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Must-see video

Wednesday, Sep 26, 2007

I had never heard of Alex Beinstein until one of his videos popped up in a YouTube search. From what I can gather, he’s a student at the University of Chicago with a show on WHPK radio who also does some video stuff and posts all of his interviews at his blog.

Check out what Beinstein does to Mayor Daley in this brief interview. Daley apparently expected a deferential softball from a harmless college kid. But watch Hizzoner’s expression change in an instant when Beinstein instead throws a hardball…

* Beinstein also interviewed House GOP Leader Tom Cross. Rep. Cross more than just hints that he wants to see another fare hike for mass transit riders.

* In our second video, watch Congressman Dan Lipinski’s chief of staff Jerry Hurckes try to swat away a citizen who is attempting to videotape the congressman’s answer to a question…

Hat tip: Carl, who adds…

I began filming after I saw Hurckes harassing Maniotis, so the total amount of time between when Hurckes started putting his hand in Maniotis’ face and when Lipinski told him to knock-it-off is longer than on this video

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The 'Broken Heart' of Rogers Park - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:02 pm:

    Poor Alex Beinstein. Once the mayor makes a call to the School Prez, this guys going to be expelled.

  2. - Patriot - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:11 pm:

    Talk about “deer in the headlights!”

  3. - Fan of the Game - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:53 pm:

    Beinstein asks a legitimate question, but the manner in which he asks it really isn’t fair (I can’t believe I’m supporting Da Mare).

    There is no background, so the mayor has no idea what the broad subject will be, much less the specific questions. When Beinstein quickly asks, “What are you doing to address the situation?” he assumes much. He assumes the mayor knows students are scared to ride, that Daley is in on the minutiae of the security of one subway or bus line, and that studens are “scared” at all.

    Then the question about Daley’s position on the U of C’s failure to divest itself of Sudanese holdings is simply a trap. If Daley advocates for divestiture, he makes the folks at U of C angry. If he comes out against divestiture, he appears to be without compassion on an issue over which he has absolutely no control.

    I’m all for journalists asking hard questions. It doesn’t happen enough, and Beinstein should be commended for his attempt. However, the strategy here seemed contrived only to elicit a response, not to obtain any meaningful information. It seems a mild form of “gotcha” journalism an doesn’t paint either the mayor or the journalist in a good light.

  4. - Rob_N - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 3:57 pm:

    Welcome to the YouTube era, Cong. Lipinski… Mark Pera’s going to leave him panting for breath after this run… (and hopefully eating lame duck soup).

  5. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:01 pm:

    He should know better that kid is tall!

  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:20 pm:

    The Daley interview was silly for the reasons Fan of the Game mentions. Part of the reason U of C students get the reputation for being a hermetic community is likely because it is especially difficult to travel outside of Hyde Park for fear of abysmal waits on the CTA or crime around the Garfield Green and Red Line stops. However, asking questions in this manner doesn’t really achieve anything substantive.

  7. - JakeCP - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:41 pm:

    Daley is so horrible.

  8. - Alex Beinstein - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:48 pm:

    I’m the student who asked the question to Daley. I think it’s legit because it was the only opportunity I’ve ever had with the mayor. I’ve tried to get the mayor, in a more formal, prepared setting at least 15 times and his press team keeps saying they’re working on it. I then just simply asked the mayor, and he agreed. If he gave me more than a minute, I would’ve definitely given more context. And the Darfur question is legit; he has never given any comment on a very important topic. I don’t think I participate in a ‘Gotchya journalistic” way. I have had several lengthy interviews with all types of people like Jesse Jackson, James Carville, campaign members, Mike Gravel, Richard Perle, and plenty of others. All of this is available on Thanks!

  9. - Mark Johnson - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:50 pm:

    I knew daley’s press conferences were bad but I reallyt scratch my head and wonder how this guy gets elected. WOW !

  10. - Hugh - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 4:56 pm:

    hizzoner needs a haircut

  11. - Barbicide - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:06 pm:

    Maybe he’s too busy giving other people “haircuts.”

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:22 pm:

    Grow up and focus on your studies, Alex. I’m no fan of elected officials and bureaucrats hidng behind a bunch of taxpayer-paid facks, but you ambushed a guy who was willing to give you a minute of his time and that isn’t fair play in my book.

    I know a couple of those people with whom mention you have had “lengthy” interviews. I can say quite definitely that they would have either walked away or flattened you if you pulled the stunt you did with Daley.

    Have you interviewed the the U of C president to see why their position is what it is on Sudanese divestment? Or, perhaps the sponsor of the first Sudanese divestment law in the nation, Sen.
    Jacqueline Collins?

    Mayors, for good reason, don’t usually hop in the middle of what is at its core a question of foreign policy.

    As far as the CTA question, I invite any of you experts who think the Mayor blew it to say you could do a better job under the circumstances.

  13. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:29 pm:

    To what extent are people fearful because crime is actually a problem? And to what extent are people fearful because the neighborhood is poor and Black?

    There’s some things the city can do to make public transportation be safer.

    There’s other things the city can do to make public transportation feel safer.

    But there’s a limited amount of things the city can do to make the areas surrounding U of C seem less Black and less affected by urban blight.

    But it’s not unreasonable to expect Daley to have some statistics available on crime and public transportation. He should be able to say something like, “There are few deaths per 10,000 commuters on the CTA than on Chicago area roads… And far more people die driving in the Chicago area than people getting killed on the CTA or coming or going from their bus stop, “L” stop or Metra stop.”

    “Violent crime is a problem in Chicago, but seen over the decades, it’s a problem that is getting smaller. Whereas, the problems associated with automobiles, congestion, global warming and fuel prices are all getting larger.”

  14. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:34 pm:

    I do want to make the point that the woman being hassled by Lipinski’s chief of staff is Rita Maniotis, a Green Party candidate for state rep.

    She’s running in the 21st district (currently Robert Molaro).

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:37 pm:

    AA, when rushed, sometimes people tend to condense questions. Give the kid a break. His Royal Highness needs more people questioning his alleged stewardship of the CTA and everything else in that city. It wasn’t a perfect question, but it was a hilarious reaction, and that’s all that matters for our purposes. He ain’t God.

  16. - Undercover - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 5:59 pm:

    Kudos to Alex Beinstein for ambushing the mayor after the mayor refused to address the issues in a more formal setting. I’d like to see that happen to elected officials who think they’re kings more often.

  17. - Levois - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:01 pm:

    This Mr. Beinstein should interview the governor. LOL!

  18. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:08 pm:

    That was no ambush. It was a legitmate question about public safety to a mayor who had campaigned on his public safety record. I supposed we should be comforted that one of these days someone is going to get murdered but at least his family will get a copy of the video.

    Also- boy, is Daley looking old in this video!

  19. - Super Mega - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 6:12 pm:

    He should have asked the Mayor when the last time was that he rode the Red or Green Lines. If he had, Daley wouldn’t have given such a blank look.

    He probably thinks the cars and stations are clean, efficient, and don’t have any drug use or people threatening each other on/in them.

    The CTA, especially the ‘L’, is a disaster. Most of the Red Line cars have people living on them, they reek of feces and urine, and most of the time, someone is saying something threatening to one of the passengers.

    The Green Line is worse, but newer!

  20. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 8:28 pm:

    Rich, point well made, and well taken. The reaction was indeed funny.

    PS: Make that “flacks,” not “facks.” AA’s eyes aren’t what they used to be.

  21. - John - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:33 pm:

    “The CTA, especially the ‘L’, is a disaster. Most of the Red Line cars have people living on them, they reek of feces and urine, and most of the time, someone is saying something threatening to one of the passengers.

    The Green Line is worse, but newer! ”

    Huh? That’s just not…. accurate…

  22. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:35 pm:


  23. - Napoleon has left the building - Wednesday, Sep 26, 07 @ 10:50 pm:

    You’re right, the Mayor’s response was very fun to watch. The kid has got some balz.

    That Lipinski video is lame. Pera fans can do better than that. It just shows one woman basically making fun of him. So what, it’s not like he shoved Mike Flannery down a staircase - as if he could . . . Flannery would take down Lip Junior with one shove.

  24. - ODH - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 12:50 am:

    Alex Bienstein for mayor!!!

    Lipinski is only there b/c of his father’s trickery. nice to see that his constituents are questioning him. Look for lip jr to have a strong candidate against him.

  25. - Fan of the Game - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 8:21 am:

    Alex and Rich,

    I understand the difficulty in gaining access to the mayor, and I thought the mayor’s wide-eyed response was funny. His mouth gaped like a fish on shore.

    I still think the Darfur question is smoke. Again, the mayor can do nothing bout the situation. He has no control over Darfur nor over the U of C, and any comment he makes will be used against him. The mayor is having a hard enough time keeping the trains running; working on issues over which he has no control is low on his priority list, I’m sure.

  26. - Pro-Gunner - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 8:38 am:

    Daley’s idea of protecting riders on the CTA is to put cameras in place and disarm potential victims.

  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 9:00 am:

    Fan, I agree, but since it’s apparently an issue at the campus, why not ask the mayor?

  28. - Cassandra - Thursday, Sep 27, 07 @ 9:15 am:

    I loved Alex’s vid.

    Looks like his show is not on podcast or I’d be a regular listener. It’s not politically correct to talk about conditions on the Green Line but those of us who ride it know the kids are right on.
    And no, the problem is not money. It’s corruption and patronage.

    Absolutely, the mayor needs a lot of questioners.
    He thinks he’s royalty. But since Chicagoans can’t seem to bring themselves to vote him out, I guess they deserve the regal approach to questions from the masses.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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