Media Chase Jesse Jackson Jr. Mystery

Journal-isms: A veteran Chicago TV critic prompted the city's news outlets to get to the bottom of his absence.

John Gress/Getty Images
John Gress/Getty Images

Whereabouts Prompt Speculation, Denials

Less than 24 hours after a veteran Chicago television critic scolded the Chicago media for not solving “the summer’s biggest mystery” — the whereabouts of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. — Jackson’s office issued a statement Wednesday saying, “The Congressman is receiving intensive medical treatment at a residential treatment facility for a mood disorder. He is responding positively to treatment.”

“In the statement, Jackson’s office noted: ‘In addition, the rumors about him being treated for alcohol or substance abuse [are] not true,’ ” Abdon M. Pallasch reported for the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The brief, carefully worded statement was released after NBC News reported that Jackson was being treated for alcoholism and addiction at an Arizona facility.

The network’s Andrea Mitchell, citing unnamed friends, reported the allegation of addiction Wednesday evening. But the network also quoted Jackson’s wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), denying he was in rehab.”

Mitchell’s was not the only report relying on unidentified sources. “ABC News also reported that Jackson ‘will likely not return to Congress until after Labor Day,’ citing an unnamed source,” John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman reported Tuesday for Politico.

Also, WLS radio in Chicago cited “two high-ranking people on the Democratic side of the aisle, in both fundraising and in the legislative branch,” saying that Jackson, 47, had attempted suicide.

Both the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and an aide to the congressman told Politico the WLS report was inaccurate.

Jackson Sr. “refused to talk about his son’s condition during the annual conference of the Rainbow/PUSH coalition today,” Katherine Skiba reported Wednesday for the Chicago Tribune.