If you only read the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times’ coverage of the race to elect a new Congressman in Illinois’ Fifth Congressional District, you’d know a lot about campaign tactics, but little about where the candidates stand. The Tribune editorial board met with the highest profile candidates, and what is the result? An evaluation of their stances on the stimulus bill, a discussion of their different approaches towards gay marriage, peace in the Middle East, or immigration reform? Dan Mihalopoulos and John McCormick’s summary of the meeting, Feigenholtz, Running as Reformer, Won’t Say Whether Campaign Pushed Negative Poll, manages to avoid discussion of a single substantive issue in favor of standard horeserace coverage. “The most heated discussion Thursday centered on whether some of the candidates had betrayed their reform promises by slinging mud at one another.” We’re also told that Mayor Daley and Emanuel have not endorsed anyone in the race, but told us nothing about the slew of endorsements that have come down in recent days. Likewise, we learn almost nothing substantive about cadidate John Fritchey in Abdon Paallasch’s profile of the state representative. (We did learn that “Fritchey pushed through ethics bills that angered the Dem regulars and put him on the side of then-State Sen. Barack Obama.”)
Tomorrow, I’ll look at how bloggers have been covering the race. My hunch is that they (we?) are not much more interested in delving into issues than are the paid writers.