Olympic Coverage Plan Offers Political Cover

Watch for pols taking out the trash

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    If Pat Quinn needed to erase any dirt, today is the day to release it to the media hounds.

    If there were ever a day for our esteemed pols to put out some bad news, today is that day.

    Under a timeworn formula known by insiders as "taking out the trash," Friday afternoon is the best day to release bad news in the hope that it flies under the media radar - or that at least the public isn't paying attention heading into the weekend.

    Throw in massive coverage of the Olympic bid and today's the day to announce your entry into a porn rehab clinic or that you have a second family downstate somewhere.

    The media theory is a little suspect, though.

    True, the Saturday papers are hardly read. But the Sunday papers are by far the most-read.

    And in the Internet age, times and days hardly matter anymore.

    Finally, every time a public official releases bad news on a Friday afternoon, reporters point out that they are probably "taking out the trash."

    It happened earlier this month when the Quinn administration buried their decision deep in a Friday press release to let 1,000 inmates go home early to save money.

    The Hynes campaign - and the media - jumped on Quinn.

    "The timing of this release tells the whole story," the Hynes campaign said in a statement. "He can try to hide this news, but he can’t hide the fact that he has no plan and no vision to lead our state forward."

    Never mind that the plan involved a thousand non-violent prisoners whose sentences were due to end soon anyway. It really wasn't a big deal. But the timing backfired.

    With the city's news organizations seemingly assigning every reporter available to the Olympic bid today, though, it's a good time to re-test the theory.

    Because your bad news will have to be waking-up-with-a-dead-girl-or-a-live-boy bad to see the light of day for at least the next 72 hours.

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.