FREEP and Detroit News Outdo the Onion

You wouldn’t think it possible, but a news event that turned out to be fake has allowed the Detroit Free Press (FREEP) and Detroit News to outdo even the Onion in silliness.

The Onion, as most people know, is a fake newspaper that features satirical news stories and commentary. (Full disclosure: it’s one of my favorite sites to read.)

When the “An iPod for Every Child” story came out there was much ridicule, anger, and vitriol spewed at Speaker Andy Dillon and House Democrats for their seeming idiocy. This story on Thursday April 5th in the FREEP started all the fuss.

The House Democrats also proposed investing $100 million in Michigan’s downtowns. And another program that would provide iPods or MP3s to Michigan students to be used as a learning tool.

That was followed up by this story (also in the FREEP) the following day:

Also on the table, and playing a more prominent role Thursday, were expensive new programs, including $100 million for investments in Michigan’s downtowns and a $38-million proposal that would provide iPods or MP3 players for all Michigan students to use as learning tools.

Then there was this editorial in the Detroit News, the bastion of Free Market Republican Family Values, employing the headline “An iPod for every kid? Are they !#$!ing idiots?” Yes, a family newspaper blocked out the word “fucking” in one of its own headlines. They wanted to use “fucking,” but thought that substituting some symbols for the first four letters would be enough to imply the word (and also their righteous anger) and still keep it family-friendly.

Ah, but Rich, you used the offending word yourself, you say? Of course, because I’ve never claimed to be a defender of Traditional Family Values. As a stay-at-home dad, I’m way past the point where I can be brought back into a more traditional line. And I’m okay with that. Plus, my two-year-old son, as smart as he is, can’t read yet. So I have no need to worry about exposing him to nefarious words for a few more years. One site I’ll be sure to keep his eyes away from is the Detroit News. I’ll add it to the blocked sites list on my parental controls. My blog might not be family-friendly, but at least I’m honest about it.

Getting back to Michigan’s two papers of record…It would be one thing if this non-story were some April Fool’s joke or hoax that these news organizations bought into, but it wasn’t either of those cases. Since we now know the “iPods for Kids” story wasn’t real, you have to ask if either the FREEP or the Detroit News employ fact checkers or provide editorial assistance to their writers. (I know the Detroits News does on occasion do some editing, because whenever they publish commentary ostensibly written by Saul Anuzis it shows marked improvements in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure compared to what Anuzis writes on his own blog on the MIGOP site. Or maybe Anuzis doesn’t write his own blog posts…hmm…)

Anyway, the point being that, as appealingly ridiculous (and funny) as “An iPod for Every Child” sounds, it’s even more ridiculous that the two papers of record in this state can’t even get a basic story right. Not only could they not get it right, but they have done nothing as of yet to correct their glaring errors. In their rush to tar the Democrats with stupidity and incompetence, they exposed their own stupidity and incompetence.

If you’ll excuse me now, I’m going to go read “10 Million Fans Killed Off In Sopranos Season Premiere.”

Update: The FREEP is still printing fake news this morning. Oh, and you can’t run an everyone-is-incompetent-in-Lansing opinion piece like this, when you yourself are demonstrating your own incompetence at getting the facts straight about what goes on in Lansing, and expect to be taken seriously. What’s next? “Detroit Sold for Scrap?”

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