The Columbia Journalism Review takes a look at how the media covers Dan Gilbert, Detroit's downtown property mogul, and calls for more skepticism. One of main problems isn't so much reporting as it is under-reporting. As the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, an organization that profits off of mortgages, what was Dan Gilbert's role in the foreclosure crisis? We don't know. That's hard to report on. But making positive statements about downtown Detroit coming back is easy.
Here's what media outlets say about Motor City Monopoly player Dan. These are recent examples highlighted in the CJR piece.
Headline: "A Missionary's Quest to Remake the Motor City" —The New York Times
Headline wording: "Detroit's Savior" — USA Today
Headline: "Is Dan Gilbert Detroit's new superhero?" — National Journal
Award: 2011 "Detroiter of the Year" was Dan Gilbert— Hour Detroit,
Award: 2013 "Newsmaker of the Year" was Dan Gilbert — WXYZ, the local ABC station which declared, "he is providing hope for Detroit's future."
The article suggests that Gilbert moving his corporate headquarters downtown has overshadowed the rest of the possible negative impacts of his massive, and very recent, property acquisitions. Seems about right to all of us at Curbed Detroit HQ.
· Detroit's Dan Gilbert and the 'savior complex' [CJR]
· Take a Closer Look at Gilbert's Miniature Model of Detroit [Curbed Detroit]