The Editorial Board of the Chicago Tribune offered Republican Paul McKinley a private meeting as part of its “endorsement” review in the Special Election to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr.

As if there ever were any doubt whom the Tribune would endorse.

McKinley declined to take the Tribune up on the offer of a private meeting, and instead requested that the Tribune sponsor a debate between Democrat Robin Kelly and McKinley, at which debate McKinley would answer all the Tribune’s questions.

We previously covered that demand, Paul McKinley calls on Chicago Tribune to sponsor debate in #IL02.

Kelly has refused not only to debate, but to show up for a candidate forum next week sponsored by a local radio station.

Kelly does not want to have to defend serious questions about alleged ethics violations, which the Tribune’s own reporters (unlike its Editorial Board) note are unanswered:

The treasurer’s personnel rules required all of a worker’s time off to be approved ahead of time by a supervisor. But from August 2009 through December 2010 — when Kelly was campaigning for treasurer — Kelly filed 107 requests for unpaid time off, the audit found. Of those requests, 82 percent were not approved by a supervisor, but by a human resources director who reported to Kelly, the audit found. Many of those requests were submitted well after the time off had already been taken, the audit found.

In addition, the audit stated that 19 of Kelly’s 24 monthly time-off calendars in 2009-10 were OK’d before her time-off requests had received final approval. It also found 17 of those 24 calendars were approved late and three were never approved.

McKinley also specifically requested that the Tribune inform readers that the reason he was declining to meet privately with the Tribune was that he wanted a public debate with Kelly:

I’m prepared to answer any and all questions the Tribune editorial board presents at a public debate with candidate Robin Kelly.

If you write about this, I hope you will inform your readers of my response.

Not surprisingly, the Tribune has endorsed Kelly, while completely covering up Kelly’s refusal to debate and ethics issues.  Not a word about either.

The Tribune noted McKinley’s refusal to meet with the Editorial Board, but did not inform readers that McKinley instead requested that the Tribune sponsor a public debate (emphasis added):

McKinley, a 54-year-old community activist, is running on an anti-establishment message. He’s finding support within the grass roots of the Republican Party, including some tea party activists, despite his background. As a teenager and during his early 20s, McKinley went to prison for burglary, armed robbery and aggravated battery. He says he got a GED while in prison, was paroled in 1997 and turned his life around. He has acknowledged his record but declined to be specific about the accusations. He turned down several invitations from us for an interview about his candidacy.

The Tribune’s endorsement is a big plus for Kelly — she gets to avoid debating, avoids dealing with her ethics issues, and the Machine has its candidate in place with the help of Michael Bloomberg’s SuperPac.

The Tribune Editorial Board did a disservice to its readers by going along to get along.

 
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