Did CNN Coordinate With Chicago Mayor to Make Him Look Like a ‘Star’?

By Jordan Chariton 

chicagoland2014-thumbnailThe Chicago Tribune reports of over 700 emails between CNN “Chicagoland” producers and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s office that show producers seeking more on-air involvement from the mayor to showcase him “as the star that he really is.”

One email obtained was sent from the show’s executive producer Mark Levin to Emanuel’s office before an important school-closing vote.

“This is a real opportunity to highlight the Mayors leadership – his ability to balance the need for reform and fiscal reality with compassion for affected communities and concern for the safety of Chicago’s school children,” Levin wrote of the school closings to Emanuel senior adviser David Spielfogel and two press aides. “We need the mayor on the phone in his SUV, in city hall with key advisers and his kitchen cabinet and meeting with CPS head BBB (Barbara Byrd-Bennett) and with CPD (Superintendent Garry) McCarthy.”

Other emails show the mayor’s office preparing to send CNN storyline ideas for the series; the report also suggests Emanuel’s office requested a private pre-screening of the series ahead of its premiere at Sundance Film Festival.

“We did not pre-screen the series for the Mayor,” a CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser. “The series premiered publicly at the Sundance Film Festival in January and the Mayor’s office sent someone there. Also, the Mayor never edited our press releases.”

CNN also tells us: “The mayor’s office was never granted editorial control over the content or the press communications for Chicagoland,” a CNN spokesperson tells TVNewser. “No agency was ever granted authority to offer the mayor’s office editorial approval for the content or the promotional materials for the series.”

The last episode of “Chicagoland” aired last night on CNN.