The reviews are in, and CNN’s Chicagoland from executive producer Robert Redford is every bit the love letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel as expected.
The LA Times, hardly a haven for right-leaning commentary, pulled no punches in its description of the eight-part reality series debuting at 10 p.m. EST tonight:
The boosterism extends to hizzoner himself, whom narrator Mark Konkol, a Chicago journalist, tends to frame heroically: “Emanuel — well, he’s been at the center of unpopular decisions like this before; he’s never backed down and nobody expects him to start now.”
Or “For Mayor Emanuel, the guy who helped President Obama save the auto industry, bail out the banks and reform healthcare, Chicago’s public school crisis is right in his wheelhouse.” Or, accompanying archival of the future mayor protesting a white power rally: “That’s Rahm Emanuel — young, shirtless and not afraid to confront neo-Nazis and skinheads.
Variety bluntly tells readers how the majority of viewers will see Chicagoland–“as a valentine to Windy City Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”
The industry publication also frets that those conservative curmudgeons may have a point when they call CNN yet another progressive outpost.
Still, given the rap CNN regularly faces from conservatives for being a liberal mouthpiece, one has to question producing a show that feels like such a paean to Emanuel. “Obsessive. That about sums up all things Rahm Emanuel,” the narration says, by way of introduction.