Will County Clerk race shows how little media cares about real issues
The race for Will County Clerk will determine who will be responsible for maintaining the county’s records, and managing department budget costs, things the mainstream news media apparently doesn’t seem to concerned about. What they are worried about is an incident that happened 18 years ago that today has no meaning.
By Ray Hanania
You just have to wonder about government and the news media, like in Will County where issues don’t seem to matter as much as controversy.
About 18 years ago, Lauren Staley-Ferry was working in a small Arizona real estate company. She was a young kid and, according to media reports, her boss decided to give everyone in the office a $500 bonus, except her. Lauren got angry and took a company check and wrote it out for $500 for herself.
It’s the kind of thing young people sometimes do.
The important question, though, is do they take responsibility and make-up for it? Do they let that single infraction reflect the rest of their life?
In Lauren’s case, it was one incident, an aberration. It wasn’t a pattern at all. She didn’t do it again. It wasn’t repeated, like it happens with others who continue doing bad things, even after they’ve been caught.
Lauren left Arizona and years later tried to settle the debt. After the issue resurfaced and her efforts to repay were rebuffed, she donated $500 to the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. The foundation “provides education, resources and support for women to positively transform their lives and strengthen our community.”
Lauren went on into professional banking where she excelled, under the right management.
In 2013, she was encouraged by the Democratic Party in Will County to run for a seat on the Will County Board where she has worked tirelessly for the past three years.
Encouraged by the public’s response to her leadership, she decided to take on more public service, running for Will County Clerk in the March 20, 2018 Democratic Primary election.
She didn’t just advance her own career, she spent a lot of time volunteering to help others in a lot of other situations.
Sounds like the perfect ending to the story.
But the mainstream news media doesn’t like perfect endings to any story. Worse, they don’t really care about the taxpayers or the real issues taxpayers face. They care about controversy.
The media makes it sound like Lauren Staley-Ferry has been avoiding responsibility. She hasn’t. She’s taken responsibility for her actions and has arranged many times to try to repay the money. I spoke with her and she said the media only cares about that past, not the issues she raises about Will County.
She issued a statement, twice, explaining what she did was wrong. She apologized for it and has taken responsibility.
But you know today’s news media. They don’t care about truth as much as they do screaming headlines, controversy and gory tragedy.
“If it bleeds, it leads” is the mantra of the traditional news media, which is why the traditional news media today is dying.
Hope doesn’t die and neither does good leadership.
Instead of talking about the issues, though, the media has been hammering Lauren about one single issue. Who cares about the people of Will County when you have a drama to fuel?
Lauren told me she spent 20 minutes recently answering every question from a reporter, including talking about the election, the issues facing Will County, and what she hopes to do when elected. He only wrote about the old controversy.
The media only wants to hammer away at that one little story from the far distant past. Maybe they don’t care about Will County. Maybe, they don’t care about who’s best to serve as Will County Clerk.
The media just wants to be snarky, to sell newspapers. They pretend that single little bump from 18 years ago is more important than the many challenges facing Will County that voters have to sift through on their own, with no help from the media out there.
Lauren Staley-Ferry is seeking to succeed Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots is retiring in 2018 after serving four terms in office.
In this case, I think Lauren Staley-Ferry has earned the public’s confidence, even if she continues to get the news media’s snide.
You can visit Lauren Staley-Ferry’s website at www.lauren4clerk.com.
(Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter. Email him through his website at www.Hanania.com.)
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Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
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