CNN told its viewers that this would be a documentary that offered an “unscripted” look into Chicago. But it seems from internal emails, which were recently discovered, the CNN producers coordinated heavily with Rahm Emanuel’s office. They even coordinated their press releases with Emanuel’s office.
It became clear that the Chicagoland series was so closely intertwined with the Rahm Emanuel camp. Over 700 emails between the CNN producers and Emanuel’s office show that coordination went far beyond what many suspected. The two teams even collaborated on camera angles and arranged “off-the-cuff” meetings between Rahm and his constituents.
One example is when the producers told the Mayor’s office to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Emanuel and a school principle. An email read, “Need the mayor at Fenger High School with Liz also. I know I [sic] am needy but we want more Rahm in the series.”
Both CNN and Mayor Emanuel’s office claim that there was no collaboration. CNN insists that Emanuel’s office had no control over their actions, saying Emanuel was “never granted editorial control over the content or the press communications for Chicagoland, and no agency was ever granted authority to offer the Mayor’s office editorial approval for the content or the promotional materials for the series.”
But this “unscripted” show clearly had some behind the scenes coordination going on. Although, it doesn’t appear that all the work here was worth it. The mini-series aired to pretty dismal ratings and as the series went on, ratings got worse. The series only ended up earning 325,000 total viewers. All that sneaking around wasn’t worth it I guess. So much for all of these great “documentaries” coming from an “unbiased” CNN…