detroit Dateline Review

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By now most people have either watched or been told about last nights Dateline piece on Detroit and the spin machine is  in already in full swing.

Stop blaming everyone else. Cries of “it was a bias piece” or “unfair job and selective imagery” are not going to fly with me. Why? Because the people who make those cries are the type of people who have killed Detroit. Oh sure, there are an endless stream of reasons Detroit is what it is but No.1? People passing the buck. People blaming everyone else but themselves for all that is wrong with their lives. Parents not parenting. Children allowed to run the streets as illiterate thugs. The good kid who tries to make it through generally dragged down by a complete lack of support. Homes in decay or outright blight. Not one of these problems is anyone’s fault except the people involved.

Take a note of that Dateline story, the woman who was the centerpiece of it all. Taking in children, working her behind off, not letting her “kids” get away with the smallest transgression. She had every reason to pout and blame the world or the suburbs or whatever the latest en vogue excuse is for Detroit. The truth is Detroit has a simple and almost singular enemy…itself.

As discussed on Friday’s program, which is podcasted here on, the middle class has been squeezed out, parents are passing the buck and we are looking at a future dependent on a youth that is clueless and devoid of respect and drive. When people say Detroit only graduates a quarter of its high schoolers are they making it up? How about when people say almost half of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate? So go ahead, cry, act like it’s mindless Detroit bashing…it might be.  It’s also the truth in its rawest form.

If you invest in your family both financially and emotionally your kids will be better people. Not a tough concept. As I said Friday, I don’t come from much. Paycheck to paycheck, no vacations, no new clothes, standard struggling family. It was also the best childhood a kid could have. Parents who demanded accountability. Rewarded achievement with trust. Family time. Support, discipline, you name it was there. Why? Because my parents lived for their children. Nobody in my family extended or otherwise had ever spent a day on a college campus yet I was told “You are going to college and moving out of here the day you graduate”…period. I borrowed every penny. Worked multiple jobs. I made it. This isn’t some martyr piece either, I’m simply making the point that in Detroit this situation doesn’t happen often. Why? People have quit. On themselves, on their children, on their neighborhoods and yes on their city.  That program last night showed it clear as day and yet people are crying once again that the media was unfair. Yaaaaaaaaawwwnnnn.

Lose the sense of entitlement that rages within Detroit. Nobody owes anybody a damn thing. You want better? Go to school. Go to work. Demand more from your children. Make your neighborhood better within your own walls.  Obama isn’t waiving a  magic wand here, it’s on us as people to fix this. People in the suburbs to support Detroit with dollars. Dollars for local businesses, bars, restaurants and  products. People in the city limits actually putting out functional members of society. Fixing themselves before demanding anyone to help them.

The Dateline piece simply showed just how bad things are in Detroit city proper. If you don’t want those pictures shown, or stories told, turn it off. The rest of the nation had its eyes opened to the plight of this city. the blame is on its residents, who for years have passed the buck on themselves and at a minimum exacerbated the already failing environment.

People produce the environment not the other way around. You’re only a product of your environment if you are allowed to be. A kid in Beverly Hills can just as easily be a drug addicted felon as a kid from the war zone by 94. You stray off the path, get no guidance, are allowed to run wild…you end up in the same place.the environment only improves and sustains itself because of its people.

I’m prepared for people to act out today. I know my co-host will defend his city, I respect that. But as someone who has made this area my home by choice I will not placate to the masses by making excuses. This is about truth, honesty and just admitted where the blame really lies. If you are offended by my words than maybe you are the person I’m writing about. Think it over.

  1. Brandon says:

    DEAD ON VALENTI, DEAD ON!!!! Glad someone has the balls to speak the truth!

  2. Martin says:

    If anything you are being too kind.

  3. Nolan says:

    Thank you Mike for being the voice of reason. Everything you stated about is dead accurate, and despite Dave Bing’s best efforts, things around here are not going to get any better until the people start caring. Keep up the good work.

  4. Dad in Livonia says:

    Mike, you are essentially correct.
    In short it is morality. Men need to be good men, women need to be good women. What does this mean? Acting with respect for each other, especially the opposite sex. Act with honesty, integrity, with the morals that have been passed down for generations and are known to the general public through JudeoChristian instructions. How did uneducated men and women of a hundred years ago make it? Raise good families, build cities and communities? They did it by acting (in general, not every individual obviously) with moral conduct. Were there issues, yes absolutely. Are some things better than they were 50 to 100 years ago, yes. But in the end it boils down to a lack of respect for life. How else do you justify young children dying in the street? Rampant drug use? Violence in schools? Single parent households that are in the area of 70% of Detroit families? Dropout rates that over 70%? It is respect for life. Respect for yourself, and for others. Scream it from the rooftops. That has to come first, especially among the Detroit residents.
    As a man, and a father, I know how hard it is to take care of a family. Like many in this area, my job went down (even though I am college educated), and my pay went way down. Companies I work for went under, and I move to jobs with lower pay. So I can relate to what you say, my kids, my wife and I don’t drive new cars, we don’t have vacations, or other goods….but we survive, check to check. And my kids do well, and they are well adjusted and happy. They don’t get in trouble. Why? Because I don’t tolerate bad behavior, I don’t accept immoral actions. Men have to be willing to stand up for what is right, for what is good. Respect your fellow man, and especially respect women. Love, respect, compassion for those in need is what is needed first.

  5. Chris says:

    I haven’t seen this much truth written in one place outside of the Bible. Keep it up, Mike. This sentiment needs to get out.

  6. Alan says:

    Great article.. Right on the money. I went to high school in Detroit back in the day, Henry Ford to be exact. It broke my heart when that shooting went down a couple of years ago. When I went to school, you had a problem, yould have a liitle fight and be done with it. Now, kids have to much access to guns. Again, a great piece.

  7. Joe, Bellleville says:

    Sooooo…you’re saying there’s a chance.

  8. Todd says:

    Fatherless children. Pure and simple. God bless the women of Detroit who stick around and at least try. But without a responsible father in the mix, no way, no how. Al the jobs or money in the world will not get it done.

  9. Anthony says:

    look detroit is done .. im from 7 mile and evergreen its so much bigger than what all you outsiders think if your not from detroit you dont know mike is right WE DONT GIVE A DAMN ANYMORE.. we have got shitted on for to long. unless your gonna give to everybody not just 200,000 ppl or 700,000 all 900,000 your not gonna turn this city around … we’re a jealous bitter mindless city .. we have no fucking thought process anymore,,its a ima get mine and idgaf how ima get it city ..look we need leaders,thinkers(cause ppl here dont think for they self) and money to be honest. HOW THE FUCK IS MIKE RACIST ?? They are useless how the fuck is someone with no goals no morales no education USEFUL?????????(this coming from a BLACK MAN!!!)..i have some much more to say but i got work man.sorry for the typos if there are any. peace

  10. Tim says:

    I couldn’t have said it any better. There needs to be more accountability from all of the citizens in Detroit. Unfortunately, a lot of the men in Detroit that need to read this, CAN’T!!

  11. Woody McSwirls says:

    I am not religious, but obviously many are, and many are helped by the teachings of religion. From this, i ask:

    Why are there churches on every corner in Detroit if people fail to follow the guidance found there?

  12. Dean says:

    You’re hitting the nail right on the head Mike. The Dateline report wasn’t the best piece of journalism, but it did tell the sad story of a dying city.

    The aerial shots of the old Packard Plant (Packard has been out of business since the 50’s – why is the plant still there?) and the neighborhood streets with no houses or uninhabitable houses on them were all very telling.

    I’m 51 years old and was born in Detroit. We left the city in 1962. We lived in East Detroit near 8 and Gratiot until 1978 and then we left for the suburbs north of 15 mile. I’ve seen many families do the same thing, I look at the old Detroit neighborhoods we used to hang out in and most of the homes are now uninhabitable. I don’t remember any Neutron Bombs or chemical warfare taking place – so who caused all this blight. The people we left behind. We sold them our homes and they let them rot. Why? who teaches people to live like that.

    Detroit is a dying city with no hope for revival. 60 percent of the office space in Downtown Detroit is unoccupied – how do you have a thriving Downtown with a real estate crisis like that. When Comerica left Detroit for Texas, well, last one out – don’t worry about turning off the lights – the power’s already been cut because thieves have stolen the copper wires.

  13. JI says:

    Dy-no-mite!! No, not the solution just an observation!! Point well taken Mike now lets call in the organizations that can help save the city! How about we direct some government funding to the Boys & Girls Clubs as their statistics speak for themselves:
    *90% of Boys & Girls Club members graduate from high school as compared to 58% in Detroit.
    *Most children have their first drug, alcohol or sexual experience between the hours of 3 and 8 pm. The doors to Boys & Girls **Clubs are open during these times, on Saturdays and during school breaks—when kids need us most.
    A year-round membership is $50 per kid, which is 10% of the actual costs for us to provide programs and services to that same child.

    The definition of INSANITY is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result!

  14. Joe From Macomb says:

    Obama isn’t waiving a magic wand here no kidding he’s got so many issuses to deal with right now thanks to G W Bush for screwing him over. We’re not the only city like this it’s all over the states. Image john mccain in office right now we be killing each other right now over a dollar.

  15. Tony says:


    Regarding the comment you made: “You are going to college and moving out of here the day you graduate”…period.

    I cannot agree more!! That is exactly how I was raised. Bravo to you for saying this. Of course I am a little bias with you because I see eye to eye with you on alot of issues. You have a straight forward/no BS attitude that I admire. I am so glad you are a Michigander.

    With that said, Detroit has an issue about hand-outs. I dont agree with it. I believe you get out of life what you make it.

    Detroit IS a cancer regardless of who is at fault. The time to stop pointing the fingers is NOW. Find solutions is what I say.

    Thanks Mike and stay strong!!

  16. Tony says:

    I also think alot of people dont have a clue about what your article is about. Self accountability. Not OBAMA or Bush. Get a clue peeps. Regarding Detroit…you cant spit shine a turd. Tear the cancer out and rebuild. AM I wroung Mike?

  17. Fiona Cini says:

    Thank you what you wrote and what Dateline did needed to be said. I have watched the unworthy take advantage and destroy this beautiful city for 32 years. I think that a mirror has been presented to the city and the destroyers were shown what they have done.

  18. Brian Puffer says:

    Mike, I hate MSU with a passion and I’m a diehard Wolverine fan but I have to say you tell it like it is and I love it. You are by far the best personality on radio! Keep up the good work and keep keeping it real!

  19. Carl says:

    As someone who both lives in the burbs and works in Detroit, to me it’s very clear that this is a simple matter of dollars and cents. “What do other major cities have that Detroit doesn’t?” Answer: “Some ethnic diversity, but mostly MONEY.” When most of the populants of an area are Generation 2 or 3 of a cycle of poverty and ignorance, you can hardly expect them to know how to get themselves out of it. What is needed is for White people, and successful businesses, to move back to the city, and bring their money with them! Exhibit A: Peter Karmanos moving Compuware to a formerly abandoned part of the city, and look at that part of the city now! Utterly different (ie park, thriving businesses, scating rink, etc..). That same thing has to happen all over Detroit, including the neighborhoods. The problem is that, like Me, most people from the burbs are afraid to bring our children into Detroit’s current environment; I would be there in a heartbeat, except for my kids. I’m willing to deal with whatever happens to me to help the city, but I’m NOT willing to put my daughters in harms way. That’s the rub; but other people like me have got to do it, that’s the only way it’s going to improve (I realize I’m a hypocrite here, but this is something I’ve thought about a long time). It’s important to note that Flint, Lansing and Kalamazoo have all the same problems Detroit has, and for the same reasons, but because they’re smaller, it doesn’t get noticed as much. That’s my (more than) 2 cents.

  20. C-LO says:

    The city has lost a generation of ethical blue-collar michiganders with values. Now the declining economy with the younger generation has made a struggling city a almost absolute wasteland where values and parenting rarely exist. For those who stay in Detroit I salute you. I left for the surburbs but the hip hop culture continues to take the youth down the wrong path. Since when is tilting your hat allowed. I see parents with their kids in the city allowing them to sag their pants and tilit their hats. Detroit needs the hard work mentality back that our Grandparents had Mike/Terry. That special almost made me think is it impossible to bring the “D” back within 10-15 years? My grandma cried last night watching it. The youth and Detroit needs a make over.God Bless -Chris-

  21. amera says:

    I totally agree with message posted by Carl. There is a serious mood of depression and hopelessness embedded in the minds of Detroit citizens. Earlier bouts of racism, white flight and the infultration of drugs have really torn the city to pieces. BTW…. Who out there namely business owners who are (lets be real) caucasian have employed the 800,000 minority citizens we all know that alot of detroiters that are minorities got turned away or are getting turned away because of there skin color until we address the racism issue (because it leads to the powerless feeling that people have) thing will be more of the same. When we do work in the city they cut cut our pay lay us off how can we adequately take care of our children what resources can we provide them. We are not blind we now that the hand that has been dealt to us is not a fair and equitable one stop looking down your noses at detroit citizens and start offering help since the majority who have such a negative opinion are the same ones that have access to all the resources needed to live a great quality of life.

  22. Matt says:

    Mike, you make a lot of valid points, but I don’t like how in this piece as you do on almost all your shows, act holier than thou.

    Yes Detroit need better leaders, better parents, better role modles for its children. But if you think that they can do it themselves, well wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one fills up first.

    The city needs a whole bunch of someones to step up when everyone else has backed down. But they aren’t going to get that if people from the suburbs are wimps (which I can vouch most of them are) and are to afraid to go across 8 and Telegraph and make something.

    I’m from and still live in Plymouth, went to HS in Detoit and am gettin my masters at UDM. Never once got robed, shot, muged or any of the other heinous acts people from the burbs just EXPECT when they go to Detroit. And believe me, I know where the rough parts are.

    This network is supose to be about sports. And like in any comback in a game or season, you need to have faith in what can happen if you put your mind to it. Seeing first hand the potential this city has, the comeback is on.

  23. Alex says:

    Minnesota online listener here. These are great words, Mike. I know Detroit is full of really good people who are not the reason for the city’s problems. I’m rooting for them to prevail!

    The only change worth a damn is the change we make ourselves. Let’s remember that while the country is still free.

  24. careless in America says:

    This is all surface rust your talking about. Its way deeper than 2010. Blacks destiny was determined not by blacks but by the American govt. If slavery wouldve ended in the 60,s for white people what would be their dropout rate. If heroin and crack were introduced in the suburbs and not the inner city who would be trying to dig themselves out a hole? If Martin Luther King and Malcolm X werent assasinated for helping a race of people would the black man feel he had a chance. I came from the town of “those who dont care” Ive seen three murders on the street I was raised on. Countless of people go to jail,so much negativity you wouldnt believe. And I have mental hangups bcuz of it. But Im working alongside suburbanites my age and the worse thing theyve seen is a broadcast on the news. Their advice and schooling they received was so preparing for them, for society. I didnt have a class in my school called money management,woodworking was canceled,autoshop was canceled, and yet its still there in Livonia. Its not about caring its about being underqualified,racism,being fed up. If its known that i called the cops on a dope dealer,whose safer on the street? me or the dope dealer. If you send kids to war they come back depressed, alcoholic,confrontational,mad. Is it that they dont care or Is it the war,the carnage the death the hopelessness,and yes some make it out,but is the problem still there? The answer isnt to bash or talk about the surface rust its to deal with the real problem of why are all the high dropout rates with the minorities and not the majorities. Why are suburbans being taught better than urbanites. Last thought by an old black scholar who just passed away. A family has two children and one has the best education showed love experienced good friends and ate right,then the other child was locked in the basement,saw the worse of people improperly educated, and then someone said you two are equal as humans go out and make something of youselves. Which way does this scenario turn out?

  25. Tamiko lewis says:

    Iam sad that detroit is in a pitiful state,people who know better will do better.most of detroit does not know any better,we do what we can with what we are given. So stop the madness and help teach detroit do better. “show us how to raise above opression.” Help us by building our people up not knocking us down. Fix our schools give us the tools to do better!!!

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