. I tuned out of Ms. Marin’s Chicago Tonight show long ago, tired of the superficial and poorly researched questions.
– Go after other reporters when they don’t cover somebody fairly. In Illinois, reporters don’t do that. It’s a mutual suck-up society. For example, earlier this year Carol Morin herself made a whopping error blaming the wrong group, former candidate Dan Proft’s, for a homophobic mailing. Ms. Morin did a retraction, but no other regular media reported the error, which was newsworthy in itself — certainly more newsworthy than Ms. Rauner’s no-shoes rule.
Ms. Marin says there’s an “almost toxic” distrust on both sides of the candidate-reporter equation. That’s true, and she could add readers to that. They distrust both, which is part of why news readership has declined and young people, especially, have tuned out.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints