8Dec/110

NewGeography.com Questions Chicago Press Complicity In Illinois Corruption

Pay-to-Play Editorial Staff

Steve Bartin, writing for the website NewGeography.com, in an article entitled “Blago’s Historic Sentencing: Organized Crime in Illinois,” asks an important question. One that the Chicago media, particularly the Tribune and Sun Times, should be asking themselves today: “Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich?”

At Illinois Pay-to-Play, we’ve been wondering the same thing. Bartin mentions Robert Cooley in his piece. We at Illinois Pay-to-Play trust Cooley. He’s proved his veracity as few in Chicago have. His story, linked within the excerpt from Bartin’s article below, proves his reliability.

Also, we here are aware of the identities of several reporters, from both big Chicago tree-killing news outlets, who were given information by Cooley about Candidate Obama’s associations with…let’s say, persons-of-interest, before the ’08 election. In most cases, the information was ignored. It didn’t fit the papers’ template of support for their local Senator. Obama, they assumed, would help Chicago get the Olympics, guaranteed to help slow the city’s slide toward bankruptcy and grease the palms of some connected Southside land developers and contractors – not to mention politicians.  Good for business, and, therefore, circulation.

In one particular instance, a well-known reporter was so bold as to say to Cooley something to the effect that, “Our editors don’t want us reporting on that.”

We can report here that a staff member at Illinois Pay-to-Play had a similar response, nearly verbatim, with a reporter for one of the two major dailies concerning another corruption story.

Here’s part of what Bartin writes:

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was sentenced today to 14 years in prison. Illinois will now have the dubious distinction of having two back-to-back Governors in jail at the same time. Could a more vigilant press have stopped the amazing political career of Rod Blagojevich? When you look into the background of the former Governor the tentacles of organized crime can’t be ignored.

Rod Blagojevich has been identified as a former associate of the Elmwood Park street crew of the Chicago Mob by Justice Department informant Robert Cooley. The allegations concern Blagojevich paying street tax to the Chicago Mob to operate a bookmaking operation. Former senior FBI agent James Wagner confirmed that Cooley told the FBI about Blagojevich in the 1980s. The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune still haven’t reported on the Cooley allegations concerning Blagojevich.

Visit here to read the rest of Bartin’s article.

As the nation becomes further aware of Illinois’, and especially Chicago’s, depth of corruption, its attention is likely to turn toward the Chicago newspapers and start asking questions. One of those questions will be this:

Could the depth of Illinois corruption exist without, if not the direct complicity, at least the negligence and incompetence of the two big dailies?