Nov
02

Hospice is too good for the Detroit Free Press

By Woodward's Friend


About that Medicare series in the Free Press. No, the Detroit Free Press. The internet pamphlet that’s a shell of its former self? And twice the price in “newspaper” form? Ok, you know which one we mean now? Good.

Apparently the Free Press published these Medicare stories on orders at the suggestion of an advertiser. An advertiser that bought space directly opposite the stories they suggested. And, just to make it even more awful and unethical, the advertiser is Humana. A health insurance company that might, you know, have some vested interest in Medicare policy and how it’s covered.

Paul Anger explains that this is totally kosher because while newspapers should “cover the news in an unvarnished way,” newspapers should “facilitate commerce.” Really. That’s what he actually said. A modern-day Ida Tarbell, that one.

But honestly, are we at all surprised? This is a paper that has long devoted premium editorial space (and compromised basic journalistic ethics) to facilitate Mitch Albom’s dull commerce. This is the paper with a business columnist who regularly pens love letters to Dan Gilbert. Did you know that Quicken Loans totally never once originated anything except plain vanilla mortgages? SmartARMs for all! IT’S TIME TO LIVE!

Is it any wonder that respectable journalists like Bill McGraw fled this sinking ship? If your profession has been reduced to corporate shilling then why not get a job in an actual corporate communications department with a real salary and what not. Public relations is basically honest work, unlike playing at journalism for the amusement of Humana and company.

If we brought Sinclair Lewis back to life in this time and place, there wouldn’t be anything for him to write about. Detroit has managed to create a non-fiction reality more bizarre than Lewis’ Nobel Prize-worthy satirical fiction. Newspapers facilitate commerce. Christ. Even Chum Fink wasn’t this feckless.

Which leads us to this serious question for our readers. Should Dyspathy cease treating the Free Press as an institution producing legitimate journalism? It’s one thing to link to Mitch Albom or Rochelle Riley’s awful columns for the narrow purpose of making fun of dreck but do you trust anything the Free Press reports as “news”?

Dyspathy exists to comment on news and, because I have some degree of integrity, I always link to traditional news reports from media outlets. Not unlike citing a source in academic research. The Detroit News, Crains, Metro Times, MLive, Lansing State Journal, news radio stations, etc are more than capable of offering journalism (of various degrees of quality) without first asking an advertiser for permission. Is the Free Press still worthy of being treated like a serious news organizations? (WSJ, Poynter, Gawker)


Categories : Big Important News

8 Comments

1

You can certainly continue doing what you do without the Freep. I’ve been so frustrated by their terrible coverage of DPSm, I’ve resorted to reading the News for DPS coverage. Mind you, they’re no great shakes, but they’re better. But then, if either paper had done their job, Bobb’s discoveries and Bobb himself might just be old news.

The Freep can claim credit for their Kilpatrick coverage. I’m curious how you account for that atypical public service?

2

First off, I’m sure the free press is just saving us from socialism because even Fox news hasn’t yet. Second, can’t wait til we find out how much money exchanged hands for those text messages.

The freep sees your pay-to-play and raises you a Pulitzer.

Incidentally, how long until angry old white Michigan Football guy is buying ad space opposite Rosenberg?

3

The Free Press claims this was all a silly misunderstanding. Bill Shea has their letter to WSJ on his Crains blog. You can make up your own mind on the validity of the Freep’s explanation. I found their response to be disingenuous but it’s ultimately an academic question. How can anyone take a newspaper seriously after its editor says that newsrooms exist to facilitate commerce?

4

How long before whoever is responsible for those pop-under DUMB TEST ads gets to dictate the front page?

5

Why the Free Press bashing? Despite their publisher, there are still great reporters and editors working there. Without a major daily, Detroit is doomed.

6

Fewer and fewer by the day but hey thanks for chiming in two weeks later!

7

Guess none of you saw that the Wall Street Journal ran a correction on the story disputing all that Woodwards Friend has said. Read and be enlightened.

8

So Paul Anger didn’t say newsrooms exist to “facilitate commerce”? Because I didn’t see that in the WSJ correction, not retraction.

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