Illinois Leaks Points to Examples of Fake News in Northwest Herald

Illinois Leaks, the publication from Edgar County Watchdogs covers more news about Algonquin Township than the Northwest Herald.

This article, which started with a comment by Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser under the NWH’s article on last week’s Township Board meeting, is published with permission below:

Northwest Herald Editor takes to Facebook to refute claims of being Fake News -Let the comedy hour begin!

McHenry Co. (ECWd) –John Styf, Editor of the Northwest Harold took to the Cary Grove Politics Facebook page in what appears to be an attempt to school the Algonquin Township Road Commissioner on journalism and fake news after he posted a statement pertaining to an article the paper ran found here.Andrew Gasser, Algonquin Township Road Commissioner posted the comment below along with a logo he has created mocking the Northwest Harald as Fake news.

“Never once in my prepared remarks did I refer to the Algonquin Township Highway Department as ‘my office’.

“I did say ‘my speech’ and ‘Highway Commissioner’ but never once did it call it ‘my office’.

“It is not my office but the peoples. I am simply blessed to occupy it for a while.

“Go listen to what I said.

“This the problem with the greedy McHenry County political class.

“They think they own everything once elected.

“More #FakeNews from Ed, Hannah, and the northworst herald.

“Simple little things like this ruin journalism.

The Editor Responded to Gasser’s post:

Jon Styf  –Andrew Gasser 

You seem to be misunderstanding a direct quote and a paraphrase.

Direct quotes have quotes around them, paraphrases do not.

This headline paraphrases what you said about the office you hold.

You spoke on that office, which is highway commissioner.

The direct quote, here, is this: “I ask that you approve the proposed resolution to abolish the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner and bring it under the auspices of the township supervisor and the board,” Gasser said.

“There’s no need for mudslinging, placing blame or political paybacks; this is all about good, honest, open and transparent government.”

If you have any other journalism-related questions, feel free to ask.

My number is 815-526-4630. We’re happy to help you be informed on that. You also seem to be misinformed on “fake news” after someone attempted to co-opt the term.

It refers to lies and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform, particularly on Facebook, where people shared completely false stories heading into the past general election.

This is not that at all.

This is coverage of a local meeting with accurate direct quotes.

You might not always like what it says, but that does not make it “fake news.”

Has Mr. Styf provided the needed information to point to Fake News by his reporter Ed Komenda?

Fake News – “It refers to lies and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform”

Using his definition of Fake News we must ask, does Komenda’s story found at this link meet his definition of fake news or has he provided himself selective cover by keywords such as “and”, and “complete”?

Reporter Ed Komenda confers with photographer Gregory Shaver after the July meeting of the Algonquin Township Board meeting.

As he defined it, fake news must be both a lie and complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform.

So in short, a story with a lie is not fake news because his definition combines lies with the word “and” as a second qualifier, which points to complete fictitious stories meant to get a reaction or misinform.

So using his definition, even a story published that has lies and fictitious information, as long as the “complete” story is not fictitious, it’s not fake news.  LOL

Lie?  – “Between Feb. 28, 2017, and May 15, 2017, a group of Algonquin Township Highway Department employees spotted a red Rabine Group vehicle driving roads, stopping and surveying at certain intersections.”  

Our article on this subject proved the information quoted by his reporter could not be true based on the documents, which we published.

The timeline was a fabricated timeline and considering the narrative of the entire story was predicated on a false timeline, would that mean the story was fictitious?

[This Illinois Leaks article is a stunning take-down of the Northwest Herald reporting on when Rabine did what.]

Misinform? –The article the NWH published regarding the reason for the Road District unionizing was filled with misinformation.  As we said in our article on the subject, they should print a retraction and apology for such a blatant disregard for the facts.

PolitiFact: “Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.”

Merriam Webster– Fake news is, quite simply, news (“material reported in a newspaper or news periodical or on a newscast”) that is fake (“false, counterfeit”).

Many papers walk a fine line by printing enough truth as to avoid being called fake news, yet still fill them with enough lies or unverified quotes and misinformation they end up destroying their credibility and misinforming the public. Such appears to be the case with the Komenda story referenced in this article.

How about this article by the same reporter on the subject of township road district abolishment?

Headline – “Algonquin Township trustees to consider pushing road district consolidation referendum”

Nope!  Fake News. 

There was no consolidation issue being pushed at all.  What was being pushed was the abolishment of the Road District.  All this reporter had to do was read the statutes to understand this had nothing to do with consolidation.  The title was not true and mislead the public in our opinion.

“Algonquin Township officials will vote Wednesday night on a question that has drummed up controversy in McHenry County: Should voters have the chance to consolidate the highway department?”

Nope!  Fake News!

There was nothing on the agenda about consolidation.  I wonder if the reporter could tell us who the highway department was consolidating with?

“The move also follows letters and phone calls from McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks pressuring the township to put a referendum on the November election ballot allowing residents to eliminate the road district with a majority vote.”

There it is!

An element of truth.

In that paragraph it points to eliminating the road district, which is in fact abolishment, not consolidation.

That being the case, how did he get it so wrong with all the other claims of it being a consolidation effort?

Was that by design?

Was it to misinform?

“In effect Jan. 1, the law allows township trustees to ask voters whether they want the road district abolished and its responsibilities given to the township.”

Once again, he points to abolishment yet the title of the article misleads the public as he knows it is not about consolidation with two paragraphs both pointing to abolishment.

“The responsibilities of the highway commissioner would transfer to the township supervisor in 2021”

Nope!  Fake News!

From the law: – “On that date, all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities of the road district shall by operation of law vest in and be assumed by the township……. Thereafter, the township shall exercise all duties and responsibilities of the highway commissioner as provided in the Illinois Highway Code.”

Nothing in the law points to the Highway Commissioners duties transferring to the Township Supervisor as was reported. The reporting provided false and misleading information and the Editors allowed it to get published without verifying it with the law. Such misinformation becomes problematic as voters may not want the Supervisor to have such powers and they would vote based on the misinformation.

Additionally, Komenda reports conflicting information. Are the responsibilities given to the Township as stated in one paragraph or are they transferred to the Township Supervisor as stated in another?  Cant have it both ways.

The Editor suggests people contact him if they have any “journalism-related questions”.

May I suggest people review the Principals of Journalism and the nine core principals prior to calling to share your journalism-related questions?










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Illinois Leaks Points to Examples of Fake News in Northwest Herald — 15 Comments

  1. Journobaby Styf restates NWH ethos, that there’s nothing more powerful than a fact free opinion.

  2. Kirk can’t even spell correctly; how’s that for ‘fake news.”

  3. LOL Honest. I wad just watching Stefan Molyneux expound on that article. Good stuff!

  4. Even funnier is how I ran across that S.M. name again (of course spelled incorrectly) in this article. This is exactly the whole mindset I have been trying to convey all these years (admittedly for less than the forty-five years this champion claimed).

    Subverted Amerika Spurns Patriots Like Alan Stang

  5. @Cindy – Stefan is the best !
    But he should watch out for himself as Canada has become very Socialist and YouTube,
    well Stefan can tell you all abut them..

  6. Meanwhile, Mactucky’s Forensic Document Examiner Rodeo, explains we should end our sentences in semicolons and our questions with periods.

    Maybe you should sit this one out.

  7. Bob Shaw was even more dishonest than the current group.

    Gutless, too

  8. It’s a shame that our local newspaper can’t be trusted, but it can’t.

  9. Based on the “Principles of Journalism,” how has the FarLeft Herald matched up?

    JOURNALISM’S FIRST OBLIGATION IS TO THE TRUTH D- (a selective application doesn’t cut it and is no better than a cover for lies and distortions)
    ITS FIRST LOYALTY IS TO CITIZENS D (once again, a selective approach doesn’t cut it – the FL Herald can’t be loyal to those citizens who agree with the political agenda [chew on that for a minute or two] while abandoning those who don’t)
    ITS ESSENCE IS DISCIPLINE OF VERIFICATION C- (clearly, verification failed in this instance. And, what good is verification if it’s done selectively?)
    ITS PRACTITIONERS MUST MAINTAIN AN INDEPENDENCE FROM THOSE THEY COVER F (the relationship between the FL Herald and Jack Franks isn’t just too cozy; the Herald is actively supporting Franks to the point where the Herald is in Franks’ back pocket)
    IT MUST SERVE AS AN INDEPENDENT MONITOR OF POWER F (Obviously, the FL Herald can’t claim independence in this category while carrying water for Franks and consistently attacking his opponents)
    IT MUST PROVIDE A FORUM FOR PUBLIC CRITICISM AND COMPROMISE D (writing from personal experience, the FL Herald has failed this test, too. The defense used when refusing to run my response to an attack article earlier this year was an example of defending the indefensible rather than defending journalistic standards)
    IT MUST STRIVE TO MAKE THE SIGNIFICANT INTERESTING AND RELEVANT D+ (once again, a selective approach doesn’t work – it violates the essence of this principle when it is not applied evenly)
    IT MUST KEEP THE NEWS COMPREHENSIVE AND PROPORTIONAL D (requires an even-handed approach that is absent here)
    ITS PRACTITIONERS MUST BE ALLOWED TO EXERCISE THEIR PERSONAL CONSCIENCE F (the FL Herald fails this test as they have clearly not allowed conservatives to exercise their personal conscience to the same degree that the Herald enthusiastically defends the Left’s exercise of personal conscience)

  10. Wow, Richard! Thanks. NitEits Herald doesn’t comply with any of these journalistic qualities.

    Rodeo, you’re a punctuational disaster and therefore your complaint is a laugh. Too bad, youre NOT smarter than a 5th grader and as usual, you just made a fool of yourself. You will now be referred to as ‘Punky.’

  11. God, no one can whine like McHenry County conservatives. “Fake News” is anything you don’t like. A “farleft” paper is anything you don’t like. 100+ years of Republicans running this county and they still cry like they had to peel a truckload of onions about EVERYTHING.

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