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A Little Breath of Fresh Air

November 29th, 2009 by Mike N · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

Because the two main newspapers in Detroit, the News and the Free Press, have cut home delivery from 7 days to 3 days and raised newsstand prices from 50 cents to 1 dollar to stop losing money, a new paper has sprouted in this city called the Detroit Daily Press.

Its first edition came out Monday 11/22 so I bought a copy out of curiosity (and because it’s only 50 cents). I wanted to see what the editorial page would be like and I found a hint in their first editorial titled “A voice of clarity” written by managing editor Bruce McLaughlan. That title looks promising.

About the editorial page Mr. McLaughlan writes “It won’t push a liberal agenda. Nor will it don a conservative cloak.” He goes on to add that “Instead, like the Metro Detroiters it serves, this page will consider issues on their merits. That means examining the facts, of course, as well as critiquing the way they are framed by various political viewpoints.” Now I had mixed feelings. This could be a call for moderation, exactly what I don’t want, and yet “critiquing the way they are framed” is a depth of thinking glaringly absent from the two major daily’s editorial pages.

Because I had doubts, I didn’t buy a paper until Friday 11/27. Mr. McLaughlan again penned an editorial that really surprised me. It was titled “It’s not your fault” and its theme was ‘don’t accept an unearned guilt.’ The paper was not online yet so I can’t link to anything but here are a few excerpts.

First paragraph: “You’re going to read a lot about guilt in the coming months. It won’t be labeled as such, but that’s the subliminal message.” How true! He points out how consumers are often blamed for not spending enough and other times for foolishly spending too much. The last three paragraphs say:

“You can’t do much about being blamed for everything, but you are in charge of whether you accept the feeling of guilt on behalf of the economy.

“Here in cash-strapped Metro Detroit, it’s time to reject the guilt and do what’s right for you and your family. If savings is the most prudent approach, save. The kids will be just as happy with smaller gifts that are wrapped with the same amount of love – or perhaps even more love, undiluted by worry.

“Just don’t bring home a big box of guilt this holiday season. You can’t afford it.”

Wow! I look forward to more of these. I’ll be sending an LTE lauding that editorial. Unfortunately, I just heard that the paper is suspending operations until after Jan 1st due to a lack of advertising. A good article by Bill Shea at Crain’s Detroit Business about the new paper is here. I wish the paper well and for all the reasons Mr. Shea mentions. But even if it fails, and with the current administration in Washington and its bought and paid for press selling guilt on a massive scale, it was still a little breath of fresh air.

4 Comments so far ↓

  • Myrhaf

    An editorialist who counsels against accepting unearned guilt might be influenced by Ayn Rand. I would certainly keep an eye on this paper.

    That first edition you bought might be a collector’s item someday.

  • TW

    Well, good for you for encouraging this new paper. If any city needs honest, unbiased reporting, it’s Detroit.

    I’ve been interested in Detroit ever since I started reading a blog written by a detroiter (is that the right term?) who covered the city’s high and low points and its political realities with unflinching realism and humor. He’s a kind of urban explorer (who nonetheless never vandalizes or steals, merely photographs) with a keen interest in history and architecture. He has, in the past, quite skillfully skewered the corrupt city officials and their exploits, which would make Charlie Rangel blush.

    He largely highlights the positive aspects of the city now, which, interestingly, seem to be small business people trying to make it in the face of terrible obstacles.

    I won’t post the link to the blog because that’s tricky in comments, but I will say that if you google the words “Detroit” and “blog,” you will find his blog at the top of the list.

  • Mike

    Two of my friends are refugees from the D-hole who ended up in the greener economic pasture of Phoenix (at the time, earlier this decade). To ask either of them, there’s little left to rebuild. Detroit proper is mainly a squatters’ lot of welfare recipients, while the bulk of the productive population lives in Livonia, Ann Arbor, or Oakland County and holds its nose through a commute into what seems increasingly like a deteriorating war zone. Eastern Michigan *should* be a booming region for a number of geographic and demographic reasons, but has not been because of the errant political policies of the past half-century.

  • Mike N

    TW: I tried the google search you advised but I’m not sure which one it is. How about a stronger hint?

    Mike: I agree with the sentiment of your friend about Detroit. It’s what pragmatism does to a city that adopts government enforced altruism over protecting individual rights.
    You’re right of course that Detroit could be a seething hot bed of productive activity, if the government would just get itself out of the way. But it won’t. Detroit’s new mayor Dave Bing, himself a businessman, thinks it’s up to the city to provide the environment in which businesses can operate to create prosperity. It’s the right idea if by environment he means one with no government interference in the marketplace. But in a Detroit Free Press interview Nov 29th Mr. Bing said rebuilding Detroit would take about 20 years. Obviously he thinks it’s the city’s job to do the rebuilding and in the current tax and regulatory framework. We’ll see.