The wrong kind of Olympic excitement

THE WRONG KIND OF OLYMPIC EXCITEMENT…. It seems the story of the day on conservative blogs deals with a Fox affiliate in Chicago, which ran a feature on some locals who don’t want the city to host the 2016 summer Olympic games. Given their excitement, it’s probably worth taking a moment to knock the “story” down.

Drudge is apparently responsible for getting the right all worked up. The site has a banner headline: “Fox-TV Chicago ordered not to run anti-Olympics story.”

A local TV station that reported on Chicagoans NOT wanting the Olympics has been told NOT to run the report again, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT! The Chicago Olympic Committee told FOX Chicago that its broadcast ‘would harm Chicago’s chances’ to be awarded the games. The station’s news director ordered staff to hold fire after the report aired once last Thursday morning, claims a source.

As Alex Koppelman noted, “A report like this, exclusive or not, wouldn’t normally merit prime placement on Drudge’s site. But with Obama’s involvement, it becomes a banner headline, because the newsman’s implication is clear: The media’s being told to back off from a story that could hurt the president, and because the press is in the White House’s pocket, they’re complying. Conservative bloggers are, of course, picking up the story and running with it in that direction.”

Malkin got in on the fun this morning, telling readers, “Drudge reports that WFLD-TV has been ordered not to broadcast an anti-Olympics segment again.”

Notice, right off the bat, the passive voice throughout all of this. The affiliate was “has been ordered.” The station “has been told.” Who’s doing the ordering and the telling?

It’s vague for a reason — reality, in this case, isn’t especially interesting. Last Thursday, the Fox affiliate in Chicago aired a 60-second report on some locals who don’t want the Olympics. Officials at the Chicago Olympic Committee said the report might undermine the city’s chances of winning the games — those who award the games want host cities to actually welcome the Olympics. Public relations people discourage local news outlets like this all the time.

And based on Drudge’s “report,” the Fox affiliate apparently found the concerns compelling. The report already aired, but the station doesn’t intend to re-run it.

That’s it. That’s the whole story. No heavy-handed government interference; no censorship; no evidence of political pressure. It’s the lead story on Memeorandum this afternoon because … well, I’m still not sure why.

It’s a good thing the Washington Post and New York Times will be paying closer attention to the stories far-right blogs care about most. They might have missed this gem.