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The perils of putting all your promo eggs into one basket

Thursday, Jun 29, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This WGN headline was bizarre…

Lakeview, suffice it to say, was not destroyed. From the story

Neighbors told WGN News they were horrified by the extent of the damage Tuesday morning that included shoeprints on cars, dented hoods and broken windshields. […]

Chicago police arrested two people, including a 15-year-old girl. The teen is charged with aggravated assault of a first responder and resisting and obstructing traffic.

The kids’ behavior was unacceptable. But the hyperbolic fearmongering (and worse) blared by the alleged adults at WGN was ridic. Also, only 2 arrests? Was it really that horrific or were the police officers standing down?

* Quite a few folks roundly (and rightly) mocked WGN for its breathless reporting. Again, WGN is supposed to be the grownup in the room…

* My personal favorite combined the WGN tweet with an erroneous tweet (since retracted) that President Biden had taken a CTA train after his speech yesterday…

* Anyway, remember the other day when we talked about the state’s latest tourism campaign, with every single ad featuring Jane Lynch? A state contract will pay a PR firm a total of $46.6 million this fiscal year for the ads. Most of that is for running the ads themselves, of course, but that’s still a big chunk of change.

Which brings us to the very same Jane Lynch

Lovely. $46.6 million for this?

I asked DCEO for a response, and was given nothing on the record. If it was a joke (as only one person tried to suggest to me) like the other tweeters, it sure wasn’t taken that way. Here, for instance, is one of the top far-right radio show hosts in St. Louis who regularly comments on Illinois and Chicago…

I’ve reached out to the state vendor, O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul, as well as the production company Lynch is with.


  1. - The Truth - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:45 am:

    My first thought when I saw the ridiculous usage of “destroyed” in the headline and on social: I bet the usual WGN A-team editors, directors, and writers are on vacation.

  2. - Levois - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:46 am:

    The behavior of those young people is unacceptable, however, I do believe it was over the top to say Lakeview is destroy. The chaos has to be addressed for sure, however, report this accurately not for an audience. Oh wait, the news business…

  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:51 am:

    === I bet the usual WGN A-team editors, directors, and writers are on vacation.===

    Where were they at the end of session?

  4. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:54 am:

    If it bleeds, it leads. It is isn’t bleeding, we’ll make it look like it’s bleeding.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:55 am:

    “Independent Contractor Gives Independent Thought, at 9”

    Not the best situation, tweets rarely help. Ever.

  6. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 11:58 am:

    Good to see Paul Vallas’ social media person was able to find another job.

  7. - Too cute by half - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:01 pm:

    “Chicago Burns” reads the headline, describing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

  8. - Jocko - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:02 pm:

    Lakeview has been on the (slightly) sketchy side since the 90’s. How is this news?

  9. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:03 pm:

    Maybe WGN hired the guy who was fired from Fox News who put up that ridiculous chyron.

  10. - vern - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:06 pm:

    I’ve seen a few people over the last couple of years push for including editors in story bylines. This episode is a good example of how that would increase the trustworthiness of news outlets.

    Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of life. Two of the things that distinguish actual journalism from LGIS pink slime garbage are transparency and accountability. We know who’s writing the stories, and when something is wrong they run a correction. If this were simply a judgement or drafting error on the part of a headline writer or social media editor, WGN could say so in a statement, delete the tweet, and put a note on the story explaining the change.

    The fact that they haven’t done any of that is bizarre. They surely know that they’re being mocked, and that they deserve it. Either they eat a little crow and move on, or stand by the Chicken Little act and permanently lose credibility with a bunch of people. Seems like an easy call to me.

  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:07 pm:

    ===Good to see Paul Vallas’ social media person was able to find another job. ===

    You referring to Lynch or WGN? /s

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:10 pm:

    Teens aren’t going to stop gathering just because some tightwad adults are afraid of them showing up at festivals.

    Cancelling festivals out of fear of teens showing up is only going to add to the problem.

  13. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:14 pm:

    CPD and other city agencies do need better strategies to deal with these situations, because property is getting damaged and people sometimes get hurt. Perhaps better intelligence on the front end will lead to a better response on the back end. A bigger, better coordinated police presence that arrests people for damaging property, etc., even if it just puts a scare into them, might reduce these types of gatherings. That said, the media needs to turn down the hyperbole.

  14. - George Ryan Reynolds - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:24 pm:

    Wonder if the state’s contract with Jane includes a non-disparagement clause. And if so, does the state plan to pursue a refund?

  15. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:46 pm:

    WGN has an OCD like fixation on crime related coverage. It’s intensionally done to keep older viewers afraid and glued to the screen for advertising purposes. Doesn’t matter how petty the incident, the narrative remains: ” you’re in danger “.

  16. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:47 pm:

    the twitter responses to the WGN idiotic headline were just great. I love the one that said they had to get on a ship that went around Lakeview and docked and they got off. that said, get it together Chicago agencies. agree on what to do, stop the CTA or not, put up barriers or not, arrest or not. And for those who think it’s just harmless fun from kids, would you want your car damaged? most of those folks are not curfew violators. they are gross doing 20 somethings.

  17. - Give Us Barabbas - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:49 pm:

    The Lynch thing is a reminder that celebrity endorsement spots come with risks. The most common one is, the celebration rapidly becomes irrelevant. But sometimes, the spokesperson might cause a problem for the campaign. This message brought to you by Subway Sandwiches.

  18. - Stones - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 12:59 pm:

    This message brought to you by Subway Sandwiches.

    Or OJ and those Hertz commercials.

  19. - Dotnonymous x - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:01 pm:

    - If it bleeds, it leads. It is isn’t bleeding, we’ll make it look like it’s bleeding. -

    I’m so old, I remember when media wasn’t based on hits…clickbait “journalism”…set the hook!

  20. - Flyin'Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:03 pm:

    Unless it’s Ricardo Montalban, stay away from celeb endorsements.

  21. - Wildcat12 - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:09 pm:

    —I bet the usual WGN A-team editors, directors, and writers are on vacation. —

    Would that be the editors who ran a story announcing the budget had been passed a week before it actually did?

  22. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:21 pm:

    One of the most important roles of Capitolfax is to point out whe other political reporters are doing their jobs well, and when they are not.

    Thanks Rich for amplifying both good and bad reporting when appropriate.

    Wrigley Field and Grant Park are where Chicagoans celebrate Life.

    Some folks do not like the fact that not all of those celebrations are as White as Lakeview and the Gold Coast.

  23. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:24 pm:

    IL office of tourism is but one of many campaigns that O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul seem to get from the state. Multiple IL Lottery, IL tourism, and IL Dept of Health campaigns we doled out to this connected ad agency - look for competitors.

  24. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:28 pm:

    “who think it’s just harmless fun from kids, would you want your car damaged?”

    I never want my car damaged. But I do understand it happens sometimes when I park for festivals, baseball games, grocery stores or any number of other things other than being in my driveway.

    It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a car. Or are there similar stories about all the ‘damage’ caused from carts at grocery store parking lots?

    “Grocery Store destroyed” is not a headline I ever remember seeing.

  25. - Homebody - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:43 pm:

    == I’m so old, I remember when media wasn’t based on hits…clickbait “journalism”…set the hook! ==

    It always has been, even before the internet. It was just giant editorializing headlines instead. The “if it bleeds it leads” phrasing has been around for decades before internet ever was, because the principles are the same. Profit motive over dispassionate accuracy.

  26. - James - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:45 pm:

    The shrugging off from afar of these mobs is an intentional misreading of the situation and victims blaming at it’s finest. I wasn’t your car, and it wasn’t your neighborhood destabilized, so you can type away with unabated snark. Juvenile would be this post, not the folks at WGN.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:53 pm:


    Take a breath, it’s not like they took over the Alderman’s office and declared it a new country… “destabilized”… third world coups are destabilizing

  28. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 1:59 pm:

    “neighborhood destabilized”

    Everything old is new again.

    Since we’re getting a redo of the 1988 drought, some people have decided to also repeat the Lakeview hyperbole from the summer of 1988. It’s ok, the lights on the ballpark are not going to bring about the apocalypse.

  29. - Frida's boss - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 2:21 pm:

    If I was walking home from work or trying to walk my dog through the neighborhood I would’ve been mad. I would’ve been even more mad if I went out to get my car and a bunch of kids thought it was cool to beat the crap out of my vehicle and steal all my stuff inside.
    Was it a cataclysmic event? No Were people getting shot and killed? No
    It still sucks, it’s still a crime to destroy someone else’s property, to intimidate and harass. So while it wasn’t the riots downtown with the mass destruction seen before, it was still a crime. Just like when bottles are thrown through windows at stores or when break ins occur in multiple vehicles throughout certain neighborhoods. They get reported in the news.
    WGN twitter though did get over melodramatic with their reporting.

  30. - Rogo - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===It’s not the end of the world. It’s just a car.===

    Hyperbole from WGN aside, cars getting destroyed from an after-celebration of pride should not be accepted as the norm of any celebration. The city’s lack of proper coordination between agencies was unacceptable, and the repeated unpreparedness toward addressing large group gatherings such as this one continues to be astounding.

  31. - Snarkie from Schaumbrg - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 3:37 pm:

    Out here in the Schaumburg, we have restricted all of residents to house arrest to protect the City of Chicago.

  32. - Amalia - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 4:38 pm:

    These individuals were not just shoving a shopping cart into a car. those who take this damage as no big deal are verging into the “insurance can take care of it” argument post the stores being trashed in 2020. it’s crime. the alder is not happy because his voters, the residents are not happy. it’s not destroyed but it is destruction of property.

  33. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jun 29, 23 @ 5:07 pm:

    “cars getting destroyed”

    shoeprints on cars, and a dented hood, is not a car getting destroyed.

    That’s actually in the story, if you bother to read past the headline.

    So no, I’m not getting pulled into the imaginary doom paranoia some are trying to pass off as reasonable. If that makes me uncaring for not believing in made up nonsense, then so be it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Despite reported shortage, state claims city has not requested diapers for migrant babies since October
* IVF debate takes a weird political turn
* ComEd Four sentencing will be delayed
* It’s just a bill
* Open thread
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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