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Greising vs. Proft

Thursday, Oct 6, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From David Greising’s September column in the Chicago Tribune

Take Paddock Publications, the publisher of the suburban newspaper Daily Herald. Its reputation is in tatters after an ill-considered decision to print the Proft mega-leaflets, which are produced by Local Government Information Services, run by conservative publisher Brian Timpone.

Proft is not limiting himself to printing broadsides on broadsheet, either. His Twitter feed deals in racist-adjacent ramblings. He refers to the Illinois’ bail-reform law, the SAFE-T Act, as “Pritzker’s Purge Law.” This invokes the “Purge” series of movies that traffic in white-nationalist, anti-immigration tropes.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is targeted heavily in the mega-leaflets, commented on the fake papers recently. “If you look at what he’s printed, it’s clearly all about the idea that, again, what he’s printing, that Black people are threatening your way of life. That’s essentially what he’s putting in these publications,” Pritzker said.

Proft doesn’t exactly go high road in his retorts to Pritzker. In one, he references Pritzker as “JBelly.” That’s an apparent reference to Pritzker’s plus-sized build. Very classy; pure Proft.

* Proft then invited Griesing onto his radio show and, for whatever reason, Griesing took him up on the offer

Proft: So, the Will County Gazette, I just went through the stories, it’s one of my papers. Which of those stories contains falsities, misinformation, is ‘poison candy on the doorstep’?

Greising: Dan, the entire premise of the publication is what the falsehood is. It presents itself as a newspaper, when in fact, it is fair political speech. And it doesn’t abide by any of the conventions of honest journalism, i.e. balanced reporting. In its selection of stories, it distorts the news. Articles in your papers routinely imply that the SAFE-T Act provisions with regard to no cash bail are in affect right now, and in fact, we all know they are not.

Proft: It does nothing of the sort, but go ahead.

Greising: And so what I am objecting to in this column is the fact that you’re distributing really broadsheet campaign leaflets. You have every right to do that. That’s, that’s free speech in the U.S., but to do so under the pretext of something that looks and feels and nearly reads like a news organ is, I think, misleading. And therein lies the falsehoods that I referred to. And there are specific falsehoods in individual articles but I’m not going to go into the details.

Proft: No, of course not. You don’t need to when or you just can do a generic hit piece on on me personally in the papers generally, “racist adjacent” and so on and so forth. And all these standards you apply unevenly but I understand. I mean, you’re somebody who’s voted in eight Democrat primaries and zero Republican. So like most of the press corps here, we appreciate your perspective and where you’re coming from we know your politics.

But why not offer specifics so it seems to me that’s the the easiest way to prove your point so that you don’t need to be reading tea leaves and asserting implications. You can just say straight away this is something right here on the story that is inaccurate, that is misinformation. But you won’t want to do that even though you say you have specific so why not share that?

Greising: Just to take one, September 30 2022 an article by Ben Gonzalez. ‘Oh My God’ assault ad a non attainable offense under Pritzker’s Purge law. Shows the beating of a person on a train, again playing to fear and and such, in the in the text of the story it states that these provisions are in effect. And then it makes reference for authority to a Will County Gazette article that that also is just an opinion piece essentially, with regard to the Safety Act. So the story is constructed to be misleading and some of the specifics with regard to no cash bail are not accurate.

Proft: That beating, that aggravated assault, which that individual is charged is actually absolutely a non attainable offense under the SAFE-T Act which would take effect January one if it’s not enjoying and so that so that that’s absolutely the case. And that’s a conversation.

And it’s de facto in effect under Kim Foxx in Cook County, which is what we’ve been saying which I’ve been saying on the radio. We’ve been talking about this in the context of Jan one because we’ve been talking about the election in the context of the November election in the context of Jan one, this is your opportunity to get new leadership in Illinois that would try to do something about the SAFE-T Act before it takes effect. So this just specious.

Talk about talking about idiosyncratic implications when you know exactly what the entire conversation is. For me, I just had an op ed in the tribune right after yours about the SAFE-T Act, citing all these Democrat states attorneys providing chapter and verse on their problems with it as we’ve had any number of states attorneys and sheriffs on this show and elsewhere in the conversation.

That is just so disingenuous to suggest that we are suggesting something that we’re not. That it’s in effect, except de facto under Kim Foxx, when we’re arguing. We’re arguing this entire time about this being a referendum question on the November ballot.

Greising: Well, and I’m reading the way that you present these stories as disingenuous indeed. So we’re reading what you published differently because of the strong implications in your stories, that the provisions are in effect now. And they’re not and we both know that and that’s fine. You’re entitled to twist the truth in political statements. But what I think is misleading and and should not be part of the conversation is presenting this information as it is as if it is objective journalism.

Proft: There is no such thing as objective journalism. That in itself is a fraud. A fraudulent premise from which you start. Is the Sun-Times objective journalism? Is the Tribune objective journalism?

The reporters there bring nothing to the table? They are they are objective Oracle’s of truth. They have no personal opinions on anything that influenced their coverage. If you believe that then let me just ask you this question which I ask all the time. Be curious to your answer.

Since we know that basically 88 to 94% of the Chicago Press Corps, the DC press corps vote for the Democrat candidate for president that’s from Gallup survey research. Every year since 64. Since they’ve been serving. Let me ask you, if the reverse were true, if 88 to 94% of the press corps had voted, been voting for the Republican president candidate for president for the last 50 years. Let’s say. Do you think the coverage in these newspapers including the Tribune, your former employer, the Sun-Times. Think it would be any different? Or they’re so objective, it wouldn’t matter.

Greising: First of all, I also worked for the Chicago Tribune. I worked at Businessweek and I worked at Reuters. So I’m not sure why I’m not sure why you’re just-

Proft: All the above, All of the above. AFL-CIO Times, but they have no political agenda? I know the AFL-CIO has no political agenda. AFL-CIO Times, the entirety of it, what’s the answer?

greising: The Sun-Times, when I worked there was owned by Rupert Murdoch, not by the union. So-

Proft: Take all of the outlets. The idea is you would never go after the Sun-Times for being owned by the AFL-CIO or NPR because they have no political agenda. Those are objective journalists. But regardless, take all of your outlets you’ve ever worked for and all the outlets in the country. What is the answer to the question? Would the coverage be different? If 90% of journalists were vote Republican primary voters instead of Democrat? Do you think it’d be different?

Greising: Okay, first of all, just for your information. Perhaps you’re not aware, though sometimes is no longer owned by the or controlled by the AFL-CIO …just so you’re aware they are now a nonprofit but right. I get the way you’re trying to paint me. To answer your question to answer your question, there is an effort I can accept your premise that there’s no such no such thing as objectivity. For example in in these newsletters, these flyers in broadsheet that you print.

Proft: We don’t pretend to be objective. We don’t lie. You’re lying when you say objective, and you just conceded you were.

Greising: I’m saying that, that traditional journalism seeks objectivity, seeks fair comment, balance in its reporting. I don’t see in any of the articles I read in your broadsheet pamphlets. Do I see any effort whatsoever to tell both sides of the story. (A little bit of talking over each other)

Proft: How long have you been reading the papers?

Greising: Since the first one landed on my door? I don’t know exactly how long ago

Proft: So you’d be surprised to learn that these outlets have existed for the last seven years?

Greising: Good for you. Congratulations. That’s not bad…When did you start delivering them so broadly? All of a sudden they’re showing up where I live.

Proft: We’ve mailed them out intermittently, depending on how well finances are going. But regardless, the last seven years they’ve existed, the entire Chicago Springfield press corps knows has known about them because they’ve criticized us before, because of course they have.

And so now all you folks have re-affixed the scales to your eyes. And now we’re coming to the papers here in this election cycle, saying ‘Oh my God, look at these papers that have been around for seven years and we’ve previously commented on but now we’re gonna pretend like this is sui generis and we knew nothing about it. Very, very, very straightforward. Very objective.

Greising: I was not aware of what you were doing. I wish I had known earlier. Maybe I could have warned readers earlier that these look like newspapers they’re not. They’re political pamphlets, effectively constructed political pamphlets. I might compliment you on that. They definitely present the point of view in the guise of objective reporting.

Proft: No, no, no, no, there’s no guise because we don’t pretend to be objective. We never said we’re objective. If you look at our about us statement, we explicitly say what I just said effectively repeated that we don’t defraud people by pretending to be objective, we have a point of view.

We want to advance stories that are not covered and stories that are not coming from an angles that we cover them. Because we have a point of view about public policy and people like you and the outlet you work for. All of them pretend that they don’t have a point of view, and they have no interest in the outcomes of public policy discussion. And that’s a lie. And that’s the difference between us.

As always, please pardon any transcription errors.

Thoughts?

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35 Comments
  1. - ZC - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:38 am:

    Using the one-word approach:

    “Projection.”


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    In the end…

    Proft is angry to be fact checked… Proft talks of a paper basically peddling alternative facts, unabashedly… and Proft trying to equate phony direct mail as a newspaper.

    Lots of words by Proft to claim to be “different but legitimate, but alternative, becsuse everyone else is bad”

    Proft is protecting the grift, nothing more.


  3. - Montrose - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    I just want to take a shower anytime I read Dan Proft’s words.


  4. - City Zen - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:45 am:

    Now hiring: ombudsman


  5. - DougChicago - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    Cicero Dan Priof(i)t is one of those people you despise even when you agree with a considerable amount of what he is saying.


  6. - New Day - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    Proft is a bulldozer of lies and innuendo. Don’t know why Greising did it but good for him for not getting rolled.


  7. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    Why would anyone agree to appear on that show when the host is so rude?


  8. - New Day - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:58 am:

    I’m glad Proft finally explained the real crux of the issue. He believes (or claims to) all media is fake and the same kind of fake so why should he be treated any differently. It’s a novel approach for being called out. One might even say he’s leaning in to his lies.


  9. - Ste_with_a_v_en - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    The only person who could make Scott Drury look sympathetic


  10. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===good for him for not getting rolled.===

    He may not have been rolled, but he was left a twisted wreck on the highway.


  11. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:05 pm:

    Would Proft prefer that journalists not vote? I’m pretty sure objectivity is covered heavily in journalism school. Similarly, lawyers often will set aside their personal views and advocate a position that they don’t agree with because that is their duty to the client. It’s called ethics.


  12. - H-W - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    Greising seems to have put Proft on his heels.

    You know, the irony of saying “we do not pretend to be objective,” while spinning falsehoods and opinions, and then suggesting voters should believe that they have a better plan for our future, is just rich.

    “We do not believe in objectivity. We do not pretend to be truthful. Therefore, vote for us.”

    Rich stuff.


  13. - NotRich - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:07 pm:

    Blah.. call me when Proft wins a general election


  14. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    Question about Proft’s radio show; does the station pay him to bloviate on its airwaves or, like those people selling services like timeshares or investments, does he buy the time slot he’s on? I’m thinking, based on his fake newspapers, that it’s the latter, but would like a confirmation.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===He may not have been rolled, but he was left a twisted wreck on the highway.===

    This is everything. So important to understand.

    It’s like Pat Brady, it’s like a time willing to go and try to have an argument to the pointed politics.

    When you engage with Proft and you can believe you have facts or thoughts that can be used to sharpen a focus on Proft…

    … the reality is Proft wins the millisecond they begin the discussion, and all Proft needs to do is be unabashedly “Proft”, even when Proft agrees to the “negative points” that Proft makes “positive punches” against his opponent.

    There’s little good allowing a propagandist the opportunities to pummel positions by reversing negatives for his audience that cheers Proft’s tactics

    I could make an argument that Pat Brady handled Proft better (all things relative?) by going low like Proft.

    I stand by my first comment, but please, frame it as Proft protecting the grift, nothing more, and taking on his foes in ways that his followers cheer


  16. - Amused - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:24 pm:

    ***Greising: I was not aware of what you were doing. I wish I had known earlier.***

    Chicago Reader, 2017: https://chicagoreader.com/blogs/if-your-community-news-is-slanted-dan-proft-may-be-to-blame/


  17. - Streator Curmudgeon - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:28 pm:

    To paraphrase Lincoln again, you can call a broadsheet campaign ad a newspaper, but that doesn’t make it one.


  18. - Groucho - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:01 pm:

    Reporting facts and being objective are two different things. Whether I am reading the Sun Times, Tribune or Crains, I know what I am getting.


  19. - Allcast - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:29 pm:

    Why don’t members of the media ever want to acknowledge that they are monolithic in their participation in Democratic primaries? Seems like an easy thing to say yes to and then move on to the topic at hand.


  20. - Highland IL - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:29 pm:

    ===Proft: No, no, no, no, there’s no guise because we don’t pretend to be objective. ===

    There you have it. To those who defend these mailers as being real newspapers, even Dan admits they are not.


  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:30 pm:

    ===they are monolithic in their participation in Democratic primaries?===

    Because they’re not. I’m not, for instance.


  22. - Allcast - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:37 pm:

    You and others that express opinions let voters know where you stand. What about news reporters? Just seems like a club you could take away from Proft.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    === You and others that express opinions let voters know where you stand.===

    Columnists and “talking heads” have a… luxury… to express opinion, even thoughtful political opinion.

    ===What about news reporters?===

    They are not columnists or “talking heads”

    You think for one minute Proft is merely giving news on his radio show?

    It’s like the in-law uncle telling me Hannity is a hard hitting news show.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===You and===

    To be perfectly crystal clear…

    I was not in any way speaking for Rich Miller. Full stop.

    I was speaking to a greater discussion.

    OW


  25. - Honeybear - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:45 pm:

    Ugh, the “gaslighting” and “whataboutism” from Proft makes me sick to my stomach.


  26. - Roadrager - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:47 pm:

    ==Why don’t members of the media ever want to acknowledge that they are monolithic in their participation in Democratic primaries?==

    Look back, what, two days on this blog, and tell me Charles Thomas has been pulling Dem ballots all these years. And don’t try to pivot to “well, I’m sure there are exceptions, but…” because that just proves you don’t know what “monolithic” means.


  27. - Amalia - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:48 pm:

    Pig. Mud.


  28. - sal-says - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:52 pm:

    Seems like we’re right back to democracy vs. fascism.


  29. - 40,000 ft - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:44 pm:

    Proft won the debate. Greising didn’t even land a punch.

    The newspaper-style conservative publications are full of provable facts that are presented from a conservative POV. That doesn’t make them lies.
    And some people appreciate analysis from that POV.

    Who knew free speech was so treacherous for the minority opinion?
    Proft’s created quite a maelstrom in this audience.


  30. - Demoralized - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    ==newspaper-style==

    That’s the point that was trying to be made. His publications aren’t newspapers.

    ==And some people appreciate analysis from that POV.==

    You mean you want to be told what you want to hear.


  31. - Excitable Boy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 4:16 pm:

    Not sure how Greising managed to miss the mark so badly here. Supposed biased journalists write articles critical of democrats every single day. That’s what separates them from propagandists like Proft.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 4:28 pm:

    ===The newspaper-style conservative publications===

    LOL

    This is like cheering LOUDLY for “alternative facts” and thinking how “smart” one is cheering this idea that “alternative facts need to exist”

    Like this.

    Had I had a drink, the spit take would’ve been epic, lol

    ===And some people appreciate analysis from that POV.===

    Hilarious.

    ===Who knew free speech was so treacherous for the minority opinion? Proft’s created quite a maelstrom in this audience.===

    No, lol, he gathered sheep that listen to a baying that not only is good for grifting, it allows the in-law uncles an outlet so our favorite aunt doesn’t have to listen to the ridiculousness.

    I do think it’s adorable that you might think Proft believes what he touts, since Proft only touts what he believes will make him money.

    This was fun.


  33. - Maury - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 5:41 pm:

    Proft won hands down…Greising did not provide any refutable detail on the content of the publications because he couldn’t..as discussed above, everything is provable… another example of the left looking to limit free speech…debate and discussion answers the misinformation question…the truth will prevail…


  34. - Unstable Genius - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 5:44 pm:

    The Lake County Gazette that I have been receiving lists a lot a data which makes the case for conservative thinking. Examples include articles on PPP loan fraud and a list of sky high area property tax rates. Does a great job of solidifying the conservative base.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 5:47 pm:

    ===content of the publications===

    Then why print it as a phony newspaper?

    To mislead “the facts”?

    ===of the left===

    That’s so fun.

    Why not just package it as a mail piece?

    It’s like “I love to be duped”

    Proft is likely laughing at the rubes who think these papers are real.


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