muckraker report

Detroit News continues to drum up hatred of city and its leaders

The Detroit News is laughably (or sadly) out of touch with the city branded on its masthead.

In the latest drumbeat of conservative rhetoric, columnist Daniel Howes exploits fears that liberal leaders, er, “Guardians of Decline,” are bent on destroying their own city.

If that’s not enough, it gets better: You see, if President Obama is reelected or Democrats gain control of the state legislature, the city will implode with no accountability.

This is the same newspaper that boldly claimed it was time for a white mayor.

If you buy Howes’ rhetoric, city leaders have done nothing to reduce the city’s budget under a consent agreement that requires deep cuts to avoid bankruptcy.

Tell that to the hardworking, loyal employees who took yet another 10% pay cut and deep reductions in benefits under the consent agreement. Or the thousands of employees who were laid off. Or to the gutted police department that pays its officers peanuts compared to their suburban counterparts. Or maybe he should explain it to the brave firefighters who don’t have proper safety equipment or personnel to keep pace with arsons that are on the rise because of budget reductions.

The city has saved tens of millions of dollars under the consent agreement, but if you believe Howes, ain’t nothing happening but obstruction and incompetence.

His evidence? Howes conveniently points to the council’s refusal Tuesday to hand over its gem, Belle Isle, to the state. This is disingenuous and lazy. Most of the council is willing to enter into a lease, but not without a guarantee that Michigan leaders will spend a dime on the island park. Maybe he should read his own newspaper?

If any other council ignored its responsibilities and rubber-stamped the turnover of such a popular asset, you can bet the Detroit News – as it should – would slam leaders for failing to exercise oversight.

Sure, Detroit has a history of bad leadership, and this council and mayor are no exception. But to suggest they’ve done nothing is a disservice to a city that is constantly under attack because of the media’s lazy, tired, sensational portrayal of Detroit.

Still, the Detroit News will continue to peddle propaganda that exploits very real fears of the city – and they’ll call it journalism.

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.

  • Janet

    These comments are made by revisionist thinkers who left Detroit long ago now they want it back septic tanks don’t really work. kind of reminds you of robo cop.

  • Downtown Detroit

    The problem is the city government has been bent on destroying their own city for decades. The issue is they have no idea they continually do it every year.

  • Bob

    Thinking that Detroit is a viable functioning entity is like putting perfume on a corpse. Bill Bonds called it 30 years ago when he said “Will the last one out, please turn out the lights”.