John Bebow, president of the Center for Michigan, which publishes Bridge Magazine, joined Stateside to discuss what’s ahead for the journalism outfit.
Listen above for the entire conversation.
On the Truth Squad’s goals
“The Truth Squad sets out to examine political speech across the state, from the flyers you listeners receive in your mailboxes to what you’re going to increasingly see in your social media feeds this year, which are attack ads and fake politics and fake news and other campaign stuff,” Bebow said. “We have a team of reporters at Bridge who examine the ad claims and report to you what’s fact and what’s fiction and we’re launching that this week.”
On the Truth Squad’s spirit of collaboration
The Truth Squad shares its reporting with other outlets in Michigan, including Michigan Radio, which is a rarity in the journalism world. “I think fake politics and fake news are both on the rise in Michigan and elsewhere, and as journalists we are on guard this year for the kind of dirty tricks that we saw in the 2016 presidential election campaign coming to bear here in Michigan,” he said.
He also sees an imperative to collaborate based on the state of the journalism industry. “As mainstream newsrooms have faced cutbacks in recent years, partners like Michigan Radio and Bridge Magazine and other non-profit outlets are teaming up so that we don’t get outnumbered by the many political consultants and politicians out there that are increasingly challenging to keep track of,” he added.
The Truth Squad’s reports on candidates this week
Already hard at work, the Truth Squad has produced four reports this week on candidates for governor:
- “Abdul El-Sayed promises single-payer healthcare”
- “Bill Schuette’s track record as attorney general”
- “Gretchen Whitmer’s role in Larry Nassar case”
- “Brian Calley’s claims on state’s economic gains”