Chicago Sun-Times Charges Joe Walsh With Evading Child Support, Doesn’t Contact Him Before Publishing

One of the things that self-described “mainstream” reporters like to tout about themselves is that they do not publish stories without trying to talk to the people discussed in them.

Apparently those rules do not apply at the Chicago Sun-Times when the subject of a hit piece is former Republican congressman Joe Walsh. The paper on Monday posted a story attacking him but did not give him a chance to respond to the allegation before it ran with the piece.

Needless to say, Walsh was irate at this, especially because the story was untrue.

“This article by the Sun-Times is a deliberate attempt to defame me, and I will sue them immediately,” Walsh said in a statement on his website. “My adult children have been my life. I pledged to them two years ago that I would fight these charges privately to keep them out of the news, but with the Chicago Sun Times fabricating a story, I am, at long last, going to fight back.”

The story is completely false, according to Walsh but the paper printed it anyway. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

After insisting he wasn’t a “deadbeat dad” throughout his failed campaign for re-election, ex-U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh is still dogged by questions about child support.

Walsh, a flame-throwing Tea Party Republican who was trying to land a radio deal and last week announced he was forming a new conservative SuperPAC, filed court papers seeking to end his obligation to pay $2,134 per month in child support.

But once again, Walsh insists he’s no deadbeat.

Both he and his attorney say that since he is no longer employed as a congressman, they want to “modify” the previous agreement so that he pays 20 percent of his current salary.

That is completely not the case, according to a statement Walsh posted on his website:

Here are the facts: My three kids are 25, 22, and 18-years-old. My youngest son will be emancipated in May of this year when he graduates from high school. Two weeks ago, I did what every other father who is paying child support is supposed to do — by law — when their employment situation changes — I modified my support agreement. With my Congressional term ending on January 3, and with my ex-wife having been paid in full through my term in Congress, by law, I filed a modification of my support payments for my remaining unemancipated child for these next four months. This modification called for me to pay my ex-wife 20% of my net income during these four months, which is my responsibility by law.

This is what the law requires me to do, and I’ve met that obligation. I’ve only been out of Congress for a month, and I expect to be employed again very soon. Regardless, I will continue with my child support payments by law until my son Patrick is emancipated.

This action was not done surreptitiously or with any malice towards my ex-wife. I did exactly what the law required me to do. Nothing was covered-up. Nothing was hidden.

Earlier this afternoon, Natasha Korecki of the Chicago Sun-Times, wrote a story about me and my child support arrangement, without bothering to speak to me or to my attorney. The story stated and implied that I did not want to make child support payments and was behind on payments. Both statements are false.

On his site, Walsh posted screenshots demonstrating that Korecki attempted to contact him for his response to the allegation at the exact same minute that her story went live on the Sun-Times website.

Listen up, bloggers. This is how good journalism is done.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013