The [Tuesday] Papers
By Steve Rhodes
The madness continues.
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2009 7:48 AM
The Olympics is not what every Chicagoan wants. I don't. Many of the people I talk to don't want it. Why are you speaking as if it is?
Maybe you can actually do some journalism here and have a bit of journalistic integrity and examine the real numbers and costs, the cons as well as the pros.
Either that, or call it what it really is and get Ben Bradley in a cheerleading costume and pompons with a picture of Da Mare on his chest.
I used to really like ABC 7. But you disappoint. I'm done watching your local news.
From: WLS-TV News
Thank you for taking the time to write.
We understand not everyone is excited at the possibility of the 2016 Games being held in our city. However, since the first mention of a Chicago bid, we have reported both sides. We have interviewed people on the street, attended neighborhood protests and press conferences of organizations like No Games Chicago.
Mr. Bradley is cheering on his hometown, he has followed the delegation since the beginning and will be in Copenhagen when the decision is made public. He has a right to be excited and proud!
As far as we know, Ben has no influence with the Olympic Committee's decision makers.
Thanks again for writing and choosing ABC7 news.
To be fair, Bradley didn't write the reply. But it tells you where an organization's thinking is at. (Hey kids, did you know that if Chicago wins the games Crain's will hold a rally dowtown? It's true!)
Bradley has, however, appeared on this matter in the Beachwood before. Let's take a look.
March 20, 2007: "Channel 7's Ben Bradley said on The Week in Review Friday night that his station had filed several Freedom of Information requests with the mayor's office for documents about the Olympic bid - all denied. I'm not aware, however, of any Channel 7 newscast leading with the story 'Daley Withholds Olympic Documents,' nor any such story screaming across the top of a local newspaper."
June 19, 2009: "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."
Sept. 21, 2009: "Last night, Ben Bradley started a three-night series on 'how the Olympics might effect you' on ABC7.
"The first report noted that Olympic promises of gold usually end up 'more like something between bronze and lead.'
"Thanks for getting around to that just 12 days out from the IOC's decision."
What isn't getting attention, though, is what turned the exec (Kevin Lynch) against the bid:
* "we were initially supportive of chicago's bid, and were (and are) confident chicago would host a great games. but while chicago does things well, it also does them consistently way over budget. as we saw the bid process unfold, we simply lost confidence this would be any different."
* "most damaging is the broken promise about putting residents on the hook financially, after being assured that wasn't going to be the case.
"it's also hard to see the city council back the bid 49-0 and, in the same breath, read polls that show only 47% of chicagoans are for the bid while 45% are against it. our residents and elected officials aren't in sync on the issue. not even close.
"lastly, there's the hyperbole about the bid. the position seems to be, as the mayor of atlanta recently said, 'there is no downside to hosting the games.' come now. there are lots of potential downsides, and if those downsides would've been openly acknowledged and discussed, a lot of people could've maybe been swayed to back the bid. they weren't."
Oh, and London is in the midst of the worst Olympic financial debacle since Montreal in 1976. I guess Suarez just forgot to mention that.
I swear, it's like living in North Korea . . .
Suarez then interviewed sports economist and Olympic expert Robert Baade of Lake Forest College. I played along.
SUAREZ: While it's easy to count the losses, is it sometimes harder to count the benefits? Barcelona seems pretty pleased that the games put that city on a worldwide map. Might Chicago accrue benefits that have more to do with making people around the world aware of its existence?
RHODES: Yes. It's quite stunning how nobody outside of America has heard of Chicago. You'd think that with Michael Jordan, the Cubs and, whathisname, Barack Obama, that wouldn't be the case!
NEW DRINKING GAME ALERT! Drink every time Al Capone's name is invoked to justify spending billions of dollars to improve our image.
SUAREZ: Professor, in some of your published scholarship on this topic, you've noted that the excitement of getting the Olympics sometimes blinds cities to the real risk of downside costs. What's the record here? Have cities that have been selected generally over time done well with their Olympic legacy?
BAADE: The answer is no.
"I think his presence makes the likelihood of a Chicago win very good indeed," Romney said. "Had he not gone, we almost certainly would have lost."
As far as I've been able to tell, though, the Tribune (and likely no one in Chicago except us) has never used or asked about this Romney quote from the Vancouver Sun in 2006:
"I think if people expect the Olympics to be a money-making enterprise, they will be disappointed. If they are looking for economic development to follow the Olympics, most likely they will be disappointed."
We used it in the Beachwood's Olympic Reader, chock full of good stuff the paid professionals can't be bothered with.
It's Not Over On Friday
* Are The Bears Who We Think They Are? George Ofman investigates.
* Lobbyists let the good times roll. Champagne dreams a reality.
* Dog vs. Kat. A reality TV star assessment.
* Who's No. 1? The cocktail napkin that led to the AP college football poll.
* Sex Talk With Scott Rock. What Men Fear.
* Uncle Lou's off-season wishes. In The Cub Factor.
* Team of Destiny! In The White Sox Report.
The Beachwood Tip Line: Blame it on Chicago.
Posted on September 29, 2009
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