At first glance, this commercial may not seem out of the ordinary. But leading up to yesterday’s election for Illinois Governor, details regarding Bruce Rauner’s relationship with Chicago media surfaced.
And after a second glance, these details seem downright illegal.
Bruce Rauner will be Illinois’ next governor, and there are some facts you need to know before jumping on his Lamborghini bandwagon.
Rauner is a private equity investor by nature, and a politician by choice. In 2011, he (along with Michael Ferro and other wealthy Chicagoans) purchased the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper parent company, Wrapports. Individually, Rauner held a 10 percent stake.
On January 22, 2012 – then Chicago Sun-Times publisher John Barron and editorial page editor Tom McNamee announced that the paper would no longer endorse political candidates.
In the announcement, Barron directly states:
“We have come to doubt the value of candidate endorsements by this newspaper, or any newspaper, especially in a day when a multitude of information sources allow even a casual voter to be better informed than ever before.”
Just seven months after that announcement, Crain’s Lynne Marek reported that Chicago Sun-Times Editor-In-Chief Jim Kirk wanted to bring back endorsements and quoted him saying, “Personally, I would like to…I don’t think my bosses are there yet.”
His bosses weren’t there yet, but they’d get there. Because just before Bruce Rauner decided to run for governor last year, he sold his 10 percent stake in Wrapports to chairman Michael Ferro for $5 million.
So let’s recap.
Rauner bought a notable share of Wrapports in 2011. Then in 2012, one of his own publications announced that they would no longer endorse political candidates. And then in 2013, he sold his stake to Mr. Ferro and decided to run for office.
Now back to 2014.
Last month, the Chicago Sun-Times announced that it would once again begin making political endorsements, reversing the decision made only three years ago by Rauner and his fellow stake-holders.
Last week, the paper said that its first endorsement under the revived practice would be published two Sundays ago. The endorsement appeared on the Sun-Times website under the headline “Bruce Rauner for governor.”
Now let’s go back to our friend Jim Kirk, the Sun-Times editor-in-chief that spoke out in favor of endorsing politicians after the paper originally said they would be no longer.
It’s not surprising, but Jim chimed in on the decision to break the ban:
“In our endorsement editorial on Sunday, we were clear with readers that Rauner was at one time an investor in Wrapports. Those former ties mean nothing when it comes to the Sun Times’ ability and determination to report on him and his campaign fairly and accurately. This was not a backdoor endorsement. If it were an endorsement, we would be upfront about it.”
Thanks Jim, but I thought you said that you wanted to bring back endorsements? Then again, that happened way, way back in 2011.
Enough of the bullshit. None of what we’re being told by old-school Chicago media or the new Illinois Governor adds up. And the fact of the matter is, no line has been drawn to disallow these kind of relationships from forming.
Illinois is coming close to the economic brink, and they’ve almost fallen too far behind to recover.
The people are desperate for big change and are willing to take incautious steps to get there, but at what cost?
Credibility is one thing, stupidity is another. There’s plenty of questions to be asked, and even more answers to be heard. But for right now, there’s one question that just can’t be ignored.
Is this what the Chicago media has come to?