Press Secretary Pablum

Daley confidante lashes out ridiculously

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Chicago Sun-Times / Jean Lachat
    Chicago Mayor Richard Daley with his press secretary, Jacquelyn Heard, in 2008.

    Jackie Heard ought to be ashamed of herself.

    The mayor's press secretary lashed out on Tuesday at recent coverage of a drug raid at one of her rental properties, calling it "vendetta journalism."

    Right. The media just couldn't wait to dirty you up.

    Daley's Press Secretary Lambasts Press

    [CHI] Daley's Press Secretary Lambasts Press
    Jackie Heard, one of Mayor Richard Daley's most trusted aides, lashes out after a report accused her of owning a drug house.

    Most of the coverage was subdued and appropriate. When one of the mayor's top confidantes owns a building that shows up on a city list of city drug and gang houses - and where heroin is seized by police - it's news. And it's a story worthy of reporters' questions.

    Heard ought to know that - she used to be a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

    But that was a long time ago, and she's lapsed so far into Daleyland that she practically turned red at reporters yesterday and seemed on the verge of sputtering something about being scrootened.

    Now, it's true that the Sun-Times, as it is wont to do, overplayed the story by putting it on its front page. But they overplay love letters to the mayor, too, and serve as City Hall's favorite receptacle for strategic leaks.

    So it's hard to take Heard's complaint seriously.

    Even worse, Heard claimed that the paper consequently ran a full retraction deep inside the paper.

    Not true by any stretch.

    The paper generously (and needlessly) ran an editorial describing what a great person Heard was and how it wasn't her fault that a druggie had rented from her.

    The editorial was 'in no way a retraction of the earlier news story," editorial page editor Tom McNamee said in today's Sun-Times report. "The news side of the Sun-Times, in my view, got it right."

    By taking over the microphone, though, Heard did accomplish one thing: She shielded the mayor from a reporter who had asked him to clarify how he came to know of the incident.

    That's what propaganda ministers get paid to do.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.