The Chicago Tribune gained access to over 700 emails between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office and CNN. The emails detail a cozy relationship between the Democrat’s office and the cable news network during the production of “Chicagoland,” a low-rated eight-part cable series pitched to viewers as an unvarnished look at the city. [The emails are posted here.]
The emails tell the story of a cable news network coordinating with the mayor of a failing city who is also a rising Democrat star. The apparent goal of “Chicagoland” was for CNN to use its resources as a way to portray the “mayor in a positive light” at a national level and showcase Emanuel “as the star he really is.”
According to the Tribune, details were coordinated down to camera angles:
If it seemed as though some scenes of CNN’s documentary series “Chicagoland” were coordinated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and the show’s producers, that’s because they were.
More than 700 emails reviewed by the Tribune reveal that the production team worked hand in hand with the mayor’s advisers to develop storylines, arrange specific camera shots and review news releases officially announcing the show.
Producers asked the mayor’s office to help them set up key interactions in what the cable network has billed as a nonscripted eight-part series, including Emanuel’s visits with the school principal who emerged as a star of the show, emails show. …
The production team for the series, whose final episode aired Thursday night, told Emanuel’s staff that particular scenes would present the mayor in a positive light, with one of the producers expressing a desire to showcase the mayor “as the star that he really is.”
“Chicagoland’s” executive producer is Robert Redford.
CNN has yet to comment on the scandal, but this is yet another black eye for Jeff Zucker, who has been in charge of CNN for just a little over a year. Under his leadership, CNN has become a laughingstock, even among its left-wing colleagues in the mainstream media, for its bungled attempts to cover serious news and bizarre obsessions with whales, missing planes, and ferry disasters.
Just last year, CNN was caught using its network to push anti-gun legislation.
CNN presents itself as an objective cable news outlet.
UPDATE: CNN issues non-denial-denial.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC