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GRIID End of Year Review Part I – Monitoring Systems of Power and Oppression

December 25, 2018

This is the first in a three part series, where we will review our coverage over the past year. In today’s post we will look at our reporting and analysis of systems of power and oppression in Grand Rapids.

In Part II we will look at local social movements and the work they have been involved in during the past year. And lastly, in Part III, we will look at our media watchdog coverage where we dissect the local commercial news.

We begin with our 10 piece series looking at the Grand Rapids Power Structure. The first article in the series provides a framework for looking at the local power structure and the 10th article has links to all the previous posts in that series. We also created a visual depiction of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, which you can see at this link.

Of course, a big part of the Grand Rapids Power Analysis is an ongoing look at the DeVos family. We wrote 15 stories in 2018 under the heading, Betsy DeVos Watch, focusing on the policies and actions of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. 

Former teacher Jack Prince, contributed a 4 – part series on Betsy DeVos and the Covert Privatization of the Grand Rapids Public Schools

However, one of the biggest news stories was the death of Rich DeVos. We first looked at how the commercial news media reported on his death.  We then provided our own honest obituary of the billionaire co-founder of Amwayalong with a critique of how GVSU canonized DeVos, since the billionaire was a major funder of the university.

We also provided a collection of articles we have written about ArtPrize, for their 10th anniversary event this past September. 

All of the analysis of the DeVos Family can be read in our growing volume entitled, We’re Rich and We Do What We Want: A DeVos Family Reader

However, the Grand Rapids Power Structure is also comprised of groups like the Right Place Inc, which was a major player in the attempt to bring Amazon to West Michigan

We also looked at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce and their endorsement of GOP candidate for Governor Bill Schuette, but pointed out that this endorsement was consistent with the Chamber’s endorsement history.  

Another major player in the Grand Rapids Power Structure is the West Michigan Policy Forum and we looked at their ongoing efforts to influence state policy. The West Michigan Policy Forum held their bi-annual conference, which we have reported on every time, but this year they denied us access to the event. However, we did manage to provide analysis of some of the content of the conference speakers, based on media they produced for the conference, with a critique of American Enterprise Institute’s CEO Arthur Brooks  and Michael Jandernoa’s interview on the need to dismantle public sector employee pensions

Of course there was much more reporting and analysis of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, but we wanted to note that this should be a central focus of any independent news source, to challenge systems of power and oppression.

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