Looking at the fishbowl effect from the media. Who's been spot-on and who deserves an ass-kicking?
Published: July 31, 2013
He then poorly couches his schadenfreude when, in the next sentence, he writes: “Comptroller Darlene Green sounded pleased when I read her that calculation.”
Glad Detroit could be there for you, St. Louis.
“We have a lot of issues in common,” Nicklaus said in a phone interview, “including history of racial division and I was … kind of drawing a comparison and contrast.” He then indignantly adds, “My conclusions are what they are.”
The Lake County Star, a weekly in Michigan’s own Baldwin — population 1,200, — ran a piece in its July 24 edition headlined, “Decades of denial, that’s Detroit,” by Jack Spencer, a capital affairs specialist for Capitol Confidential, an online newsletter associated with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
“To the surprise of no one, the City of Detroit has declared bankruptcy. Now, at last, it will be forced to put its house in order,” reads the lead sentence, and continues, “Now, at last, a sense of reality will prevail.”
Spencer then writes, “Well, maybe, but don’t hold your breath.” The 1,000-word article takes turns mocking, excoriating and condescending to Detroit’s citizens and lays his blame for the calamity at the doorstep of voters.
In the age of cable news, it’s virtually impossible to monitor every news show, quasi and otherwise, to know the tenor of reporting. However, cable “news” networks have well-established brands that make it pretty easy to imagine how reports are likely being presented. The country’s network broadcasters, held to be the impartial elder statesmen to their cable cousins, have been accused of being too deferential to Detroit. In a July 22 article titled “Motor City Madness: Networks Tell Upbeat Story as Detroit Goes Bankrupt,” by Kristine Marsh of the Media Research Center, a journalism watchdog group, the author states: “... ABC, CBS and NBC have been painting a rosy picture of the dismal city for the past year — covering positive economic news six times more than negative for the beleaguered city (12 stories to 2).
“Propagandizing about the ‘booming’ auto industry and delivering cheery stories of individuals doing good things for Detroit, while only mentioning twice the fact that the city is about to declare bankruptcy,” Marsh says in her article.
While Marsh’s analysis may be accurate, the fact that the networks chose to air more so-called positive than negative stories is not incriminating by itself. This is where context, which is typically more available in print versus broadcast news, becomes critical.
However, like The National Journal’s Ron Fournier stated after the news out of Detroit broke, “… the whole world seemed to be dancing on Detroit’s grave.”
So, in the end, the media’s continuing coverage of Detroit’s painful metamorphosis is as it always has been, a mixed bag. It reduces down to two axioms: Opinions, as the saying goes, are like assholes — everybody’s got one; and haters gonna hate.
We leave you with pearls of wisdom from the Mackinac Policy Center’s Jack Spencer:
“Detroit, like any other place on Earth. Reflects the character of those who inhabit it. In the final analysis, they get the government they deserve. If their government is habitually rife with corruption … unionism, single-party partisanship and populated by self-serving, distracted officials; that’s ultimately a reflection on the attitude of the voters.”
And, take that, Detroit!
Bryan Gottlieb is editor of Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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