Local columnist calls Detroiters ‘pinkos,’ ‘anarchists’

Nolan_FinleyNuance has never met Detroit News provocateur Nolan Finley.

In his latest hyperbolic column, the conservative columnist calls Detroiters “pinkos” and “anarchists” who can’t stomach working with someone of Gov. Rick Snyder’s skin color.

“If he were anything but a white Republican, Detroiters would be renaming their city in his honor. Or at least a park,” Finley wrote in a column published Sunday. “Yet even though he’s heeded their demand to stick it to the banks, the pinkos, anarchists and pretty much everyone else in Detroit still cast him as the enemy.”

This kind of shameless exaggeration and race-baiting, which permeates most of his columns, is part of a hackneyed narrative that suggests Detroiters speak with one voice. If Finley bothered to look beyond the sensational headlines of his own newspaper and venture into the city’s neighborhoods, he’d see a far different reality than the one he recklessly portrays.

But that’s too nuanced for a newspaper column.

A few years ago, when Finley wrote that all Palestinians are blood-thirsty terrorists, then-state Rep. LaMar Lemmons III responded: “History is riddled with tyrants who have painted with a broad brush to negatively characterize entire groups and races of people. I think it’s time to say we, as a society, are more humane and intelligent than one would guess from this column.”

Despite Finley’s divisive rhetoric – or maybe because of it – he’s a regular guest on reputable news organizations, including public radio’s The Craig Fahle Show on WDET and public television’s MiWeek.

Steve Neavling

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.