News Hits had a sinking feeling last Wednesday when we glimpsed Detroit’s two daily newspapers side by side in vending boxes. We were too far away to read the headlines at first, but it was evident from the type screaming across the fronts that something earthshaking had occurred. Our first thought was that the simmering hostilities between India and Pakistan had finally erupted into a nuclear shootout. Little else would have justified such intense play. Except, of course, news that the local hockey team had lost a game. Hell, even when our valiant warriors on skates aren’t warrioring, the dailies manage to make the team their lead story during this run for the Stanley Cup. For example, there was last week’s front-page piece in the Freep offering an update on the condition of fallen hero Vladdie Konstantinov, who suffered a career-ending injury in a limo accident five years ago. That’s not front page of the sports section, mind you. No, in the esteemed judgment of the news junkies running one of America’s larger papers, the most important story of the day was that Vladdie continues to root for his old team. Stop the presses.
Then there was the Freep’s embarrassing “Aunt Bee and Opie meet Hockeytown” headline — a reference to the purported backwardness of the Carolina Hurricanes. As if the denizens of an area known as the “Research Triangle” — so-called because of the high-tech prowess spawned by the likes of Duke University — ain’t nothin’ but tabacky-chawin’ hicks. Of course, pokin’ fun at the yokels is even more hilarious when juxtaposed against the sophisticated residents of Hockeytown, who are gunning down children at a record-setting clip.
And after that braggadocious headline, the Wings lost the first game to the crew from Mayberry, a development that prompted an ESPN reporter to suggest that Floyd the Barber could kick Detroit’s ass.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick exacerbated things when he attempted (jokingly, his office claims) to make a Stanley Cup wager — with the mayor of Charlotte, N.C. Most Florida A&M grads realize that Charlotte is clear across the state from Raleigh, home of the ’Canes.
In the world of sports reporters, journalists who openly root for teams they cover are derisively called “homers.” But what’s being dished out by Detroit’s dailies goes so far beyond homerism that a more apt term for them would be “hummers.”Curt Guyette is Metro Times news editor. Contact him at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]