UPDATE: The Scott Hollis Campaign stuffed a 2 sided flyer with more fake headlines into voters’ doors last night. Amazingly, the brazen distribution was done after the revelation that the headlines were all fake.
For the second time in this short campaign election season, newcomer Scott Hollis is coming under fire for distributing misleading literature that uses made up headlines for established newspapers such as the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Southtown and the Oak Lawn Reporter.
Our own Brian Schaeflein performed a search of all the archives of each publication and contacted each publication to find out if any of the headlines were ever printed or whether each headline was “fake”. None of the newspapers could find any article matching the headline and a search by the Oak Lawn Leaf revealed that none of the quoted headlines were accurate or ever appeared on a story.
Jeff Vorva, editor of local newspaper The Reporter, who according to Hollis wrote a column entitled “Columnist accuses Oak Lawn Trustee Bob Streit’s political blog of blatant plagiarism”, responded to Schaeflein’s inquiry. He confirmed that he did not write the headline listed by Hollis. “Mr. Streit was NEVER mentioned in any way,” stated Vorva, in any column regarding his Friends of Bob Streit website or regarding a column on plagiarism.
Similarly, Jim Kirk of the Sun-Times confirmed that the headlines were not accurate. One fictitious Sun Times headline even claimed that the FBI was investigating Bob Streit. Jim Kirk, editor in chief of Sun-Times Media stated the obvious, “Does not look like those (headlines) are ours.” In fact, a search of the Sun-Times reveals the paper never reported such a story. Similarly, despite claims by Hollis in his literature, Streit was never named in a Sun-Times headline or story about malicious robocalls or the indictment of Chicago politician Joseph Moreno.
Our investigation into the headlines found that all eight headlines were fictitious. Actually, even one of the organizations, “The State of Illinois Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County” doesn’t even exist. However, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County is operated by Dorothy Brown and keeps the records of all lawsuits. The office does not conduct investigations as alleged by the headline. A search of those office records could not find any case ever filed in relation to a District 218 investigation.
In fact, the use of fake headlines is an old political trick used in Oak Lawn’s last election by Mayor Sandra Bury’s campaign and more famously used by former Republican Gubernatorial candidate Jim Oberweis in 2006, who was caught by the Chicago Tribune using fake headlines in television ads attacking his opponent, the late Judy Baar Topinka.
Oberweis was blasted by the Tribune for accusing Topinka of being part of “a culture of corruption” by resurrecting old allegations that never amounted to anything. Similarly, it appears that Hollis has used the same trick claiming that Streit has been an “embarrassment”.
In Florida, Governor Rick Scott’s campaign used the Miami Herald Newspaper masthead over a fake story to make it look like the paper had written the story. The Miami Herald worked quickly to make sure that the ad was taken off of Facebook where it had appeared demanding that the campaign remove the faked image and noting that it was fraudulent.
At that time, Rick Hirsch, managing editor of the Miami Herald said in the Herald, “The posting of a fraudulent front page of The Miami Herald is unacceptable.” He added, “Not only is it a fraud on the public, but it is trademark infringement for use of our masthead in a fake edition, and copyright infringement for those portions of the front page that were not fabricated.”
In this case, Hollis used not only one masthead for his fake headlines but virtually every newspaper’s masthead in what would be a copyright infringement and trademark infringement according to what Hirsch stated.
Robert Streit (Dist. 3) said that he is not surprised by the tactics of the Hollis campaign. “People are upset about this administration and their candidate is resorting to making up fake headlines in a desperate move,” said Streit.
Streit said that the Hollis campaign did not want to use the real headlines of the last two years “because the headlines show that I’ve been been fighting Mr. Hollis’ allies for increases in police patrols, more transparency, and lower taxes.” Instead Streit said his opponent is using fake headlines to make people think that these are “real stories”.
Click the image below to show the fake headlines in the Scott Hollis literature: