Chicago Tribune Obsesses Over Potential GOP Candidate's Criminal Record, But Omitted Jackson Jr.'s Party Affiliation

The Chicago Tribune has less of a problem with a politician being a crook while in office than an ex-con running decades later for office, just so long as the former is a Democrat and the latter a Republican. 

Take a look at what Bill Ruthhart of the Chicago Tribune did to Paul McKinley, who could be the possible GOP challenger to Democratic Illinois State House Rep. Robin Kelly.  The Tribune focused more on McKinley's decades-old rap sheet than what he would do if elected to former Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr’s old congressional seat:

Court records show that an 18-year-old McKinley pleaded guilty to burglary in August 1977 after accomplices who helped him rob a store on West 115th Street identified him to Chicago police. McKinley, then a junior at Fenger High School in the Roseland neighborhood, was placed on probation, records show.

One month later, he violated probation when he used a handgun to rob a woman of $60 at 117th Street and South Halsted Street, records show. McKinley pleaded guilty to armed robbery and was sentenced to four years and given and a concurrent three-year sentence for violating the probation tied to his burglary conviction.

McKinley, whose campaign mantra has been to rail against Chicago's Democratic machine, said his behavior at the time was a product of his environment.


McKinley got out, and records show he was convicted of burglary in 1981 and went back to prison, according to an Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman. Court officials have yet to locate that case, and McKinley said he didn't remember it.

Shortly after his release from that prison stint, McKinley and an accomplice were arrested on charges they robbed two men outside a Harvey apartment in September 1982, records show.

The accomplice, Michael "Ice Mike" Ware, pleaded guilty to armed robbery for shooting a man in the foot before taking the keys to his house and car, records show. McKinley pistol-whipped the other man and took his watch and a ring, according to court records.

McKinley demanded that the victim "give me what you got," and when the man refused, McKinley "slammed the pistol down on (the victim's) head," leaving him on the ground "bleeding and screaming in pain," according to court records.

McKinley was sentenced to fifty years imprisonment for robbery and batter, but on appeal, had his sentence reduced to 30 years.  

Granted, McKinley hasn’t tried to hide his criminal past, and his slogan is “an ex-offender running to save the next offender.”  However, it would be more apt to ask if the Tribune, or any other media outlet, would write this hit piece if this candidate were a Democrat? 

Ruthhart gives McKinley's whole life story as a criminal in what could be construed as a way to humiliate and trivialize his attempt to rebuild his life.  Furthermore, it’s always troubling when members of the media do opposition research that benefit Democratic candidates, especially in cesspools of liberalism like Chicago.

This piece harkens back to when Barack Obama demanded that Jack Ryan, his potential Republican challenger for the Illinois Senate seat, release documents relating to his divorce hearings from his wife, Jeri.  It contained lurid details that derailed his candidacy, and the Tribune was right there advocating for its release. 

But of course, weeks ago, when disgraced ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson pleaded guilty to using campaign funds for personal extravagances, the Tribune refused to label him a Democrat.

If not for double standards, it seems, the Chicago Tribune would have none.

Campaigns & Elections Congress Crime Culture/Society Chicago Tribune Journalistic Issues Paul McKinley Robin Kelly Jesse Jackson