Sen. Jacobs disputes account of Rosa Parks story.
After learning of the negative reaction to the story in the Dispatch/Argus (which I quoted in an earlier post), it's reported that Sen. Jacobs went to Dispatch/Argus reporter Scott Reeder's office in Springfield and angrily chewed him out.
The Dispatch today responds with a transcript of only the portion of Jacobs' remarks which reference Rosa Parks. They offer no apology or opinion, and seem to be letting the reader be the judge as to whether Jacobs has grounds for feeling mistreated.
Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, took issue Friday with how a story in The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus reported comments he made comparing Rosa Parks' stand against inequality with his stand against House Speaker Michael Madigan on riverboat gambling.The Dispatch article from yesterday said,
"I was simply drawing an analogy," Sen. Jacobs said, between Ms. Parks' refusal in 1955 to give up her bus seat to "a person of power" and the fight against a bill recently passed by the House with Mr. Madigan's support that would ban riverboat gambling.
The comments came at a news conference Thursday in the capitol press room in Springfield. Here, from a radio station's audiotape, are the senator's recorded comments referencing Ms. Parks at the beginning of his remarks, at the end, and during a question-and-answer period:
-- "Rosa Parks was the mother of the civil rights movement, and she was one of the most important citizens of the 20th Century. Parks, a seamstress from Montgomery , Ala., refused to give up her seat to a person of power. Like Rosa, my community refuses to ride in the back of the bus."
-- "Like a determined Rosa Parks, I, and the members that surround me today, refuse to ride in the back of the bus. We will stand up and we will fight."
-- "The fact is that it is very difficult to stand up for yourself here (in the legislature). Not many people do it. I point out that I've been here six months. I'm standing up today telling the Illinois speaker that, yeah, you run the Illinois House, but you know what, you don't run the Illinois Senate. And, you know, I take great pride in someone like Rosa Parks who had courage to stand up for her convictions. Even if she felt she was wrong or right."
Ms. Parks died last week at age 92.
The audio feed included Sen. Jacobs' comments against any plan to remove riverboat gaming. He called the House measure "a wrong-headed bill that will drive 12 million riverboat patrons to other gaming areas," and he said the legislature should tackle "real problems" such as the budget deficit, the weak economy, children's health care and "our starving education system."
"In his quest to protect riverboat gambling in Illinois, Sen. Mike Jacobs has taken to comparing himself to civil rights icon Rosa Parks.and then went on to quote other's reaction to Jacobs' comments.
Jacobs said the comparison is fair.
He noted he has been a senator for only six months and is standing up to powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, much as Parks stood up for her beliefs."
Is that unfair? Did that distort what Jacobs said?
Jacobs says he was drawing an analogy, the Dispatch said he was making a comparison. Isn't that essentially the same thing?
You be the judge. I have my opinion, what's yours?