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WOOD TV Reporter now working for far right think tank

January 11, 2012

Yesterday, the Grand Rapids Press announced that channel 8 reporter Anne Schieber was leaving the station to work for the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

The article cites Schieber and two Mackinac Center staff members who are delighted to have the former WOOD TV 8 reporter on board. The Press story also quotes the Center’s own description as a “non-partisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.”

The Press reporter takes this statement as a given and fails to provide readers any other perspective on the work of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

According to SourceWatch, the think tank, “was established by the state’s leading conservative activists to promote free market, pro-business policies.”

The Press article also states that the first assignment for Schieber at the Center will be to “provide coverage of the right-to-work debate taking place in Indianapolis.” This makes sense as Right to Work policies, which is essentially an anti-union policy, is one of the positions that the Mackinac Center has taken for years.

In addition, the Center has been calling for the privatization of public education and the privatization of government services. In fact, the Mackinac Center has been involved in helping the Snyder administration push for greater austerity measures in the state and even has endorsed the Michigan Governor’s Emergency Financial Manager Law, which has resulted in the hostile takeover of local governments by the State.

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is one of the most influential policy groups in the state of Michigan and has received much of its funding from conservative foundations and families including Grand Rapids businessmen Peter Cook and Dick & Betsy DeVos.

For the Press to not mention any of these aspects of the work that the Center engages in is a disservice to the public.

It should also not be surprising that a member of the commercial news media would end up in such a position. Many former journalists tend to enter the world of either politics or corporate America due to their personal interests or experience of having access to centers of power. It is not surprising that Schieber would end up at the Mackinac Center and in many ways in makes perfect sense.

WOOD TV political reporter Rick Albin is a former staff person for Pete Hoekstra, when Hoekstra was a member of Congress. The station manager at WOOD TV 8, Diane Kionowski is also not neutral in her position in this community, since she is a board member of the Economics Club of Grand Rapids. The Econ Club is a collection of West Michigan power brokers from the business, political and non-profit communities.

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