Our View: Emanuel should end TV spin game
SouthtownStar editorial September 25, 2012 9:10PM
Updated: October 27, 2012 6:17AM
Whatever the final verdict on winners and losers in the Chicago Public Schools teachers strike, we wish an end to one particularly tawdry spin campaign.
Spare us from any more cynical TV advertising financed by external lobbyists. The strike is over. Let it be, and let’s move on.
If the Chicago Teachers Union wishes to waste money on TV commercials to make its case, that’s its business because it’s the union’s, i.e., the teachers’, money. After the first day or so after reaching the tentative deal, the union left the airwaves.
But Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not. He went on television to deliver a gloating message about how the children of Chicago, and by extension him, won the showdown.
This million-dollar TV ad campaign is only making things worse between him and the teachers prior to the Oct. 2 ratification vote on the tentative contract. A top CTU official on Tuesday described Emanuel’s TV spots as “saber rattling” and called for a “truce of peace.”
The ad campaign is being paid for by Education Reform Now, a group that supports charter schools and has battled teachers unions across the country. It lobbied against the CTU even before the strike.
Having outside lobbyists pay for TV ads feels a lot like superPAC buy-the-election shenanigans, and it only reinforces the manipulative ugliness over Chicago’s public school system that led to the strike and used the schoolchildren as pawns.
Emanuel and his hand-picked school board theoretically represented the people of Chicago in the teacher contract negotiations, but his egotistical “I won” routine makes it hard to decipher whom he’s representing beyond himself. By the way, many members of the CTU are Chicago citizens, too.
Emanuel is a smart and successful politician who inherited a school system struggling severely, both academically and financially. He will need much help and creativity in trying to solve its problems.
He will help himself if he finds the generous statesmanship that so far has escaped him.