More Blogger Ethics

The fuss for weeks was aboutwhat tourists and radio traffic announcers will call it, not how much it cost:

“Now publicly traded, Willis asked for and received $3.8 million in
tax-increment financing from the city to redevelop the Sears Tower

Why isn’tthis the story? Why are Chicago taxpayers subsidizing a British insurance company?

“It’s going to cost us about $17 million,” said Plumeri. “We’re
bringing jobs into the city, and hopefully in the next couple of years
it’ll be 600, 700 jobs because we expect our business to grow rather
strongly in the next three years.”

Hopefully. But if we’re paying for those jobs, shouldn’t we just put those workers in the city payroll?

I’d also like Mr. Plumeri to describe how those negotiations went
with the mayor. Very well, apparently. The Trib apparently didn’t ask.

“Willis will consider spending money on marketing to help the Willis
Tower name stick, but Plumeri knows it will take time. ‘They can call
it whatever they want, even The Big Willie,’ said Plumeri, who turns 66
next month. ‘All I know is that the day we announced that this building
would be named Willis Tower, everybody in America knew who Willis was’.”

Then why would you have to spend money on marketing to make it stick?

And really, The Big Willie? Are you a dick?

“Willis doubled its North American revenues in 2008 with its $2.1
billion acquisition of Hilb Rogal & Hobbs. It was the brokerage
sector’s biggest deal in a decade, Willis said.”

Then why do they need a taxpayer subsidy? Maybe they should be giving us a subsidy to keep the damn city running.

“One of Willis’ chief rivals is Chicago-based Aon Corp., which has
about 2,500 Chicago-area workers and occupies one of the city’s other
big towers.”

It would have been nice to have someone from Aon comment on how they feel about a big competitor getting a city subsidy.

But no. We’ll just stick with The Big Willie.

We saw the same halfbright lightweight fuckery when Macy’s renamed Marshall Field’s on State Street. Days and days and days of coverage, “man on the street” reactions to the name change, opinions, memories of how things used to be, etc. None of which acknowledged that nobody would be richer or smarter (or dumber or poorer, for that matter) because of the change to a sign on the outside of a store in which the majority of city residents could not afford to spend very much money no matter what it was called. The amount of coverage devoted to bullshit like this as opposed to actual substantive issues is just one example I like to bring up when people want to cant to me about how journalism in the hands of television and newspaper reporters is sober and serious and all the Internet has to offer is video of cats flushing toilets.


3 thoughts on “More Blogger Ethics

  1. Oh, the stories I could tell you.
    But here is something you can look up. In any town with a Wal-Mart SuperStore (the giant 24-hour kind), ESPECIALLY if it’s been “relocated” inside that town in the past five years, the city subsidized the construction and continues to subsidize the store’s operation via tax breaks to the corporation. Wal-Mart claims it brings jobs.
    If I don’t laugh about this I’ll either cry or start throwing grenades…

  2. Targeted economic incentives (as opposed to infrastructure improvements, which are a little murkier, constitutionally speaking) are a clear violation of the plain meaning of the U.S. constitution and the constitution of at least one state, my own (NC). But here, the SCONC ignored the plain meaning of the state Constitution by finding incentives constitutional in a case called Maready, and at the federal level, Congress, which could end this sh*t tomorrow under the Constitution’s interstate-commerce clause, plays different sets of taxpayers (including not only individuals but also existing businesses) off against one another to benefit larger corporations.

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