Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Irresponsible Journalism

No, I do not mean the Windsor Star this time. Why the Star finally proved me wrong and covered the daycare story in Saturday's edition. How refreshing. Or did I shame them into it?

This time it is that so-called august newspaper, the New York Times!

On Saturday, the Times did a story on the Michigan Central Station in Detroit. That is the building owned by Matty Moroun. Not just a story mind you but a FRONT PAGE story to boot!

And it was fair, and balanced discussion. How dare they:
  • "Seeking a Future for a Symbol of a Grander Past

    The last train pulled away more than 20 years ago from Michigan Central Station, one of thousands of “see-through” buildings here, empty shells from more auspicious times.

    Many of the blighted buildings stay up simply because they are too expensive to tear down. Yet Michigan Central is in a class of its own. Some city officials consider it among the ugliest behemoths to pockmark Detroit and have ordered its demolition, but others see it as the industrial age’s most gracious relic, a Beaux Arts gem turned gothic from neglect but steeped in haunting beauty.

    Now Detroit has become embroiled in an urgent debate over how to save what is perhaps its most iconic ruin — and in the process, some insist, give the demoralized city a much needed boost.

    “People compare it to Roman ruins,” said Karen Nagher, the executive director of Preservation Wayne, an organization that seeks to protect architecture and neighborhoods around Detroit. “Some people just want it left alone. But I’d love to see that building with windows in and lights on again.”

You can read it here for yourself

Do you want to know how bad the story was? There was a slideshow of 11 fascinating pictures of the building and it was put into a perspective too:

  • "A front window, with little glass. Having lost nearly a million people in 60 years, Detroit has a backlog of thousands of empty office buildings, theaters, houses and hotels. Downtown alone, more than 200 abandoned buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places...

    There is new hope that momentum is building for Michigan Central to become a hub for some government security functions or given Detroit's location close to the Canadian border, a center for trade inspections."

However, the biggest indignity of all by the Times was their failure to mention NOT EVEN ONCE the name Matty Moroun as the owner of the building and then somehow to tie it into the Ambassador Bridge and the DRIC fight and then the destruction of SW Detroit.

Didn't anyone prepare this journalist to do a hatchet job?

No reference to "reclusive billionaire" or "troll" or any of the other pejorative terms that his opponents like to throw around to vilify him and demonize him for ulterior purposes.

Just a factual presentation of the issue, the positions of both sides, an explanation of why there has been trouble doing anything there and a possible hope for the future.

  • "I don’t want to bulldoze it, then find out later there could have been a viable use for it,” said Charles Pugh, a newly elected member who took over as Council president in January.

    Now preservationists, business owners, state leaders and community activists are taking what feels like a last stab at saving the 97-year-old building before it goes the way of New York’s Pennsylvania Station or, more locally, Tiger Stadium and countless other pieces of old Detroit that have fallen to the wrecking ball in recent years."

I wonder if this story, since it will be read in Washington as well, could be the beginning of the renovation of the building. It can be the symbol of the new Detroit in the same way that the auto companies appear to be rejuvenating as well. The Feds can help by putting in infrastructure money and moving Government Departments into the building.

It certainly gives the Detroit Mayor and Council and Michigan federal representatives the means of putting pressure on various branches of the US Government to help in the building as a symbol of the City's rebirth. Here is something POSITIVE that John Dingell could do since he is running again.

As Susan Saulny, the author wrote in a different article in the Times:

  • "Now, as the five winners prepare to take office in a few weeks, expectations are growing that this beleaguered city will see its first significant shift in governance in many years.

    The sense of optimism in some corners is based in part on the new members’ relationship with Mayor Dave Bing, a no-nonsense businessman and former basketball star who won a full term as mayor last month. The five Council winners — among them, a former television news anchor, a pastor and a former deputy police chief — emphasized the need in their campaigns to work cooperatively with one another and with Mr. Bing, who in his short tenure in office has taken a tough-love approach to the city’s many problems.

    “Work horses, not show horses,” Robert A. Ficano, the Wayne County executive, said of the new members. Mr. Ficano, who has often been critical of the city’s political leadership, endorsed all five of the newly elected members and is also a backer of Mr. Bing. The nonpartisan, nine-member Council will now have a majority of newcomers, which Mr. Ficano predicted would result in “a very pragmatic and practical Council.”

Perhaps she could do one of these "disgraceful" but factual stories that tries to set out properly what is really going on in the border file too. Can you imagine if the Times put THAT on the front page too given the big story behind it: Canada/US relations.

Then perhaps we in the region could feel a "sense of optimism" if all of the parties finally woke up and worked "co-operatively" together rather than continue the war that will last a decade or longer for no purpose at all.