According to e-mails obtained by the Chicago Tribune, CNN's series "Chicagoland" featured coordination between the city's Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel and production staff to make him look good. Emanuel is also President Obama's former chief of staff.
"More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor's advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show," the Tribune reported.
The article added that "City Hall's frequent correspondence with the producers illustrates how senior aides to a mayor known for shaping his media image managed how their boss would be portrayed on CNN to a prime time national audience."
The eight-part series has been airing on Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET since March 6. Liberal actor Robert Redford is the executive producer. "Chicagoland" debuted to reviews noting that it offered a positive view of the mayor. The L.A. Times wrote that "the boosterism extends to hizzoner himself, whom narrator Mark Konkol, a Chicago journalist, tends to frame heroically."
"Still, given the rap CNN regularly faces from conservatives for being a liberal mouthpiece, one has to question producing a show that feels like such a paean to Emanuel," wrote Variety's Brian Lowry.