CBS's Cynthia Bowers trumpeted the inauguration of incoming Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday's Early Show, highlighting how the former Obama chief of staff went "weeding in a community garden. He called it...weeding out corruption." Bowers also acclaimed the legacy of former mayor and "family man" Richard M. Daley, despite referencing the poor high school graduation in the city.
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, former Democratic operative George Stephanopoulos extolled the virtues of Chicago's Democratic mayor and his famous Democratic father. Teasing the segment on Richard M. Daley, the host gushed, "...We're going to be talking to a political icon. A legendary political family is about to turn over the keys to the city here."
Speaking of the mayor whose city has an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent, Stephanopoulos enthused, "And the big question, can anyone fill his shoes?" The ABC journalist skipped any tough questions. At no time did he ask about McDonald V. City of Chicago, the historic Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment that was handed down this summer. The contentious Senate election in Illinois was also avoided.
Instead, Stephanopoulos asked Daley how he stayed so popular: "What we're seeing in elections across the country is very single election, it's time to throw the bums in. Throw whoever's in, out. Yet, you stayed in 21-straight years. What's the secret?"
In a bizarre attempt to demonstrate how vital gun control is in his city, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley threatened to stick a bayonted rifle up a reporter's rear end and pull the trigger. Of course if a Republican had done the same to demonstrate the conservative position on gun control, there would be a media bonanza. Not so for the Democratic mayor.
"If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!" Daley told Mick Dumke of the Chicago Reader. Dumke had posed the very sensible question of how the city's draconian restrictions on gun ownership had helped, given that firearms are still widely accessible, and used in violent crimes throughout the city.
Daley didn't seem to understand the question; he went on about how many lives the confiscation of guns saves, while ignoring the reporter's point that gun control doesn't take firearms out of the hands of criminals. Or, for that matter, politicians peeved with reporters for asking inconvenient questions (video of the exchange below the fold).
Our own Managing Editor Ken Shepherd delivered earlier NBC's Chuck Todd analyzing the bad news that Chicago finished fourth out of four as a potential host site for the 2016 Olympics. This abject failure came despite a full-on push by both President Barack Obama and his First Lady Michelle, live and in person in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Despite all of this Presidential effort, Todd somehow arrived at the conclusion that the "the biggest political loser" was not Obama - but Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. A man who roughly 95% of the country (conservatively) has never heard of in their lives is somehow a bigger political loser than the President. A President who very publicly dropped everything to make a MUCH discussed trans-Atlantic jaunt to make the pitch for the Toddlin' Town.
This is a BIZARRE assessment. But Todd's explanation - in defense of his bizarreness - had him venturing further into the realm of the absurd. He insisted that Mayor Daley basically ordered the White House - and the President specifically - to get involved on behalf of his Olympic effort (video below the fold).
If this is true, Todd is breaking some serious news here - that the titular head of the vaunted, notorious Chicago Political Machine can bend the White House to his will whenever he wishes. Which would be more than a little disturbing.
And this after the media repeatedly assured us throughout last year's campaign of the incredible chasm that somehow miraculously existed between Obama and the Machine - despite Obama's career-long immersion in those fetid and festering waters.
Although he led the full-court press for Chicago, including the first-ever in-person lobbying effort by a sitting U.S. president for the host site for an Olympic Games, Barack Obama wasn't the biggest political loser from today's stunning fourth-place finish in selection process, MSNBC's Chuck Todd insisted. [audio available here]
In a news story not covered by other major media, the Chicago Sun-Times today reported that the Democratic National Committee still hasn't paid Chicago for November's Obama victory celebration. "Obama victory bash owes city $1.74 mil." begins:
Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park -- despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions.
"The Democratic National Committee has not yet paid us,'' Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city's Office of Budget and Management, said Thursday after questions from the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're reaching out to them this week."
Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Obama-controlled DNC, explained the reimbursement delay by saying, "We are still looking at various costs and bills.'' She would not say whether parts of the bill are disputed.
In my post on Tuesday, I wrote about Stanley Kurtz's efforts to access the Annenberg Challenge files housed at the University of Illinois-Chicago. These files documented an educational initiative started by Bill Ayers and chaired by Barack Obama.
At that point, only AP writer Pete Yost had written anything about the story. Additionally, U of I rep Bill Burton issued a press release. Since that time, there has been no movement from the university and coverage by the MSM has been minimal, though it is finally beginning to pick up. To wit, as reported in a blog post at the Chicago Tribune, Chicago mayor, Richard Daley, declined to intervene in the matter by pressing U of I to release the documents to Kurtz, saying,
People keep trying to align himself [sic] with Barack Obama. It's really unfortunate. They're friends. So what? People do make mistakes in the past. You move on. This is a new century, a new time. He reflects back and he’s been making a strong contribution to our community.
According to Daley, we should move on and accept that any past relationship between Obama and Ayers was entirely innocuous, on his (Daley's) say so. Right.
"Daley scoffs at worries of political purge," reads a August 20 Chicago Sun-Times headline recording the dismissive reaction of the city's Democratic mayor about how his city worker firing spree could turn into a political purge. Only Daley's Democratic Party affiliation was nowhere mentioned in Fran Spielman's nine paragraph story:
Mayor Daley on Tuesday scoffed at a federal hiring monitor's demand for guarantees to prevent the threatened layoff of well over 1,000 city employees from turning into a political purge.
"A layoff is done because of union rules. I don't know where you get that" concern about firings based on politics, Daley told reporters after a firefighters graduation ceremony at Navy Pier.
So you can imagine the ire of union leaders when politically connected bureaucrats are getting bonuses despite a whopping $425 million shortfall. Surely the Tribune would dutifully note the Democratic party affiliation of the city's chief executive.
Of course not.
Now, I've heard it all before: "Ken, this is Chicago, it goes without saying the city is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the Democratic Party."
But be that as it may, doesn't it behoove the city's newspapers to report the party affiliation of elected officials, particularly in stories that involve the compensation of politically-connected bureaucrats? Do major metropolitan city newspapers owe it to their readers to report, rather than assume readers know, the political affiliations of elected officials reported on in a negative light?
Four men that greased the wheels of the Daley machine in Chicago had their federal convictions upheld by an appeals judge, the Chicago Sun-Times noted in an April 16 article. Yet although Daley is a lifelong Democrat and the Democrats run Chicago lock, stock, and barrel, the Sun-Times failed to even casually mention either Daley's or Gov. Blagojevich's Democratic bona fides.
The federal appellate court in Chicago Tuesday upheld the conviction of four men charged with running the patronage hiring system in Mayor Daley's City Hall.
The ruling sent waves of angst through City Hall, Gov. Blagojevich's office and other government offices where some had hoped the court would find the age-old practice of giving plum government jobs to cronies was legal.
The former Daley aides -- Robert Sorich, Tim McCarthy, John Sullivan and Patrick Slattery -- were convicted of mail fraud:
Now, I know finding a Republican in Chicago city government is probably less likely than spotting a nudist in a porcupine convention, but is it asking too much for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times to add a D-tag when reporting on six-term (and freshly re-elected) Mayor Richard M. Daley's push for an 11 percent city sales tax and a 10-cent-per-bottle bottled water tax?
It's particularly puzzling given the Sun-Times excellent reporting by Tim Novak and Fran Spielman on the "hidden tax" imposed by corruption within the Daley administration:
When Mayor Daley asked Chicagoans to cough up $293 million more next year to finance the cost of city government, there's one tax he failed to mention: The Corruption, Waste and Mismanagement Tax.