Political candidates have weird, complicated, almost abusive relationships with newspapers: On one hand, they actively seek approval, an endorsement, from influential thought leaders on editorial boards; on the other, they must react to a relentless flow of queries from reporters whose agendas are less political than "I need to get this exclusive before so-and-so does at the Trib."
With that in mind, Bruce Rauner—the Republican businessman vying for Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's job—has endured a tough grilling from no-nonsense journalists on a mission to hold him accountable (and sell some newspapers, too).
See: NBC 5 and the Chicago Sun-Times' early-October investigation into Rauner's alleged intimidation of a female CEO while he was managing partner at the private equity firm GTCR; the Tribune's bombshell July report that Rauner had used a corporate loophole to save millions in taxes; Crain's Chicago Business' Greg Hinz recent masterful column on why the Winnetka investor's wealth (which Quinn exploits to cast him as a villainous one-percenter) matter less than what he'll accomplish (or not) once he's in office.
Still, taking the lesser-of-two-evils approach, Crain's and a slew of other mainstream media outlets have endorsed Rauner over Quinn in the past two weeks, touting his business cred, reform-minded agenda and the need for new blood in Springfield.
Now, like a kid who gets a gold star from a really mean teacher, and then posts it on the fridge for his parents to ooh and ahh over, Rauner is out with an ad boasting of his collective endorsements. The message to voters: "See! Opinion editors like me, and so should you!"
Will that even matter on Nov. 4, though? Whatever Illinoisians decide, a plug from their local papers certainly helps.