Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh, who is leaving politics because he wants to return to newscasting, became one of the media’s biggest critics once the camera turned on him in 2009.
On Tuesday, the former Fox 2 News reporter continued his tirade against the media, saying local reporters are exploiting others’ misery for quick profits.
“They are trying to do gotcha journalism,” Pugh, who raked in a six-figure salary doing similar stories for TV, told council members. “They make money embarrassing people, and it’s a shame.”
The criticism came after some council members questioned why the local media made a bid deal about pension trustees flying to Hawaii for a convention. After all, Councilwoman Brenda Jones reasoned, the same criticism wasn’t leveled at government officials who recently attended the annual Mackinac Policy Summit in Michigan.
Never mind that it’s 4,500 miles closer and did not require a first-class plane ticket.
Pugh said the reason was selfish.
“Journalists spend a lot of money to send reporters” to Mackinac Island, Pugh told colleagues. “Because they are personally involved, they would not do any investigative pieces on it.”
The most a reporter will do, Pugh said, is expose an official who skipped a session at the conference.
“They magnify one bad actor who skips a session and lays out on the beach, and they don’t tell you the person went to every other session,” Pugh said. “It’s easy to do those stories.”
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.