Chicago Sun-Times: Judges' Party Affiliation Relevant, But Only Sometimes

In today's Chicago Sun-Times article, "Controversial judge plans to retire," the newspaper writes: "A judge who once upheld a speeding ticket given to a woman in labor, told two young girls they would 'go to hell' if they lied on the stand and denied a woman a bathroom break before she soiled herself is stepping down from the bench."

Three sentences later, the retiring judge is identified as a Republican. OK, fine, that's relevant and should be reported.

The problem is the newspaper doesn't do that consistently. Less than two years ago, a Cook County Democratic judge was temporarily removed from the bench by the chief judge who, after reviewing a court transcript,said he "was exceedingly troubled by (the judge's) lack of respect for the high office which he holds and for those individuals present for the proceedings." The Sun-Times reported at the time: "After (the judge's) outburst-- which included the judge using the 'F' word twice -- Chief Judge
Timothy Evans reassigned him and took him off the bench 'until further

The newspaper should have identified the injudicious judge as a Democrat. Unless, of course, it considers bizarre behavior by a Democratic judge as fairly standard and thus not newsworthy.

Labeling Illinois Journalistic Issues