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Fran Eaton and the real creepy politics of the Southwest suburbs
By Ray Hanania — Fran Eaton calls me a “character,” but I wonder what she would call herself if her writing wasn’t so far up the butts of the Tea Party conservatives and the extreme wing of the Chicagoland Republican party.
Eaton writes a PR puff piece for the Illinois Review, a conservative Republican publication that gives her a platform to promote her extreme rightwing pals. I should say it’s not about her hiding behind the Republican Party coats that bothers me; there are a lot of great Republicans out there. But Eaton is a phony. She wants people to think she can analyze politics objectively but she can’t. Her writing is stilted and her naalysis is handed to her usually by her political buddies who feed her the inside “scoops” she passes off as news.
This week, I wrote about how State Rep. Kevin McCarthy has decided not to run for re-election, and speculated based on my 35 years of covering Chicagoland politics, that he was stepping down on a high note rather than facing off with Republican Renee Kosel. Kosel is a powerhouse in Republican circles and not one of the nutjobs that Eaton usually pals around with. Eaton has taken shots at me before. I covered Chicago politics for 35 years including 16 years covering Chicago City Hall (from Daley to Daley 1976 through 1992). So although my family is Republican (and so is my wife) I lean towards the Democrats since there is no real Republican presence in Chicago at all.
And Eaton took off on me again, this week attacking me in her usual wet blanket and pacifier in mouth style.
What angered Eaton this time? Well, in analyzing the McCarthy decision not to run, I wrote critically of Jeff Junkas who ran against McCarthy in 2010. Junkas is a rightwing Tea Party activist and is a personal friend of Fran Eaton. During that battle against McCarthy, Eaton played an active role in trying to diss the other Republican in the race, Molly McAvoy Flynn and also Cook County CommissionerElizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman.Well, Eaton decided to use her political column in Illinois Review to defend Junkas’ honor.
Her biggest points:
1 – I am a media consultant
2 – I also write for several newspapers (several in Chicago and several in the Middle East)
3 – I am “friends” with Liz Gorman
4 – I criticized Junkas’ junky campaign
Guilty on all counts. But I am upfront about my relationships, unlike Eaton who hides hers to pass herself off as “objective.” She’s not objective at all. But she is transparent.
Eaton basically argues that I mix politics and journalism. Wow. Being accused mixing politics and journalism by Fran Eaton is like being called ugly by a pig. If anyone uses her column to pimp for her political pals it is Fran Eaton. (Here’s a profile the Chicago Reader wrote about the openness of my journalism-consulting balancing act.)
At least I am up front about my work. Yes, I am president and CEO of Urban Strategies Group. I have seven political and government clients. When I write my columns I openly identify myself as being a media consultant or a political consultant. When I write about someone that is a client, I point it out. When I write about someone who is a political “friend,” I point it out.
One of those clients is the high profile Town of Cicero and Town President Larry Dominick, who I not only work for as spokesman but admire. (Eaton, remember, writes also for the Southtown/Star which is owned by the Chicago Sun-Times. I worked at both newspapers years ago and loved the Southtown and loved the old Sun-Times. But today’s Sun-Times is nothing near what it used to be two decades ago. And people like Eaton only help bring it down even more.)
It’s called “ethics,” Fran. Something you clearly lack besides being a horrendous political writer. (Who learned you politics anyway? LOL).
It is true that I am “friends” with Liz Gorman. I admire her and I think she is the best political force in Cook County that the Republican Party has. That came AFTER I spent three years criticizing her and questioning her actions. And that makes me far more objective than the politically partisan Fran Eaton could ever be.
The truth is that Fran Eaton was and basically is Junkas’ campaign manager. How did I find that out? When Eaton asked to interview Gorman, Gorman called me and asked me to attend as a writer I did. Eaton mentions this meeting but turns it upside down pretending that she was there to write an “objective” story. Baloney. Eaton was there as an activist for Jeff Junkas. During the entire interview, Eaton kept trying to push Gorman into supporting Junkas. She kept slandering Flynn (who I met several times but Eaton apparently can’t locate) in the hopes of undermining Flynn’s candidacy against Junkas. Junkas eventually won the Republican primary and went on to get his ass kicked by the weak McCarthy.
Ironically, Eaton questions Gorman’s support of Junkas. But the truth is that had Gorman gone south on Junkas and helped McCarthy, the unknown Junkas and Tea Party activist would never have come within 117 votes in Orland Township where Gorman is the Republican Committeeman. In fact, the vote shows that Gorman came out strong for Junkas.
Eaton goes as far as to attack House Speaker Michael J. Madiganwho is one of the most brilliant politicians in Illinois history and in the Midwest. I’ve known Madigan for 35 years, since the very day I started working at the Southtown in the 1970s. We’ve had our ups and downs. Like Gorman, I’ve criticized him and I have praised him, too. Eaton? Well, she hates Democrats, hates moderate Republicans and is a groupie for the Tea Party nutjobs who have, in my opinion, undermined the Republican party’s honor.
Fran Eaton is no journalist. She’s a political hack doing hack jobs for her pals. And the Illinois Review does’t care as long as those hack jobs align with their political bend.
I’ll put my credentials up against the smarmy Eaton any time. I have four Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing from the Chicago Headline Club. A sigma Delta Chi Award from the SPJ. Best Ethnic Columnist in America (2007). And two Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, among many more.
What does Eaton have? Well, she has her political chums who spoon feed her most of her worthless drivel. if the word “creepy” applies to anyone, it applies to the hypocrite Fran Eaton and her unethical writing and her efforts to disguise her political activism. Eaton loves to dish it out but she has a skin so thin her screaming rants are notorious. Eaton is pals with right-wing Republican Dan Patlak who is running for another term on the Board of Tax Review. He’s only taken $300,000 in donations from the lawyers who appear before the board. You won’t see Eaton writing about that, but she will be attacking Patlak’s challenger Sean Morrison who Gorman supports.
Click HERE to read Eaton’s political consulting analysis for the Illinois Review.
Click HERE to read my analysis of McCarthy’s decision to step down.
The truth is Junkas is a horrible public candidate, Gorman is the best thing that has ever happened to Southwest suburban Republican politics, and Eaton is a flaming hypocrite.
By the way Fran, I host a Sunday morning radio show on WSBC AM 1240 from 8 until 11 am (www.RadioChicagoland.com). And I’m happy to expose your hypocrisy there this Sunday, too!
— Ray Hanania
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com