Oberweis exposes Lauren Underwood’s lack of complete honesty, fact many have overlooked including PolitiFact / Better Government Association
Last Sunday (10/11), the Chicago Sun-Times published an article written by Kiannah Sepeda-Miller, who writes for PolitiFact and the Better Government Association (BGA) saying it gave a “fact check” of 14th congressional district Republican challenger Jim Oberweis TV commercial “Beautiful Protests”.
The ad, released on September 18, is thus far the only TV commercial for the fall campaign Oberweis has released. Commenters on McHenry County Blog rated the ad as very effective.
But PolitiFact/BGA rated the ad “False” last Sunday stating Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D, IL-14) did not say rioting was beautiful.
While McHenry County Blog would not rate the ad as “True”, it’s questionable to call it “False”, given how Underwood brought the claim against her on herself through her own lies.
Some context is in order. PolitiFact/BGA has six “ratings” when their staff performs a “fact check”. They are below and are self-explanatory, from best to worst:
- “True” – the content is 100% accurate
- “Mostly True”
- “Half True”
- “Mostly False”
- “Pants on Fire”
Given this context, the rating against Oberweis’ ad against Underwood was not the lowest rating PolitiFact/BGA gives.
Now McHenry County Blog does not condone any form of lying in anything, so when Underwood was asked about rioting and looting at the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board interview on September 3, here is the full context per the PolitiFact article from October 11.
While reading, please remember the Sun-Times editorial interview was September 3 and Oberweis’ ad hit the airwaves September 18:
About 20 minutes into the candidates’ joint appearance, the paper’s editorial page editor Tom McNamee asks Underwood twice to address several arguments Oberweis had raised, including the senator’s charge that she has not condemned “rioting and looting.”
“He says you once called him a racist, and he says you have failed to condemn rioting,” McNamee says in the video, to which Underwood responds by explaining she believes ads Oberweis has run during his political career “walk that line that I would call racist.”
When Underwood turns to the second part of McNamee’s question, saying, “I also, with respect to rioting and looting, I think that we have seen many instances of beautiful protests this summer as people have stood up for this cause of justice and equality.”
After that, Underwood makes a reference to Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old from her congressional district charged with killing two people and injuring a third in an attack on demonstrators in Kenosha following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“I don’t think that that kind of violence has any place in our community and certainly in a way to intimidate or disrupt peaceful protest,” Underwood of Naperville says in the Sun-Times video.PolitiFact, October 11 article rating Oberweis claim “False”, emphasis added
What Underwood did, with the “…respect to rioting and looting…” dovetail is a form of deflection, which is a form of lying. Underwood, instead of answering the question directly, deflected away from the actual question and cited, in full context “beautiful protests”, or genuinely peaceful protests like was seen at Crystal Lake City Hall over the summer.
Her deflection was a partial change-of-subject.
But Underwood makes it worse with her reference, not by name, to Antioch’s Kyle Rittenhouse and the Kenosha shootings. She kept the violence reference to Rittenhouse’s alleged actions and inferred Rittenhouse was trying to “intimidate or disrupt peaceful protest.”
That is another Underwood lie, and while she can be given the benefit of the doubt she had not seen Rittenhouse’s attorney’s statement from August 28 explaining Rittenhouse’s actions, there was no “peaceful protest” taking place on the streets of Kenosha, WI the night of August 25 when the shootings took place.
So borne out of Underwood’s own lies at the September 3 Sun-Times interview, as political consultant (with a lifetime 85% win ratio), author and blogger Jeff N. Ward of Geneva explained in a column this week:
“Then, the only thing worse than embracing a bad message is creating the kind of messaging vacuum that allows your opponent to define you! And that came [in] the form of Underwood’s refusal to condemn looting and rioting in her Sun-Times endorsement interview.
“That misstep opened the door to an incredibly effective Oberweis TV ad that’s gonna be quite difficult to come back from. Really? Refusing to condemn rioting and looting is just like saying some white supremacists ‘are very fine people.’ I had no idea there was such a large rioting and looting constituency!
“I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thinking Oberweis will finally go to Congress…”Jeff N. Ward, “Campaign Lesson #6 – Messaging is paramount!”, The First Ward, 10/14/20
Predicting Oberweis might win against Underwood is a real switch for Ward. After Oberweis won the nomination with a plurality of 26% of the primary vote in March, Ward predicted Underwood would win by at least 10 percentage points in November.
Since PolitiFact used the joint Daily Herald / Shaw Media editorial endorsement interview a week later as part of its “fact check”, McHenry County Blog can use what Underwood said in her congressional office’s press release about Kenosha violence on August 27:
“That a 17-year-old from our community would have an assault weapon, travel to Kenosha, and allegedly commit grave violence toward protesters is an unspeakably horrific symptom of the toxic hate and division that permeate our country right now.
“This instance is painfully close to home, and it is not reflective of the values we hold dear in northern Illinois: that weapons of war, racism, and hate have no place in our communities, and we should never seek to solve problems through violence.”Lauren Underwood, statement on Shootings in Kenosha, 8/27/20
Again, any “protestors” on the streets of Kenosha that night were in violation of curfew, and while it may not have been known fully on August 27, Rittenhouse allegedly shot 3 men whom by all indications on available video (and more released since) meant to do him bodily harm including killing him. There was nothing racist or hateful with what Rittenhouse did, he was defending himself.
That’s not “peaceful protest” and Underwood knows this.
Finally, in the full context of Underwood’s half-hearted statement, saying “…we should never seek to solve problems through violence.”, prior to the Sun-Times editorial interview, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had released his “Be Not Afraid” TV commercial which clearly stated, in the first 13 seconds:
“I want to make it absolutely clear: rioting is not protesting. Looting is not protesting. It’s lawlessness, plain and simple. And those who do it, should be prosecuted!”
Later in the same ad, Biden goes on to say:
“Violence will not bring change.
“It will only bring destruction. It’s wrong in every way.”Joe Biden, “Be Not Afraid” Biden-Harris campaign ad 9/2/20
There is no doubt where Biden is on violence, rioting and looting, and is very clear, those who do violence, rioting and looting should be prosecuted. Unlike Underwood, who has taken violence/rioting/looting fomented by “white supremacists” and militia groups stance, Biden made no delineation that anyone, regardless of political leaning, who commits acts of violence should be prosecuted.
Someone all know whom Underwood looks up to is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12). On September 17, Pelosi took to the floor of the House and addressed her colleagues, which included the following:
“We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy. That does not include looting, starting fires or rioting. They should be prosecuted, that is lawlessness.
“I’m very proud that Joe Biden has presented the clarity of that, making a distinction that I don’t think our colleagues quite understand but the American people do…”House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking from the House floor, 9/17/20
We don’t agree with much Speaker Pelosi says, but Biden’s clarity on violence, rioting and looting verified from his September 2 released TV commercial. Had Underwood been equally clear throughout the summer and early September in condemning violence fully and whole-heartedly, she wouldn’t have found herself with a potential prospect of losing her seat to Oberweis over this issue.
So, after our own “fact check”, McHenry County Blog would give a rating of “Mostly True” to the “Beautiful Protests” TV commercial from the Oberweis campaign. And McHenry County Blog supports the Oberweis campaign’s statement to the Daily Herald yesterday saying the ad will stay up.
Finally and respectfully, anyone doing a “fact check” better make sure their fact-book has enough pages.