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Tell us what to write: Once again, MLive acts as a stenographer for the Amway Corporation

September 13, 2019

On Tuesday, MLive posted a story about the 60th anniversary of the Ada-based global corporation known as Amway. Amway, is short for The American Way, according to founders Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos. 

Actually, it isn’t terribly accurate to say that MLive posted a story, rather was more like, “tell us what you want us to write.” Now, I’m not suggesting that Amway actually told MLive what to print, but it doesn’t matter, because the story that MLive published essentially reads like they wrote just what the Amway leaders wanted them to say.

The text of the article has no real new information about the pyramid scheme corporation and the two videos posted by MLive are also consistent with a style of journalism known as stenography.

The two videos posted by MLive are here below. This first video focuses on what the new CEO of Amway, Milind Pant, is saying, while the second video only has Amway co-Chairman Doug DeVos speaking. In both cases we don’t know what the MLive reporter asked them, as the questions are not included.

This news story about Amway is indicative of the kind of journalism that has been practiced more and more over the past 20 – 30 years, especially with the consolidation of news media ownerships has taken place.

There is nothing investigative about the story, there is no evidence that any serious questions were asked, and no where do we see other perspectives included. The story that MLive posted could have included a comment from the Chinese government, since that was one topic raised in the article.

Other questions that could be asked are:

  • How does Amway impact local communities around the world, specifically how does it undermine local economies?
  • How do the millions of dollars that Amway contributes to candidates influence public policy that would be beneficial to the Amway Corporation? 
  • How does the even larger sums of money that the DeVos and Van Andel families contribute to the Republican Party benefit the Amway Corporation? 

So, how is it that the only daily newspaper in Grand Rapids, would fail to practice good journalism when it comes to the most powerful corporation in West Michigan, a corporation that is still run by two of the most powerful families in West Michigan, the DeVos and Van Andel families?

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