As a former political consultant, I find that there are certain issues that gnaw at me that many others will pass off. Little to these people realize of the greater implications. As a Detroit area resident, I have been drawn to disgust by the battle between the Detroit City Council and the producers of Detroit 1-8-7. The Council’s distrust of the producers of Detroit 1-8-7, the censorship, and the worries about tourism that they have had with the show makes me wonder if they are more interested in cleaning up their image than with cleaning up their city.
Detroit City Council Issues
In the months leading up to the premier of the show, Detroit 1-8-7, the Detroit news programs were filled with sound bites from members of the Detroit City Council blasting Detroit 1-8-7. The Council members attempted to portray the producers of Detroit 1-8-7 as a group that wanted to press the statement that Detroit was the, “US murder capital.” Council members also attempted to share doom and gloom ideas about how this show could destroy Detroit tourism.
This portrayal by the Detroit City Council of the show, Detroit 1-8-7, and it’s producers, lasted for months. It peaked at the point in which the producers of the show gave in to demands of the Detroit City Council in which the show could not point out some of the truths about Detroit crime statistics, the history of corruption in the city government, or point out the fact that the crime labs in Detroit have been taken over by the state due to practices that caused for lost or tainted evidence.
When all of this buzz over the show, Detroit 1-8-7 started in the Detroit City Council, I thought about two lines that I used to tell clients. “It is easier to clean up your image than it is to clean up yourself,” and, While you can’t erase truths, you can make people forget about them.”
Detroit City Council Transparancy
Mind the fact that during this debate over Detroit 1-8-7, the Detroit City Council was making moves to make city government more transparent. The goal was to show the citizens of Detroit that the government of Detroit was making a conscious effort to movie away from those dark days of Detroit government in recent years.
If the Detroit City Council is so concerned about making sure that the citizens of Detroit know what is truly going on in the city of Detroit, why are they so afraid about the rest of the United States knowing as well?
Other Crime-Related Shows in Other Cities
If the portrayal of crime and corruption in a television show were to actually turn people away from visiting a city, we should have seen this in other cities in the past. LA (Hunter), Miami (Miami Vice), and New York City (take your pick) should all be ghost towns by now.
What the Detroit City Council Should Do
Instead of worrying about the intent and content of a show like Detroit 1-8-7, maybe the Detroit City Council should be taking a closer look at the types of crimes that they do not want shown on people’s televisions. Maybe they should be looking at the corruption issues, and procedural issues that they do not want to leak outside of the Metro area. Maybe they should leave the show alone, and battle the demons that actually plague the city.
Detroit Free Press