Why the media silence on the Obama center travesty?

Except for Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass (“The Barack Obama Temple of Adoration and Fealty”)  and the paper’s editorial cartoonist Scott Stantis (“Parks we wreck”), the media have generally chosen not to probe the important questions about the serious policy, environmental and legal implications that bedevil the Obama Center.

screen-shot-2018-05-24-at-12-51-26-pmThe media brushed aside a lawsuit by Protect Our Parks that hangs over the project like the Sword of Damocles. I’ve examined the lawsuit  here and here and as a non-lawyer I found the arguments quite credible. There are a host of other problems that deserve attention, such as whether this land grab of public, lakeshore property by a private entity for its own control and propaganda purposes signals an end to the century-old policy that holds that Chicago’s lakefront should be “forever open, free and clear.”

I’ve witnessed some of the finest investigative reporting on the papers I’ve worked with going back to the Chicago Daily News. I know that reporters like Charles Nicodemus who, at the Sun-Times almost single-handily squelched bad plans to put the main Chicago Public Library into an old department store and is responsible for the fine central library that now graces the south Loop, would not have let the Obama shrine pass unexamined. Editorial boards would have been all over the project’s details. Columnists would have  exposed the backroom ties of a power structure–the pols, contractors, labor unions and the Obama ass-kisssers–that can’t wait to dip their fingers into the gravy. What happened to the media skepticism that once made Chicago the greatest news town in America?

I admire Kass for breaking the silence by mocking the “stupendous news

Obama's Menhir

Obama’s Menhir

coverage” about the perfection of the “temple to a political god.” All at the expense of taxpayers. Would the  the  bevy of Chicago’s left-wing columnists would be spurred by similar agnosticism.

This reminds me of how the media swallowed whole the pitch for O’Hare Airport expansion without a serious look at its exaggerated promises that, to this date, have not been met. You have to go back to 2001 to the Tribune’s Pulitzer Prize-winning explanation examination of  “The parochial and petty politics that have turned O’Hare International Airport into a treasure-trove for concessionaires and contractors also are at the heart of why the transportation hub is a quagmire of delays, hassles and heartaches.”

No one in the media bothered to question Mayor Richard M. Daley when in 2001 he made the ridiculous promise that  the $6 billion O’Hare Modernization Program would reduce bad weather delays by 95 percent and 79 percent overall. I guess I’m the only one who has followed up to show that all that new concrete hasn’t done squat. It turned out so badly that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed another multi-billion-dollar plan to achieve what was promised 17 years ago. And who has followed up to find out how much was actually spent on the original modernization plan? I have. Months ago. And still no answer from the city’s Aviation Department. Is it because the costs have zoomed past not just the original $6 billion and the last reported (long ago) of $14 billion or $16 billion?

Chicago is about to hand over to private interests a crown jewel of its publicly owned property for the satisfaction of a narcissistic Barack Obama and the people who will make money off this travesty. Whether the media can or will try to stop it appears now to be a moot question.

My earlier commentary on the Obama Center/Library:



My historical novel: Madness: The War of 1812

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  • Thank you, Dennis! Could the silence be because too few people know what a travesty is anymore? Here it is, folks.

  • Bravo Dennis,On another note,I cannot remember one member of the press ever calling out the Former Mayor Daley before he sold the parking meter rights to a foreign entity, even though the City's first watch dog said it was a disaster waiting to happen. Personally to me it rivals the selling of Alaska to the Us. It took me almost a year to try and get the Politicians and some bureaucrats to take a look at the Handicap parking fraud in Cook County ,not until Chris Fusco became my partner in the investigation did it come to an end, with the change in the law. It saved the taxpayers of Chicago between 14 and 21 million dollars a year for 70 years. Prior to Fusco nobody gave a shit. It was silence at it's best.

  • I think John Kass would have attacked it no matter where it would be.

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    I'm sure the Sun-Times and its #metoo columnists are quiet because the airport expansion and the Obama library mean union jobs and kick backs and the paper is owned by the unions. I don't know why the Trib is silent on this. There must be a connection somewhere.

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