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Michigan Taxpayers Alliance Updates: The Detroit News needs a fact-checker

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Detroit News needs a fact-checker

Today's Detroit News editorial opposing the recall of Speaker Andy Dillon contains several embarrassing factual errors.

First, the News claims on three separate occasions that a recall election would be a separate election on a day other than the scheduled August 5th primary election day. A simple fact-check would uncover that the Dillon recall question would be added to the August 5th ballot, and NOT be a new election day.

Further, the News repeatedly equates the Dillon recall - which will be submitting signatures this week - to the failed attempt by Democrat Party Chair Mark Brewer to begin a recall of Republican House Leader Craig DeRoche. The News even claims that the non-starter DeRoche recall is "creating considerable bad blood" in DeRoche's district. Really? A non-existent recall is creating "considerable" bad blood among the masses in Novi?

The News also states that, on one hand, a recall election would be scheduled too close to a regular election and, on the other hand, that a recall election is a major distraction in Lansing. Pretend for a moment that the recall election IS on a separate day than a closely scheduled regular election. How is it that the recall would be a distraction in Lansing while the regular election would not?

I fully expect that most newspaper editorial boards will oppose the effort to recall Speaker Andy Dillon. Editorial writers love being invited to establishment cocktail parties and they hate it when the unclean masses undertake a political effort that is not officially sanctioned by Michigan's institutional elites. But for a major newspaper like The Detroit News to get so many basic facts wrong...embarrassing.

They will fail.

You can read The Detroit News editorial here.

Below is the response that I sent to The Detroit News' editorial department:

Dear Mr. Finley,

The Detroit News editorial opposing efforts by citizens to recall House Speaker Andy Dillon from office contained numerous, substantial and repeated factual errors.

The editorial falsely claimed (three times) that a Dillon recall would add an additional election to the scheduled August and November election. The question of whether Speaker Dillon should be recalled would, under state law, be added to the existing August 5th ballot. Absolutely no additional election would be created and zero additional costs (outside of additional ink) would be bourn by taxpayers.

The editorial further claimed that the Dillon recall campaign is "vicious". Citizens exercising their constitutional right to recall their lawmaker by circulating petitions is hardly "vicious". "Vicious" better describes the response to the recall campaign by Dillon and state Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer, who have hired an squad of blockers to intimidate petitioners and potential petition signers. These blockers have swarmed petitioners who are peaceably gathering signatures, handed out fliers containing falsehoods to potential signers, and even stalked petitioners by following them to their homes.

Dillon and Brewer call these intimidation tactics "educational" and their squadron of thugs "voter education specialists". Yet, as The Detroit News reported last week, Brewer hired a parolee convicted of eight different felonies - including armed robbery - as one of his voter educators. This convict has never even voted, according to Secretary of State records.

Recalls are hardly "pointless". The successful recall of two state senators for raising the income tax in 1983 resulted in the legislature's immediate rescission of most of that tax hike and the enactment of significant spending cuts. After those 1983 recalls, the legislature did not have the audacity to hike the income tax for twenty four years.

Speaker Andy Dillon, Governor Granholm and other Lansing lawmakers ignored the lesson of 1983 when they imposed a twelve percent income tax hike and a twenty two percent business tax hike on economically beleaguered Michigan citizens and businesses.

Citizens choosing to peaceably exercise their constitutional right to recall a lawmaker for supporting the largest tax hike in Michigan history is hardly pointless.

Michigan needs to lose Granholm, Dillon, and their tax hikes if we are to have any hope for economic recovery.

Leon Drolet
Executive Director
Michigan Taxpayers Alliance