Dear­born mayor: Henry Ford ar­ti­cle a dis­trac­tion

O’Reilly de­fends move to stop story on anti-Semitic views

The Detroit News - - METRO - BY SARAH RAHAL The Detroit News

Dear­born — Dear­born’s mayor said he wor­ried that an ar­ti­cle on Henry Ford’s anti-Semitism that was pulled be­fore it ran in the city’s his­tor­i­cal mag­a­zine would be a “dis­trac­tion.” .

John O’Reilly Jr. was crit­i­cized when the ed­i­tor of the Dear­born His­to­rian was fired last month for re­port­ing on Ford’s his­tory of anti-Semitism for the pub­li­ca­tion’s 100th an­niver­sary is­sue last week.

“It was thought that by pre­sent­ing in­for­ma­tion from 100 years ago that in­cluded hate­ful mes­sages — with­out a com­pelling rea­son directly linked to events in Dear­born to­day — this edi­tion of the city-funded His­to­rian could be­come a dis­trac­tion from our con­tin­u­ing mes­sages of in­clu­sion and re­spect,” O’Reilly said.

The move drew swift re­bukes from those who wanted to see the ar­ti­cle pub­lished in the city pub­li­ca­tion. The quar­terly mag­a­zine fo­cused on the cen­ten­nial an­niver­sary of Ford buy­ing the Dear­born In­de­pen­dent, a weekly news­pa­per that Ford used to spread anti-Semitic views.

There also were con­cerns by the pub­li­ca­tion board about the cover, which had a black-and­white photo of Ford with a quote read­ing, “The Jew is a race that has no civ­i­liza­tion to point to, no aspir­ing reli­gion, no great achieve­ment in any realm.”

The 28-page is­sue was never sent to its 200 sub­scribers as planned in Jan­uary.

In a let­ter to the Dear­born His­to­rian’s sub­scribers Fri­day, O’Reilly said he would use his own re­sources to print and mail four ar­ti­cles about Ford in an eight-page book­let in place of the un­pub­lished is­sue.

“In a world where neg­a­tiv­ity is so preva­lent, I thought they could lead peo­ple to link the city of Dear­born of to­day with hate­ful mes­sages re­peated from 100 years ago,” O’Reilly said to sub­scribers. “I wanted to dis­tance

the city from pos­si­ble crit­i­cism for be­ing seen as a source of de­spi­ca­ble viewpoints.

Mu­seum of­fi­cials said O’Reilly ordered mu­seum cu­ra­tor Jake Tate to fire mag­a­zine ed­i­tor Bill McGraw af­ter he saw the Jan­uary cover of the Dear­born His­to­rian. O’Reilly said he did not fire McGraw.

“The Dear­born His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum, via the chief cu­ra­tor, con­tracted with Mr. McGraw to pro­duce the city-funded His­to­rian, one edi­tion at a time, of the quar­terly pub­li­ca­tion. Mr. McGraw is not an em­ployee of the city of Dear­born or of the mu­seum,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. “Per the con­tract, the cu­ra­tor has the right to end the con­tract for any rea­son. The chief cu­ra­tor made the de­ci­sion to ter­mi­nate the con­tract.”

McGraw, a veteran Metro Detroit jour­nal­ist, worked part­time as the ed­i­tor of the mag­a­zine. The Jan­uary is­sue would have been the se­cond he over­saw. He is a co-founder of Dead­line Detroit, which pub­lished the 10-page story.

McGraw de­clined to com­ment on the mayor’s words.

O’Reilly’s ac­tions came af­ter the Dear­born His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum Com­mis­sion called on O’Reilly to re­lease the most cur­rent is­sue of the His­to­rian in a res­o­lu­tion at an emer­gency meet­ing on Jan. 31.

“The Dear­born His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion en­dorses the ef­forts of the ed­i­tor of the Dear­born His­to­rian, in the best tra­di­tions of jour­nal­is­tic in­tegrity and his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy, to an­a­lyze and re­port on sig­nif­i­cant events from the city’s past, even when the pub­li­ca­tion of such re­port­ing may not re­flect fa­vor­ably on ac­tions taken by lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions or in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing city of­fi­cials,” the com­mis­sion said.

O’Reilly’s ac­tions drew wide­spread out­cry, in­clud­ing from the his­tory fac­ulty at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan Dear­born.

Cour­tesy of the Dear­born His­tor­i­cal Mu­seum

The Jan­uary is­sue of the Dear­born His­to­rian Mag­a­zine was pulled, and its ed­i­tor was fired.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.