By: Mark Glennon*
If you are relying on the Chicago Sun-Times for Illinois state government news you are being misinformed because its primary reporter assigned to Springfield is Natasha Korecki, and her distortions are flagrant.
Today, budget negotiations took a critical turn because Governor Rauner announced in an op ed piece that he would veto the budget submitted by legislative Democrats and offered a series of compromises on other matters. Specifically, Rauner offered state assistance on the Chicago teachers’ pension, a two-year limit for the property tax cap he wants, a variation of state pension reform plans pushed by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, agreement on Cook County pension reform proposed Democrat Toni Preckwinkle, and concessions on the process for imposing term limits which Rauner wants.
All today’s stories on this that I’ve seen reported both the budget veto and the conciliatory moves as being important, including those in media not typically friendly to Rauner. Greg Hinz at Crain’s, for example, reported it fairly, saying Rauner “offered a wide range of compromise on business reforms” and that “Rauner clearly has made a move.” Paris Schultz at WTTW quantified the pension contribution for CPS at $200 million.
Not Korecki. Her story says nothing of the compromise offers Rauner made concurrently, and reports only the budget veto which potentially portends the government shutdown on which Rauner’s critics base their case. Instead of referencing Rauner’s op ed piece or summarizing it, she incorporates instead a narrower statement that accompanied the budget veto, as if that’s all Rauner said. In short, she told half the story.
Korecki has a solid history of this kind of reporting. We’ve written before about things like her characterization of sham legislative votes as if they are real, and made-up generalities about legislators’ opinions. Look at the list of Korecki’s other reporting yourself and decide if you think it’s fair. All media should be scrutinized from both the right and the left. That’s not done in Illinois. If it were, Korecki would be seen as the worst of Springfield reporters.
The contrast between Korecki and Fran Spielman, also of the Sun-Times, is stark. Spielman covers Chicago fiscal issues and her work has been superb — balanced and meticulously accurate on financial details. Salute to her and Yvette Shields of The Bond Buyer, who is doing the same. They are providing the best reporting on Chicago’s crisis.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints. Opinions expressed are his own.