Schaumburg: Responsibility, ethics and the royal baby

George Alexander Louis put me over the top this week.

I need to vent, so here’s another edition of Rapid Fire Rants:

• We can’t report on what we think someone is thinking and report it as fact. That’s not what responsible journalism is about. That’s what bloggers do.

Sure, we sometimes speculate – responsibly – in columns or editorials. But our news coverage is grounded in fact and sourcing, not bias and political motives.

• Here’s the deal: I love feedback and news tips. But if you’ve got something to say or want to rip on me or the newspaper, do it with a name attached to it. Otherwise, your cowardice is thrown into the trash bin and given no consideration.

• How can the McHenry County Ethics Commission read this portion of an email sent from a county email address and not see anything political?

“Since announcing my candidacy, I have been accused by local bloggers of working with a drug cartel, corruption, and now, publicly driving down the Crystal Lake Parade giving everyone ‘the finger.’ The personal attacks by my opponent and his supporters on my family, my friends, my wife, my children, my in-laws, co-workers, and county board members is despicable and have no place in a legitimate race.”

That’s a swing and a miss by the commission, which ruled the email sent by Undersheriff Andrew Zinke, who is running for McHenry County Sheriff, did not constitute a prohibited political activity.

• It was also disappointing to see the commission hide behind a provision in the Open Meetings Act and vote to go into closed session for its discussion. At least Commission Chairman Thomas Spencer voted against doing so.

• And for the commission and its members to not provide a reason for their decision is unacceptable.

• This was the first hearing the eight-year-old commission ever conducted. I’m told by Northwest Herald reporter Kevin Craver it looked that way.

• The amount of media attention in this country given to the birth of a royal baby on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean was an embarrassment.

• Why are all the members of the Metra board still on the Metra board?

• It’s been crickets from the committee put together to tackle pension reform in this state. Par for the course. Tick, tock. At least lawmakers aren’t getting paid until it’s done.

• Michael Madigan is the poster child for why Illinois needs term limits.

• Jason Schaumburg is editor of the Northwest Herald. He wishes things would have turned out differently. Reach him at 815-459-4122 or via email at jschaumburg@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at
@Schaumy.