One of the big winners in Tuesday’s election was Dan Proft and his Liberty Principles PAC.
He was involved in a bunch of races (see the full list here), but the two biggest were supporting challenger Peter Breen in his successful unseating of incumbent Sandra Pihos, and backing Keith Matune’s challenge to incumbent Ron Sandack in a race that became particularly nasty. Matune conceded yesterday, coming up 153 votes short out of 13,353 votes cast.
Proft has been involved in Illinois politics for quite a while now, dating back long before he was anchoring the WLS-AM morning show with Bruce Wolf, and long before his 2010 bid for governor. (Full disclosure: Once upon a time, I was a consultant at Proft’s media firm, Urquhart Media, worked on his campaign, and worked with him serving wounded warriors and active duty, deployed military men and women with Operation Homefront.) He’s an opinion host. It’s political talk radio. I don’t think most people find it strange in the slightest to see him still actively involved in Republican electoral politics.
But it would seem that Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn is not “most people”:
Proft — like you, me, and everyone else who lives in Illinois – has skin in these games. He’s a citizen and a taxpayer. As the old saying goes, even if you don’t take an interest in politics, politics will take an interest in you.
I don’t always listen to Proft and Wolf’s morning show (I have two kids; mornings are hectic) but I’ve heard him disclose regularly when talking about these races his involvement in them via his PAC. Clearly WLS is aware of what Citizen Proft is doing and they don’t have any particular problem with it, otherwise they wouldn’t let it continue. He doesn’t fundraise on air. And, as Zorn notes, he’s not a journalist, and has never (to my knowledge) claimed to be one. His employment at The Big 89 doesn’t necessitate his surrendering his capacity as a private citizen to engage in political activity, and — brace yourselves for a big shocker here — political activity often means raising and spending money.
But, alas, none of this seems to meet Zorn’s lofty standards:
People should demand “disinterested commentators.”
We’ll continue when you’ve stopped laughing. Take a few minutes. It’s fine.
Ready? Okay then.
First, I think he means “dispassionate commentators.” I can’t imagine disinterested commentators having much to say about anything, since, you know, they’re disinterested.
But if listeners and readers should demand dispassionate commentators (or disinterested, if that’s really what you’re into), does that mean they should be getting their feathers ruffled over commentators who violate this notion by being openly for marriage equality? Who back a progressive income tax, ObamaCare, and an increased minimum wage?
You know, commentators like Eric Zorn.
Look, Zorn is a left-liberal. I disagree with him on a host of policy issues, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with him having a progressive point of view. As long as he’s honest about it. There’s no reason to pretend Zorn isn’t who he is, just like there’s no reason to pretend there Proft isn’t a conservative and, as such, inclined to actively support conservatives who are seeking elected office.
But if Zorn is going to set arbitrary and, honestly, laughably silly rules about what commentators should or shouldn’t do, don’t you think he should follow them himself?
Objective journalism is a fallacy. But we’re not even talking about journalism here. We’re talking about people like Dan Proft and Eric Zorn whose job it is to have opinions. And that just makes Zorn’s tantrum all the more silly.