Monday, September 28, 2015

Chicago Tribune Continues Campaign To Oust Illinois' Lone Disabled Republican Senator

I'm not quite sure what the Chicago Tribune's problem is with Sen. Mark Kirk (R). He survived a life-threatening stroke and pretty much always puts up a vote for the Democrats whenever his vote will make a difference in the Republican-controlled Senate. Last month, The Tribune was questioning why the single, disabled senator should pay a caregiver partially out of campaign funds to accompany him on his travels back and forth to Illinois from Washington. Now it seems their reporters are badgering staffers and even his elderly mother to discuss how poorly he supposedly treats people who work for him.

In an usual move, Kirk's campaign manager, released a statement to others in the media discussing a negative story he claimed The Tribune's reporter Todd Lighty was pursuing to further damage his re-election campaign.
For the past five weeks, Chicago Tribune Reporter Todd Lighty has called over 15 current and former staffers of Senator Kirk along with harassing Senator Kirk’s 79 year-old mother and his sister in an attempt to validate a story that Senator Kirk has been verbally and physically abusive to staff. Lighty has identified four staffers whom he says were verbally or physically abused, however staffers involved have said the incidents never occurred, including Patrick Campion whom Mr. Lighty identified as his only “on the record” source . . . 
Patrick Campion: Signed a sworn affidavit that said he enjoyed working for Senator Kirk and that at no time was there verbal and physical abuse. 
Campion also attested in his affidavit that Chicago Tribune Reporter Todd Lighty “twisted his words” when they talked. (affidavit attached)
Seth Jansen: Issued the following statement, “The inference or accusation that Senator Kirk acted inappropriately towards me is simply false. “
James Zenn: In text messages responding to Mr. Lighty, James Zenn told Lighty that his facts were wrong and the incident he was alleging never happened. Zenn added: “Mr. Lighty, I am unsure of where this is coming from. I would have never told anyone that story as it did not happen. I enjoyed my time with Senator Kirk, during which I learned a lot and during which he treated me with nothing but respect. Though I moved on for another opportunity I am proud to have worked for him and I support him 100%.” (screen shots attached)
Dan Bower: No sources to support Mr. Lighty’s assertion.
Official Campaign Response
“Terrible journalism written by a biased reporter about an event that his own source signed an affidavit saying never happened.” Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager, Kirk for Senate.
Bottom Line
As indicated from affidavits, statements and conversations Mr. Lighty is fully aware of, the incidents he is alleging did not occur according to those involved. Should Mr. Lighty continue with his story, Kirk For Senate will not hesitate to avail itself of all available legal remedies.
The Capitol Fax's Rich Miller lends credence that he's being singled out by the Tribune reporter. Since 2010, Lighty has conducted 11 investigative stories on Illinois politicians. Six of those stories pertained to Sen. Kirk. Only two investigative stories pertained to former Rep. Aaron Schock, who is currently under investigation by a federal grand jury in Springfield hearing evidence that he misused campaign and congressional resources. Lighty had just one story about former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who is under indictment currently. The Tribune is standing behind their reporter:
Tribune Editor Gerould Kern said in a statement Friday, Kirk’s “campaign and the conduct of his office are subjects of legitimate inquiry, and the Chicago Tribune stands fully behind our reporter, Todd Lighty.” 
“We will not comment on unpublished reporting, but we can say that the Kirk campaign has wholly mischaracterized Lighty’s diligence and thoroughness. “Lighty has been direct, open and honest at all times with the Kirk staff in his reporting. He is a meticulous and professional journalist. Good reporters ask tough questions.
“We will not allow the Kirk campaign to attack unchallenged the professionalism and integrity of Lighty and the Tribune.”
Imagine if the Chicago Tribune was covering Chuck Brewer's bid for Indianapolis mayor. They would be having a field day with all of the salacious filings in his ongoing child custody and support battle with his ex-wife.


Josh said...

Not only does this smear campaign seem low it also seems cruel.

Anonymous said...

Generally it's the republicans who smear democrats like this.

Max Clealand comes to mind.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Anon 1:43, that's funny, Greg Abbott, the Republican Governor of Texas, comes to my mind. Remember the smear job on him...the suggestion he didn't need the wheelchair?

Anonymous said...

typical of the chicago tribune. It's the same kind of yellow journalism that put 0berry Davis in the Senate