WTTW may have to bring Jerry Springer in soon to moderate Chicago Tonight if this keeps up.
On Thursday night, things got a bit heated when Todd Stroger pushed back against Eddie Arruza, telling him he liked coming on the show but wasn’t going to defend everyone one of his Shakman-exempt patronage hires. (Why not? We’re paying their salaries.) Stroger also questioned the premises of Arruza’s questions – because, you know, no allegation every made against the county is true and you can’t believe everything you read and so on and so forth.
Stroger also said that public defender Ed Burnette’s charges against him were “an outright lie” (for what it’s worth, the Sun-Times editorial page backed Burnette today); that criticisms from commissioners Forrest Claypool and Mike Quigley are not true because “they don’t know . . . this is all politics . . . obviously the people who are saying these things don’t understand”; and that he has made “every change” requested by federal monitor Julia Nowicki.
Stroger might have thought he looked tough, but he really looked like a man-child with no potential for growth.
Arruza responded to one outburst by asking when Stroger would finally hire an HR director. Stroger wasn’t sure because that’s been outsourced to an executive search firm.
Another gem was Stroger’s contention that the threatened secession of Palatine was “not a political question.” Should we file it under Entertainment?
Stroger’s appearance came one night after he was invited to appear with Claypool and Quigley and somehow the phone messages from WTTW to Stroger’s office got, um, lost.
Stroger’s performance was one of several recent dramatic episodes. For example, Stroger spokesman Gene Mullins had a set-to last month with commissioner Larry Suffredin in which Suffredin at one point said “You make up numbers!”
And last Thursday, former state Sen. Carol Ronen squared off against Rep. John Fritchey over Governor Blagojevich, with CLTV’s Carlos Hernandez Gomez providing color commentary.
Give it a look, and tell me if you don’t feel the urge to yell “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”