IF YOU ONLY HAVE OPINIONS ABOUT THE OBVIOUS THEN YOU CAN NEVER BE WRONG OR DETROIT’S TIMID MEDIABy
“Democracy is the worship of jackals by jackasses.” – H.L. Mencken
So the Michigan Chronicle decided to say what every sane person in Detroit already knows: Martha Reeves is a huge mess who has no business in public office. All it took was the taint of a public corruption scandal, comments that Council was her second job, a bizarre campaign flyer that suggested (among other things) that the Vandellas were also running, and an appearance on Devin “Tom” Scillian’s Flashpoint worthy of the FAIL! blog. Also a poll suggesting that Detroit voters are already prepared to vote Reeves out of office. Attacking Martha Reeves at this late date won’t rock many boats.
Rather than praising Bankole Thompson for stating the obvious, we should ask why Detroit’s other editorialists and pundits aren’t doing the same thing. And what took them so long? Anyone who spent five minutes listening to Martha Reeves back in 2005 knew that she was wholly unqualified for public office. Yet, there was no serious vetting of candidate Reeves by local media. Little was said about her personal financial problems and even less about her obvious cognitive failings. It seems Detroit’s media was afraid to speak ill of the woman because she sang pop songs a half-century ago.
That it takes this level of grotesque stupidity for the punditry to acknowledge reality is telling. For Christ sake, Devin Scillian sat there on Sunday and let Martha assert unchallenged that, among other things, you can use stuff on the internet for free however you want. How do you not follow-up on that? Especially with a professional musician. She called him Tom and he didn’t blink. And yes there is something to be said for letting an interviewee trip themselves up but can we not correct elected officials when they state obvious errors of fact?
The pundit class in this town intentionally gelded themselves for fear of being branded as bullies for asking direct, fair, and tough questions of public figures.
This is a media culture that breeds a Rochelle Riley, who said we should “vote for solvency” yet whose game show process for selecting Council candidates left an incumbent with a foreclosed home, a challenger with a $400,000 tax bill, and another incumbent who has barely paid property taxes because of a tornado that allegedly hit her house in “1993 or 2002.”
This is a media culture where a “journalist” (ok Michigan Citizen editor but close enough) suggests that the Detroit Free Press distracted the city with their Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the mayoral scandal. Oh noes, there was sex! How shall we ever focus on mere public works projects ever again? Kudos to Stephen Henderson for offering a forceful defense of his paper’s fine work. Occasionally there is a real journalist lurking around.
And this is a media culture that compels an apology from Crains Detroit’s Tom Henderson for a rational and insightful column about the folly of the Quicken tax credits. A valid viewpoint from a veteran journalist might inflame the tender sensibilities of Dan Gilbert and we cannot risk that. Never mind that the original article was attacking tax policy, not Gilbert or Quicken.
All of which happened in the ten days. Ed Murrow once said that we are not descended from fearful men. If that’s true then we’ve managed to be chickenshit all by ourselves. (Michigan Chronicle)
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