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Another drive-by attack on MMA by the Grand Rapids Press

By Zach Arnold | August 3, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

On June 4th, we highlighted an article by Brian VanOchten in the Grand Rapids Press that was a baseless attack on MMA and the industry’s supporters. It drew so much heat online (at Sherdog, Fight Opinion, etc.) that the newspaper staff was flooded with angry responses in return. One of our site readers contacted the GRP and a staff member told the reader that the paper would print some of the responses.

None of those responses, to our knowledge, were ever printed online.

Around the time the initial column was printed by the GRP, both Marc Ratner and Kenny Florian testified in front of the Michigan state house in regards to MMA legislation proposed by state representative Barbara Farrah. On June 8th, GRP columnist David Mayo wrote a column expressing concern in regards to some of the classifications in the MMA legislation bill. His concerns were legitimate.

On July 26th, the news was made official that a bill to legialize MMA in the state of Michigan had passed. We gave our readers time to look at the actual text of the bill and analyze it. While the bill does have a few issues that could be changed for the better, it is nonetheless a step in the right direction. It’s certainly a far cry from Art Dore and associates promoting Toughman-style MMA events.

On Friday (August 3rd), the Grand Rapids Press revealed it’s true colors by printing a newspaper editorial slamming the proposed MMA legislation. In an editorial empty on substance and heavy on verbosity, the newspaper opened its editorial with the following sentence:

So-called ultimate fighting is no better than a back-alley street brawl — which unfortunately is the level of violence that’s driving its growing popularity.

In the GRP editorial, the paper did not mention any specific objections to the MMA bill passed by the state House. Rather, it just flat-out opposed the regulation.

The evolution of the GRP’s stance on MMA is really a lesson in general on how the American mainstream media works. If the newsroom doesn’t like a certain topic, launch an attack on it. If it draws negative reader response, make a promise to reconsider the initial stance but don’t live up to it — just go half-way. Then, if the newspaper’s agenda is not listened to by readers or authority figures, lash out at the public support of the cause that the newspaper originally opposed. Newspaper editorial boards like to think of this as taking a ‘principled stance’ rather than listening to their own paying customers. However, when that ‘principled stance’ is factually-challenged, it doesn’t serve any sort of public good at all.

And newspapers wonder why subscription rates continue to plummet. Newsrooms can’t figure out why they are losing more and more of the readers’ trust.

The slogan of the GRP is “be someone who gets it.” Clearly their newsroom doesn’t, however.

Newspapers like the Grand Rapids Press and the Mason City Globe-Gazette need to hear from you. They need to be sent a message that they are out-of-touch with not only their readers but the general public itself.

Here is the contact information for the GRP. Please contact them and post your feedback here in the comments section.

The Grand Rapids Press
155 Michigan St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI. 49503

  1. Mailbox to the editor: pulse@grpress.com
  2. Editorial administration (Mike Lloyd): mlloyd@grpress.com, 616-222-5506
  3. Editorial page editor (Ed Golder): Egolder@grpress.com, 616-222-5843
  4. Sports Editorial page edit (Mary Ullner): mullmer@grpress.com, 616-222-5329

Update: Speaking of drive-by media attacks on MMA, Bob Keisser in The Long Beach Press-Telegram (e-mail him here or call him at 562-499-1338) attempted to tie MMA in with the issue of dogfighting:

If the Falcons quarterback had decided to invest in the current Mixed Martial Arts fad where men beat each other bloody without nearly enough oversight, no one would have said a word.

If he had decided to raise fighting chickens instead of fighting pit bulls, he could have just barbecued the losers and everyone would say he threw a great party.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 16 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

16 Responses to “Another drive-by attack on MMA by the Grand Rapids Press”

  1. bufflo_66 says:

    The editorial is of course complete garbage. One point though. Perhaps I’m interpereting this incorrectly:

    Newspaper editorial boards like to think of this as taking a ‘principled stance’ rather than listening to their own paying customers.

    And newspapers wonder why subscription rates continue to plummet. Newsrooms can’t figure out why they are losing more and more of the readers’ trust.

    Obviously in this case they are printing nonsense without factual backup but it sounds like you are saying they should print only what people want to read. There are already media agencies doing that and the results are pretty worrying.

  2. Zach Arnold says:

    More or less the argument I’m making is that newspapers like to proclaim that they are serving their audiences, but they aren’t serving their audiences properly when they take ‘principled stances’ that are factually-challenged.

  3. bufflo_66 says:

    fair enough

  4. jeff says:

    zach, many people are opposed to violence and they see MMA as violence. BFD get over it and stop crying.

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    Thanks for the advice. Let me go get my camera and record the street fight in my back alley. 🙂

  6. Only if we get to BBQ some chickens afterwards.

  7. jeff says:

    some shows are not much more than that.

  8. yeah…GRP just got themselves fucked

  9. K. Fabe says:

    zach, you’ve got to stop using occasional crackpot editorials from small towns as proof of grand media conspiracies. So the East Buttf— Press hates MMA. There are also about 10,000 newspapers that aren’t publishing anti-MMA rants this weekend. All this proves is that one newspaper in the middle of nowhere is run by morons.

  10. Grand Rapids? Small town? That made me squirt tea out my nose. That was so funny.

  11. Smoogy says:

    K. Fabe: What conspiracy are you talking about? You should read the article in full before you make indignant posts like that, he isn’t suggesting some sweeping anti-MMA conspiracy (at all).

  12. Tomer Chen says:

    So the East Buttf— Press hates MMA.

    I’m pretty sure Grand Rapids is the #2 sized city in Michigan behind Detroit, actually.

  13. K. Fabe says:

    OK … I stand corrected on that count. But our nation’s leaders don’t exactly seek out the opinions of Grand Rapids’ movers and shakers before moving forward.

  14. yeah. Well. Mine do.

    It’s these assholes who keep Dore and Helmkay in business.

  15. […] enough to deal with daily drive-by media attacks on MMA when the outlets are newspapers like The Grand Rapids Press and the Mason City Globe Gazette. It’s even more aggravating when the media outlet in […]

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