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“Inside Game” was a 2019 movie about an NBA game-fixing scandal centering around game 7 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings.
NBA Sports paraphrasing former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy described the scandal, “long time NBA official Dick Bevatta was a fixer of sorts for the league. And in the controversial Game 6, he may have helped change the outcome of the game and eventually, the series.”
With the Kings entering game six with a 3-2 series lead, the furious two final two minutes, NBA refs called foul after foul on Sacramento to will the series to a Game 7 while ignoring fouls clearly committed by Los Angeles. The Lakers went on to win the series in seven games and would win their third NBA championship in three seasons.
While not rising to the level of criminal conspiracy, Republicans like us, fighting to save our state from rising taxes and record crime, feel like we’re up against a similar “inside game.” The players: the Chicago Democratic Machine and the Chicago media.
Make no mistake – we’re a blue state. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton all won our state in resounding fashion.
In 20 years a Republican has held the governor’s mansion only once and for just one term. The last time we held the speakership in the General Assembly, the Gin Blossoms were the hottest band in the country and DVDs had just begun to go on sale.
Illinois Republicans have not held a majority on the state supreme court since our new constitution was written in 1970. Meanwhile, our Democratic counterparts have been able to pass the most gerrymandered maps in the country – decreasing accountability.
Despite these facts – thanks to our governor’s record on crime, taxes, and corruption – we’ve got a chance.
Our governor, J.B. Pritzker joined California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and and then-New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo in instituting some of the worst lockdowns in the country.
Crime is at record highs and with the looming end of cash bail in our state, even Democratic State’s Attorneys are suing the Pritzker administration to stop the release of violent criminals. Now queue the inside game.
An outside group supporting Pritzker’s opponent Republican Darren Bailey ran an ad titled “Scream” seeking to bring to light voters’ top issue — the rise in crime.
The ad featured an assault taking place on the streets of Chicago — an all too common occurrence in Pritzker and Lori Lightfoot’s city.
Gov. Pritzker and Illinois Dems feigned outrage that anyone dare bring to light the violence brought out by their signature legislation. Pritzker appealed to the Chicago media and the ad was taken down within days. Whistle on red.
Trying to hold onto their slim State Supreme Court majority at any cost, Democratic outside groups are spending millions in competitive judicial races to run jarring ads accusing our candidates of wanting to “criminalize” abortion.
Their sources? Nowhere to be found, because they’re false. We appeal to the ref, no call on blue. The ads stay up.
Recently a candidate running against 30-year- Democratic incumbent Rep. Jan Schakowsky had a stand-in appear for him at the endorsement session of a suburban Chicago newspaper.
This was clearly a prank — though one that distracted from Schakowsky’s terrible record in Congress.
The Daily Herald effectively called it an unprecedented affront on democracy and demanded condemnation from the State Republican Party. Flagrant foul on red.
Meanwhile, they’ve completely ignored Congresswoman Schakowsky’s husband’s own history as an anti-Trump provocateur guilty of the same behavior they condemned. No-call on blue.
We’re at a crossroads in our country’s history. Americans’ trust in the ability of newspapers, television and radio news reporting to deliver the news fairly and honestly hovers around record lows according to a 2021 Gallup report.
Speaking on the topic of media trust with former NBC News “Today Show” anchor Matt Lauer in 2017, former President George W. Bush said frankly, “You used to matter more when there were like three of you.”
To his point, more voters now seek their news from social media or non-traditional sources than ever before. The lesson is clear — in an environment where mainstream media outlets must compete for viewers, trust matters and if viewers don’t trust traditional media, they will go somewhere else for their news.
America’s mainstream media must return to holding Democrats and Republicans equally accountable. A consistent standard is all the public demands.
That is how to restore faith in journalism, and end the “Inside Game” here in Illinois and our country.