Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beating the Washington Post's Dead Horse

Two weeks ago, I sent a letter to the editor to the Washington Post about its careless printing of Detroit blight photos. Realizing the Post probably would never publish it, I wrote a separate post for this blog called "Beating Detroit's Dead Horse." 

It has been more than two weeks since the Post published its photos of Detroit, and I am assuming other people who care about Detroit sent letters as well. However, the Washington Post has not published one letter to the editor about its Detroit photos.

Since it does not appear that the Washington Post will be publishing any letters criticizing its handling of the Detroit photos, I wanted to share my letter with my readers. 

Detroit Is More Than Blight

The Post accepted its invitation to the Detroit ruin porn festival about 10 years too late by publishing several photos of Detroit's blight in Detroit’s faded beauty. The pictures themselves, although they are visually stunning, tread the same ground that every hack with a camera covers when they visit Detroit: the Packard Plant, the Michigan Theatre, Fisher Body Plant 21, and abandoned schools, homes, and churches. The photos are not part of a larger story about Detroit. Instead, it appears the Post wants to elicit visceral reactions from readers without adding anything of value to the conversation about Detroit's past or future.  

I guess if a newspaper does not have the initiative to break a story, it can just borrow a tired narrative with the hopes of increasing its readership. They say sex sells, and publishing Detroit ruin porn is the dirtiest and most demeaning sex for Detroiters who are doing a lot of good things to improve their city. Their stories are the news, not retreading worn out ground. Detroit’s blight is well-documented. Put down the camera, and spend time with its people and document the parts of Detroit that are resurging.

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