Dear readers! You know I love (most) of you with all of my bleepin’ heart because you consistently prove that you’re the smarter ones. You actually enjoy the process of critical thinking and you have no problem standing apart from the rabble. I may often lament that I’m a man without a country, but the truth is, we centrists outnumber the loons on both ends of the political spectrum – combined.
All that said, it doesn’t mean that some of y’all aren’t getting on my last good nerve. So, once again, it’s time to address those folks who barely have two brain cells to rub together.
No! I won’t give up a source!
The semi-frequent phenomenon by which a reader, “unhappy” with something I just wrote, demands to know the source(s) of that particular column is beyond baffling. Yes! Just because you asked me so imperiously, I’ll be happy to turn over that name so they’ll never talk to me again and the rest of my sources will commence to avoiding me like the plague!
It happened again with Monday’s piece. Ecclesiastes 1:9 may proclaim “There is nothing
New under the sun,” but the insistent expansion of the average American entitlement mentality never ceases to amaze me.
What separates me from my non-independent reporting compatriots is that I actually have sources! The sad truth is, as newspaper publishers increasingly resort to just-out-of-school journalism students, the art of developing real sources is rapidly becoming a lost one. Today’s shortsighted journalists will sell out a source in a second just to get more hits on a generally inconsequential Internet article.
Real journalism consists of reporters and columnists doing the heavy lifting for you, and for them to succeed in that regard, particularly at time when newsroom staffing is at an all-time low, they have to rely on those brave (or angry) folks who, under the guise of anonymity, provide the kind of stories that can change the status quo.
There are sources who’ve been so consistent that I take their word at face value. Most others require verification of their stories through other sources, a well-worded FOIA request, or seeing something for myself.
The bottom line is, if journalists really did come up with “fake news,” they’d find themselves on the wrong end of a libel suit far more often than they’d care to think. It’s taken me over a decade to develop some stellar sources and I’m not about to risk my reputation and all that hard work on the likes of one irate reader. So, don’t ask!
Put more simply, I’ve never given up a source and I never will.
In the end, does the timing really matter?
What our source seeker and a few other of my fervent fans wanted to know was, how did I know the Elgin City Council was warned about the recent ICE raids in advance. Of course, the obvious answer is the Daily Herald printed that the Elgin Police Department said they were alerted the previous day.
So, it hardly took a source to run Monday’s story.
And after covering municipal politics for more than a decade, I know exactly how it works. The Police Chief gets the news from ICE and immediately passes it along to the Mayor and City Manager. There would be hell to pay if that didn’t happen.
Then, as a political courtesy, the Mayor and/or City Manager would pass the same information on to the City Council so they won’t be blindsided by the news. Had they failed to do so, those councilman would be publicly demanding to know why they were left out of the loop.
But for argument’s sake, let’s say the City Council wasn’t warned. Let’s pretend they heard nothing about the ICE raids until the rest of us did. That means we’re still waiting to hear something – anything – from that body’s two most vocal members about an event that has greatly impacted Elgin’s 45 percent Hispanic community.
Councilmen Corey Dixon and Tish Powell certainly wasted no time in convicting Elgin Police Lieutenant Chris Jensen in the press, but something that deeply affects 50,400 Elgin residents isn’t worth as much as a full sentence?
Again, Powell did claim she was “troubled” by the raids on social media, but that’s literally the least she could do. Dixon still hasn’t addressed the issue, and Carol Rauschenberger, who was far less vocal about Jensen, but still did her damndest to get him fired, is equally silent.
So, are they progressives or not? All it would take to prove their self-proclaimed political sincerity is some kind of a public statement. It could be a condemnation of the raid. It could be a declaration of solidarity with the Hispanic community. It could be a simple statement of concern.
But all you hear are crickets.
When an opportunity to show their support for their Hispanic brothers and sisters arises, but doesn’t present the same political possibilities as the Clements shooting, Dixon, Powell and Rauschenberger showed their true colors faster than Donald Trump can Tweet at 2 a.m.
And where are those “Christian” Elgin pastors who had absolutely no problem judging another human being as they circulated a petition to have Lt. Jensen removed? They certainly don’t seem to care about ICE coming to Elgin. All those protestors seem conspicuously absent, too!
I hope DeCynthia Clements’ family finally understands that these three councilman used the tragic death of their daughter solely to pander to their constituents and promote their own specific political agendas. And if something doesn’t fit, they don’t give a… We all know Dixon and Powell want to move on to Springfield and Rauschenberger wants to be mayor.
Ah! But Dixon and Rauschenberger are up for reelection in 2021. I certainly hope Elgin’s Hispanic voters remember all this at the polling place.