Chicago Tribune charged with reporting false news

ANDY MARTIN
“He Works for the People of Illinois”
Republican for U. S. Senator
Suite 4406, 30 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-4723
Toll-free tel. (866) 706-2639
Toll-free fax (866) 707-2639
Web site: http://www.AndyforUSSenator.com
E-mail: AndyforUSSenator@aol.com

October 17, 2007

Hanke Gratteau
Asst. managing Editor

Timothy McNulty
Public Editor

DEFAMATION (FALSE LIGHT) NOTICE
AND REQUEST FOR CORRECTION/RETRACTION

Dear Editors:

It seems that there is no end to which the Tribune and its staff will not go in order to defame and depreciate my campaign for the U. S. Senate.

Yesterday Rick Pearson, who is a defendant in a lawsuit I am prosecuting, posted something on “Clout Street” which somewhat grandiloquently stated that “GOP Brass” had endorsed my opponent.

In point of fact, two individuals had made individual endorsements; no organizational endorsement has been made by any Republican Party organization. The brief report ended with Mr. Pearson’s standard tag line that “perennial candidate” Andy Martin was also in the race.

Pearson’s original story was rewritten for today’s print edition to make a demonstrably false claim: “GOP backs Western Springs doctor…”

The “GOP” has backed no one to oppose Senator Durbin. My name was omitted from the Tribune’s print edition; this was the second time my name appeared online and was then redacted from the print edition.

There is apparently some ban on the use of my name in the print edition.

So far as I am aware no “GOP” entity has backed anyone in the Senate race. Indeed, the Illinois Republican Party has been quite expansive in guarding use of the name “Republican,” even to the extent of triggering lawsuits over the use of the name Republican. For the Tribune to suggest that the “Republican Party” (“GOP”) has endorsed someone in my race is blatantly false and misleading.

I don’t expect the Tribune to be fair or balanced where I am concerned (as my Amended Complaint on file in circuit court makes clear) but you go a step too far when you publish fraudulent headlines making false claims with no foundation in fact.

While it is a closer issue, Pearson’s other claims also skirt perilously close to the line as well. While Mr. McKenna is “state chairman,” so far as I am aware he is only one vote on a large committee. Indeed, because of the fractured nature of the Illinois GOP, some people would believe that Mr. McKenna’s “support” could be as much of a liability as an asset. It is clear, however, that the State Committee has taken no action.

Moreover, federal law limits the state party from making any large financial commitment in a federal election, so Mr. McKenna’s individual support—apparently not backed by any serious financial support—is mostly hot air.

Likewise, the chairman of the county chairmen’s association has no power and no authority to impose any support other than his own individual action. To take the actions of two discrete individuals and to impute or attribute them to the action of either “top leaders” or the entire “GOP” is grossly misleading and places my campaign in a false light.

The First Amendment protects the Tribune’s choice of a biased reporter to report in my campaigns. The First Amendment does not insulate false reporting or “false light” defamation when deliberately and repeatedly and intentionally engaged in by a Tribune writer as part his continuing pattern of malicious activity. I am attaching to this letter a copy of my pending lawsuit for your information.

I would respectfully request that (i) you publish a retraction, indicating your headline was false and misleading, and that the “GOP” has not “backed” anyone in my race and that (ii) also report I am an active candidate whose campaign to date has engendered much more visible support than my opponent’s, to remove the taint of the prior “false light” claims.

This week my opponent was struggling for signatures to meet the statutory maximum. My campaign had thousands of excess signatures last month. Signature gathering is a good test of a campaign’s effectiveness. On that basis, I am far ahead. Just as a suggestion, you need to assign reporters who can put aside their personal biases and problems, and who can report accurately and fairly on political matters.

The Associated Press and its writers and editors have also aided and abetted the Tribune in disseminating false news. This notice is also being sent to them.

If you wonder why print media are declining in influence, and why readers have lost faith in so-called “mainstream media,” it is because of the biased and inaccurate reporting that is routinely tolerated.

If you will permit me to close with my own personal conspiracy theory, I believe Mr. Pearson and the Tribune are promoting the weakest candidate in the Republican senate primary. The Tribune’s bloated coverage of Dick Durbin, including Durbin’s large picture in a toy store and editorial support for his plan to pack the U. S. Army with illegal immigrants, reflects a complete abdication of impartiality in your paper’s overall political coverage. The Tribune obviously wants Durbin reelected. That’s why Mr. Pearson and your editors are desperately trying to defeat my campaign for the Republican nomination. I am the only serious and the only qualified candidate to stand in opposition to Dick Durbin.

Sincerely yours,

ANDY MARTIN

AM:sp

cc: Hon. Stuart Palmer, Circuit Judge
James Klenk, Esq. via fax (312) 876-7934
David Sanders, Esq. via fax (312) 840-8713

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