Dear Rahm: Emails reveal how Emanuel works the media — and vice versa

Bruce Dold and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Bruce Dold and Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Using previously undisclosed personal email accounts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel communicated with dozens of heavyweights in the media — from network news anchors and national political columnists to newspaper editors and publishers.

Among the nearly 2,700 pages of emails released Wednesday in response to a Better Government Association lawsuit were many that showed how the mayor works the media and how some media power brokers try to work the mayor.

At least 10 of the emails from Emanuel's private accounts were between him and Bruce Dold, publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Tribune. Most of them were from when Dold was editorial page editor of the newspaper. He was named to his current position earlier this year.

In addition to the BGA, the Tribune has been suing for release of all of Emanuel’s emails and text messages relating to city business. "We are not seeking purely private communication," Dold said in a statement last week. "We are seeking information subject to the Freedom of Information Act. The Tribune is taking these legal steps to guarantee access to all public records, no matter how and where they're kept."

Among the exchanges released Wednesday between Emanuel and Dold, Emanuel follows up on a conversation by sending Dold a link to a Wall Street Journal story. Dold tells him that his future son-in-law “is going to work for Chicago Ventures.”


Dold criticizes an op-ed piece submitted for publication by the mayor. “It reads more like a press release than an essay that will draw and keep readers,” Dold writes.


Emanuel questions Dold about an editorial that he believes doesn’t give him enough credit. Dold replies: “Ok, but hey — this is nothing but a positive editorial about Chicago.”


Emanuel questions Dold on why he didn’t return a call. “Did you not get my vm [voice mail] from two days ago or you still protesting me?” the mayor writes.


One month after Dold is promoted to publisher and editor of the Tribune, Emanuel sends the cryptic message: “What is going on?”


Here are highlights of other emails involving media personalities:

Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” asks Emanuel to intervene with the Chicago Park District on behalf of her mother, sculptor Emilie Anna Benešová.


Wolf Blitzer, CNN news anchor, seeks an interview for “The Situation Room,” his weekday afternoon news show. “Love to the family,” he writes.


Emanuel sends a personal email touting Chicago schools’ educational gains to Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times. Emanuel sends identical emails to: George Stephanopoulos of ABC News; Wolf Blitzer of CNN; Peggy Noonan, Naftali Bendavid, Paul Gigot and Jerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal; Thomas Friedman, David Brooks, James Bennett and Carl Hulse of the New York Times; Al Hunt, Margaret Carlson, Mark Halperin and Peter Orszag of Bloomberg; David Ignatius, Fred Hiatt and Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post; James Fallows of The Atlantic; and John Harris of Politico.


Hermene Hartman, publisher of N’Digo magazine, suggests candidates for Emanuel to consider for superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. “Neither of them know of my suggestion to you,” she writes.


Larry Wert, then president and general manager of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, shares the ratings with Emanuel for the premiere of “Chicago Fire” and the newscast that followed. “Take some credit,” he writes, followed by a smiley face.


Michael Ferro, then chairman of the Sun-Times, thanks Emanuel for joining the roster of columnists for Splash, the paper’s new celebrity magazine.


Tony Hunter, then publisher of the Tribune, invites Emanuel to kick off a conference of “the nation’s top editors and news leaders.”