Fox News passes off radio host Amy Jacobson as merely 'Chicago parent'

Amy Jacobson (Photo: Fox News)

Twice in the past three days Amy Jacobson appeared on the Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends” to comment on the dispute over reopening Chicago Public Schools for in-person learning.

On the air Jacobson was identified only as “a Chicago parent and volleyball coach” before she launched into a broadside against the Chicago Teachers Union for keeping kids out of school.

"I think a lot of people enjoy working from their homes in Florida and their homes in California — their second homes," Jacobson told “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt Monday.

“I talked to one teacher at Lane Tech who said, ‘Oh, I love staying at home because then I can go work out, I don’t have to shower, and I can just go straight to the Zoom classroom.' So this has never been about the kids, Ainsley, this has always been about their needs and not our children’s needs.”

Amy Jacobson

Viewers who didn't know better had no idea that Jacobson also is a veteran Chicago broadcaster with an uncanny knack for attracting attention.

As morning co-host at Salem Media conservative news/talk WIND 560-AM she's been an outspoken critic of the union, among other targets.

"The CTU, they don’t care about kids," she told Earhardt. "This is all about power. . . . They come up with ridiculous demands, a list of demands, so to speak. As parents, we’re just sick of it and we can’t take it anymore."

Jacobson went unchallenged when she talked of "103,000 Chicago high schoolers roaming the streets," contributing to an increase in homicides, robberies and carjackings. "One as young as 12 [years old] held a gun to a woman’s head. And they don’t think that’s a problem?"

She also cited 40 suicides in the area compared with eight deaths of children from COVID-19. "I’m sorry those eight kids died, but we are killing our children mentally. This is mental abuse what we are doing to our kids," she said.

After her second appearance on "Fox & Friends," Jacobson came under fire on news websites and on social media from Chicago journalists.

Amy Jacobson speaking at Reopen Illinois rally

"Weird. I'm pretty sure most of us know her as the talk radio host who spoke at a Reopen Illinois rally sponsored by a conservative PAC," tweeted Stephanie Lulay, managing editor of Block Club Chicago.

"Fox prefers to label Amy Jacobson as 'Chicago public school parent' rather than right-wing Chicago radio commentator," tweeted Mark Jacob, former Chicago Tribune metro editor now writing for Northwestern University's Medill Local News Initiative.

Calling it "pure propaganda," Jacob noted that Fox's 26-paragraph online version of the story also failed to disclose that Jacobson is a right-wing radio host, not just a “mom.”

For her part, Jacobson said she made no effort to conceal her identity and alerted Fox News producers when they asked her to come on.

"I said, 'Yeah, I’ll do it, but just so you know, just for full disclosure, I’m also a radio talk show host,'" Jacobson told me in an interview Monday. "They said that’s fine, don’t worry, we’re just focusing on your being a CPS parent. I didn’t talk about being a radio talk show host, I didn’t talk politics."

The blowback she's getting doesn't bother Jacobson in the least.

"I didn’t do that interview for me," she said. "I did that to tell other parents in the state and in this country what is going on, what are the consequences when you shut down schools for almost a year. My No. 1 goal is to get our kids back at school.

"[Network news] producers have a hard time finding CPS parents because they’re afraid of retaliation. And I’m not afraid of retaliation. I’ve been with CPS for 14 years. I survived the 2012 strike, the 2019 strike. I mean, we just did this 15 months ago, and it’s wearing on people’s souls.

"It’s the poor leadership at CTU, the poor leadership at CPS, and our kids are caught in the middle again."

Chicago Sun-Times (July 11, 2007)

Jacobson, 51, first made national headlines in 2007 when she was fired after a decade as a reporter for NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

Her reporting methods were called into question when she took her two children swimming at the southwest suburban home of a man whose wife had been missing for months. A photographer from rival CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 shot video of the bikini-clad Jacobson over a neighbor’s backyard fence. It ended her TV news career.

Since 2010 the Mount Prospect native has been hosting mornings at AM 560 The Answer. Dan Proft joined her as co-host in 2015.

Last year Jacobson sued Governor J.B. Pritzker for barring her from his daily coronavirus media briefings because he considered her a political activist. Backed by the conservative public-interest Liberty Justice Center, Jacobson claimed the governor's ban violated her First Amendment rights as a journalist. Pritzker rescinded the ban.

Not bad for a Chicago parent and volleyball coach.