Wed, 23 April 2014
“Chicagoland” Hero Cops Cook Books to Make Murders Disappear, CNN Pretends Not To Notice
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Chicagoland is a fake “documentary” an 8 part miniseries length campaign commercial currently airing on CNN. It's a commercial for Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, a character many say was only elected mayor of Chicago because Obama personally came back to town to lay hands on him.
Chicagoland is produced by the same right wing hack outfit that produced Brick City, a similar commercial pretending to be a documentary for Corey Booker in his re-election bid for mayor in Newark a few years ago. Rahm Emanuel's bid for re-election is only months away, and like Corey Booker he is reputed to have ambitions beyond City Hall.
Chicagoland is a commercial for a neoliberal vision of America, in which teacher and public employee wages and pensions are driving the city to ruin – a lie; in which throwing public money at big league sports teams is a “job creator” and holds the city together – also a lie. It paints clever tax rules called TIFs an acronym for “tax increment financing” keep wealthy neighborhoods from having to share their property tax revenue with the rest of the city, as good economic development tools. Chicagoland portrays the mayor as a tough-talking character with a soft spot for black young people, whom he scoops at random off west side streets to mentor – if not a lie than surely beside the point. Chicagoland wants us to imagine that an epidemic of violence with no particular cause threatens to swamp the city, but Chicago's cops are the thin blue line succeeding under Emanuel's leadership at holding the murder rate down and making the city safe for all of us. Except that's a lie too.
In the months since the series was filmed, real Chicago journalists, have been question the city's suspect murder stats, and now the answers are in. Chicago's top cop Garry McCarthy, who as police chief in Newark co-starred in Brick City as well, cooked the books to make dozens of Chicago murders disappear the last couple years in a row. Homicides committed on freeways running through the city? Well those freeways are patrolled by the state police, so Rahm Emanuel's cops omit those from their stats. Month-old corpses found in vacant warehouses who died naked and tied to chairs? Gunshot wounds to the head? Cases like these have been classified as “unexplained deaths.” Not once or twice but dozens of times over the last couple years.
This is the same Chicago police department that throws tens of millions in public money out to settle cases where its brutal cops maim, mistreat and kill civilians. It's the same police department that pays a generous monthly pension to former police commander Jon Burge, convicted of supervising the torture and false confessions of dozens.
CNN bills itself as “the most trusted name in news.” It's given big play to “Chicagoland.” But CNN has yet to mention on the air how the supporting cast of its own campaign commercial actually does make the city safer, at least statistically, for us all.
For Black Agenda Radio I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is a native Chicagoan now living in exile in the suburbs of Atlanta, where he works as an IT professional and is co-chair of the Georgia Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.