Chicago investigative reporters give the Obama Center a pass

Chicago has been and still is a great town for investigative reporters. Its newspapers have won numerous awards for exposing the town's assorted and impressive numbers of booddlers, goniffs and teefs. Splendid investigative reporting also is done by television, radio and the new digital media.

But when it comes to exposing the wrongs and illegalities of the Obama Center planned for Jackson Park, Chicago's investigative reporters have folded. Closed their eyes. Caved into political correctness. Lacked the courage to challenge the powerful establishment that has embraced the $500 million project, because so many of them get a piece of the pie.

The Obama shrine

The Obama shrine

The invasion and destruction of part of the federally protected park is illegal. It violates the long-respected (but sometimes violated) protections accorded to the Chicago lakefront. It is a give-away of public land to a private, partisan enterprise. It is being pushed through without the proper vetting by regulatory agencies. It is a shrine to one man's ego. It ignores other sites off the lakefront that would be more beneficial to its South Side neighborhood. And so forth.

I wish I was still a reporter or columnist as I was at the Chicago Daily News, Sun-Times or Tribune. The issue is ripe for a multi-part investigative series. It's waiting to be plucked; it's Pulitzer Prize material (except I doubt that the prize committee would give the public service award to anything that challenges Obama).

I think of the great work done in Chicago: The Daily News for a Pulitzer public service by exposing a $6.2 million fraud in the Illinois auditor's office. The Tribune's Pulitzer-worthy revelations about sex abuse in Chicago Public Schools: The Sun-Times' Mirage Bar series that exposed public corruption and the Abortion Profiteers that exposed unsafe conditions at Chicago area clinics (which both deserved Pulitzers). 

Maybe some investigative reporters are already working on an investigation of the Obama Shrine-in-the-Park. And I will be proven wrong. I hope so.


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  • Maybe they could also look into the Saudis' financial dealings with Trump Tower downtown.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Fair game. However, the parties there are private on private property and the Obama Center is taking public property for essentially a private enterprise. Wait, the OC is paying $10 for 99 years on a lease.

    I imagine your response would be different if it were Trump stealing parkland. No, I don't have to imagine....

    Turning a blind-eye is why there will never be a big investigative story on this theft.

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    I agree Richard. Aquinas's comment is just a red herring to turn focus away from what the article is about.

  • "It is a giveaway of public land to a private, partisan enterprise."
    Dennis, you most certainly are concerned then about what the fossil fuel companies want to do with Federal land. Something the Republicans, of course, are pushing for..

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Right, because drilling for oil on a small piece of frozen tundra is SO comparable to illegally confiscating publicly owned lakefront property in Chicago.

    And, just what do those mean old oil companies "want to do with Federal land?" Decrease our dependence on foreign oil while holding down the prices we pay, while simultaneously employing millions of tax-paying citizens? All that is negated because they, um, might earn a profit?

    Next, you'll be saying Elizabeth Warren really IS a Native American...

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