The [Friday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
Of all the cities in America to be infested by naive reporters, you'd think Chicago would rank low on the list.
The maxim for the vast majority of media in this town seems to be, "If the mayor says your mother loves you, it must be true."
I mean, what gives?
Did nobody do their homework way back when when the Olympic bid process first got started? Hasn't every reporter in town been reading Ben Joravsky?
There are books that should have been required reading for anyone on the bid beat.
Instead, we had hype. And hometown rah-rah. And delusions of grandeur. And access to Pat Ryan! Oooooh!
Now the chickens come home to roost, but as I keep saying, it's too late. Daley pulled it off. He strung everyone along as long as he needed too.
Now it's in the hands of the IOC, and they could care less about you and your tax money.
Last night, for example, Ben Bradley of ABC7 dutifully reported last night that officials insist they will "not spend a drop of taxpayer money" on the 2016 Olympics should Chicago win the bid.
"They already have!" I yelled at the TV.
How hard is this, really, to understand?
Then again, Bradley's blog is called "Going For The Games."
"A one billion loss on a budget whose expenses are projected at $3.3 billion? That would be tough to do," Bradley writes in one of his latest posts.
Of course, that's assuming the projected expenses are realistic, something the IOC has already called into question. And it's presuming those costs won't rise. And it's presuming we don't live in Chicago.
Bradley might also want to stop in London, Beijing, and Athens on his way home.
"That's what London's organizers said before they spent four times their original budget," the Tribune's David Greising writes today. "Beijing's organizers exceeded their original budget by a factor of 10. The Athens Games' runaway $17.6 billion in spending helped boost the entire nation's budget deficit to 6 percent of Greece's gross domestic product."
Greising, whose column is a must-read, also makes clear that Daley just "committed Chicago's every last dollar to staging an Olympics no matter what the cost."
(Bravo also to Fox Chicago News, whose report I didn't see but whose promo went like this: "First the mayor says no tax dollars. Now he says you have to foot the bill if we get the Olympics. Why didn't he tell us before? Tonight at 9.")
And when Pat Ryan says he's got a new insurance policy to offer, check it out.
"This insurance, that they've been talking about for a year now, always seemed pretty mysterious to me," DePaul political science professor Larry Bennett tells the Tribune.
If the insurance policy exists, nobody seems to have seen it.
Whatever Ryan says.
Our only hope is Rio, folks. (And things are looking up!)
There's no way the city council is going to derail this train, no matter how tough some of them talk.
And if we get the bid, the mayor and his pals will be hogs in heaven.
We'll be reading stories just like this for years to come.
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Posted on June 19, 2009
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