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Proft paper, or not?

Friday, Oct 7, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Let’s play a little game. Without scrolling down, see if you think this one-sided story on the SAFE-T Act comes from one of Dan Proft’s “pink slime” papers or from supposedly legitimate news media…

Hinsdale’s village president on Tuesday raised the possibility of tent cities in local parks once a new crime law takes effect in January.

He also said residents have threatened to shoot those trespassing on their properties.

The Village Board voted to adopt a resolution denouncing the SAFE-T Act. The law bars police from arresting criminal trespassers in most cases and eliminates cash bail.

With the trespassing change, Village President Tom Cauley said, “I guarantee you that we’re going to find ourselves with people just camped out in parks, and we cannot ask them to leave. They may be in your backyard or in your shed living there.”

No mention of the Illinois Supreme Court Implementation Task Force’s debunking of this nonsense. No rebuttal at all. But it wasn’t published by a Proft paper. It appeared in the Hinsdale Patch, and was written by a former newspaper reporter.

* Let’s keep going. Proft paper, or not?…

One of the hot topics of the debate was the controversy that’s surrounding the newly passed Safe-T-Act.

Following the first Gubernatorial Debate that took center stage at Illinois State University, Thursday Night. East Peoria Mayor, John Kahl took to Facebook and posted this.

“Thank you to Tazewell County State’s Attorney Kevin Johnson and the 49 other State’s Attorneys who had the fortitude to join together in filing a lawsuit yesterday against Governor JB Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in response to the unconstitutional Public Act 101-652 (SAFE-T-Act), said Mayor of East Peoria John Kahl.

Mayor Kahl also added, that the good people of Illinois deserve and appreciate this kind of leadership.

Not a Proft paper. That’s WMBD TV out of Peoria.

* Proft paper, or not?…

State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) has called for a special session to discuss suspending the motor fuel tax and addressing the SAFE-T Act.

The Illinois General Assembly is not scheduled to return to work until November 15 but Caulkins is calling for immediate action and urging lawmakers to return to Springfield.

“Instead of giving criminals a financial break with no cash bail, how about we give taxpayers a break at the pump and suspend the motor fuel tax,” said Rep. Caulkins in an announcement on Thursday. “We were elected to represent our constituents, we need to get back to work and address the important issues facing the state. Suspending the gas tax and eliminating no cash bail for criminals are two pressing issues that need to be fixed.”

Basically a rewriting of Rep. Caulkins’ press release without anything else attached it it. But that’s not a Proft paper. It’s from WAND TV in Decatur. WICS in Springfield ran almost the exact same story.

* Proft paper, or not?…

Both the Winnebago and Boone county state’s attorneys announced lawsuits Thursday, joining a number of Illinois counties concerned with the constitutionality of the “SAFE-T Act” bill, set to enact on Jan. 1.

“Many of the provisions of the bill accomplish shared goals of fairness, equity and transparency,” said Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia L. Smith. “However, some aspects of the bill, including taking away the court’s discretion to detain individuals on any criminal charge based on facts of the charged case, the defendant’s criminal history, prior failure to come to court, and/or the danger they pose to individuals or the community at large, are very troubling for the safety of our community.”

Jo Daviess and Ogle counties state’s attorneys announced their lawsuits on Tuesday.

“Filing suit here in Winnebago County seeks to ensure that any decision a judge makes in another county will apply here,” said Hanley, who shared a statement Sept. 9 listing his concerns about the bill.

“From a resource setting we’re not even close to ready, putting aside some of the problems with some of the language of the law,” said Hanley.

Not a Proft paper. That’s WIFR out of Rockford. The reporter did say she reached out to the AG’s office, but they don’t generally comment on lawsuits and didn’t here, either. No attempt was apparently made to reach out to local state Rep. Maurice West, who supports the law.

* Proft paper, or not?…

Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia L. Smith announced Thursday that she and Boone County Sheriff David Ernest are joining a bipartisan coalition of state’s attorneys and sheriffs throughout Illinois who are challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act passed by the Illinois legislature in January 2021.

According to a press release issued by Smith Thursday afternoon, she and the sheriff have filed a lawsuit Wednesday “to protect the interests and the safety of the people of Boone County.”

Rockford Register Star.

* Proft paper, or not?…

Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley announced Thursday his office is joining numerous other counties in a lawsuit challenging the SAFE-T Act, which would eliminate cash bail in Illinois effective Jan. 1.

Hanley said he is challenging the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, claiming it is unconstitutional and vague.

Beloit Daily News.

* Proft paper, or not?…

On Oct. 4 in a press release, Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock and Ogle County Sheriff Brian VanVickle announced that they have filed a complaint against Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in Ogle County Circuit Court seeking to have the criminal justice reform SAFE-T Act declared unconstitutional.

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act passed in the early hours of Jan. 13, 2021. It abolishes cash bail beginning in Jan. 1, 2023, reforms police training, certification and use-of-force standards, expands detainee rights and requires body cameras at all departments by 2025. The legislation has been amended twice since its passing to accommodate concerns of law enforcement groups and changes have included moving effective dates back and use-of-force language.

“The The SAFE-T Act, which was passed in the middle of the night by a lame duck legislature, does nothing to improve the safety of the citizens of Illinois,” Tuesday’s press release from Rock and VanVickle said. “There was not a mandate from the voters for it. It barely had enough votes to pass, even in the extremely-lopsided, Democrat-majority Springfield legislature. The process that was used to pass the bill was flawed, rendering the bill unconstitutional. The resulting bill language contains inconsistencies that will only serve to allow dangerous individuals to remain on the street as well as place even more unfunded mandates on county government.”

Ogle County Life.

* Point being, while it’s fine to talk about what the Proft papers are doing, we shouldn’t then let all these supposedly trustworthy media outlets off the hook.

* Related…

* Shaw Local: McHenry County State’s Attorney explains SAFE-T Act impact


  1. - Techie - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:08 am:


    Between Republican attacks on voting and elections and the decline in the quality of media at almost every level, it really is concerning for the state of a civilized democracy.

  2. - Sox Fan - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:11 am:

    After the first two questions, I got every other guess correct. I’m pretty good at this game.

  3. - Skokie Man - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    The Patch writer who you describe as a former newspaper reporter is also a former employee of the Illinois Policy Institute:

  4. - H-W - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    The Republican Party does not need to win this battle, nor the legal case. They only need to define the battle.

    This is how they beat the progressive tax Amendment - by defining the issue.

    The Democratic Party needs to get in front of this. They need constitutional law experts to explain that there is no constitutional issue. The legislature wrote a new law, and new laws take precedence over prior laws.

    They need to inundate media outlets with direct language from the the current law and the new bill indicating that state’s attorneys and judges are required to make a case for detaining suspects.

    They need to argue that if state’s attorneys are unwilling to petition for bail in some cases, then the problem is with the impotent state’s attorneys, not the bill.

    If the Democratic Party does not invest the time to define this issue, the Republican Party will win, even if nothing actually changes.

    Clarify, Governor. Clarify, Attorney General. Clarify.

  5. - Norseman - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    Add KMOV out of St. Louis to the list for it’s regurgitation of SA Haines’ propaganda. Local news is important, but too often we get lazy reporting.

  6. - JoanP - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:28 am:

    This is lazy, lazy, lazy. Not a lot of journalism anymore. And that is dangerous for our country.

  7. - rude - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:30 am:

    Not trying to be rude here but who cares? And more importantly, why give him ink? It’s like covering a mass shooter.

  8. - Homebody - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:33 am:

    Far too many reporters/editors love just reporting other people’s talking points uncritically. This happens in so many ways:

    * Reporting unverified police statements and never conducting follow up

    * Reporting two politicians saying wildly different, and easily debunkable claims but instead of actually seeing who is lying, just saying “there is disagreement”

    * Reporting “critics of ______ say . . .” without identifying who those critics are, or what their motivations are.

    * Reporting “Non-partisan group so-and-so says…” when the non-partisan group has openly stated intentions that perfectly line up with one party and one party only.

    I get that many reporters are overworked and underpaid, but this sort of reporting is arguably worse than what Proft or Fox News is doing. At least their biases are obvious. When “normal” media does this, they give cover to the liars.

  9. - H-W - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:35 am:

    Here is the deal. As long as people do not read the law, then the law is to them, what others tell them the law is.

    People need to read the law. Excerpts refuting the spin need to be used to convince people that rumors are false, and that politicians are falsifying information.

  10. - West Wing - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:36 am:

    I’m with HW. It’s mind boggling to me how lazy Democrats are on this. They should have experts out in every region clarifying. The AG should be convening public meetings with state’s attys in every media market to clarify. We have allowed Republicans to define this issue - it’s on us as a party.

  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    ===They should have experts out in every region clarifying===

    They do. Legislators. Also, it’s not the legislators who are being lazy. You’re missing the entire point of this little post.

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    –Filing suit here in Winnebago County seeks to ensure that any decision a judge makes in another county will apply here–

    Interestingly, he doesn’t seem very concerned about the decisions being made in springfield in the legislative branch applying in his county.

    These are just SAs being SAs. Throwing everything at the wall, and then using what they are throwing as a negotiation tool later on.

  13. - JS Mill - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    =This is lazy, lazy, lazy. Not a lot of journalism anymore. And that is dangerous for our country.=

    Spot on. Same with @homebody.

    In my experience, primarily with small market media like Peoria and Bloomington, they go with the first thing sent to them and read it verbatim.

    Usually they are trolling facebook for stories. That is not an exaggeration. Time and time again, reporters (if you can even call them that) told me they got their stories, or at least he lead, from facebook. They are a joke. We do not engage with them anymore for anything.

  14. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:42 am:

    I guess the Democrats did not learn anything from the job they did on the Fair Tax amendment. As some have said why aren’t they out there explaining it. I have heard repeatedly about the trespass stuff and when I say it is not true I am dismissed. I also tell people that being charge with a crime doesn’t make you guilty. Bail is not a punishment and should not be used just to jail someone. I heard that over and over again years ago from DuPage county judges. Times change

  15. - West Wing - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:44 am:

    I get the point of the post (lazy reporters), but my point is lazy Democrats who go on defense and duck and hide from the issue. From my perspective, it’s lazy reporting, lazy Democrats and Republicans willing to engage in endleaa obfuscation — toxic witch’s brew

  16. - H-W - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:47 am:

    = You’re missing the entire point of this little post. =

    You are correct, Rich. But it is very frustrating watching the process of controlling the spin play out, knowing that many media outlets will play any story presented by a political representative as if it is a truth, without (a) verifying, and (b) soliciting alternative “truths” for the same story.

    Sloppy journalism is problematic. But is is also enabling, and thus frustrating.

    Thanks for your work. You are a role model to which others should aspire.

  17. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    The media sure is carrying the conservative banner on this issue for a bunch of supposed liberal reporters. Maybe the true bias is whatever sells? Shocked, I tell ya.

  18. - G'Kar - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    I don’t have much to add to what others have pointed out except that reading those articles make me sad.

  19. - Jerry - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:05 am:

    I agree, reporters not asking questions. The term “Liberal media” just a marketing slogan. What it really means is I disagree.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:05 am:

    The crux of the problem has never been pushing back on Proft, surrogates lacking a voice, even “talking points” for the offensive or defensive use.

    The crux has been that Proft can easily, without notice it detection, become a voice in mainstream voices as outlets allow the narratives to be duped…

    … the difference is Proft isn’t being duped, Proft is exacerbating within the discussion.

    For years, literally we are talking years… how often has it been noted…

    IPI says something, Wirepoints amplifies, the GOP caucuses cite, Proft uses all three in his apparatus of radio show, ads, newspapers, and then it’s reported on as news in the “dreaded MSM”, alleged as giving balance, but what has been ruinous is there’s no following up… “what this means is”… it’s straight up reprint, and that’s where the battle BEGINS.

    That’s where it begins. There.

    It’s one thing to have rapid response, but sowing and planting was done for a while, the reaping is being done by news outlets taking an “organic” thing that’s been “astroturf” for quite a while before they were lazy to it.

  21. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    Sad this is the case in journalism todat but what is the Dem plan to counteract it?

    Where are the events and press releases and ready made stories to tout what good it does to fill time in the newscast or inches of print?

    The media messaging in defense of the SAFE-T Act has been as pitiful as that in defense of the tax amendment.

    Dems cant just get the policy right. They have to do politics too.

  22. - Annonin' - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    We picked E. All of the above
    The non-Proft media is pretty thinned out. Generally they just take the mish mash from the “newsmaker” and run it. If someone follows up, fact finds a mistake and gets it corrected then there might be more reporting. Usually they are on to the next day’s mish mash.

  23. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:23 am:

    One side wants to repeal it and uses hyperbole - the other side can’t explain what is in the law and a few months before it is supposed to go into effect promises vague changes. Pritzker couldn’t even answer a question on what changes he would make to the law last night.

  24. - Stormsw7706 - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:38 am:

    Channel 20 WICS is unwatchable. Channel 17 WAND might as well be called WGOP since there new manager took over.

  25. - snowman61 - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:50 am:

    This type of “reporting” will not be going away. Local news is in a sad state and you will see more of this or worst, nothing as newspapers are declining. I wish there was hope but I don’t see it and in the long run, this will impact communities as people will no longer be informed or worst, get one sided reporting. Without knowledge of what is going on, people will not become engaged to participate. This will open up to politicians taking advantage of the situation. I’m grateful for Rich and several others as providing a great service and wish there was more.

  26. - Hahaha - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    This post is shocking attack on our media. Journalists are heroes and I can’t believe what I am hearing. Media criticism is only things MAGA ppl do. Smh…

  27. - H-W - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    Nice insight, OW

  28. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 12:10 pm:

    - H-W -

    Appreciate that very much.

    Thank you.

    Rich’s post itself, it pinpointed and crystallized it brilliantly, it’s posts like this that makes this place great.

  29. - thisjustiagain - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 1:50 pm:

    Reminds me of the terribly-written and terribly-slanted articles Yahoo links to; some of them are so garbled the reader can’t understand them, and the rest is pure politics masked as ‘news’.

  30. - jackmac - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 2:06 pm:

    This is an unsettling compilation but not really a surprise given the continuing collapse of major news outlets like the Chicago Tribune as well as the less-reported but no less severe decline in local print journalism. Remaining news professionals are now tasked with handling so many tasks that thorough coverage becomes difficult, if not impossible. Separately, that irresponsible and incomplete Patch example would fit perfectly in a Proft production. Patch clearly doesn’t do much vetting of personnel.

  31. - SweetLou86 - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 2:24 pm:

    Local news outlets have been copying and pasting press releases from police, the FOP and State’s Attorneys for decades with little to no fact checking. Of course this would be no different

  32. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Oct 7, 22 @ 2:35 pm:

    The decline of professional journalism is a lagging symptom of the decline in education funding. Hopefully the renewed investments that have been made in recent years will payoff in the coming decades. In the meantime, it would be swell if we could get greater public investment in journalism. Relying on subscriptions and advertisers won’t cut it. Like the public funding for presidential races checkbox on our federal income taxes, we need a line item on the ballot to allocate public funding to journalism.

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