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April 12, 2024

Why We The People Lose Trust In Media

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On May 23, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Herald & Review reporter, Taylor Vidmar, provided a report on May 12th, 2023, regarding the last Shelby County board meeting which contained numerous incorrect items. I reached out to her on May 13th, 2023, and ask if she had confirmed what she reported regarding the use of ARPA money and the State’s Attorney’s alleged no prosecutorial experience and that the information he provided was false.  I received no response.

In a May 16, 2023, follow-up to a press release sent out by the State’s Attorney the day before, photos of two more felons convicted and going to the Department of Corrections were provided to the reporters from the Shelbyville Eagle, Herald & Review, and us. Within that communication was a noteworthy notice to Ms. Vidmar. Noteworthy not just because of the correction to the misinformation that she published, but it also included information indicating not only are people being prosecuted in Shelby County, but in such a manner that the jail population is down by over 50% because they are being convicted and sent to DOC.  Those facts are noteworthy considering some local social media keyboard warriors have been reporting a much different narrative on prosecutions and jail sentencing.

“Mr. Vidmar:

In your “story” concerning the Shelby County Board Meeting and the purported issues with my office, I believe you missed the mark on objective reporting.  I use the word “story” because you have migrated towards story telling as opposed to reporting.

You should know that I do my talking in court and will only comment concerning cases in writing and only where action has been taken.  I will not comment on ongoing cases.  So, in the future you can skip the feigned attempt at objective reporting and go straight to the fact that I am unavailable for comment and then write your story.

Inconsistent with the truth is the claim you published that I am using American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) money to fund an Assistant State’s Attorney.  The salary paid to the Assistant State’s Attorney was approved by the County Board under the prior administration and I set the salary in accord with that determination.  I did not ask the County Board to put any ARPA money into the line item for the Assistant State’s Attorney.

Furthermore, the proposition that I have no prosecutorial experience is simply beguiled by my experience.  I have prosecuted hundreds of cases and tried over a hundred cases to a verdict.  Importantly, since I was appointed as the State’s Attorney, I have initiated numerous charges, obtained convictions, sent numerous individuals to prison, and gone to trial, and won.  Your  “story” paints an inaccurate picture, utilizing the techniques of yellow journalism.  Be apprised that during the County Board meeting, where you were present, it was disclosed that the phone system in the State’s Attorney’s Office is broken.   I cannot accept a call in my office and cannot dial out.  You failed to mention that fact in your hit piece.  Given the limited resources of Shelby County and knowing that Shelby County has a planned replacement for the phone system which is being implemented, I made due with use of cell phones and communicated to the defense bar how to reach me 24/7.

Since I have been the State’s Attorney, I have reduced the numbers in the County jail by more than 50% by sending defendants to the Illinois Department of Corrections.  Cases have sat in this office for years without any substantive progress with continuance after continuance.  In reviewing the files, I determined which cases needed to be advanced with a priority of schedules.  I have multiple trials set for June, July August and now September.  I have conveyed to the Circuit Court that the murder trial of Deven Barger must move forward and that I am ready for trial when the defendant’s counsel is ready.  This murder case is now on its fourth State’s Attorney.

Your story is also inaccurate in that it claims I am paying $50/hr. simply for scanning.  This is not something that can be accomplished by putting a stack of documents in a commercial scanner and pressing scan.  Rather, each file has to be opened, staples removed, each document must be scanned independently and then electronically filed and uploaded with its proper title.  It is the organizational skills of Mrs. Jandernoa that I have known for years to be superior every clerical employee I have ever hired.  Mrs. Jandernoa accomplishes more in an hour than most people accomplish in five hours.  That is without exaggeration.  Claims that I could use the scanning budget to purchase a high speed scanner negates the fact that it requires the human input to do it right.  Ironically, I provided at my own expense the high speed scanner for use in the operation.”

Shelby County State’s Attorney

Robert T. Hanlon
301 E. Main St
Shelbyville, IL. 62565
(217) 774-5511
(217) 273-5291
[email protected]

One other thing we noticed in the reporting was this quote.  “Many also criticized Hanlon’s use of American Rescue Plan Act money to fund a pay increase of nearly $1,500 per pay period for his assistant state’s attorney”.  While that is what the reporter heard, all indications are that she has done nothing to find out if that is true or not.  As pointed out in the response from the State’s Attorney, no ARPA money was used for that position, nor was there any “raise” of $1,500.00 per pay period given since the assistant State’s Attorney was hired. While she is being paid more than the prior assistant, there has been no raise as alleged.

Why do people no longer trust the media?  The above information was provided and at the time of this publication, there has been no correction on any matters that were inaccurate in the publication.  When reporters simply report what they hear and never determine if the information being provided is true and accurate they become part of the problem of spreading disinformation.

When they fail to correct those mistakes after being informed of the truth the public loses trust in them.

 

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4 Comments
  • Dave
    Posted at 10:43h, 23 May

    Much of the media doesn’t concern themselves with facts or truth in their stories, only supervising formation of public opinion to their liking…..

  • Bob
    Posted at 18:22h, 23 May

    Just think how smart she would sound if only she researched the facts and provided real reporting. Oopsie daisy can’t have that, there is a deadline to meet. Gotta run and tell my fairy tail..

  • Joe Commenter
    Posted at 19:23h, 23 May

    Taylor Vidmar has her pronouns listed in her LinkedIn profile….of course

  • Daniel L Sleezer
    Posted at 09:57h, 24 May

    My opinion is that it is “laziness’. It is much more difficult to report an accurate story than just glean a short, quick write-up and then you are done. They do not care about intelligent people who read the ‘garbage result’ as they are on to the next story. No accountability. Their editors are just as bad (or worse) to allow the inaccuracies, blatant opinions, incomplete articles to get published. No accountability. People used to take pride in their work.

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