Media missed Quinn's Holocaust blunder

Posted5/4/2014 5:01 AM

As the Jewish community was observing the final days of Passover, the campaign of Gov. Pat Quinn was promoting a newspaper column that invoked racist rhetoric and Holocaust imagery. Pretty serious blunder by the governor's team. But unless you get your news from sources outside the Chicago or Illinois press corps, you'd never know it happened.

As first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the Quinn campaign "tweeted -- and then quietly deleted -- several messages urging backers to read an article comparing black Republican voters to Jews who collaborated with the Nazis." The article in question was published in the Chicago Sun-Times by columnist Neil Steinberg. The writer was going after African-American supporters of Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner. Steinberg's opinion was that the Rauner is buying black votes and leadership. His column continued, "It isn't just a black thing. Jews collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, helping them to round up their own people in the hopes they'd be the last to go."

The Quinn campaign began promoting Mr. Steinberg's column on Twitter. Just as quickly as they were shared, the tweets were deleted. New media outlets reported that Jewish leaders informed the governor's campaign of their disapproval. The deleted tweets were captured by "Politwoops," a project of the Sunlight Foundation that archives "tweets that your politicians shared and then deleted." National news outlets such as Fox News felt it was newsworthy on a national level. But the Chicago media -- silent.

The last time Nazi comparisons were made in Illinois was less than a year ago. State Sen. Donne Trotter compared a member of the governor's cabinet to a Nazi. That story was worthy of statewide news outlets. One wonders if the only time local journalists consider Holocaust references inappropriate is when the victims are Democrats.

Paul Miller


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