Jeff Wattrick | Deadline Detroit
One of the most positive outcomes of Tuesday’s election is a serious, though probably fleeting, conversation about how politics are covered.
The technocratic polling analysts won the night while the traditional “this is how things played out in 1976” pundits were revealed as, well, as idiots.
This conversation needs to go beyond simply Nate Silver > Dick Morris, even if such an acknowledgement is long overdue.
Morris’ combination of wishful thinking and horse shit is a symptom of a larger media problem. We give well-credentialed individuals far too much leeway to offer baseless, objectively false opinions as though they were credible ideas.
Consider Matty Moroun’s response to the defeat of his $32 million Proposal 6, designed to block the new Detroit-Windsor border crossing.
Here is Moroun lackey Mickey Blashfield bleeting out a talking point in the Detroit News.
“It is clear the voters resisted amending the constitution, but it would be a mistake to assume taxpayers support a flawed government bridge that puts taxpayers at risk,” said Blashfield, director of The People Should Decide.
For one thing, no one supports a “flawed” anything that “puts taxpayers at risk.” It’s one thing to be skeptical of claims from politicians on both sides of the border about the bridge, and one should always be skeptical of political promises. However, the Anderson Economic Group’s independent analysis that the politicians are (this time) telling the truth settles this matter like 2+2=4.
Yet Blashfield was allowed to repeat this “taxpayers at risk” lie in numerous print and broadcast reports this week, leaving readers and viewers with the impression there exists legitimate concerns about the bridge’s impact on future tax bills.
Worse, Blashfield’s premise that voter opposition to their proposal shouldn’t be viewed as a tacit endorsement of the new bridge plan simply isn’t rooted in reality. Blashfield’s own “Let The People Decide” campaign called this shot. They were the people who invented Prop. 6 and made it a quasi-referendum on a bridge plan with broad bi-partisan, bi-national, business-labor support.
So why exactly would it be “a mistake to assume taxpayers” don’t support the bridge plan? Can Team Moroun cite data to back their counterintuitive assumption?
Michigan voters decided Tuesday that they’d prefer leaving infrastructure decisions, like building a new international bridge, to the people we elect and pay to make those decisions. And the people we elected to make this decision believe this bridge is necessary.
Matty Moroun spend $32 million to give the opportunity to say so if we felt otherwise. We didn’t.
At this point, his lackey’s opinions about what Michigan residents believe have as much credibility as Dick Morris’s projections or the street corner lunatic who says Pope Clement III is controlling his thoughts with lasers.
Look, I don’t blame the Detroit News or anyone else for quoting Blashfield here. That’s how the game is played. What I am saying is let’s take this moment to pondering changing the game for the better..
Baseless assertions debunked by objective facts simply aren’t newsworthy, even if they come from a billionaire’s spokesman. Let’s stop printing or airing them.