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GRIID Year in Review Part I: Monitoring the Dominant News Media

December 17, 2020

(Editor’s note: GRIID does not ask for money, since we do not to make money for the IndyMedia we produce. We do, however, invite people to share our content, as we believe it can help foster important conversation about critical issues in this community.)

It is that time of the year, where we look back at what we have been posting about and what has been taking place in 2020 in West Michigan.

Today’s post is the first in a four part series where we identify the work that GRIID does. In Part I, we will look at the narratives put forth by the dominant news sources in West Michigan and how those narratives serve power. In Part II, we will look at how GRIID reported on the Grand Rapids Power Structure. Part III will explore the impact of the COVID pandemic, who was most impacted by it and who used the pandemic to their own benefit. In Part IV, we will explore the role that social movements have played in 2020, those that have been organizing for several years and new movements that came about, particularly after the May 30th rebellion in Grand Rapids.

Deconstructing the Dominant News

In 2020, we posted 45 different news deconstructions, some that dealt with single stories and some that provided a critique of numerous news sources on the same issue or event.

Most of the news stories we deconstruct has to do with how the local news media reports on those with power, both financial and political power. We began the year with a critique of how the news media reported on the DeVos-created AmplifyGR project in the Boston Square neighborhood

We also regularly deconstructed how the dominant news sources reported on politicians, such as the interview with the Grand Rapids Mayor, which only included coverage of progress that has been made in recent years. 

However, the major source of news deconstructions that we did in 2020, centered around the COVID crisis and the aftermath of the May 30th rebellion in Grand Rapids, particularly how the dominant news reported on the GRPD and White Supremacist groups.

We looked at how the dominant news agencies reported on the anti-lockdown protests in Lansing and in Grand Rapids in May

In early June, we looked at dozens of local news stories on the May 30th rebellion in Grand Rapids an found that the dominant news sources centered the voices of elected officials, downtown businesses and the GRPD, while marginalizing Black voices that were involved in organizing the resistance to state violence. 

From June until now, the dominant news sources have not only centered the perspective of the GRPD, they often would run stories based almost exclusively on Media Release put out by the City of Grand Rapids or the GRPD. Here are two examples of the how the dominant news agencies cooperate with the GRPD; Grand Rapids news media acts as a conduit for the GRPD, twice in the same day and The Local News Media continues to be a Press Agent for the GRPD.   

Equally disturbing is how the local news agencies either provided a platform for White Supremacist groups or failure to adequately investigate them. In early July, WOOD TV 8   did a story on the Michigan Liberty Militia, never challenging once the claims made by its members.  Just a few days later, channel 8 then did a story that essentially tried to demonize anti-racist and anti-fascist organizers

The ongoing failure of how dominant news sources treated White Supremacist groups, became evident after several armed white guys, all associated with White Supremacist groups, attempted to kidnap Gov. Whitmer. Here is what we wrote about how the dominant news sources were complicit in this act of domestic terrorism, The local news media has been complicit in White Supremacy by providing White Supremacist groups an uncritical platform to promote hate

As you can see, poor journalism and journalism that doesn’t hold those in power has real world consequences and often contributes to harm done to those who are the most vulnerable.

In Part II, we will look back at the articles we posted in 2020, which exposed and challenged the local power structure.

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