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Re: Media

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Parent Issue
Day
15
Month
October
Year
1976
Editorial
OCR Text

Crities of the local media - and our ranks are swelling larger by the day have more to talk about than ever now that the smoke is beginning to clear away froni the battlefield where Coleman Young and the city's black majority have so far withstood the daily onslaughts of the white-owned press and its foot-soldiers in the Detroit Pólice Dept. The recent eight-part series on street crime in the Detroit Free Press provides a perfect point of departure. Aftef assigning a dozen or so reporters to gather statistics and record endless anecdotes from the perpetrators and victims of crime in the city , the sensation-mongering "liberal" daily arrived at the incredibly lame conclusión that it couldn]t really ascertain the "causes" of crime in such a short time -and then surged ahead with its lengthy proposals for solving the crime problem just the same. Only in a few brief lines in the introduction to the series and a single paragraph at the end of the concluding piece did the sociological geniuses at the Freep (rhymes with "creep") bother to make mention of the social and economie context of urban crime, and even then any reference to the racism which is the central factor in every aspect of life in Detroit was totally omitted. But here's the capper, offered as a "final note" to the gruesome exercise in "legitímate journalism": "Many of those interviewed by the Free Press were of a single nünd that if crime is to be battled successfully, it may take a massive assault - by all segments of government and by the private sector- on crime's breeding grounds: decrepit housing, broken family structures, inadequate schools, unemployment and drug addiction. "Such an assaultwill bear an incredible cost, to be sure. Meanwhile, crime is taking its own terrible cost." Sure, but what the heil - it sells newspapers to the whiteys, don 't it? And now that the State Pólice are taking care of the freeways - a fact we 're gleefully reminded of al most daily by one or another of the Free Press commuters - their safe passage in and out of the crimeridden city makes it even easier to ignore the results of the criminal social policies which are trumpeted daily in their pages. The National Enquirer-type approach to the serious problems of the city - which don't even start with the street-crime explosión - was justified with the smug statement that "we have intended to serve our first duty to the public as journalists - to inform." But even Newsweek, in a well-balanced report by Detroit stringer Jon Lowell in their October 1 1 issue, conceded that "Detroit is a victim, not a carrier of the disease" of urban crime. "At night, the city hollows out," Lowell admitted. "All you can see are the tail lights of the middle class, taking theif spending money -and much of the city's tax base-to the suburbs." Now that's more like it, boys. Maybe these guys ain't so dumb after all -just blinded by those taillights. At any rate, maybe it's I just as well that they aren't cluttering up the streets of the city at night... .it does add a little class to the place, after all. 1 QUOTES OF THE WEEK: Going backwards now, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Charles Adams commented in last Saturday's Michigan Chronicle that "if because of black leadership, the white policemen are so depressed and demoralized that they can't respond to duty and do their jobs, they should be fired forthwith and replaced by others who will perform." Former Freep writer Van Gordon Sauter, author of a treatise on the 1 967 rebellion (Nightmare in Detroit) and now the head programming censor at CBS-TV in New York, quoted by Bettelou Peterson in a Free Press puff piece: "At times you sit at your desk with a beautiful view of Manhattan out your window, a stunning secretary, having had a smashing lunch at a good restaurant, and you begin to read a script and you say, 'My God, the life I lead is totally unreal. How would real people react to this?' And you wish you could get in your car, drive 15 blocks and talk to real people." Hey, stop over any time, Van, OK?