The [Monday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
The bid is over, but the madness remains.
1. "If the International Olympics Committee had given the 2016 games to Chicago, you can be sure Mayor Daley would accept a full share of the credit," the Tribune's Steve Chapman writes. "But when Chicago had lost, he was not eager to take responsibility. He said he wouldn't do anything differently. And he put the blame somewhere else: on the news media. Journalists in Rio de Janeiro, he claimed, were fully behind their city's bid, while the Chicago press was not.
"Oh, please. Both the Tribune and the Sun-Times endorsed the bid in their editorial pages. The local TV stations, in the coverage I saw, were positively boosterish. A few churlish pundits like myself disagreed. But I'd be surprised if anyone at the IOC cares what we think.
"True, the Chicago news media did treat the bid as a legitimate story deserving the same scrutiny as any other public endeavor, rather than serving as mindless shills for the cause. But that's the role of honest news media. I haven't been following the Brazilian press, but I suspect Daley hasn't either. I strongly doubt that the support among journalists was as vocal and universal as he believes.
"His real model apparently comes from the Beijing Olympics, which the Chinese government was able to pursue without the inconvenience of a free and independent press. Democracy can be such a drag."
Except Chapman is wrong about the mindless shills thing. Mindless shilling was at an all-time high.
2. "There's one lingering question about President Barack Obama's visit to Copenhagen to lobby for Chicago's 2016 Olympic bid," Sara Murray writes on the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog. "Why would any city want to host them?
"'Obviously any Olympics showcases the country that those Olympics are in and there's a tangible economic benefit to those Games being here,' Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a briefing Monday.
"Except that's not exactly true."
Readers of The Beachwood Reporter know this, but word still hasn't reached our city's esteemed commentators, including Richard Roeper, Neil Steinberg and Chris Jones, who today once again parrot the myth of jobs that the Games would have magically brought. I'm not even going to link. It just makes me tired.
"Many traders on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade started clapping and cheering when they learned Chicago was out," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The news broke on a big television screen that hovers over the open-outcry pits. Many traders were worried that costs would spin out of control and residents would be left holding the bag."
4. "Robert Fioretti, Scott Waguespack, and Joe Moore, for starters, have all told me the mayor made it clear he would never forgive or forget anyone who came out against the games," Ben Joravsky writes. "He wanted an unblemished vote, and he got it."
5. From the Toni Preckwinkle campaign:
"Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, candidate for Cook County Board President, and a key figure in the 2016 bid process, argued that the city's effort to host the Olympics has galvanized support for much-needed development plans. 'This has been a great opportunity for the region to look at long term economic planning issues. We've begun to create a vision for what Chicago should look like 6 to 8 years down the line, and we will continue to work toward that future'."
Only if we still believe Chicago ought to have a velodrome in its future.
6. From Pat Quinn:
"People from across our state came together in an unprecedented manner to support this excellent bid."
Well, 47 percent of them did.
7. From Dan Hynes:
"Like most Chicagoans, I am disappointed in the IOC's decision."
If by "most" you mean 47 percent.
8. One report I saw over the weekend said that Chicago2016 stopped polling because they didn't like the direction things were going, but that the IOC did their own polls and likely found support even worse than the 47 percent reported by the last Tribune poll.
9. From my Facebook friends:
* "In a related story, Taste of Chicago 2010 just awarded to Brussels."
* "Please return to your regularly scheduled city."
* "Still in the running for the 2018 Goodwill Games!!!"
11. Here's a thought: Maybe our bid was the worst.
13. "How is it possible that the hordes of visitors produced by an event of this magnitude don't wind up benefiting the local economy?" economist Victor Matheson asked in 2005 after New York City lost its bid for the 2012 Olympics.
And then he answered.
14. Has there ever been a case of more experts on one side and more journalists on the other as there is about the economic impact of hosting the Olympics? And what do the journalists base their insight on? What City Hall tells them.
15. Song of the Moment: Rio.
16. Oh, and about Atlanta.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Economically beneficial.
Posted on October 5, 2009
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