Mirage (n) 2. Something that appears real or possible but is not.
January 9, 2013 3:14 PM Subscribe
"It looked like any neighborhood tavern in Chicago. The beer was cold, the bratwursts hot."
posted by MCMikeNamara (12 comments total)
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"The Mirage Tavern
was a drinking establishment at 731 N. Wells St. in Chicago purchased by the Chicago Sun-Times in 1977 to investigate widespread allegations of official corruption and shakedowns visited on small businesses by city officials. The journalists used hidden cameras to help ensure that city inspectors caught accepting payoffs for ignoring safety hazards were all properly documented."
Thirty-five years ago this week, the Sun-Times began a 25-part series, which documented its work with government watchdog organization Better Government Association
and venerated TV news program 60 Minutes
* to capture the shakedowns, shoddy inspections, and graft galore. And now Sun-Times digital editor Marcus Gilmer is reposting every story on the day it ran in 1977 here
along with additional reporting and details.
* Related: this WBEZ/NPR story
about the origin of the plan which gives a great summary of the players, how things were done in Chicago back then, and the changes it inspired; it also provides the amusing detail that Mike Wallace's visits to the bar almost blew the cover. (In a post-Super Bowl episode of 60 Minutes
that aired the evening after the first Mirage story ran in the paper, Wallace ended up interviewing Phil Barasche - known as Mr. Fixit - a local accountant who gave the new 'small business owners'/enterprising reporters advice on what the going rates for appropriate bribes were and how to keep cooked books.)
Metafilter discussed the Mirage story at 25.)