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Monday, September 28, 2009

President Obama to Copenhagen

In a story being reported by ESPN and other outlets, President Obama has done a 180% turnaround and will now come to Copenhagen to pitch for Chicago to get the games.

President Barack Obama will travel to Denmark this week to support Chicago's bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to the president, told The Associated Press on Monday morning that Obama will leave Thursday and join his wife, Michelle, in Copenhagen, where they'll make the pitch to the International Olympic Committee.

Obama would be the first U.S. president to take on such a direct role in lobbying for an Olympics event.

This is not terribly surprising and something that I predicted largely. I, however, predicted that President Obama would make a surprise appearance in Copenhagen. I thought he was merely playing possum with the Committee and wanted to make a more grand entrance. Instead, it appears that he was simply waffling, as he tends to do. In any case, most experts thought the city of Chicago had no chance without Obama at Copenhagen. Now, the city is back in the game.

The much more interesting report is the one that's on the front of Drudge. This report claims that the local Fox affiliate was told to not re air a report about Chicagoans not wanting the Olympics. The Olympic Committee told WFLD 32, the local Fox affiliate, that this report would hurt the bid. A new group called Chicagoans for Rio has received some attention and a sort of cult following. Well, WFLD ran a report on this group and it appears that the Olympic committee told them not to do it again. (no embed available but video is available at the link)

That raises all sorts of questions about what the media in Chicago is doing. Their job is not to be a mouth piece for the bid, but rather to report the news. No Games Chicago is holding a rally tomorrow at 5:30 PM at City Hall (121 N. LaSalle locally). How much media coverage will that receive? It appears that it won't receive much. This news isn't just surprising but shocking. For the media to be told what they should and should not cover by an extension of the local government is something akin to the media arrangement in North Korea.

The media in Chicago has done nearly zero critical reporting of the Olympics. They've been little more than cheerleaders. Despite this, the latest Tribune poll has barely a majority of Chicagoans supporting the bid. Imagine what would have happened if the media in Chicago wasn't acting as a mouthpiece. If Fox capitulated they have a lot to answer for, however this particular story explains a lot about the way this story has been covered.

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