Here’s something else you should be angry about: Not one of Chicago’s major media outlets bothered to investigate the Laquan McDonald police shooting story even though they knew about it. The existence of the video was widely known by February of this year.
The question is a big, fat why?
It took a couple of independent journalists to submit the FOIA request (and a lawyer to file the lawsuit against the city) that resulted in the exposure of this terrible story.
One of the journalists, Brandon Smith, wasn’t even allowed into Mayor Emanuel’s press conference Tuesday because he “didn’t have the proper credentials” issued by the Chicago Police media department. If someone can find the codification of that specific media credentialing process in the Bill of Rights, please send me a link.
The Emanuel Administration tried desperately for 13 months to suppress this video. Rahm had his cronies in the Chicago City Council sneak a taxpayer-funded payoff of $5 million dollars to Laquan’s family without a lawsuit just days after his re-election last April.
This is the same Mayor Rahm Emanuel who claims he never saw the McDonald video until Tuesday.
I’m not buying it and neither should you.
A court finally overruled Emanuel & Co. last week and now the public can bear full witness to the Mayor’s (and the media’s) re-election deception.
But the McDonald story is not the only major scandal involving Rahm Emanuel and his Administration that major media passed on.
Sarah Karp, the reporter that broke the federal kickback scandal involving disgraced CPS CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett and SUPES Academy was also an independent journalist for Catalyst Chicago.
Karp first penned the story about CPS’ no-bid $23 million dollar contract with Byrd’s former employer in July 2013 and still not one major media outlet picked up that story.
Let that date sink in: July 2013.
It wasn’t until Rahm Emanuel was re-elected mayor that either of these scandals saw the media light of day.
I’ll tell you why major media suppressed these stories until now.
Because these outlets endorsed Emanuel for re-election and wanted him to win.
In the case of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Crain’s Business, all three of these major papers endorsed Emanuel not once, but twice for re-election, despite of - not because of – his record.
We’ve seen this all before: In 2014, Michael Ferro, Chairman of the Chicago Sun Times parent media company, pressured the editorial board to endorse Bruce Rauner for governor abruptly reversing the paper’s long-standing no-endorsement policy.
Why? Because Rauner had been a part-owner of the Sun-Times and invested millions of dollars in Ferro’s Merge Healthcare, which was sold to IBM for $1 billion in August 2015.
Rauner, who ran for governor as a Republican, also aggressively supported his longtime business partner, Mayor Emanuel, for re-election.
The sad reality is this: powerful politically connected investment groups control the media. They control their stories and influence their reporting.
To wit, during the election, the media swept the Mayor’s do-nothing record on violent crime under the rug. You would never know from the media that there was a 20% increase in violent crime in 2015, that there was a controversy over the doctoring of crime statistics, or that Chicago is on track to surpass its bloodiest year on gang-related shootings and murders. You’d never know about the Mayor’s use of TIF funds as a political slush fund or that he has put Chicago in greater debt than Daley.
The media was mute when Emanuel proposed the largest property tax increase - $589 million - in the city’s history. He painted a cataclysmic future without the tax hike yet still managed to increase his own budget and those of his pals in the Chicago City Council.
Is it really a crisis when you can’t manage to tighten your own political belt?
And wasn’t it Rahm who attacked his opponent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia during the campaign, casting him as the villain who would raise property taxes to historic levels? The villain, again, turned out to be Rahm.
These are all things the Chicago media knew and did nothing.
The Chicago media knew all about Laquan McDonald and did nothing.
They knew all about Barbara Byrd Bennett and did nothing.
They knew all about Rahm too and they did something.
They made sure he won re-election.