Straight Talk | How times have changed!



There was a time when I watched TV news and read the newspaper free of any political influence. All forms of media provided information objectively, I thought. Years ago, the Peoria Journal Transcript had a Republican column and a Democrat column. Not anymore. It’s just one party opinion day in and day out. I didn’t know the politics of Bob Arthur or Tom Connor on WEEK, or Clark Smith on WHOI, or Bob Larson on WMBD-TV. Still don’t. The news was objective. Even the major networks seemed straight forward without bias.

Boy, have things changed. Whether you watch national, and I don’t anymore, or local news, everything is slanted to the left, sometimes way left. Censorship is alive and well. Space doesn’t allow me to cite example after example of the local news bias.

How many readers know who Esther Joy King is? She’s a Republican running against Democrat Cheri Bustos for the 17th Congressional District that includes a portion of Peoria County. A lawyer, King is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves and has been to the Peoria area multiple times. Not one TV station has ever interviewed King and as far as I know, neither has any radio station. Bustos comes to town and if she sneezes she, gets coverage. The former East Moline council member gets more local coverage than our own U.S. Congressman, Darin LaHood, who lives in Peoria.

Why is that?

Little needs to be said about national news. Everyone knows both broadcast and cable networks are in the liberal tank with the exception of Newsmax and Fox News, which is leaning more to the left with the likes of Neil Cavuto and other daytime anchors. The bias of the major networks was on full display at the presidential Town Hall TV programs with ABC anchor and Democrat George Stephanopoulos throwing “softballs” at Joe Biden and NBC reporter Savannah Guthrie trying to debate the President of the United States while rudely and constantly interrupting as he responded. At the Biden event, one of the so-called uncommitted viewers, asking a question, turned out to be a former Obama speech-writer.

Fair and balanced the news media isn’t and never will be. One of the biggest surprises in this election year is the Chicago Tribune’s endorsement of Republican Mark Curran for the U.S. Senate over veteran politician Dick Durbin. I haven’t seen that on our local TV stations. As part of my news coverage, I discovered the endorsement on Chicago outlets. The Tribune said Durbin spends too much time outside Illinois. Still, he’ll win in a landslide.

There are two major issues on the ballot drawing attention, primarily because of the amount of money involved. One is the effort to dump Illinois Supreme Court jurist Tom Kilbride. The Rock Island native is accused of accepting $4 million from Speaker of the House Mike Madigan. Opponents of Kilbride ask why a Supreme Court judge would accept such a questionable payment/donation –– especially from a politician under F.B.I. and U.S. Justice Department investigation. The question on the ballot is whether Kilbride is entitled to another 10 years on the bench. We don’t think he is.

The other controversial subject is a proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution allowing lawmakers to change the tax code. Supporters call it the Fair Tax. They claim it’s a tax on the wealthy. Yeah. Right. Opponents maintain it’s just another way to tax the people of Illinois giving lawmakers a blank check for the future. Politicians got the state in a financial mess and now voters are supposed to believe this is the answer? Vote no.

Ardis out. Who’s in?

After 16 years as Mayor of Peoria, Jim Ardis is throwing in the towel. Following weeks and months of thoughtful and prayerful consideration with his wife, family and close friends, Jim decided not to seek a fifth term. That’s a big loss for the city at a time when it needs someone like Ardis. He’s provided steady and strong leadership through turbulent challenges including racial disorders, loss of revenue due to the pandemic, the move of Caterpillar headquarters to Deerfield, and more. Jim was there and he didn’t always have a united council behind him. He’ll be there doing the same as he has for the past four terms until May of next year. In the meantime, we thank him for his leadership. Peoria is a better city because of Jim Ardis.

Five people have announced plans to run for Mayor. No offense, but none are prepared for the job. Really. Among those who appeared on our morning radio show praising Ardis was Judge Steve Kouri. A former councilman, Kouri should consider entering the race. He has the credentials, experience, the wisdom, and an amazing record of successful public service, including the leadership that brought the Illinois High School Basketball Championship Tournament to Peoria. Let’s hope he decides to run.

We did it again!

Once again “Breakfast with Roger and Friends” on FM 90.7 was the one and only true election headquarters in local media. Our morning show interviewed more candidates than any local radio or TV station. Candidates from both parties were given the opportunity to talk about issues and why people should vote for them. We have a history of doing that.

Quote of the month.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” –– Plato

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