Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in WND’s planned series of one-on-one interviews with each candidate for the office of president. Today Chicago businessman John Cox raises the issue of how the mainstream media limits the public access to the ideas on the presidential campaign trail.
But he told WND in an exclusive question-and-answer session that he’s having difficulty getting past the gatekeepers in the mainstream media, which he believes determines the nation’s election candidates.
“I have a lot of things to say, and I have a record of business success as a chief executive. I’ve been very involved in my community. I’ve been very involved in the Republican Party,” he told WND. He’s traveled for 18 months in primary states, seeking to discover what people like about Washington, and what they want changed.
“But they’ve [media] just chosen to cover who they want to cover. … I think that’s the first issue that really the American people need to address is whether they’re willing to continue to just have celebrities and career politicians and political families like the Bushes and the Clintons as their representatives or are they going to reach out and get some people who have some substance from the business sector and from the real world to help out with the problems in Washington,” he said.
He’s for a Constitutional marriage amendment, as the son of a single mother believes life starts at conception, and wants the troops home from Iraq. He also would require prosecutors to enforce existing U.S. immigration law as a way to crack down on the flood of illegal aliens entering the nation, he said.
But those messages largely have been lost in trying to get his voice heard, he said.
“You wouldn’t think [a problem communicating] would exist today with the Internet, with 24/7 cable news, with the reach of talk radio, but it’s amazing to me that so much emanates from the major media, especially on the East Coast. The New York Times and the Washington Post really have such a great amount of power in terms of gatekeeping,” he said.
He told WND he’s been told by producers of national radio shows he can’t come on as a candidate because he’s not listed by the Times, or the Post.
It’s not as though he’s taken up the effort on a whim, either.
“I’m a businessman. I’m a person of some relative means. I’m not Bill Gates. I’m not Michael Bloomberg which may explain one reason why I’m not being included. I don’t have billions of dollars to buy the TV ads that those guys did or would. But I have a long record of community involvement. I’m on the board of the USO. I’ve been a school board president. I’ve been president of the Cook County Republican Party. It’s not like I came out of nowhere and I have absolutely no substance. And of course I’ve traveled all over the place. The Republican Party of South Carolina, New Hampshire and Iowa all have put me on their stages,” he said.
“This is a real problem for our future and for our democracy,” he warned, because just electing a recognized name isn’t going to meet the needs of the American public.
“The campaign debate ought to be about ideas, about issues. It ought not to be about name recognition and celebrity. The surest example of that is Fred Thompson. I mean, why are we talking about Fred Thompson as a challenge to this presidential race? It’s because he’s known. He’s on TV, and the movies. In the world’s most advanced nation which is what the U.S. is, we ought to be able to select our leader based upon the ideas and the experience, and the competence level, not upon how many people know his name or know his face.”
He said the campaign also should be based on the ability to get things done.
“We’ve had Bushes and Clintons for 20 years. We’re at another possible four to eight years of Clinton. That’s a tribute to the idea that the mainstream media dictates who our candidates are. It’s not based upon ideas, it’s not based upon actually achieving results, frankly in the last 20 years we haven’t had much in the way of results, and I think that’s why the American people are very cynical about their political leadership,” he said.
Cox attended the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Chicago Kent College of Law. Later he worked with Coopers and Lybrand, and then went into business for himself, running a law office, an accounting operation, an investment advisory company, a real estate management company and a venture capital firm.
It was his work that prompted an investment group to purchase Jays Foods, saving 600 jobs in the Chicago area, in the 1990s. His team turned a $17 million loss into a $3 million profit in less than a year.
He has authored, “Campaign for Prosperity and Renewal,” “A Blueprint for the Renewal and Rebirth of the Illinois Republican Party,” and a new book on the return of statesmanship to American politics, called “Politic$, Inc.”