Protest? What protest?

Aug 30, 2000 at 12:00 am
Maybe the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News simply didn’t notice the 300 or so union members and supporters rallying outside their headquarters last week. They also must not have seen — or heard — Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Maryann Mahaffey and U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) marching with demonstrators and publicly condemning both daily papers. Why else would these journalistic giants, exemplars of professional integrity each, have failed to write word one about this rally?

Could it be that they didn’t want readers to know why the protest was held — that demonstrators are asking the public to continue boycotting the papers until contracts are negotiated with the unions that went on strike more than five years ago? Nah.

In regards to the Freep, it is more likely that its reporters were busy covering more high-profile events. For instance, on the day following the newspaper protest, the Free Press ran a story about the whopping dozen or so Screen Actors Guild members demonstrating outside GM headquarters. SAG, which has been on strike since May 1, held the rally because the company is using nonunion workers in commercials.

That same day, the Freep reported that a grand total of 15 folks gathered at the Dearborn police headquarters to protest a negative comment Chief Ron Deziel allegedly made about Frederick Finley’s family; Finley died last June after he was confronted by Lord & Taylor security guards.

The News didn’t cover any rallies or demonstrations. (Memo to News deputy managing editor Brad Stertz: You must be spending all of your time these days reading memos from reporters explaining why they keep getting scooped — see News Hits, Aug. 9-15, 2000). Also, a question: Does Metro Times count as competition? We didn’t think so. Otherwise, your troops would have paid attention to our collegial heads-up a few weeks back warning that the newspaper protest was coming, just to help keep your beleaguered news hounds from being embarrassed yet again.

News Hits called both papers to ask why they did not cover an event involving several hundred people protesting outside their front doors. Surprisingly, neither paper returned our calls.

Was it something we said?

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]