"It looked like any neighborhood tavern in Chicago. The beer was cold, the bratwursts hot."
"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. [more inside]
posted by MCMikeNamara
on Jan 9, 2013 -
Twenty-five years after the Mirage.
Wade past the Bob Greene digression up high to the meat of this piece -- a look back at the Chicago Sun-Times' landmark investigative project, the Mirage Tavern. The premise: What if a newspaper opened a bar? Who would come calling? In this case, a parade of petty scammers on a variety of public and private payrolls, each with their hand out for a shakedown. It was a singular look at corruption at the small-business level, a 25-day series people actually read and chuckled over, and yet it was denied the Pulitzer Prize and marked a watershed moment, after which undercover journalism was seen as fundamentally dishonest
posted by nance
on Oct 4, 2002 -