Tribune consultant turned into Blago toady

posted at 9:47 am on March 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

One of the stranger stories of corruption in the sleazy saga of Rod Blagojevich was his attempt to get control of the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board.  Blagojevich wanted to stop the critcism of his administration, and saw the potential sale of Wrigley Field as a lever for accomplishing that goal.  At the time, it looked like the height of arrogance — an elected official dictating how newspapers should cover him, and (ab)using his official power to ensure it.

When the federal charges exposed that part of the scandal, many of us wondered where Blagojevich got the idea he could get away with it.  As it turns out, he may have gotten the idea from the Tribune itself:

A sports business consultant hired by Tribune Co. to help with the possible sale of Wrigley Field to the state commiserated over declining newspaper quality with a top aide to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and also sought a potential spot on Chicago’s 2016 Olympic panel to help the now ousted Illinois governor, e-mails released Monday showed.

Marc Ganis was retained by Tribune Co. officials and dealt with the Blagojevich administration over possible attempts by the state to help the company structure the sale of Wrigley Field. Tribune Co. owns the Cubs, the ballpark and the Chicago Tribune. …

In an exchange of e-mails between Ganis and Harris on the day prior to the arrests of the governor and his chief of staff, Ganis provided Harris with a copy of a news story noting Tribune Co. had filed for bankruptcy. Harris responded, “Lousy product. Inevitable.”

“I feel what you are saying,” Ganis responded to Harris. “It’s not just the Chicago Tribune (and your comments are completely understandable). The whole newspaper industry has gone downhill and now we are seeing the effects of decades of monopolistic, insulated, ivory tower, ‘I buy ink by the barrel so what I say is right’ attitude.”

Well, we in the blogosphere say the exact same thing about the industry, but none of us get hired by newspapers as consultants.  Ganis worked for the Tribune while making these statements to John Harris, Blagojevich’s chief of staff.  One might have thought that Ganis would not go out of his way to demean the people employing him to liaison between Tribune and the governor’s office.

By this time, though, Ganis clearly had other priorities.  He had pressed Blagojevich’s staff to get an appointment on the 2016 Olympics committee if Chicago won the games, making him more dependent on Blagojevich than the Tribune.  The effort to get a capital appropriation through the legislature failed, but clearly Ganis wanted to ingratiate himself with the Blagojevich crowd.

Knowing that, what could Ganis give Blagojevich?  Maybe some help on shuffling the editorial board?  Blagojevich’s demand begins to look a little less like arrogance and more like opportunism.

Update: Forgot the link to the ChiTrib story.  Give them credit for reporting this, too.


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Comments

I don’t think I’ll ever move to Chicago.

Evah

blatantblue on March 10, 2009 at 9:51 AM

Don’t look back at Chicago in the rear-view mirror lest ye turn to a pillar of salt.

whitetop on March 10, 2009 at 9:52 AM

I kind of miss Rod ‘The Hair’ Blago.

OmahaConservative on March 10, 2009 at 9:58 AM

And they said print is dead?

lm10001 on March 10, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I kind of miss Rod ‘The Hair’ Blago.

OmahaConservative on March 10, 2009 at 9:58 AM

I do too.

That shi’ite was hysterical!

He was, as the great Bob Grant always said of people:

A FAKE, PHONY, FRAUD!

I remember his acceptance speech when he won his election:

and my mama said to me:

“Rod, tell me you wont ever do one thing”

and i said, “yes mama?”

and she said, “rod, dont you ever go takin a bribe”

and i said “no, never mama, because thats not how you and papa raised me”

blatantblue on March 10, 2009 at 10:04 AM

Me, the master of type-o’s would like to report a type-o in tht headline.
:)

johnnyU on March 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM

Do ya think ‘knee pads’ were selling for a dime a dozen? Burris probably has a pair he no longer needs. Hussein is a crook and Rod’s a crook…but at least Rod amuses me. Hussein sickens me.

JoeySlippers on March 10, 2009 at 10:19 AM

I don’t understand why any sane person with even the slightest ability to move still lives in Chicago or the whole of Illinois.

myrenovations on March 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

Job stimulus: Bulldoze the whole state of Illinois and start over.

Mr_Magoo on March 10, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Blago, the gift that keeps on giving.

rbj on March 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Ganis was getting his oar in the water of the river of tax dollars that will start to flow to all of the connected types in IL should Chicago get the Olympics.

All the Chi pols are already lining up, wringing their hands in anticipation, and licking their chops.

yo on March 10, 2009 at 10:29 AM

myrenovations on March 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

I’m in too deep, I can’t get out… Besides, it’s almost my turn to be mayor of our little farm town!
:)

CBarker on March 10, 2009 at 10:36 AM

I don’t understand why any sane person with even the slightest ability to move still lives in Chicago or the whole of Illinois.

myrenovations on March 10, 2009 at 10:23 AM

I’m the last person to defend Chicago politics, but there is more to the Chicago than corrupt politicians. It’s a beautiful city and a great place to live, despite the corruption.

Ted Torgerson on March 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM

Free Blago……I miss him too, he made me laugh and I couldn’t wait to see what lunacy was coming next…*sigh*

clinker46 on March 10, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Meh.

Business as usual.

bluelightbrigade on March 10, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Wow! The backstabbing Tribune got stabbed in the back.

GarandFan on March 10, 2009 at 10:58 AM

and she said, “rod, dont you ever go takin a bribe”

and i said “no, never mama, because thats not how you and papa raised me”

He kept his promise, he never took a bribe.
He took every bribe offered, and demanded more.

Trib tried a mea culpa a couple weeks ago for turning a blind eye to IL politics, and has been trying to purge itself of their sins since. This is one, shining a light on themselves before someone else does it for them. They have no value, they are in debt (thank you Zell for gutting everything and piling on millions in debt so you could have the $$) and are looking for ways to stay in the business. As a result, they have become more aggressive, although The Reader arguably leads in political reporting.

MarkT on March 10, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Myrenovations:
My husband is a railroader-desk job now but most of the time on the ground-and chicago is the railroad capitol of the nation.
I wish we could leave but alas…

annoyinglittletwerp on March 10, 2009 at 11:37 AM

Not sure what the big deal is… he’s a consultant for the Trib to get Wriggley Field sold. He’s talking to the Gov’s office and maybe looking for a job down the line.

Chicago’s corrupt, that’s where Louisianians go to learn, but this is a non-starter.

roux on March 10, 2009 at 11:51 AM