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Mark Kirk makes high-risk move to get out front of negative story

Friday, Sep 25, 2015

* I received a fascinating phone call from US Sen. Mark Kirk’s campaign manager Kevin Artl the other day. He said the Chicago Tribune was about to publish a story about how Sen. Kirk had allegedly physically and verbally abused staff members and that the piece was going to be shoddy at least and downright false at worst.

So, if he sent me the correspondence with the reporter and other background materials, would I consider publishing them here, Artl asked.

Sure, but the Tribune will probably murder you, I told Kevin. This is not something you do lightly. Indeed, I’ve never heard of anybody ever doing it before. A preemptive hit on a reporter from a major newspaper? Whew, baby.

He said he’d get back to me if the Tribune decided to go with the story. Artl called yesterday and said he was sending the stuff over because the piece is likely coming out Sunday.

Man, is this ever a high-risk move, but it’s kind of fun, too, so let’s get started.

* Here is a memo that the Mark Kirk campaign plans to distribute after the Tribune story is published. All emphasis in original…

From: Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager
Kirk For Senate
Re: Chicago Tribune/Todd Lighty

Overview

For the past five weeks, Chicago Tribune Reporter Todd Lighty has called over 15 current and former staffers of Senator Kirk along with harassing Senator Kirk’s 79 year-old mother and his sister in an attempt to validate a story that Senator Kirk has been verbally and physically abusive to staff. Lighty has identified four staffers whom he says were verbally or physically abused, however staffers involved have said the incidents never occurred, including Patrick Campion whom Mr. Lighty identified as his only “on the record” source.

Patrick Campion: Signed a sworn affidavit that said he enjoyed working for Senator Kirk and that at no time was there verbal and physical abuse. Campion also attested in his affidavit that Chicago Tribune Reporter Todd Lighty “twisted his words” when they talked. (affidavit attached)

Seth Jansen: Issued the following statement, “The inference or accusation that Senator Kirk acted inappropriately towards me is simply false. “

James Zenn: In text messages responding to Mr. Lighty, James Zenn told Lighty that his facts were wrong and the incident he was alleging never happened. Zenn added: “Mr. Lighty, I am unsure of where this is coming from. I would have never told anyone that story as it did not happen. I enjoyed my time with Senator Kirk, during which I learned a lot and during which he treated me with nothing but respect. Though I moved on for another opportunity I am proud to have worked for him and I support him 100%.” (screen shots attached)

Dan Bower: No sources to support Mr. Lighty’s assertion.

Official Campaign Response

“Terrible journalism written by a biased reporter about an event that his own source signed an affidavit saying never happened.” Kevin Artl, Campaign Manager, Kirk for Senate.

Bottom Line

As indicated from affidavits, statements and conversations Mr. Lighty is fully aware of, the incidents he is alleging did not occur according to those involved. Should Mr. Lighty continue with his story, Kirk For Senate will not hesitate to avail itself of all available legal remedies.

Like I said, whew.

The Patrick Campion affidavit referenced by Artl is here. Two Campion e-mails to Lighty on August 26th are here. They were redacted by me to crop out his e-mail address. A text message screen shot of James Zenn’s flat denial is here. A letter from Artl to Tribune management with even more allegations is here.

Let’s start with the alleged “terrible journalism” part and then we’ll get to the “biased reporter” allegation.

* What follows is based on two e-mail exchanges between the Tribune reporter and Kirk’s office. One is here, the other is here.

Here are Lighty’s actual questions and Artl’s responses. Again, all emphasis in original…

From: Kevin Artl
Date: Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 8:33 PM
Subject: Follow Up Response
To: “Lighty, Todd”

Mr. Lighty,

On September 16th you sent Danielle Varallo an email “seeking responses to several incidents involving these young men on his staff”.

Through our meeting on September 17th and additional communication with you on September 18th, I’m quite certain we have gone above and beyond in fulfilling your September 16th inquiry. However, since doubts exist, let’s go through it again.

Lighty Question #1 from Varallo Email: We understand that Sen. Kirk became physical on two separate occasions with Mr. Campion while on Capitol Hill. We understand that after the second incident, Mr. Campion requested not to be at the senator’s side was moved to another floor away from the senator, and eventually quit and returned to Illinois. We further understand that he shared what happened with Ms. Dickens and several other staffers. We are seeking Sen. Kirk’s account of what happened with Mr. Campion on those two occasions, once during a weekly GOP luncheon and the other around Jan. 27, when Sen. Kirk and Sen. Menendez introduced their Iran sanctions bill.

We will allow Mr. Campion’s sworn affidavit to refute this, in which he attests that where was no physical or verbal abuse and that he states that you have twisted his words.

Lighty Question #2 from Varallo Email: We understand that Sen. Kirk berated a second aide, Seth Jansen, after Jansen was late in picking him up at O’Hare International Airport. We further understand that Sen. Kirk wanted Jansen fired over the incident, and that he no longer works for Sen. Kirk, having been fired on Jan. 26. Again, we seek Sen. Kirk’s account of what happened with Mr. Jansen at the airport.

We will allow Mr. Jansen’s statement to refute this charge. Mr. Jansen stated that “The inference or accusation that Senator Kirk acted inappropriately towards me is simply false. “

Lighty Question #3 from Varallo Email: We understand that Sen. Kirk blamed a third aide for a mix-up Nov. 23, 2014, at First Baptist Church in Melrose Park, left without attending the service, leaving the aide, Daniel Bower, to find his own way home. What is Sen. Kirk’s account of what happened that Sunday in which Mr. Bower had to find a cab ride home?

You had mentioned you had a source on the record for this event. Can you please identify the source and his/her specific comments so that we can respond appropriately?

Lighty Question #4 from Varallo Email: In short, how does Sen. Kirk respond to accounts from those who worked for him that he loses his temper to the point of becoming physically and verbally abusive?

We will allow the statements from those directly identified by you to answer this question. Campion, Jansen and Zenn all deny your claim.

Lighty Supplemental Question to Varallo: There was one more incident that I wanted to add and ask about, as well. This one involves former staffer James Zenn. I understand that Mr. Zenn drove Sen. Kirk to an appointment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and that the senator would not get out of the car, and that he “flipped off”—stuck his middle finger up—at Mr. Zenn when Mr. Zenn tired to encourage him to get out of the car. Again, what is Sen. Kirk’s response to his alleged behavior?

We will allow Mr. Zenn’s responses to you citing that the incident never occurred and that he enjoyed his time working for Senator Kirk to serve as the response.

To recap, Mr. Campion, Zenn and Jansen have communicated to you that your overarching narrative for the story, encapsulated in Question #4 to Varallo, is not consistent with their own facts and experiences.

You have no “on the record” sources, simply anonymous background sources whose recollection of events is questioned and challenged by on the record statements by those with primary, first-hand knowledge.

Now you are requesting answers to 17 questions transmitted to us on Friday September 18th seeking information on the decision making process of where office desks are placed, the comings and goings of entry-level staffers and what their assignments are while reiterating questions that have already been answered. Again, we will let the statements from those involved, Mr. Campion, Jansen and Zenn answer those questions as they are all basically reiterations from your email to Varallo on the 16th. In addition, their statements answer the entirety of the narrative you are producing and fulfills our commitment to provide you answers as discussed during our September 17th meeting.

While there are no on the record sources to support your claim in Question #4 from the Varallo email and it is disputed by those involved, should you write a story regardless, then we would request you utilize this quote that may be attributed to me:

“Terrible journalism written by a biased reporter about an event that his own source signed an affidavit saying never happened.”

From our end, we would like to follow up on some of the questions that remain open

1. You said you had an on the record source in addition to Mr. Campion, but you refused to identify this person. Are you willing to identify this source now?

2. Have you identified your second on the record source to your editors?

3. Is it your understanding that failing to identify your on the record source runs counter to the code of ethics set forth by the society of professional journalists?

4. During our meeting, you never disclosed that Mr. Campion had further communications with you where he said you had twisted his words and denied your allegations. Why did you not mention that communication?

5. During our meeting, you never disclosed that Mr. Zenn denied the allegations you asked him to confirm. Why did you not mention his denial?

6. On Friday, September 18th you had additional communications with Mr. Zenn and he again said your information was inaccurate. Why was this never communicated to us?

7. Why did you ask us this question? Is it your position that James Zenn denies telling co-workers that he drove Sen. Kirk to his rehabilitation appointment, that the senator did not want to get out of the car and that he gave Mr. Zenn the middle finger? Mr. Zenn had already corresponded with you and answered the question, denying that the incident ever occurred and questioning why anyone would tell you differently.

8. Are your editors aware that Mr. Zenn has consistently denied your allegations?

9. Are your editors aware that Mr. Jansen has denied your allegations?

10. Are your editors aware that Mr. Campion has denied your allegations?

11. Have you corresponded with your background sources to question why their facts are wrong? if so, what is their excuse for providing you with false information?

12. Are your background sources standing by their false statements? Were any of your background sources present at the incidents you have discussed?

13. During our meeting, you indicated that your background sources were “multiple former employees”. Is it really multiple? Have you identified your background sources to your editors? Were any of your background sources employees who had their employment terminated?

14. In terms of your question about the location of Mr. Campion’s office, is the office location of entry-level staffers a question you are asking other elected officials?

15. Is it your understanding that being located on the 6th floor of the Hart Office Building is a better location than the 5th floor of the Hart Office Building? If so, why?

16. Have you interviewed Senator Kirk employees who are located on the 6th floor of the Hart Office Building? If so, is it your understanding that those employees would prefer to be on the 5th floor of the Hart Office Building?

17. Rep. Duckworth is the defendant in a lawsuit in which she is charged, with among other things, bullying, harassing and intimidating her employees when she was the Director of Veterans Affairs. All of these charges are sworn to in court filings. Are you planning to report on this?

Thank you,

Kevin Artl
Kirk For Senate

* OK, now, on to the “biased reporter” allegation. From Artl…

Lighty is obsessed with Kirk: Since The Beginning Of 2010, Todd Lighty has written 11 investigative articles focusing on politicians for the Chicago Tribune.(Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-todd-lighty-staff.html, Accessed 8/25/15)

The breakdown of these articles is as follows:

    · 6 Regarding Senator Kirk
    · 2 Regarding Former Congressman Aaron Schock.
    · 1 Regarding Congressman Luis Guiterrez.
    · 1 Regarding Former Congressman Denny Hastert.
    · 1 Regarding Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

In fact, in 2012 Lighty invested heavily into a story on alleged Kirk FEC violations, including multiple interviews with Kirk’s estranged ex-wife, only to have the FEC rule there were no violations at all.

For more information, view these stories:

The Bottom Line: 55% of Lighty’s political stories have focused on Senator Kirk.

Lighty’s Tactics Are Beyond the Pale: Calling the Senator’s 79 year-old mother multiple times to ask her questions presumably about how her son works with his staff?

The Healthcare Hit Job: Even though Lighty was fully aware that Kirk has full approval from US Senate Select Committee on Ethics for his payroll arrangement with his healthcare aid, Lighty still took a shot.

Ignoring Duckworth: The Chicago Tribune has done ZERO original reporting on Duckworth. Even now as they focus on staff interaction, they ignore the lawsuit she is embroiled in with sworn statements like these:

Background on sworn testimony regarding Rep. Duckworth abusing staff during her term as Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs:

    “48. As a direct and proximate consequence of Defendant Duckworth’s acts against Plaintiff Butler, as described in paragraphs 27-30 and 42 herein, Plaintiff suffered humiliation, mental and emotional distress, as well as lost wages and benefits of employment.” (Christine Butler and Denise Goins vs. Tammy Duckworth and Patricia Simms, First Judicial Circuit, Union County, 9/17/09, p.17)

    “66. As a direct and proximate consequence of Defendant Duckworth’s acts against Plaintiff Goins, as described in paragraphs 31, 40 and 41 herein, Plaintiff suffered humiliation, mental and emotional distress, as well as lost wages and benefits of employment.” (Christine Butler and Denise Goins vs. Tammy Duckworth and Patricia Simms, First Judicial Circuit, Union County, 9/17/09, p.21)

    Duckworth “Intentionally Humiliated” Butler By Loudly Announcing Her Termination From The Office Then Calling For Security For Her Immediate Removal. “29. After discharging Plaintiff Butler, Defendant Duckworth intentionally humiliated Plaintiff Butler by announcing publicly, in a loud voice, at the Anna Veterans Home, that she had just terminated her, and calling for security. She did not allow her to conduct an exit interview at that time and required her to remove her personal belongings and be escorted out of the facility, during working hours, at that time.” (ChristineButler and Denise Goins vs. Tammy Duckworth and Patricia Simms, First Judicial Circuit, Union County, 9/17/09, p.10)

    After Firing Butler, Duckworth Met Privately With Goins,Telling Her “If You Do Your Job And Keep Your Mouth Shut And Concentrate On Job Duties, You Will Keep Your Job.” “31. On May 3, 2007, after publicly discharging Plaintiff Butler, Defendant Duckworth called Plaintiff Goins in for an individual meeting. During this meeting, Defendant Duckworth referred to her termination of Plaintiff Butler, and intentionally sought to prevent Plaintiff Goins from raising any further complaints, stating, ‘If you do your job and keep your mouth shut and concentrate on jobduties, you will keep your job.’” (ChristineButler and Denise Goins vs. Tammy Duckworth and Patricia Simms, First Judicial Circuit, Union County, 9/17/09, p.11)

I’m more than willing to publish any Tribune rebuttal.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

130 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    Damn……


  2. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    “Man, is this ever a high-risk move, but it’s kind of fun, too, so let’s get started.”

    Why we love Rich distilled to a single sentence.

    – MrJM


  3. - Team America - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:18 am:

    Seems like Artl is showing some testicular fortitude, or whatever Blago once said. If I were the Trib, I would think twice about going with that story now. Props to Artl for taking the risk.


  4. - Tournaround Agenda - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:20 am:

    I’ve never heard of anything quite like this, either. Was Lighty aware this post was going to be published? I’m curious to see what he, or the Trib, have to say.


  5. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:23 am:

    It’s possible that Todd Lighty is out to “get” Mark Kirk, and is risking his professional reputation, if not his job, in the process. It’s also possible he’s being played by disgruntled former employees who may be sourcing the stories.

    But the least surprising thing is also possible, that Mark Kirk is human and has a bad day from time to time. Who doesn’t? That doesn’t mean he’s abusive, it just means he can be a jerk sometimes. That’s hardly a rare trait in DC.

    But now I might have to buy the Sunday paper on Saturday just to find out what else is there. I still think Kirk won’t run again, but it won’t be because of this story. OTOH, Artl really highlighted the issue with his reaction.


  6. - From the 'Dale to HP - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    So either someone is lying or Atrl is doubling down on a cover up? Got that right?


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    ===I’ve never heard of anybody ever doing it before. A preemptive hit on a reporter from a major newspaper? Whew, baby.===

    Whew, indeed.

    Uncharted waters. Heck, even if this instance works, it may out a big(ger) target on Kirk, wether you believe this reporter, or others, or even other publications had before on him.

    The blowback can become the bigger story than the alleged story way ever could have gone without the preemptive strike.

    Truthfully, I don’t even know where or how to digest it at the moment, but that’s my first blush reaction… and it’s still evolving.


  8. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    What fun.

    Artl makes a pretty good case for shoddy reporting.

    But no blanket denial from Kirk himself. If there’s no truth here, why not just add “Senator Kirk agrees with the affidavits and statements from Campion, Jansen, and Zenn that these incidents didn’t happen.”


  9. - Ben Franklin - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:29 am:

    Doesn’t matter to me. I made up my mind to not vote for him again for the same reasons Ron Gidwitz spoke out about.


  10. - COPN - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Even if the Campion, Jansen and Zenn incidents did happen, how is it that newsworthy? So a politician is temperamental…got it.


  11. - Honeybear - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Cripes! This is an ugly bar fight.


  12. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    COPN

    I think the argument or viewpoint they have is that Kirk isn’t mentally up to the task post stroke.


  13. - Wow - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    A story about a politician yelling at his staff ? Hilarious. This guy has a lot of stories to write.


  14. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    “I’m more than willing to publish any Tribune rebuttal.”

    Why don’t you let them publish the story first? This is unprofessional on so many levels.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:39 am:

    ===I think the argument or viewpoint they have is that Kirk isn’t mentally up to the task post stroke.===

    An undercurrent rears its ugly head(?)


  16. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    ===This is unprofessional on so many levels.===

    Pick a level, any level, then explain…


  17. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    “Why don’t you let them publish the story first? This is unprofessional on so many levels.”

    Journalism isn’t a pursuit where one waits one’s turn. You may be thinking of Go Fish.

    – MrJM


  18. - COPN - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    OneMan

    Yep. How to not say that directly will certainly be the tightrope for anyone trying to knock off Kirk. Artl walked that same tightrope in accusing Lighty of doing Duckworth’s bidding


  19. - b-non - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:44 am:

    Can we see a show of hands from anyone ever NOT yelled at by a political person they worked for? Anyone? Anyone?

    Didn’t think so-


  20. - walker - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:46 am:

    Interesting that CapFax is the chosen arena to preemptively attack a reporter prior to a negative story about a US Senator.

    Personal experience is that Kirk does have a sharp temper. Doesn’t often show it in public. Just like a lot of people in all walks of life.

    Eisenhower was famous for his hot temper in private, his equanimity and social effectiveness in public.

    No money, sex, corruption? No story, except in the gossip rags.


  21. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    Kudos to Artl for the aggresive strategy. Im sick of how often newspapers only print information that fits their narrative even though there is plenty of information provided that rebuts it. Its about time that someone fights back.


  22. - pundent - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:48 am:

    I suppose that Artl’s goal is to put enough pressure on the Trib to either pull the story or significantly alter the content. I don’t expect that a rebuttal will be forthcoming. But we should know sometime tomorrow if this tactic has been successful. If nothing else a lot more of us might be picking up the Sunday Trib.


  23. - Jack Stephens - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    Freedom of the Press. Democracy cannot survive without a vibrant and thriving press. Thank you Trib!


  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    ==
    Freedom of the Press. Democracy cannot survive without a vibrant and thriving press. Thank you Trib!==

    With freedom comes ethical responsibility to be honest in reporting, which it doesn’t sound like is happening here.


  25. - VanillaMan - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    I know a couple people who after a stroke was at first unable to control their emotions. One became mean and the other became lovable. In both cases, it was due to where their strokes occurred.

    In both cases, their emotions were able to return to normal after a few years. Their intelligence was not effected, they knew they were having a temper tantrum, and were very embarrassed by their behavior, but couldn’t control it.

    Brain injuries take a while to sort themselves out and patients are often challenged during these times as their brains heal.

    I am imagining that this is the case here and I am also imagining that Kirk has passed this stage of healing. No one I know ever behaved towards stroke patients as though they could help themselves.

    Just as Kirk need to learn how to regain his balance mobility, he probably needed to relearn to regain his balance emotionally.

    His staff probably doesn’t want to relive these issues since Kirk has healed beyond these often common effects of a stroke. The “risk” they are taking with this media leak confirms to me a belief that Kirk couldn’t control himself and most of his staffers recognized it. Kirk has probably apologized to anyone he may have offended during this stage of his healing and today his staffers don’t want voters to judge Kirk based upon these moments during his convalescence.


  26. - Midstate Indy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    For as wild as this situation is, its still unexploded ordinance.


  27. - DuPage - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Has Kirk fallen out of favor with Rauner? If Rauner did not want this story published, would the Tribune dare publish it? Rauner could buy the Tribune out of pocket change and fire anyone and everyone he wants to.


  28. - Anon - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    I think the worst part of this is harassing Kirk’s Mom.


  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:00 am:

    Seems like a stretch. Reporting is shoddy at best and I really can’t understand how Lighty thinks he’d get away with it. Has his obsession with Kirk finally left him delusional? Props to Artl for refusing to put up with it


  30. - Ben Franklin - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    @Anonymous 10:38
    That’s the journalism business, the race is on to be first. Nothing unprofessional about it at all.


  31. - Nobility of Service - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    Well, at least Kirk has been a bit more level-headed in his public comments now that Dodie McCracken is back in the picture.


  32. - Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    Can’t be true. Kirk’s a naval reserve veteran.

    To the “pre-emptive strike” strategy…. well, you’d think Kirk would have learned a lesson on supporting that kind of choice. Doesn’t go the way you planned and has horrible unintended consequences.

    To the strategy, it’s a terrible idea. The story hasnt run yet. It sill may not. Why promote it days ahead of time and drum up interest in it? That’s crazy, you’re doing the Trib a favor.

    Unload after the fact if need be, when there’s some context.

    Work on your rebuttal a little bit, too, Six stories in five years on a Congressman and U.S. Senator who says whacky things like Kirk hardly qualifies as an “obsession.”


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:03 am:

    Ugh.

    Do us all a favor, all these ” - Anonymous - ” that, shockingly, are very pointed one way or another on this…

    Pick a name.

    You’re not helping either way. Honest.


  34. - walker - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    VMan: Well-expressed, as always, but pure speculation. My sense is that this predates recent health issues.

    Like that Artl defends his boss with the press, as he sees fit.

    No kudos for throwing Duckworth in the mix, just because there’s an opening.


  35. - Me too - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Never met a pol who was above firing someone over something small. If he really did flip a staffer off and refuse to get out of the car though, well I would question whether he is competent to hold a job much less represent Illinois in the Senate. This while thing stinks of exagerations and lies. I don’t think Either side it’s being totally honest.

    Duckworth is no better. She actually relished the power to upend someones life and take away their livelihood, announcing her action proudly and making a spectacle of it by calling security.

    Ugh. We produce some real winners here. Worse still though, we elect them or read their work.

    I used to like Kirk, before all of his iffhand comments were offensive, and i might vote for him yet again. The car and middle finger thing, if true, would change my mind. I don’t know why that’s the part i find most unsettling.


  36. - VALIS - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    No one takes Lighty seriously. He is breaching on obsessive paranoia with this one.


  37. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    This is a crap story. In re to ” Mr. Zenn drove Sen. Kirk to an appointment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and that the senator would not get out of the car, and that he “flipped off”—stuck his middle finger up—at Mr. Zenn” If anyone has ever had involvement in intensive rehab at any level they would understand this reaction.


  38. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    This is a crap story. In re to ” Mr. Zenn drove Sen. Kirk to an appointment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and that the senator would not get out of the car, and that he “flipped off”—stuck his middle finger up—at Mr. Zenn” If anyone has ever had involvement in intensive rehab at any level they would understand this reaction.


  39. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:15 am:

    This is high-risk, but I’m not sure I see the reward. What’s the upside? Fewer follow-on stories? I guess it’s just designed to promote a little skepticism of the story. But you really get more attention to the story, more awareness by the insiders that this is coming. I’ll be watching for it and will read it, while otherwise I may have ignored it.

    The one thing I will say is I’m not sure there’s a story here. Kirk has a bad reputation inside as kind of a bully and a jerk. And this is news about a politician why? Extra, extra, water is wet.

    I completely agree with Word. Before the fact whining


  40. - Taking A Breath - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    Let’s see what the Trib publishes, or does not publish, before drawing any conclusions. They’ve been wrong before–they were wrong about Dewey, among other things–but, for all their faults, they’ve been right more often than they’ve been wrong.

    This said, it is an odd strategy on Kirk’s part, and it does smack of desperation. The reasonable conclusion is, Kirk appealed to Capitol Fax as a last resort, after every appeal to the Trib had failed.

    The Trib owes no explanation or rebuttal to Capitol Fax. The cards are going to fall where they will.


  41. - drip...drip...drowned - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    Artl, thanks for the heads up and media advisory on the Trib’s upcoming article on Mark Kirk. Might have missed it, but for your insistence that Rich publish the allegations and your response. Anything else you want to tell us you think we shouldn’t know about ?

    I haven’t read the Tribune’s story (none of us have), but as OneMan and others have stated, it appears the conclusion is not that Mark Kirk is a mean boss but that Mark Kirk has suffered a debilitating stroke that raises the fair question of his ability to serve. This has been a challenging but fair question for the media to ask.


  42. - ILPundit - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    Wow. This might be the all-time most reckless PR move in history. No offense to Rich, but a lot more people will see the Tribune story than this blog


  43. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    The notary shopping on the copy of the Campion affadavit is obvious and clumsy. She signed as a notary from Schuykill, PA and then crossed it out and went out and got a brand new 4 year term in Peoria. The crossed out stamp was not initialed. Signed as witnessing in County and State, without listing either one?


  44. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    I’m actually surprised that this type of maneuvering doesn’t happen more often.

    I know one of those staffers quite well, and I would be floored if he were lying.


  45. - IllinoisBoi - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    This story should not be set aside, Lightly. It should be thrown with great force.


  46. - Lost in Chicago - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    I’m sure if that Braver report was ever released, we’d find staffers actually validating allegations of abuse instead of dismissing them like the ones here.


  47. - IllinoisBoi - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    (Ooops, meant to spell that “Lighty.”


  48. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    Man. I think it was a mistake to preempt the Trib on this one. Takes away the sympathy of an obvious hatchet job, and instead will basically force the Trib not to publish.


  49. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    Pundit - but maybe the MO here is for someone high up at the Trib to see this post and the comments and decide to kill the story. Mr. Lighty’s only course of action at that point is to go rogue and publish his notes and story on a blog, a tertiary source or perhaps ask Rich nicely to put it on Cap Fax.


  50. - RationalPoliticsPlease - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:20 am:

    This is just another example of why the “political system” is so disturbing in Chicago. We are our own worst enemy. The press here is so intertwined in the game that they can’t see their hand in front of their face. Until the people take back the “game” and stand up to this hypocrisy we will continue to be at the mercy of the few who work to drive the apathetic masses. This is why we are a republic and a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
    Now can we get some people to stand up and take back what is ours by right? #ShameOntheTribune


  51. - Wensicia - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    Desperate moves like this are usually reactions to factual information.


  52. - Demosthenes - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    Gotta love the Trib making a mountain out of yet another molehill. I’ll stick to Perez Hilton for my gossip fix, thanks.


  53. - Michael Westen - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    Doesn’t really seem like much of a story. Wow a staffer has to get a new ride from a campaign event! That’s never happened before in the history of politics.

    I’ve had my own experience with Lighty, and agree he often doesn’t conduct himself as a professional. On the other hand, why Artl (equally detestable in my opinion) is spending so much energy on a nothing story is head scratching too.

    Very strange this.


  54. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    “Gotta love the Trib making a mountain out of yet another molehill.”

    What did they report? I haven’t seen it yet. What was the mountain they made?


  55. - Anon - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:36 am:

    If this story is published on Sunday, and if it does not include clear mention of the affidavits and other denials, then clearly the Tribune has knowingly decided to engage in raw politics and forgo genuine journalism.


  56. - 47th Ward - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:39 am:

    If the story is about a Senator being a jerk to his junior staff, it isn’t news, as many of you have said. So then why is Artl going nuclear to pre-empt a non-story?

    I have a feeling there is more to this. I mean, there must be, right?


  57. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    This question still confounds me: If the story is no big deal, then why the ham-fisted response?

    Any ideas?

    – MrJM


  58. - The Captain - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:41 am:

    If your plan to prove that you don’t have an uncontrollable temper is to go nuclear over what would otherwise be a pretty minor story I’m not sure you’ve completely thought this through.


  59. - south side - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    We just have one side. The tribune story hasn’t run, so we don’t know what will be in it…just the Kirk staff’s framing of the story. Has Kirk’s mother said she was harassed by the phone calls? Preemptive strike is interesting, but I still need to read the Trib story.


  60. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    ==If the story is about a Senator being a jerk to his junior staff, it isn’t news, as many of you have said. So then why is Artl going nuclear to pre-empt a non-story?==

    Think it depends on what they mean by “physically abusive”. If he’s punching staffers or something, that’s…unique.

    Seems to me like this just guarantees the Trib publishes, though.


  61. - Politix - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    Wow. This is tremendous pushback by Artl.

    It’s extremely frustrating when a reporter is dangling sources over your head, forcing you to respond to ridiculous/outrageous/baseless things, knowing that by responding, you breathe life into them. It’s a trap and it looks like Artl is trying to chew his way out.


  62. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    Assuming Artl was right that the story was going to be published anyway, I can sorta understand the strategy of going to cap fax.

    Don’t go to cap fax: the story is published, you’re on the defensive.

    Go to cap fax: you’ve got a chance that the story will be published with some modifications in your favor.

    Of course cap fax doesn’t have the quantity of readership that the Trib does, but does anyone here think that Trib editors are unaware of this thread?


  63. - Politix - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    “This question still confounds me: If the story is no big deal, then why the ham-fisted response? Any ideas?”

    Pure aggravation. We all have days where we lose it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it backfires. I thought the questions were valid (albeit aggressive), but looks like I’m in the minority.


  64. - A guy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:50 am:

    Good news is that we’ll know within 24 hours if this strategy was sound or not. If the story doesn’t appear, the appeal to CF and a more savvy audience to digest it paid off. If it does appear, Artl takes his case to the mainstream which will just as eagerly publish it.

    Stories have been pulled in the past with the threat of presenting indisputable facts. Taking it this far is something you just don’t see.


  65. - Mark - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    Wow..High Risk but it ain’t bean bags


  66. - south side - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    The Trib. editors will be told of all sources. Subsequent affidavits are interesting, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the interviews didn’t happen as reported. The affidavit can be a statement of…oh yes, I want to work in government again.


  67. - otherwise - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    So Kirk refuses to listen and not run. This seems like just another way to change his mind. Republicans are running scared they may lose the senate seat and view Kirk as a liability.


  68. - LarryMullholland - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    Well Said VM.

    Rich, I am thrilled to see this story on your blog. We know full well some reporters utilize their stories to play games and play politics. Here we may be witnessing an effort to blunt criticisms of Duckworth’s actions to aid her campaign.

    Kudos to Artl for sharing the story.

    Regarding the sworn testimony and charges against Duckworth: Her actions (alleged) were quite consistent with the Blago/Quinn Culture throughout their terms.


  69. - ChrisB - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:02 pm:

    “This question still confounds me: If the story is no big deal, then why the ham-fisted response?

    Any ideas?”

    It’s right there in the post. This will be the seventh “investigative” story by Lighty on Sen. Kirk. The campaign is trying to stop numbers eight, nine, and ten.


  70. - otherwise - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:03 pm:

    And at this point, the Tribune does not even need to publish the story, as the point was made to Kirk.


  71. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:06 pm:

    “Pure aggravation. We all have days where we lose it.”

    Could be. But a competent staff should keep a candidate/campaign from losing it in public. A functioning staff certainly wouldn’t draw attention to it.

    – MrJM


  72. - Keyser Soze - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:10 pm:

    True or not, Lighty’s credibility has been brought into question. What do you do if you are his editor? Reassignment may be inevitable.


  73. - @MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:16 pm:

    “The campaign is trying to stop numbers eight, nine, and ten.”

    And I’m wondering why they’re trying to accomplish a seemingly run-of-the-mill campaign goal — squelching unfavorable coverage — by using this seemingly reckless method.

    – MrJM


  74. - south side - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:17 pm:

    I do not kid myself about the ethics and purity of journalism; however journalists are often accused of “going after” someone. I still grieve for the town of Cicero, after Carol Marin “went after” them.


  75. - Former MSK Staffer - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:19 pm:

    This is just nuts.

    To the accusation: In four years I never saw Mark treat a staffer worse than an had seen with other bosses. In fact, he went out of his way to be approachable and collegial across the board. But screw up and you got what you deserved.

    Lighty has been gunning for Kirk for years, and I’ve been on the receiving end of more than one of these fishing expeditions.

    The shameful thing is that the Trib has abandoned its integrity to the point where they will not only enable these tactics but will publish the results.

    I think Artl did what he had to in the face of such unprofessional reporting.


  76. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:33 pm:

    To the Post,

    My evolving position continues to be in flux, especially when trying to understand the premise of the move and the thinking of this strike as it sits on the Capitol Fax page, and what the fallout could be, not only here in real-time, which we all are reading now from what I consider the smartest bunch of commenters to Illinois politics, but the fallout long-term for a campaign facing issues of perception, real or otherwise.

    I have a great deal of respect for Kevin Artl. He is someone who works and fights and defends his candidates with all he has, and has tried to give good counsel, and has himself tried to make decisions he has felt will help with the end game of winning. I respect that.

    This decision has to be more about what may happen, or decisions that may come about after that I know I have no clue what they could be. The decision, as an outsider, seems to point to things well beyond a couple of stories or phone calls to a mother. The decision has to speak more to laying down a line to maybe the press covering a race that will exceed $170 million combined spending by state and national actors. The decision is trying to say, I believe, “enough”, not to a story, but actually to a narrative, and to an underlying undercurrent.

    Odds are against me, I’m possibly all wet on this, but I can’t fathom a preemptive strike decision based on harassing phone calls and side stories of a persona of an elected official, some of which a persona others are known to have as well.

    Blowback? I can’t imagine the press not wanting to antagonize and agitate Kirk now to allow credibility to what is being so ferociously fought for here today with this drop. If speaking to the readers here at Capitol Fax allows Artl and Kirk the platform to speak directly to those closest to campaigns and politics, and where having it as the place Google or other search engines point to as the already published rebuttal, then Artl and Kirk may have already won the long term game in this small ball story. Battles don’t win political wars, but holding your ground means something, and it usually has a cost too.

    Today begins that assessment of the battle, and how it might fit into that greater political war. An unusual move, but if it’s successful, we might not know for a few weeks. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do this, then again, I don’t know all that Artl knows. Maybe this move by Artl might shed some light.


  77. - Juvenal - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    The smart thing is to go to the reporter’s editor first. I am assuming that Artl already did that and was rebuffed. If so, Kirk is screwed, because it means legal has also already signed off on it.
    In that case, instead of stopping a story or discrediting it, all he is doing is throwing gas on the fire.


  78. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:49 pm:

    If the “victims” have denied that the events occurred, and there is no evidence that the victims were coerced into a denial, then how is this story going to run? Anonymous allegations that are directly refuted by the so-called victims?

    Is this the old law school objections and unanswerable question: “Do you still beat your wife?” “No” implies that you once did it. “Yes” confirms it. After plowing through all of this I can now understand why the Kirk campaign is pushing back so hard.

    Fair and balanced reporting? Unless I see the rest of it from the Tribune side that would contradict these defenses, it would appear that fair, accurate and balanced reporting is taking a back seat.


  79. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    ===Why don’t you let them publish the story first?===

    Because I had the info and it’s newsworthy now. Have you seen how it’s getting picked up?

    Also, unprofessional? Says who?


  80. - NewSolutions - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:55 pm:

    It took three minutes for the Kirk campaign to include a link to this story in an email broadcast to financial supporters. Not sure how they can say Capital Fax is a “third party” when obviously you were set up and taken advantage of.


  81. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 12:58 pm:

    It took three minutes for the Kirk campaign to include a link to this story in an email broadcast to financial supporters. Not sure how they can say Capital Fax is a “third party” when obviously you were set up and taken advantage of

    Yeah, he was being set up….

    Please, sorry this isn’t playing out like you hoped.


  82. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    In my time as a Congressional staffer, my boss yelled at me a few times. He even said a few mean things to me. The horror.

    There are some instances of malfeasance that come to mind - like John Conyers forcing staff to babysit his kids or Aaron Schock dragging staff to meetings that he knew were questionable - and a lot of that can be proven. But some of this Kirk stuff is purely “he said, he said” stuff. How do you prove “verbal abuse”?! “He yelled at me!” is not necessarily abuse or even something that warrants a red flag.


  83. - Buzzie - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    It is perfectly acceptable for Capital Fax to print this information. My question is based on this article , why would anyone immediately believe Artl or the Tribune?


  84. - Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    TS, upon further review, this pre-emptive strike guarantees the story gets published, if there was any doubt before. No way you can spike s story after being called out like this.

    No one’s read the story yet, but I’m still flabbergasted by the pre-emptive strike.

    “Verbally abusive” is in the eyes of the beholder in a zero-sum game like politics. Verbally abusive, like getting yelled at?

    If, as Artl seems to believe, the Trib is going with a story that Sen. Kirk is capable of being “physically abusive” to anyone, that’s a really tough sell.

    High-risk, no reward p.r. strategy. The only thing Artl has accomplished is promoting the upcoming story,


  85. - Suburbanon - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    I realize this is a serious subject, but I couldn’t help but hear the lyrics of Amy Winehouse’s song “Rehab” in my head when I read about Kirk not wanting to go to his appointment. “They tried to make me go to rehab. I said NO! NO! NO!”

    Even if the story is false, the public’s perception of Kirk may have legs in the voters’ minds. Artl’s reaction may indicate that Kirk’s condition could be polling badly.


  86. - Blago's Luxurious Grey Mane - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:08 pm:

    I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve not been a big Artl fan over the years, but I will give him credit for a meticulous response and an interesting strategy.

    It sure beats the Trib bleating it on Sunday and no source of response.

    All that being stated, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of this was true. Kirk has long suffered from Napoleon Syndrome, was mercurial even before his stroke, and can be positively juvenile.

    When you think about it, much of this behavior (save the sexual harassment aspect) is akin to allegations made about Dan Rutherford.


  87. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:09 pm:

    It is unprofessional to ask another to rebut something that hasn’t occured. The only thing we know now is that 4 young staffers have been fired after a few months. We have one illegitmately notarized affadavit. We have at least 11 other sources for the yet unpublished story. We have one blog being used as a tool.


  88. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:11 pm:

    === Not sure how they can say Capital Fax is a “third party” when obviously you were set up and taken advantage of. ===

    LOL

    Artl called and asked if and or when I planned to run the story. I told him there was one in front of him (the SOS story), but said I’d likely hit “publish” before 10:30, when I had to go to my cardiac workout.

    So, obviously, he was ready.

    Remove your moronic tinfoil hat.

    Also, it’s Capitol, with an O.


  89. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    Speaking of Rutherford, do you think Lighty’s reference to the allegedly abused staffers as “young men” adds anything to the question? Why not just say the employees or the accusers etc.?


  90. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:16 pm:

    Anon - it’s the Korecki Effect!


  91. - illini - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:19 pm:

    Willy - I got to this post only an hour ago and have been trying to work this through in my mind as well. I’ve never seen anything like this before.

    This story will definitely have legs. Only time will determine the legitimacy of the reporting and the wisdom of this strategy.

    Very thoughtful response and well written.


  92. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    ” - Anonymous - ” (c’mon)

    Rutherford’s “Fiasco Friday” denial of nothing he can say he’s denying isn’t the same thing at play here.

    “Why?”

    Kevin Artl went chapter and verse to very pointed and specific points, making an argument and a case to the alleged story coming out.

    Rutherford stood behind a podium and … well, I still don’t know what he did besides throw away his career on his own or listened to inept Staff and Crew.

    Notice how I didn’t respond to you “baiting”? Yeah, me too.


  93. - Team Sleep - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    Word - as a staffer, I’m not of the mindset that “yelling” is verbal abuse. I yell at my kids when they refuse to cooperate at bedtime or think it’s funny to draw on the walls. There are definitely thresholds to cross, but I don’t think yelling or an angry tone is abuse.

    One reason I noted the chance of the Trib stopping the story is that Artl’s total statement read almost as a legal threat. It looks like a Rutherfordesque hit piece (albeit a bit early in the cycle).


  94. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    ===ask another to rebut something that hasn’t occured===

    It looks to me like a whole lot has occurred.

    I don’t work for the Tribune, by the way. Nor do I ever want to. Might own it, though. /snark


  95. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:25 pm:

    === We have at least===

    And yet you’re posting from UIUC?


  96. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Good work. Most interesting news I’ve seen so far today. It appears to underscore two things:

    1. The digital news cycle appears to favor the first to strike, regardless of accuracy or later clarification. If I’m right, the Kirk folks were correct in mounting preemptive strike.

    2. There is a fanatasy value system out there requiring powerful people to behave meekly, politely and deferentially at all times when those qualities are exactly what would preclude a person from becoming powerful.


  97. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Sailing right into uncharted waters transparency sea


  98. - Tibicen - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    Jansen’s response was that Sen. Kirk did not act “inappropriately” towards him, without specifying whether he would have have considered the alleged actions to be inappropriate if the allegations were true. Bower’s response was that Lightly couldn’t prove the allegations, without specifying whether that Lightly’s supposed inability to prove the allegations was because the allegations were false. Based on these two statements that aren’t actual denials, I suspect there is some truth in the allegations.


  99. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:35 pm:

    Thanks - illini -,

    Lots to digest.

    - NewSolutions -,

    You may want to try a new idea.


  100. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    I’d love to see the Tribune respond, and defend their reporter’s work. I probably shouldn’t hold my breath though.


  101. - Decatur gal - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    He doth protest too much?


  102. - NewSolutions - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:41 pm:

    Just reporting on the Kirk campaign email broadcast. Seemed kinda slimey to so quickly make it a fundraising tool, but that’s just me. Sorry for the misspelling, Rick.


  103. - Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    TS, that’s my point. For tne people who get into the rough-and-tumble world of politics, “verbally abusive,” I would think, would have to be either way raw, or so far over the line sexually, racially or ethnically that there is no question.

    That’s why Trover’s outrage to “grass bowl” yesterday, playing the veteran card, was so hilarious. The Frat Boys fainting like victimized delicate flowers was absurd — and very telling.

    Can dish it out, but can’t take it.

    If you don’t have an elephant (or RINO) or donkey hide, you are in the wrong line of business.

    From a p.r. standpoint, I think Artl has made a terrible mistake here.

    What’s even more shocking, given the timeline Rich has outlined and the obvious amount of work Artl put into it, he had a lot of time to reconsider.

    None of us has read the story. The only thing certain is that because of Artl’s efforts, a lot more people will.

    The unintended consequences of pre-emptive strikes.


  104. - PolPal56 - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    Kirk wants his side of the story to go viral (and we are helping nicely). Then, with luck, his spin gets picked up in the mainstream before the Trib’s does.


  105. - Ghost - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    I understand why Kirks team isndoing this, and I follow the undercurrent mentioned by others implying Kirk has been impactd following the stroke….

    But overall the story seems kinds blah unless you draw the strke connection… So what editor apprved this just on he was mean to 2 staffers… Is this really news? I saw him not pet a kitten once….


  106. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===Sorry for the misspelling, Rick. ===

    Now THAT was funny.


  107. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:46 pm:

    This Lighty/bias business is a red herring. The real issue is Kirk’s incapacity. There have been stories swirling about his outbursts and other issues for quite a while. And let’s not forget “bro with no ho.” Clearly, the guy is not the full shilling. Time to hang it up, pal.


  108. - illini - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    Rich - I knew you would pick up on that - I made that same mistake myself and only once - must have been that last glass of red wine I had before misspelling your name!


  109. - steve schnorf - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    Let me be sure about this. The Chicago Tribune, the self-proclaimed “World’s Greatest Newspaper”, is going to run a story about a guy giving another guy the finger? Man, I alone am probably worth a couple of feet of column inches if that’s newsworthy.


  110. - NewSolutions - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:56 pm:

    === Well, at least Kirk has been a bit more level-headed in his public comments now that Dodie McCracken is back in the picture.===
    Wait…what?


  111. - A guy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    The undercard on this is electronic media vs. print. There’s a lot to be fascinated about here. We’ll see if it rises to the level of a decent case study. It’s different, that’s for sure.

    Like Mr. Schnorf, I believe there better be more than giving the finger here. That might be as physically violent as Sen. Kirk was capable of being at that time. Someone’s feelings got hurt. That didn’t used to get much ink.


  112. - crazybleedingheart - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:00 pm:

    ==If anyone has ever had involvement in intensive rehab at any level they would understand this reaction.==

    Understanding rehab and thinking that it’s appropriate behavior for a sitting senator to staff are certainly 2 different things.

    ====

    Not to “Korecki Effect,” but the wording is exceedingly strange.

    Accusation that Kirk “became physical on two separate occasions with Mr. Campion” vs. affidavit that “at no time was there verbal and physical abuse.”

    What words of Campion’s, exactly, were “twisted”?

    The most logical conclusion I can draw is that not all physicality is necessarily abusive.

    I think I’d like to know about it anyway.


  113. - Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    – Mignt own it though.–

    You say snark, but make an offer. The public employee union owners that got stuck after bankruptcy will thank you.

    TPUB opened at $8.13 today.

    High in the last 52 weeks was $23.73.

    The chart looks like the end of the log ride at Great America.

    Or like a great flood that washed away all equity.

    Market cap of $215 million. That’s the Trib, LA Times, Baltimore Sun, et. al.

    Keep in mind, the Tribbies bought the LA Times for $8 billion and later turned down an offer of $2 billion cash from David Geffen.

    Hence, the bankruptcy, and Tribune Co. cutting off tneir gangrenous newspapers.

    $215 million market cap.

    Woof,


  114. - Tec - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    Do we know that the allegations outlined by Artl are all of the allegations to be published in the paper? The Kirk people better be super sure they have everything covered.


  115. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    ==The only thing we know now is that 4 young staffers have been fired after a few months. ==

    Huh? Who’s said that? All the Kirk staffers I know, including some mentioned above, all have enormous respect for Kirk and their time in that office. I’d trust their version of these events any day of the week and twice on Sunday


  116. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    === All the Kirk staffers I know, including some mentioned above…===

    Says another ” - Anonymous - ”

    You are not helping when you are lumped in with the other half dozen ” - Anonymous - ” commenters.


  117. - OneMan - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    So let me get this right,

    Sometimes this guy is a jerk…

    Heck I thinks sometimes we all are jerks.

    But seriously, has anyone worked at least as a campaign worker and not been yelled at by someone?

    Once had the other candidates wife rip into me for 20 minutes. Rich I will let you guess who…


  118. - Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:36 pm:

    – Stories have been pulled in the past with the threat of preaenting indusputable facts,–

    Really? Tell us more, examples that are not made up.

    Artl’s actions guarantee the story will be run.

    For crying out loud, a GOP senator is picking a fight ahead of the time with the Trib? Who’s their friend, the Daily Worker?

    Louis, I take it you’ve read the story already. Post the link and point out the most outrageous claims.

    .Geez, you two are the worst at helping your peeps. Do them a favor and let those with credibility help them out.

    Artl made it


  119. - High Sparrow - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    Shame on the Chicago Tribune for not reining in their reporter over a ridiculous tabloid story. It seems as though the campaign went out of their way to present all the evidence. Given the staments of the “abused” employes, I haven’t the slightest why the tribune would print this garbage other than to fulfill a political agenda.. It will be a shame if the tribune allows Rain Man’s article to come to light…Shame.


  120. - 60611 - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    I’m with Tibicen @ 1:29 PM. Furthermore, Campion’s affidavit says he didn’t find Kirk’s actions “abusive.” The staffers can say it wasn’t “abusive” or “inappropriate,” but something happened. Perhaps others witnessed it. Of course, that’s not enough to say someone shouldn’t vote for Kirk, but until the pro-Kirk side offers more of a story of what actually happened, it’s fair to ask questions.


  121. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:09 pm:

    ==The decision has to speak more to laying down a line to maybe the press covering a race that will exceed $170 million combined spending by state and national actors. The decision is trying to say, I believe, “enough”, not to a story, but actually to a narrative, and to an underlying undercurrent.==

    That has to be it- along with an undercurrent of “Kirk fans, you can’t trust the mainstream media! Only believe the e-mails we send to CapFax!”

    Because 1) I agree with Word, this almost certainly forces the Trib to run the article; but 2) Even if it got the Trib to spike it or soften it, then you had the campaign manager fly off the handle at…what, exactly?

    It’s about heading off the next damaging story, but it will probably make this one bigger.


  122. - Rich Miller - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    ===Interesting that CapFax is the chosen arena===

    They asked if I’d be interested and I said yes. I chose to do the piece.


  123. - Soccermom - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:24 pm:

    Oh for heavens sake. Is Lighty writing stories about every pol who raises his/her voice to staff? Because that’s gonna keep him busy for a while…


  124. - L.A. - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:32 pm:

    I’ve been waiting around all day for the Tribune rebuttal, but nothin. How disappointing!


  125. - A guy - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:38 pm:

    == Wordslinger - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 2:36 pm:

    – Stories have been pulled in the past with the threat of presenting indusputable facts,–Really? Tell us more, examples that are not Really? Tell us more, examples that are not made up.made up.

    Artl’s actions guarantee the story will be run.===

    Are you suggesting that stories never get pulled? Talk to a few reporters. If they didn’t run, how shall I cite them? You want a link to stories that “weren’t”?

    Artl may or may not have guaranteed the story will be run. I tend to agree with you that it will likely run, but not ready to guarantee it.

    I would bet you it’s been altered already, even if it does run. The hot lines are buzzing with fact checks and double checks.

    I’m not arguing it’s a good strategy or not. I’m simply fascinated by the theater of it.

    Calm down and observe.


  126. - Ben Franklin - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    Yelling is abusive and demeaning. Adults who yell at those with less power than them are just bullies, plain and simple.


  127. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 5:54 pm:

    BTW, Word and I have said all day that this is a bad strategy. Now that we’ve seen numerous national articles about this tactic and TONS of eyeballs have seen this that never would have, I can pretty clearly say that Artl should be fired as a crisis strategist. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.


  128. - Lodd Tighty - Friday, Sep 25, 15 @ 8:52 pm:

    why did I have to read about Randy Michaels boorish behavior in the New York Times when Michaels was running the Trib but Mark Kirk gives a staffer the finger and its on the front page on Sunday?


  129. - Rich Miller - Saturday, Sep 26, 15 @ 10:18 am:

    ===TONS of eyeballs have seen this that never would have===

    LOL

    You’re joking right? When the Tribune comes out with its story, that’s gonna be international news.


  130. - Chicago Liebune - Monday, Sep 28, 15 @ 9:14 am:

    The preemptive strategy, while risky, actually worked because the Tribune realized that their facts were not backed up. Also, it’s creepy how obsessed this journalist (Todd Lighty) is with Kirk. He’s written nothing about Kirk’s opponents. Wonder if he leans left or right…hmmm


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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