Chicago journalists once opened a fake bar to document corruption

Originally published at:


I can’t help but think that this was a brilliant idea and that it got the shaft because of the same graft and corruption it helped expose. We need more reporting done this way. We need more policing done this way.

Also “element of entrapment”? Really? How were these people tricked in to committing crimes they would not have otherwise committed? That’s the giveaway to me. That’s why I think this was shut down by the same corrupt forces it was exposing.


Sounds delicious.


One in every city. Three in the big ones.


Seems to me, this would be a fairly underhand means of obtaining evidence of criminality; perhaps even unethical… except that when focused on corruption, the end justifies the means.

To my mind, there’s something particularly egregious about corruption that renders it fair game for almost any means of exposure, including actual entrapment. In fact, although I pretty much fundamentally oppose capital punishment, I’m prepared to make an exception for the likes of 45.


Making the assumption that the journalists were ethical, it might work. However, people like James O’keefe (Project Veritas) have twisted this to create and support their own agenda. Need to examine motives and ethics before jumping full in, IMO.


Over a dozen officials were suspended or fired. By June 1979, 18 city electrical inspectors had been convicted of bribery

What sort of motive or ethics do you suppose we need to keep out of uncovering graft and corruption? I mean, it feels like a weak counter-plan to say “before we go exposing corruption, we have to make sure the people exposing it fit our motives, morals, and ethical standards”
To what end? Let’s say you have a fundamentalist right wing authoritarian corporate shill reporter working undercover at your fake bar and their work exposes a corrupt progressive/left wing candidate, do we say that this wasn’t legitimate because of the motives and ethics of the reporter? I don’t follow your logic here.


It would be fun to troll a place like that with a fake meeting between aliens.


Journalists found a way to get paid for day drinking is a more appropriate headline. They’re hero’s in the profession.


But that in no way can be defined as ethical. You know the dictionary definition of ethical, yes?
Your imagined reporter is not a reporter, they’re a stooge.

: conforming to accepted standards of conduct

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A+ idea. But it only captures the low level graft and corruption. To get at the rot eating our republic, a newspaper would need to open a billion dollar private equity fund.


I know that any argument which relies on a dictionary is a fundamentally flawed one.

But ok, “conforming to accepted standards of conduct” for reporters on the right, the majority political party in the nation, being a fundamentalist right wing authoritarian corporate shill is the accepted standard of conduct.

You are basically saying that it would be unethical for such a reporter to uncover graft and corruption because they have a code of ethics and morality which differs from yours.

So, then a stooge cannot be allowed to uncover graft and corruption? Why is that? This entire line of reasoning whereby corruption cannot be brought to the light of day by anyone other than the people you deem acceptable for such work lacks any reason or logic. You seem to be more concerned with the source of the information than uncovering graft or corruption. This position seems based on defeasible inductive reasoning. One should not care about the politics of someone telling the truth as long as it is the truth that they are telling.

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You are definitely dancing around the concept that news and journalism should be pure and uncorrupted by personal political affiliation, instead of driven by it, though.
People like O’Keefe are not reporters or journalists because there is intent to smear, not to truthfully report.


My logic is based on what O’Keefe did to planned parenthood. Manipulating evidence in an attempt to indicate that PP was selling baby parts, and trashing their reputation. He very carefully edited the dialog to advance his agenda.
If you’re OK with that, then I don’t know what to say.

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Right. I don’t know what one might call it, but it definitely isn’t journalism.


If the evidence is manipulated then it should be disregarded. No one is saying you have to accept anything without a challenge but rather that challenge must be something more substantial than you not liking the person presenting it or the intent of the reporter. The validity of the evidence is all that matters.


It’s currently the Brehon Pub, a nice neighborhood Irish bar.

When I was there a few years ago they had a small section of memorabilia from its time as the Mirage.


You keep saying “reporter”, when a more proper word would be “distorter”. And I’m not targeting O’Keefe.
And no, there are definitely ethical concerns about honesty in journalism, which seems to be experiencing an increased level of erosion since sometime in the 80s.
Ethics in journalism was intended to aid in keeping news publications honest, so the general public won’t have to search for a needle of truth in a haystack of bad reporting or libel.
Responsibility in journalism is a task that publications should always bear the brunt of, not the public.
You sound like the used car salesman who says it’s solely the buyer’s responsibility not to buy a lemon.

I get it now. You seem to have some idea that those who choose to report should be first vetted and we need to determine if they fit some code of conduct before they can be allowed to report. If not, then they aren’t real reporters. The problem of course is that no one has the right to make that call other than the people who read what they write. Sure, no news service is in any way obligated to print or distribute their stories but that has nothing to do with it.
My point is that without a free press allowed to publish what they see fit to publish, you are simply pushing for an authoritarian system whereby we choose who can and cannot report.

The idea that something like this fake bar designed to gather information on people committing fraud and graft can only be legitimate if we have the people we want in the bar is elitist and fails the most basic test of logic and reason.

Finally, I reject your assertion that the general public will be on the hook for determining if a report is bias or not. Fox News exists and there is no shortage of publicly available information demonstrating that Fox is bias and counterfactual. This policing is done by the press which meets your criteria of journalism holding itself to a high standard of ethics. The general public is not left in the wind to figure it out for themselves.

I agree completely, but “gotcha” journalism and twisting and spinning are what brought us Fox “News” and the Enquirer. Sting operations are like speed traps for cops. Of course they’re going to find something wrong. The reporting done on the Watergate scandal wasn’t done in a sting. It was done through hard work and chasing down facts.

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