Opinion | Bridge Michigan was wrong about the Grosse Pointes and me
Editor’s note: What follows is a response to a Feb. 22 article in Bridge Michigan about divisions in the Grosse Pointe communities near Detroit. Bridge Michigan stands by its reporting, the facts of the article and quotes attributed in it to Vanker.
A recent article in the Bridge Michigan is typical of the decayed state of “journalism” in America today. The title, “In changing Grosse Pointes, subtle racism gives way to political extremism,” pre-supposes that conservative residents of the Pointes are extremist and racist, a claim which is factually unsupported, highly offensive, patently ridiculous and, at the same time, clearly divisive.
When a Bridge Michigan reporter reached out to me several weeks ago, she stated that she wanted to understand the experiences that led me from being strongly liberal to profoundly conservative. Anticipating a personal interest story, I was happy to share my story and we spoke for nearly an hour by phone. We never spoke of racism and we didn't discuss the trends in the Grosse Pointes’s racial makeup. When asked if my friends held similar views, my only comment related to how members of my book club discussed the evolving state of politics after reviewing the chosen book.
The article, however, misrepresents our conversation and misquotes me. My personal transformation serves no purpose in an article about racism except the false narrative that all conservatives are racists, which for the record I am not a racist nor do I condone racism. Implying so, as Bridge Michigan has done, is insulting and a defamatory conjecture.
As egregious, the article states that “The [social justice] groups have raised suspicions from community members like Vanker, who say they worry that liberal values may hurt the Pointes." I never said nor do I believe that truly liberal values would hurt any community. As far as me claiming the COVID-19 vaccine has “nanoparticles and antennas that feed stuff up into the cloud,” I did not make this claim but was simply sharing it as an example of a variety of things I had read.
Bridge claims that it strives to provide “independent, balanced, thoughtful and high quality journalism.” It is reprehensible to attribute my statements to serve as a prop for a poorly constructed string of biased statements about Grosse Pointe. This community is my home and the place where my family lives. It is a wonderful community filled with good, intelligent, hard working people.
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