Arlington Heights-based Paddock Publications, parent company of the Daily Herald newspaper, announced Sept. 22 that it was backing out of a deal to print materials for Local Government Information Services (LGIS) after Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker refused to participate in a community forum sponsored by the Herald.
Crain's Chicago Business first reporting the development involving Paddock.
LGIS, which has been affiliated with conservative activist Dan Proft, sponsored the publication of numerous newspapers distributed throughout Chicago and the rest of Illinois; many of have been criticized for inflammatory rhetoric. The newspapers have seemingly been tailored for their communities and neighborhoods, touching on seemingly hot-button issues for the area in question. Windy City Times previously reported that papers published in Chicago and Lake County contained anti-trans and anti-gay rhetoric.
Pritzker's re-election campaign called out Paddock early on Sept. 22 after weeks in vocal opposition to the publications; he has linked them to his GOP opponent in the contest for the governor's seat, Darren Bailey. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also denounced the LGIS newspapers as racist, insisting that her skin had been darkened in a photo appearing in them.
Shaw Local News Network first reported Sept. 17 that LGIS was using Paddock's postal permit. Daily Herald Publisher Doug Ray told Capital Fax Sept. 20 that Paddock's commercial printing operation is entirely separate from the Daily Herald.
Pritzker's campaign said the governor would not be partaking in any Daily Herald-sponsored campaign forum until Paddock officials disclosed the extent of their involvement with the LGIS publications. According to a statement, "These mailers are specifically designed to mislead readers into thinking they are legitimate journalism when in reality they are unlabeled ads attacking political candidates. Many residents who've received these pink slime reports shared that they never subscribed to LGIS and had no interest in receiving them in the first place.
"These fake newspapers represent an existential threat to quality, independent journalismmaking it all the more unfathomable Paddock would cast its journalistic responsibility aside in the name of profit."
In a letter to their readers, Paddock officials did not back down from their assertion that its editorial staff was completely separate from its publishing arm, but acknowledged the difficulty of ending up in the crosshairs of political squabbling.
"The perception for some has become that the Daily Herald favors one party over another and by printing for LGIS, it's somehow promoting its message," said the letter. "That is not true. Still, we understand that perception matters. And we want to move forward and extract ourselves from this politically charged environment. As a result, Paddock Publications has made the decision to cancel commercial printing jobs with LGIS. As an independent newspaper publisher, we want no part of the flame-throwing accusations taking place between Gov. J.B. Pritzker and LGIS. Many critics cannot or refuse to differentiate between a commercial printing operation, for which the parent company Paddock Publications has many customers, and the Daily Herald's editorial mission to be unbiased and fair."
Shaw Local News Network's discussion of the LGIS mailers is at www.shawlocal.com/news/state/2022/09/17/publications-with-look-of-newspapers-containing-politically-charged-articles-being-mailed-out-across-state/ .
Capital Fax's look at the LGIS-Paddock connection is at https://capitolfax.com/2022/09/20/report-proft-papers-using-daily-heralds-postage-permit/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter.
Crain's Chicago Business' report on the Paddock response is at https://www.chicagobusiness.com/politics/pritzker-cancels-daily-herald-forum-over-fake-newspaper-flap?.utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_term=crainschicago&utm_content=48e6ccb3-239a-4496-9b1d-0655cf6b121c.
Paddock's letter is at https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20220922/the-daily-herald-and-journalistic-integrity.
Windy City Times' report on the anti-LGBTQ+ LGIS publications is at windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Anti-LGBTQ-newspapers-reach-area-households/74008.html .