CHICAGO, IL — On Election Day just over a week ago, as this city’s reporters and editors focused on whether the incumbent mayor with ties to the White House would win big or be forced into a historic run-off, an out-of-town newspaper produced a startling account of alleged abuse at a police facility called Homan Square.
The blockbuster story, published in The Guardian and written by Brooklyn-based journalist Spencer Ackerman, described the warehouse as the “domestic equivalent of a CIA black site,” where secretive police units operate and detainees are “disappeared,” with no access to lawyers or relatives and no immediate record of their whereabouts.
With its comparisons to war-on-terror practices and allegations of police brutality, the story landed big on the internet, with well more than 100,000 social shares and write-ups across the Web. The one place it didn’t get much traction: Chicago media.
The city’s two main dailies, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, quickly reported that city police denied any wrongdoing in pieces that offered little original reporting. The CBS affiliate in Chicago also reported the police denial. The local papers and TV stations have since covered protests from groups demanding that the facility be shuttered.