Mockery of Democracy: Local media choose nonsense over news

Barrow and DugeonSure, the city of Detroit has plunged into bankruptcy. More than 21,000 retirees could lose their pensions. And services for more than 700,000 people are in limbo.

But a more urgent matter was unraveling at Big D’s Barbershop on Saturday afternoon: Perennial mayoral candidate Tom Barrow was getting a haircut. And the barber was none other than Mike Dugeon, a recent write-in candidate who has never voted and is running on a platform of providing free Subway subs, chips and pop.

Dugeon, who otherwise sounds like a cool cat, decided to run after someone pointed out that his name is almost identical to Mike Duggan, a write-in candidate whom Barrow successfuly pushed off the ballot.

Because, you know, nothing is funnier than confusing voters and undermining democracy in a city where the average police response time is nearly an hour, where more than 1,000 arsons aren’t investigated every year and where a residents are disproportionately illiterate.

Saturday was the third day that the media salivated over Mike Dugeon, who recently posted on Facebook that he’s tired of “user ass black bitches” and “this fake ass city full of clowns.”

It’s not news; it’s entertainment.

And it’s a disservice to the overwhelming majority of Detroiters who want a better life – not more media-fueled mockery.

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.

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  • StretchRun

    The FREEP is a liberal joke rag.

    • Good God

      And you’re a conservative joke.

  • Eric

    I think the whole thing is funny. It’s not like Dugan or Dugeon are going to win, anyways. And remember, these are the people that elected the hip hop mayor.

  • saddend

    I think the answer is simple. The media is this way hear because there audience wants to be entertained not informed. They don’t live in Detroit. Just like all the violence and coverage of fires. It’s not really news its entertainment

  • Pingback: Barrow pledges battle to challenge write-in votes for Duggan | Motor City Muckraker |()

  • bonniebucqueroux

    The caliber of the comments posted below so dramatically exceeds anything I ever read at the bottom of stories on any other Michigan media. What does that say? Are the people who read the mainstream news either clueless or unrelenting trolls? Or do thoughtful people read the articles but avoid posting for one of a number of good reasons? Detroit is a big issue even for folks who don’t live there. For the folks who do, what happens matters even more. I am just glad this site exists where people can help outsiders like me understand what’s happening.

  • Frank Tomcsik

    Actually the newly created circus with the barber jumping in as a write in candidate, will serve to draw attention with free publicity centered on the write in campaign.

  • Check

    The political intelligentsia knows full well who’s playing this game. Its a shame no one directly in the know will ‘out’ these Banana Republic players.

  • disqus_vhLozcit3f

    This kind of shenanigan takes place for one simple reason: people demand and tolerate it. If the voters of Detroit wouldn’t stand for it, and punish the faction behind (and connected to) these jokers, it wouldn’t occur. But they don’t, for whatever reason. And so things like this happen, and all of the ensuing infotainment that distorts the actual situation fills the demand for a good story that passes as ‘news.’ We’re all guilty of this, to an extent. I could give up Buzzfeed and get my news solely from Jim Lehrer, but he’s boring as shit, even for a news junkie such as myself, and besides, where would I get my funny cat jpegs?

    ‘News’ is much more a function of the audience than it is of the individuals in the media. Viewers/readers/listeners/voters get what they want. This bullshit doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The sad fact of the matter is that we live in a society wherein a plurality of individuals are either so base as to think this is entertaining and applaud it, or so apathetic so as not either understand or care enough to actually do anything about it. This isn’t unique either to metropolitan Detroit, or this specific point in time. It ebbs and flows. I, for one, am cautiously optimistic, that we’re actually on an upswing, but it’s far too early to tell.

    Any rate, discuss amongst yourselves.

  • The Free Press endorses someone who does not have a thorough detailed plan as to how he will lead the city after Orr. He has not shown what he plans to do and how he plans to pay for it. The most that has been seen from Duggan is catchy phrases like DFD, Duggan For Detroit. Should not a major newspaper be doing more.

    Does not the newspaper have an obligation to be the eyes, ears and yes mouth of the people.? The Free Press needs to stop throwing puffballs at the candidates and demand answers. Otherwise the biggest functionality of a newspaper is at the bottom of a cage of a new puppy.

    Certainly the decision for the Free Press had to be difficult because, except for Lisa Howze, no other candidate has presented such a plan. Let’s hope going forward the FREEP will do its duty as the ears and voice of the community and demand that the two candidates develop and present a plan in detail. If they do not, expect another 18 months of an Emergency Manager after Orr’s term is up in September 2014.

    Further, don’t expect any help from Washington without a plan for the future. If I was President before I stepped up to the microphone to talk to the nation I would want to make sure there are plenty of Ken Whittaker’s out there guaranteeing the future of the city. That is when I would tell the other 300 million people that I represent that Detroit has a future and the nation is going to help.

    • Guest

      Reading politics from the Free Press is a joke- has been and always will be!

  • Visual Ronin

    By giving this story column space and by covering the Dugeon story previously are you not also contributing to the condition?

    • muckraker_steve

      That’s a good question and one I thought a lot about before writing it. We did cover the story when Dugeon filed, but the story was about showing who Dugeon is, not giving him a free platform. If you look at the coverage of the barber “event,” you will see nothing but the media capitulating to the nonsense. There were no tough questions.

      • Eric

        Is it more humor for suburbanite viewers or actual news potential city voters may use?

  • Tracey

    This may be the first election ever where I don’t cast a vote. I have no confidence in nearly all the candidates running, and I’m sick of the contempt these candidates seem to have for the voters who will go to the polls. There’s only one person I have some faint amount of confidence in (and that’s a district council candidate), but I don’t know if that small amount of confidence is enough to drive me to the polls on the 6th. I just don’t see the point any longer.

    • muckraker_steve

      Well said, Tracey. I feel like we all are part of a joke but no one is laughing.

      • Guest

        Everyone outside of Detroit is laughing at us