Patterico's Pontifications


Media Outlets Hire Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:06 am

[guest post by Dana]

Remember the loud outcry when Kevin D. Williamson was hired as a contributor to The Atlantic? It was so loud in fact, that he was fired about 12 minutes later because his viewpoints were considered to be overly provocative.

Well, yesterday it was announced that former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would be taking on the role of contributing editor at The Atlantic. He will also be joining ABC News as an on-air contributor.

Here is a quick reminder of exactly who Rahm Emanuel is, and why this is not good news coming from Big Media :

Besides the fact that Emanuel has been a mercenary politician his entire adult life, which should be disqualifying on its face, he should at the very least be blackballed from media gigs for his unrepentant and habitual violations of Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Under Emanuel’s leadership, the city government was notorious for stonewalling public records requests from news outlets and activists, most notably in the case of the 2014 fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police.

Police dash cam video clearly contradicted the police narrative that McDonald “lunged” at an officer with a knife, but the Emanuel administration sat on the footage for more than a year—an election year, it so happens—citing an ongoing investigation. The city settled with McDonald’s family for $5 million, but part of the agreement forbid the family from releasing the tape until the “investigation” was complete. Chicago only released the video after it lost a FOIA lawsuit brought by an independent journalist, who was later barred from the press conference where the video was first shown.

“Rahm Emanuel’s administration was a FOIA disgrace, and he was no friend to the Chicago media,” says Matt Topic, a government transparency attorney at Loevy & Loevy who litigated the lawsuit over the McDonald video. “He represents everything that is wrong in government when it comes to transparency and accountability, and he was a shameless self-promoter with little regard for actual facts.”

The fight over the McDonald tape was only the most high-profile instance of Chicago dragging its feet or wrongly denying public records requests. In 2015, an Illinois judge ruled, in response to a Chicago Tribune lawsuit, that Emanuel’s office illegally withheld emails and texts from Emanuel’s private devices regarding the city’s controversial red light camera program. In 2016, Chicago paid out $670,000 in public records lawsuits. In 2019, another judge ruled that the Emanuel administration owed the Tribune $387,000 in attorney’s fees over the lawsuit for his private communications. The total cost to taxpayers exceeded $1 million. Those communications, by the way, showed a number of people illegally lobbying Emanuel.

Ironically, Emanuel’s first column as managing editor of the Ideas section at The Atlantic is titled: It’s Time to Hold American Elites Accountable for Their Abuses.

On a side note: Emanuel’s replacement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is making some news of her own just days into the job:

New Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s security detail will be headed up by a former U.S. marshal who’s married to a city lobbyist for United Airlines, in a departure from Chicago mayors traditionally relying on city police officers to keep them safe.

James Smith is a managing partner at Silver Star Protection Group. His wife is Margaret Houlihan-Smith, the onetime managing director of corporate and government affairs for United. Houlihan-Smith now lobbies the city on behalf of United and AT&T, according to city records.

Lightfoot’s administration will look to Smith to coordinate her security rather than relying primarily on the Chicago Police Department. It was unclear Tuesday how Smith would be paid.

Lightfoot spokeswoman Anel Ruiz confirmed that Smith was working for Lightfoot in that security capacity. She did not respond to questions about whether it’s appropriate for the person running the mayor’s security detail to be married to a corporate lobbyist. Lightfoot campaigned on a pledge to end the influence of political insiders at City Hall.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


11 Responses to “Media Outlets Hire Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel”

  1. Good morning.

    Dana (779465)

  2. Rahm’s brother owns the biggest talent agency in the country. Maybe the world. Is this the best he could do for him?

    nk (dbc370)

  3. Funny, nk. The other brother the ACA.

    Dana (779465)

  4. I cannot find anyone objecting to Emanuel being at the Atlantic, in spite of what we know about him. This is in such direct contrast to the Williamson situation. The Atlantic loses credibility in this decision. Perhaps now makes it public they are going to go full partisan with this move.

    Dana (779465)

  5. Clearly they needed a partisan hack to balance out the straight news guy journalist George Stephanopolous.

    Munroe (916de3)

  6. Well, if anyone knows about abuse by the elites, it’s Rahm. Finally, we have journalists writing about something they know.

    Rochf (877dba)

  7. I get the argument Dana presents here, and I have to think even Rahm noticed that his subject, given his appointment, is just asking for it. But…the article is actually a good one, and if it had been written by someone like, say, Michael Anton, and substitute the word “RINO” for “Democrat”, it would be celebrated as a work of genius. A sample:

    Democrats have become increasingly cognizant of the anger, but too often they’ve drawn the wrong conclusions. The answer certainly isn’t socialism. Middle-class voters currently presume that elites already control the government—so why would they want to give the bureaucracy any more power? Rather, Democrats need to become the party of justice. They need to demand accountability from bad actors—and point out where Republicans would give them a pass. They don’t need to castigate entire industries, as some might recommend. But when people make decisions that affect innocent bystanders—beating the drums for an ill-conceived war, making complicated financial instruments—they should be the party standing up for middle-class interests and values.

    Appalled (d07ae6)

  8. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. — George Orwell

    I am amazed how often Orwell has been proven prescient. He really got the malaise of modern leftism.

    Bored Lawyer (998177)

  9. He’s better qualified for his new job than he was to be Mayor of Chicago, a managing director at Wasserstein Perella, or a deli meat cutter.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  10. Also pitiful.

    skwilli (a0813f)

  11. I’m anxious to read his articles!

    “How to control crime in the American city.”

    “Rahm criticizes mayors for adding debt.”

    Not to mention Atlantic’s into to his pieces.

    “The author has extensive first-hand experience in accelerating the ruin of a large US city. While doing next to nothing to control murders in his city, he spoke out boldly against Donald Trump, and endorsed climate change as a priority.

    As taxes, unions and employee pension debt continued to strangle his city, he fearlessly endorsed Detroit as a “role model city,” and spoke out against President Trump.

    Although Chicago is ranked 10th of the 10 most populous cities in debt, with over 32b in pension debt alone, he ignored the old bromides about debt as bad, and fearlessly raised more taxes on the productive citizens.”

    Harcourt Fenton Mudd (6b1442)

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