Alan Stamm

Susan J. Demas: Modern-Day Journalism and the Surrealness of Internet Hate

I’m a political columnist, the owner of a well-established publication, and yes, the owner of ovaries. So Twitter trolls, online harassment and even a couple death threats (though not recently) are nothing new.

But the last few days have been nothing if not surreal. I published a longform piece in Salon on the Flint water crisis, Gov. Rick Snyder and his predecessor, Jennifer Granholm –– which was excerpted by Deadline Detroit. It started as a column and blossomed into something more. It was a labor of love about the state I love, which has been torn apart by horrible decisions and indifference in the current administration. I have to say, the positive reaction from readers –– especially from some who have been my frequent adversaries –– has been humbling.

Now there are always naysayers. Not everyone agreed with my decision several months ago, for instance, to cut ties with Bill Ballenger, from whom I bought Inside Michigan Politics in 2013. But Bill’s comments about the Flint water crisis weren’t just insensitive; they were inaccurate. The main issue was, as CNN put it in a big subhead: “Scientists not in agreement with Ballenger.” As a journalist, I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.