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Who Decides What The “News” Is? [OPINION]

Monday January 9. The SLOWEST newsday in the history of the planet. So I wake up this morning and go on to our fine local newspaper on the internet, the Grand Rapids Press online version, also known as “mlive.com”. Mostly this is a very good digital arm of the paper. Local and informative. Free, and good to find out what’s going on. That is, until the news dries up. Read on.

Here’s the headline from the story in question.

“Dick and Betsy DeVos enjoy their ‘virtual compound’ in Florida during our ‘six gray months”

A story about our local philanthropic family, the Devos’, winter digs. OK that’s nice. Not news, but OK. I’m sure Amway advertises in the paper. I get it. I know how the game is played.

But as I said earlier, read on.

“While West Michigan residents enjoy a rare sunny and snowless January, Dick and Betsy DeVos and their family are enjoying the sunny climes of Vero Beach, Fla. during “much of the six gray Michigan months,” according to a “Beachside News” item on VeroBeach32963.com.”

The “story” is really about an article a website wrote about the couple. “VeroBeach32963.com” is the website. Now I’m sure the “author” of this “news story”, Jim Harger, is a nice fellow. Probably has a home and a family. And is a taxpayer. But really? He put his NAME on this story?

I’m also sure he was assigned this “hard investigative” news piece. Someone should get a “SHAME ON MLIVE” sign and display it in front of the Mlive headquarters. On the corner of Internet Street and the Al Gore Parkway. How this qualifies as “news” is beyond me.

The story goes on to tell us who Dick and Besty are, as if anyone living in Kent County has never heard of the DeVos’ or Amway. But the real topping on the ice cream sundae of journalistic integrity is the description of what the DeVos’ do in FLA.

“Although Betsy loves her many projects and its daily grind of phone calls, faxes and e-mails, she does enjoy travel and insists she will eventually take a break from work to cruise on their not-yet-finished 164-foot Westport yacht. It has six staterooms made of the finest cabinetry, stone and leathers, and a salon which opens to a large covered aft deck with lounge, wet bar and conversation areas for entertaining.

“I am involved in so many things which is both a blessing and a curse,” she says about her desire to slow down. “But I need a break, and we love to travel to see new things and immerse in different cultures. We hope to cruise in Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand, as well as return to the Caribbean and Mediterranean. We all love motor yachting.”

But during much of the six gray Michigan months, Betsy will bring her work south and enjoy friends and family at Windsor. While Dick plays a lot of golf, Betsy entertains business and personal guests from around the country who fly down to see them.

And together, Betsy and Dick like to ride bikes, enjoy the beach, and take walks around the architecturally unique development.”

I could take a jab at the DeVos’ lifestyle, but that’s not fair. Like you would expect Billionaires to live any differently. Again, I will point out why in the world is this news? The piece de resistance to this whole story…it’s listed in the political section. Yes, that pretty much sums it up.

I will be cancelling my subscr—oh wait. Never mind.

Tim Doty looking like Ryan Seacrest interviewing the DeVos'/uthinkmedia.blogspot.com

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