Chicano Tribune faces lawsuit over “obsessed” employee

Internet Powerhouse Andy Martin says a Chicago Tribune reporter, Rick Pearson, has a dangerous obsession with Martin. If Tribune management fails to take corrective action Martin plans to file a lawsuit against the bankrupt news organization. Martin does not know the source of Pearson’s obsession.

Republican for U. S. Senator/2010
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July 20, 2009

Mr. Gerald W. Kern, Editor
Jane Hirt, Managing Editor
Chicago Tribune
435 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

[with courtesy copy to:
Tribune Editorial Board
via Bruce Dold]


Dear Mr. Kern and
Ms. Hirt:

Another election season is upon us and, it seems, another season of lies and distortions and professional malpractice by your employee “Rick Pearson.” Mr. Pearson is currently the topic of two active lawsuits, and this letter is notice that if we cannot expeditiously resolve the question of Mr. Pearson’s misconduct, we will be compelled to file a third lawsuit for defamation, false light and disparagement.

I have sent a courtesy copy of this letter to the editorial board as well, although I realize they have no immediate role in supervising Mr. Pearson’s misbehavior. [The Tribune’s editorial writers may want to author an editorial condemning biased and unbalanced Tribune news coverage.]

Six years ago, when I was in Jerusalem, I became aware of Mr. Pearson’s obsession with me. Six years later I have no idea why Pearson is obsessed with me.

Individuals such as Pearson who develop spontaneous obsessions are a serious mental health problem in our society. I only know that any reasonable juror would find Pearson is obsessed to the point of irrational behavior.

There is an obvious difference between fact and opinion in any newspaper report.

Earlier today we saw another example of how Mr. Pearson’s mental condition affects the performance of his duties at the Tribune. Mark Kirk announced for the 2010 primary. I have been campaigning actively for the same senate nomination. After reporting on Mr. Kirk’s belated entry, Mr. Pearson went on to distort the facts of the primary election.

Mounting a statewide campaign is a major enterprise. Mr. Kirk has never run statewide; I have run two credible campaigns. I have proven that I can campaign.

Although Mr. Pearson does not consider me “major opposition, [an obvious opinion]” I enjoy a national reputation for political action. I have been featured on national television, as well as on the front page of the New York Times, as a serious practitioner—liberals would say a lethal practitioner— of Internet politics.

Barack Obama paid me the ultimate compliment during the last campaign when he had his news secretary attack on me on national television, because I was costing Obama votes. It’s hard to square candidate Obama’s finding me to be a major problem with my not posing at least as much of a threat to Kirkie.

For Mr. Pearson to pretend that someone with a national reputation is not a “major” candidate is bizarre. You should be embarrassed by his behavior. Pearson apparently has a rather low bar for what constitutes a “mentionable” candidate because he mentions someone who has never run statewide, and who is unknown to the political arena in Illinois. Pearson says, “Among Republicans who have expressed an interest…no major opposition…Don Lowery of Dixon Springs…” So, presumably, in Pearson’s “factual” report, I rank below someone who has never run and whom no one has ever heard about.

Likewise, Pearson also mentions a former Blagojevich employee, Cheryle Jackson, as a bona fide senate candidate. One would doubt that anyone linked directly to Blagojevich would rank higher than me on the viability/mentionability totem pole.

Mr. Pearson has a right to his opinions. He does not have a right to his own set of imaginary facts. The Tribune has detailed corporate policies as to how opinions and facts should be separated. Mr. Pearson ignores those strictures. Ultimately, Pearson is not embarrassing me. He is embarrassing every professional journalist at the Tribune.

Based on the foregoing facts, to mention Mr. Lowery and Ms. Jackson and to censor my name and my national reputation, is to present an objectively false and misleading “news” report. Given the prior pending litigation, Pearson’s behavior manifests willful disregard of the facts and constitutes legal malice.

There are two ways to handle this matter. First, if you want to litigate Mr. Pearson’s abuses and professional malpractice, again, I respect your right to do so. The Tribune’s law firms are only too happy to take your money.

Alternatively, if you would like to resolve this matter in a reasonable, professional and cordial manner, I would formally/legally request that (i) you run a correction and retraction of Mr. Pearson’s report which is currently on your web site, and will no doubt appear in print; and (ii) you reassign Mr. Pearson to campaigns other than the U. S. Senate race so we do not have to confront the chronic situation of Mr. Pearson’s mental problems interfering with his reporting.

No responsible newspaper should have a reporter assigned to a story when that reporter cannot get the facts straight, and when the reporter persists in malignantly misleading the newspaper’s audience about the truth. Pearson is abusing your audience.

A Tribune reporter does not have to like me, or to approve of my views, to report accurately on my political activity. In the last two election cycles, Pearson also recruited other reporters, Dave Mendell and John Chase, to act as fronts for his malicious writing.

The 2010 primary is going to be an exciting race; it is going to attract national attention. Why won’t the Tribune cover the election fairly and objectively?

Mr. Kirk and I are going to battle down to the wire. He may be the favorite, but for the reasons I have posted on my blogs over the past two days he is vulnerable to a challenge. Win or lose the primary, we are going to kill Kirkie off in the primary as a contender for November, 2010. Kirk is nothing more than a Washington-based “Manchurian Candidate” who misuses Illinois Republicans.

We aim to attack relentlessly, and to defeat Kirkie. If we don’t succeed, it won’t be for lack of trying. As national media have recognized, I am a significant force in Internet politics and can present formidable opposition.

In addition, Kirk has a serious “Jack Ryan” problem. The Tribune knows something about Jack Ryan problems because your newspaper outed Ryan in 2004.

Ultimately, it is a pity that you allow Mr. Pearson to impose his emotional problems on the readers of the Tribune, and deny Tribune readers fair and objective coverage of an exciting contest.

I am ready to litigate, or to resolve matters in a reasonable manner, depending on your views as to how you would like go forward. Please let me know how you wish to proceed.

Sincere yours,



Tribune story follows:

Originally posted: July 20, 2009
Kirk announces Republican bid for Obama’s Senate seat
Posted by Rick Pearson at 10:56 a.m.KENILWORTH—Five-term North Shore Rep. Mark Kirk formally announced his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate today, billing himself as an independent who wants to lead others who are “not afraid to stand alone” against the corruption that has infiltrated Illinois politics.Standing in front of his late father’s north suburban home, Kirk said his record as a moderate on social issues shows he is “not an ideologue or party partisan.” “In recent years, Illinois fell into misrule, first by a corrupt Republican and then an even more corrupt Democrat,” Kirk said, citing imprisoned former GOP Gov. George Ryan and ousted former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is facing trial on federal corruption charges. “These tragedies were followed by the appointment of Roland Burris to represent the 12 million citizens of Illinois in the United States Senate,” he said. “But the coming election offers an opportunity to correct our course and set a very high standard for our state and her citizens.” Kirk’s announcement follows months of indecision, as he pondered a Senate bid or a potential run for governor while awaiting a move by Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, regarded as one of the state’s most formidable Democrats. Madigan recently announced she would seek re-election next year. Burris, the Democrat appointed to the Senate seat by Blagojevich three weeks after the former governor’s arrest, was hobbled by money problems and chose not to seek election.Kirk and other speakers were buffeted by a group of protesters who said they favored health-care reform. Kirk supporters engaged in a shouting match with some of the protesters, and Kirk said “those are the left-wing guys.”Despite his election successes in the 10th Congressional District, where he has been able to withstand Democratic challenges, Kirk’s free-agent voting to reflect his district has caused problems with some conservatives. Most recently, Kirk’s vote to support President Barack Obama’s cap-and-trade legislation on carbon emissions, which opponents contend will dramatically raise energy costs, has earned the congressman the enmity of some conservative groups.Yet Kirk has been regarded as the top choice by national Republicans, who believe the Blagojevich-Burris fiasco has wounded Democrats in the state and could give the GOP an opening to regain a statewide office. Kirk listed as endorsers Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who heads the Republican National Senatorial Committee, as well as GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and John Kyl of Arizona, the two leading Republicans in the Senate. He also listed Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sam Brownback of Kansas.Locally, Kirk said has the endorsement of former Republican Govs. Jim Edgar and Jim Thompson, as well as the top two GOP leaders of the state legislature, and from two state senators—Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and Matt Murphy of Palatine—who are running for the Republican nomination for governor.Among Republicans who have expressed an interest in the Senate, Kirk so far has no major opposition. Don Lowery of Dixon Springs, a retired Downstate judge, recently announced his candidacy for the nomination. But Kirk, 49, a member of the Naval Reserve and a traditionally strong political fundraiser, also has to broaden his name recognition statewide while trying to bring disaffected conservatives to his candidacy. Democrats, however, are expected to put up a serious fight for the Senate seat that Obama previously held until his election as president.Though Madigan rejected entreaties by Obama and other top White House aides to make the race, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, a close ally of the president, is expected to run for the Democratic nomination and has raised more than $1 million. Other Democrats considering a run include Cheryle Jackson, head of the Chicago Urban League and a former Blagojevich spokeswoman, and Chris Kennedy, head of the Merchandise Mart and a son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.


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