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More Olympics Spoilsports: Hannity And Malkin

Reported by Ellen - October 1, 2009 -

Self-righteous sourpuss Michelle Malkin has a new piece of hatred to lay on America: President Obama’s efforts to land the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago. She was joined in her efforts by “Great American” Sean Hannity. Like Glenn Beck before them, the two seemed so consumed by their hatred for Obama (another thing they can’t stand about America) that they could not even take pride in his efforts to have the country host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Also like Beck, Hannity used the opposition to the Olympics as a tool in a witch hunt for Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. With video.

“Why is the president so concerned with bringing the Olympics to his home town?” Sean Hannity asked at the beginning of the segment. Then, in a not so fair and balanced introduction, he suggested the answer, that Malkin had dome some “excellent reporting” and had found that the reason is “political payback.”

Malkin was as self-righteous and sour as ever as she wasted no time accusing Obama of having “warped priorities.” She quickly alleged that the Olympics bid was really about “political payback” for the “Daley machine.”

Without offering any supporting facts or information, Malkin said Daley wanted to see “this $5 billion party cap off his long-grant tenure. And it’s a great way to whitewash all of the city’s ills… and Illinois, for that matter.” What was being whitewashed and how? She never said and Hannity never asked. Instead, she went on to sneer that Daley’s tenure has been marked by corruption, deteriorating public housing, “schools that are a mess” and, according to Malkin, “a teen violence epidemic that is unabated.” Proof enough for her, apparently, that Daley’s and Obama’s desire to bring the games to America, are to be deplored.

With her customary condescension, Malkin added that the games are Daley’s “vision.” She continued, “He, along with all the cronies that have been installed in the White House, have made this their pet cause.”

Hannity asked for more specifics, not to prove her contention but because “there’s a really deep connection to Valerie Jarrett.” Just like Beck befoe them, the two offered absolutely no deeds or actions by Jarrett to evidence any wrongdoing and instead relied on a host of supposition and suggestion.

“Jarrett once worked for Mayor Daley,” Hannity said, adding that she had also hired Michelle Obama before she married Barack Obama and had gone on to serve as head of the Habitat company, which had a stake in the same housing project, Grove Parc, that Beck seized upon. “Take it from there,” Hannity told Malkin.

But first, Malkin wanted to explain “how deeply embedded Valerie Jarrett is with both the Daley machine and the Obama’s.” Instead of Beck’s chalkboard, Malkin offered, “She worked not only as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Richard Daley but also as his legal council and as a city planning commissioner for him during his tenure. She hired Michelle Obama as a mayoral assistant… They went on to work together at the Chicago Medical Center… Michelle Obama and Barack Obama have depended and relied on Valerie Jarrett as their fixer, as their money shaker, as their influence peddler, as their consigliere.” I’d say Malkin proved Jarrett’s corruption just as well as Beck did, which is to say, not.

Hannity went on to say that after working for Mayor Daley, Jarrett worked for Habitat, with a stake in federally subsidized housing projects, including Parc Grove “run into the ground under her watch.”

Like Beck before them, neither Malkin nor Hannity seemed to have any specific information as to any wrongful or disreputable deeds of Jarrett. Instead, they focused on describing the awful conditions at Grove Parc as a way of suggesting what Jarrett had done without actually reporting what she had actually done. Not that that excuses mismanagement of Grove Parc, but one poor outcome does not a bad CEO make. And Jarrett has offered some explanation for the problems, which Malkin overlooked.

Also like Beck, Malkin said that Habitat stands to make money from the urban revitalization that would take place if the Olympics come to Chicago. “And that’s not a coincidence,” Malkin added snidely. But she, too, failed to offer any explanation how Jarrett would profit from Habitat’s (still unrealized) good fortune or evidence that it's payback of any kind.

Hannity noted that the White House said Jarrett would not benefit financially from the Olympics. But, he added, insinuatingly, “You’re saying her old company would and that they’re using her connections.”

Malkin agreed that was her point. But there is no point. Where’s the specific wrongdoing and by whom? Malkin failed to provide any instances. Instead, she went on to smear by suggestion in ways that would have made Beck proud. “There’s no question that property values would rise and all of these developers would benefit from that.” With a haughty smile, she added, “That’s why they’re lobbying so hard to bring it there.” Wait a minute! Isn’t this the gang that accuses Obama of being anti-capitalism? Without pointing to any wrongdoing, the two were doing an awfully good imitation of complaining about people making money. Methinks they just didn’t like the people who might make money, even if it wasn’t anybody in the Obama administration.

Malkin continued, “And even if she (Jarrett) tells us that she has divested all of her properties, except for one, apparently, …the lack of transparency and disclosure here and also the self-dealing is what we have to talk about.” What self-dealing? Malkin had yet to name a single instance of either Jarrett or anyone else in the administration benefiting from the Olympics. Yes, some of their old friends could potentially benefit. But so what? So would a lot of other people. It’s not like the Olympics were going to be a gold mine for their friends and a boondoggle for everyone else. Like Beck before them, Malkin and hannity conveniently overlooked an independent study that found Chicago and Illinois were likely to reap $22.5 billion of incremental economic activity in the State of Illinois—$13.7 billion in the City of Chicago alone—during the 11-year span of 2011 through 2021. The study also found that 315,000 new job-years will be created during this period.

And, by the way, since Malkin was so concerned about the former companies of White House officials making money, I searched her site to see what she had to say about Halliburton making money off the Iraq War (talk about a boondoggle!). I found nothing.

But, finally Malkin found something on Jarrett. According to her, Jarrett has gone to HUD to “drum up” funds for the Olympic Village, “taxes that you and I will pay.” The only problem? Jarrett says that’s not true. Neither Malkin nor Hannity addressed that contradiction.

“They will use eminent domain to clear all of this land, push poor people out and build these sports palaces that will be empty after the Olympics.” Malkin said. At last, a real issue, though it’s still pretty hypothetical. But, unfortunately, time was up.

But even if there had been more time, it seems unlikely anyone would have brought this information to the "fair and balanced" network's viewers: Patrick G. Ryan, chairman and CEO of Chicago 2016 says: "Chicago Games will not require the level of public-infrastructure investment that recent Host Cities such as Athens and Beijing have made. As part of broader city plans, Chicago has invested billions of dollars over the past decade in airport development, transit improvements and the expansion of McCormick Place. These projects, coupled with our plan to use existing facilities such as Soldier Field and United Center and temporary venues where appropriate, means that limited infrastructure investment is required to host the Games.”