You Don't Have A Million Dollars PBS Producer denies candidates access

Most of the journalistic community is unfamiliar with me, so I think it only proper I introduce myself. I graduated from UIUC in 2007 with a major in Rhetoric concentration in creative writing. It’s no secret that Chicago has endured extreme hardship under Rahm Emanuel’s Administration. From red-lights to school closures the people of this city certainly feel the brunt from carrying the weight of Chicago; a weight that equates to nearly $8 million in revenue for Chicagoans.

Most of the people in the City of Chicago would buck their eyes at 8 million dollars!! Which is exactly what I did, after receiving several phone calls and emails from the William “Dock” Walls For Mayor campaign stating they’re being discriminated against by Public Channel 11… that’s right PBS. Now, I know some of you may wonder why you should care about a “perennial candidate” as I’ve heard it called. For the same reason you get upset about “perennial killings” #blacklivesmatter.

A representative of the Walls campaign, Marcus Lewis stated, “I’d been given the charge to ensure Mr. Walls has presence on the televised debates, we were successful in getting him on ABC and others, however when we reached out to WTTW in reference to the Feb 4th Forum, we were told by Mary Field unlike Willie Wilson, we didn’t have a million dollars” I couldn’t believe my ears, after about 2 days I was able to reach WTTW’s executive producer, I recorded our conversation as most journalist do, to my surprise she cooperated quite well, having a conversation for nearly five minutes or so.

Why should you care about this topic? You pay taxes. Its just that simple, its like being discriminated against in your own restaurant. You paid for that and you’ve invested in it! WTTW is Chicago’s Public Network using funding from the Illinois Lottery, the network exists to be non-discriminatory regardless of polling or economic status making the ballot should be enough. The people deserve to know their true options, not the choices from those who can afford to play hardball, it’s not democratic. If this is our political future, we can certainly stop encouraging our children to run for Mayor. Most of the people in this city don’t have a million dollars, so I guess this means we can stop looking for the people’s champ on WTTW/PBS.

When the interview starts I begin by announcing my journalist status and that I’m working with a local paper; Chicago Street Journal noting that I wanted a comment in regards to claims coming from the Walls for Mayor camp. If you’ve only listened to this recording once it could be a bit confusing because she does respond, but not to the question asked. She says, “well I will say this” and she goes on to say all candidates have been invited to be on Chicago Tonight, which if you’re not political savvy you really wouldn’t know the difference. Unlike Chicago Tonight, the Feb 4th debate gives each candidate the opportunity to respond and challenge their opponent on important policy that matters in Chicago such as the red light cameras, school closures/re-openings, economic plans and more. The one thing that is irrefutable is that Dock Walls is certainly the man when talking policy and economics that simply make sense. A Simple, clear and logical political agendas is the wheel that could really unite this city. It would only make sense that a candidate like William Dock Walls would be invited. Chicagoans WTTW has failed the community in their effort to present the truth. If this debate is simply for show based on what Mary stated, they only invite candidates that affect their ratings and appear to be on the move, oh and lets not forget candidates that have a million dollars then we might as well watch The Price is Right! It has less of an impact on our day-to-day lives. When it comes to hearing policy that affect our taxes, schools, jobs and livelihood we deserve to hear the best plan despite the clown show that Rahm and the others can afford to pay for. I understand you want to make money PBS, I’m not against that, but if we have to look for more reliable reporting I certainly rather take Illinois Lottery funding and do just that.

Ron Carter, describes “The Three Blind Mice” phenomena which in essence is the blind leading the blind. The article suggests encouraging leaders like Obama, Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson to step up for what is true and right in the city of Chicago instead of continuing to mislead the public. While I do agree with the theory of the blind leading the blind, I think the people need to empower themselves and learn to make conscious and informed decisions that are outside the spheres of influence. We should have learned enough from jumping on the political giant’s bandwagon.

Three Blind Mice

At the end of the day the machine, oppression and discrimination exists where there is tolerance for it. Anybody that doesn’t have a million dollars should have a vested interest in this election, grabbing neighbors, cats and babies to vote. My nieces, nephews and sisters deserve the opportunity to make something of themselves and to be able to afford the city they grew up in. Chicago is a beautiful city with vast resources, there’s no reason we can’t share the wealth.

Ron Carter’s aforementioned article also said “How many times do we have to see a bunch of highly educated black “leaders” in expensive suits talk about problems facing America” The real question is how many times do we have to see any color leader only talk about anything they plan to do. Just like the rest of us, if you’re applying for the job, do the research and develop a plan before you interview. Why else should you be hired?

Unfortunately by the time you’ve read this article the forum will have passed so now lets focus on what’s more important, come Feb. 25th we could be welcoming one of 4 Challengers (Jesus Garcia, Bob Fioretti, Willie Wilson, Dock Walls) or our incumbent Rahm Emanuel. Steve Rhodes wrote a beautiful piece in Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine, I’ll paraphrase and add some advise of my own: don’t believe the polls and do the research! We’ve lost so much already it’s only right to stand up for a positive change that will effect not only politics and media, but Chicago’s culture. I hope to see you all out there come Tuesday, February 24th.

Created By
Keishana Miller


Created with images by danxoneil - "Code for America Fellows, Smart Chicago, Chicago CTO, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel" • KJGarbutt - "Three Blind Mice..."

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