ABC Refuses To Air Anti-Rahm Emanuel Commercial

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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The ABC network refuses to air a commercial criticizing Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel even though other networks are running the spot, The Daily Caller has learned.

As Emanuel seeks re-election in the Chicago mayoral run-off next week, the Republican-leaning Real Chicago PAC produced an ad highlighting reported instances of Emanuel’s corruption and crony capitalism, including his promotion of the transportation company Uber, in which his brother Ari is a major investor.

“We sent the commercial to the local Fox affiliate. They vetted it, they checked every single quote and every single headline to make sure it was accurate and they ran it on the night of the [mayoral] debate,” Real Chicago PAC chairman Bill Kelly told TheDC. Kelly noted that NBC also approved the ad. But the ad will not appear on ABC 7, Chicago’s highest-rated local network. And that decision came down from ABC’s national corporate infrastructure.

When Real Chicago PAC representative Laura Grock sent the commercial to ABC, Philadelphia-based Dee Parker of the network’s national sales office sent the video to its legal department, based in New York City. Parker then emailed Grock on Wednesday and demanded that the ad be changed.

ABC took issue with the ad’s claim that Emanuel made $18 million in three years as an investment banker between 1999 and 2002 for almost no work and that he used the mayoralty to turn brother Ari Emanuel’s Uber investment into a billion dollars. The ad’s makers cited multiple press articles to provide what they claim is factual basis for their assertions.

“Two of the track lines need to be revised, or this ad cannot air:” ABC’s Parker wrote in her email to Grock.

“1. There is no support for the phrase: for almost no work,” Parker wrote.

“2. There is no support for the claim, as phrased, that: He used his position to turn his brother’s investment in Uber into a billion dollars,” Parker added.

“If they took out the phrase ‘for almost no work,’ and rewrote the Uber allegation to take out the causation and the amount claims [to something like: ‘He used his position to favor his brother’s investment in Uber’],” Parker continued, without elaborating further.

Grock refused to change the commercial.

“No, we won’t change the ad — especially not at this date. The Chicago Magazine article substantiates our claim as to the ‘almost no work’ and the valuation on the Uber stock has been discussed in the media,” Grock replied.

In response to ABC’s first problem with the ad, Grock cited a Chicago Magazine article detailing Emanuel’s leisurely relationship with private equity mogul Bruce Rauner and a Chicago Reader article that reported, “In that period [1999-2002] Emanuel made about $18 million, putting together deals by tapping connections he made in the White House.”

As for ABC’s objection to the bit about Uber and Emanuel’s investor brother? Grock cited a Chicago Sun-Times piece revealing Emanuel’s brother’s stake in Uber and detailing the company’s massive expansion in Chicago after Emanuel was elected mayor in 2011.

Reached by TheDC, ABC’s Parker confirmed the email exchange but declined to speak on the record.

“That commercial should be running on ABC today,” Real Chicago PAC chairman Kelly told TheDC. “I want them to run that commercial all day until the polls close on Tuesday. They’re refusing. I think they’re being incredibly unfair and duplicitous.”

Emanuel voted early, presumably for himself, Thursday morning. When he showed up to the polling place, he referred to the crowd of reporters surrounding him as “my family.”

Emanuel leads opponent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in Tuesday’s run-off.

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