Monday, July 10, 2006

Berkowitz lets one slip away


There are few journalists who have advanced public discourse more in Illinois in recent years than Jeff Berkowitz.

Jeff (above right) takes his video camera to news events and asks tough questions of newsmakers. Then he invites them on his weekly cable TV show for one-on-one interviews where the newsmaker better come prepared to answer tough questions and better know policy because Berkowitz sure does.

He posts the interviews here. His blog is here.

This evening, I watched Berkowitz' videocast interview of Blagojevich's Deputy Governor, Bradley Tusk (above left), and came away disappointed. The 30-minute interview focused on budget and education policy. Tusk predictably portrayed the administration as being innovative and fiscally prudent and Berkowitz poked holes in some of Tusk's dubious assertions.

Maybe Berkowitz just ran out of time, or, the interview was arranged with topic restrictions. I couldn't believe that I didn't hear a question about how the administration has managed to attract nine separate state and federal corruption investigations when it pledged to clean up state government. And, I wanted to hear Tusk's response to the stunning series of audits
by the Illinois Auditor General that in essence painted a picture of incompetence, mismanagement and corruption unprecedented even in Illinois.

Those issues dwarf all other with this governor. With U.S. Patrick Fitzgerald apparently on the verge of corruption indictments, does it really matter what Rod and Brad say about how much the state lottery will fetch in a sale?

And nice try, Brad, on the spin that Republicans don't have any new ideas. It's not a new idea to sell everything off, borrow money, rob pensions, and fail to pay bills. That's the oldest idea in the book.

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