20 May 2011

Travel Michigan?

By all accounts, Michigan is a wonderful place to visit. But given the horrific state of Michigan's economy, and given that Michigan's dire unemployment levels are born from regressive public policy (NAFTA, union busting, jobs outsourcing), should the State of Michigan be doling out their travel promotion budget to Fox News?

Here's one indignant email sent to Travel Michigan.

Dear Travel Michigan:

This morning I happened by a TV in a public space tuned to “Fox & Friends”.

I was shocked and disappointed to learn that Travel Michigan advertises on the Fox "News" cable channel.

My family of four visits Michigan's UP every August. We also travel to Michigan for downhill skiing. Because your organization has decided to run travel ads on such a blatantly manipulative and divisive media mouthpiece for fringe politics, we are reconsidering our Michigan travel plans.

There are scads of advertising alternatives. Please reconsider your advertising strategy.

Thank You,
Bob MacNeal
St. Paul, MN

Okay, I Lied

I lied. My family does not take August vacations to Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP). We did however take one ski trip to Michigan. It was a disaster -- temperatures below zero and wind-chill so severe they closed all but one ski lift. We took two runs, then retreated to our over-priced cabin.

Here's a response to my email from Travel Michigan:


Thanks for your email. As a non-partisan tourism promotion agency, we advertise on all of the morning cable news shows - CNN, MSNBC, Fox. Frankly, we welcome visitors of all political persuasions and those not involved in or interested in politics as well. Thanks again for your input.

George Zimmermann
Vice President, Travel Michigan
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
300 N. Washington Square
Lansing, MI 48913

Implied Equivalency

Lumping CNN and MSNBC with Fox as news agencies doesn't work. It's like comparing apples and fish.

Here's my response to George:


Thanks for your thoughtful response.

Please consider that by most objective measures, CNN and MSNBC meet some minimal bar of journalist standards (e.g., news & civil political discourse versus propaganda).

I think you will agree that Fox does not meet even the most minimal bar of journalistic standards vis-a-vis factual integrity or delineation between editorial content and news events.

As such, your statement of implied equivalency of these media outlets doesn't hold water. If you were to say that Travel Michigan advertizes on two cable news networks (CNN & MSNBC) and one infomercial (Fox), perhaps that would more intellectually honest.

Our family loves visiting Michigan for family vacations. Please reconsider your advertising strategy.

Bob MacNeal
St. Paul, MN

PS. I used your email response in a blog post called Travel Michigan? My blog only gets about 120 unique reads per month, but if you're uncomfortable having your response publicly posted, let me know.

Does Michael Moore know what his Michigan home boy George Zimmermann is up to?

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