Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Discussing Dateline

Chris Hansen returned to his native Detroit for a special episode of Dateline NBC, entitled "America Now: City of Heartbreak and Hope" that focused on Detroit. The show aired this past Sunday and, since then, newspapers and the blogosphere have been running over with criticisms of that episode.

Everyone names one positive thing about Detroit that Chris Hansen didn't cover (e.g., the re-opening of the Westin Book-Cadillac Hotel in 2008, the RiverWalk, and so on.) The absence of such and such is then used to emphasize the fact that the overall report was biased against Detroit.

I've delayed posting about this because I thought it was a lot about nothing. However, we're now in day of three of "blow back" stories, I finally feel compelled to opine.

Yes, there are positive things about Detroit that Chris Hansen did not mention in his Dateline NBC report.

However, there were also some negative things about Detroit that Chris Hansen did not include in his Dateline NBC report either.

Dateline NBC, after all, is only an hour long. There is no way that Chris Hansen, or any other journalist for that matter, could possibly cover all of the positive things about Detroit as well as all of the negative things. The best anyone could do is to offer viewers a balanced perspective on the subject.

Overall, approximately 40% of Chris Hansen's report focused on the positive aspects of Detroit by my estimates.

40%.

The rest of Chris Hansen's report was either negative (approximately 45%) or neutral (15%).

Have Detroiters finally become so hypersensitive to criticism that a story that's only 40% positive is cause for outrage?

I mean, really!

Ladies and gentlemen of Detroit, it is simply time for us to get on with our lives. It's time for us to put our energy towards improving our city so the next time a national journalist comes to town, he or she has lot more positive stories to report.
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