by Tom Stephens

People have the expectation, and the human right, to receive justice in courts.

The “Plan of Adjustment” confirmed by the Detroit bankruptcy court on Friday, November 7, 2014, is not justice.

The white supremacist truth about these Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy proceedings has been systematically covered up by local corporate media.

Operating under what University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen describes as their “ideology problem”[i] such corporate press agents 1) rely on “official sources”, no matter how demonstrably self-interested and biased; and 2) assume that the so-called “solutions” of corporate capitalist leaders are legitimate. Meanwhile, larger majorities of People are realizing every day that those same corporate powers are in fact the problem.

In Detroit, corporate media ideology has been especially extreme. Wayne State University journalism Professor Jack Lessenberry recently called out the endorsement of Governor Snyder’s re-election by Gannett Corporation – operating under the guise of the Detroit Free Press.[ii] Denouncing Snyder’s regressive environmental policies, “Michissippi” values, and hokey “tough nerd” persona, Gannett ideologues nevertheless endorsed his re-election. This may be a new low in “There Is No Alternative” lies around Detroit’s morally bankrupt, emergency-managed restructuring.

In recent weeks, the hypocrisy, racism and genocidal direction of this pattern of abuse peaked in the theater of cruelty surrounding Rhodes’ confirmation of the Plan of Adjustment. In the lead up to that absurd non-event, alternative voices have been making themselves heard for months with increasing frequency, to the point where the Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management web site[iii] is three and a half pages deep in recent, relevant critiques and eloquent calls for justice.

Professor Peter Hammer and Michael Shank, writing in The Hill, captured the essence of Detroit’s near-term future: “Next year heralds the frightening but inevitable endgame of fiscal austerity that will forever change the character of this city. Stripped to the bones, Detroit will be a shell of its former self, offering minimal services of police and fire protection and that’s about it. A city no longer, Detroit will be a convention and sports space with no municipal services to sustain it.”[iv] Think of it as “Jones Day, the Play”.

Rhodes concluded his performance as Detroit’s bargain basement auctioneer by urging Detroiters to “forget” and “move past” our anger, and to embrace a “much grander bargain” he has the gall to call “democracy”. This is the noxious authoritarian doctrine of ‘the ends justify the means’, trotted out by a faux-enlightened philosopher jurist with no real heart to respond to the suffering of Detroiters who are being disenfranchised, displaced, cut off from water and deprived of dignity, agency and humanity by the vicious Jones Day/Snyder/bankruptcy austerity regime. No whiff of critical assessment troubled corporate media drowning in bombastic self-congratulation.[v]

The “Plan of Adjustment” confirmed by the Detroit bankruptcy court is not justice. It is discrimination; opportunism; expediency; cruelty; austerity; dishonesty; corruption; lawlessness; power and greed. And Detroit’s corporate media helped make it all possible by refusing to publish the truth.


[i] Professor Robert Jensen:

[ii] Professor Jack Lessenberry:

[iii] Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management:

[iv] Professor Peter Hammer and Dr. Michael Shank:

[v] “There is also no way to overstate the brilliance of Governor Snyder and Kevyn Orr throughout the bankruptcy process.” – Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah
(released 15 minutes after Rhodes approved the Plan of Adjustment)