The thing about living in Detroit is that when something goes viral locally, you pray that if it reaches a national level it gets translated to the masses properly. And it's a fucked-up game of Telephone that Gawker writers fail at every goddamn time.
Since Hamilton Nolan is off this weekend, it's up to someone else to not research, not consult with a local and, especially in this case, not be bothered to check Wikipedia. I mean, come on! I know us writers in the Gawker Media universe have to put up with a lot besides just the writing. (Headlines under 70! Invite someone to a Kinja chat!) But that little Google search bar shows up on a lot of our browsers, right? It takes five seconds to fact-check, guys.
Today, Dayna Evans has a headline that's under 70 characters and overflowing with fatal-error catastrophe. "Footage of The Abandoned Detroit Silverdome" — a place which doesn't fucking exist — "Is Very Eerie."
Nobody would give two shits about an empty stadium, but because it's Detroit, we should pass it around. Except it's not Detroit. It's Pontiac. An entirely different city. Detroit is a city of 700,000 (or so) in Wayne County, the largest city in Michigan. Pontiac is a GM town half-an-hour north in Oakland County, and it's not even in the top 10. It's No. 25, if you give a damn.
I guess it's kinda easy to confuse Detroit and Pontiac? I mean, both cities make cars and shit. Oh, and disenfranchised black people! Yeah, all those cities in Michigan are the same, so let's not bother to double-check. Except I'm not sure how you confuse Detroit and Pontiac when the title of the YouTube video is "The Vacant Pontiac Silverdome."
At least Evans has the first few words correct: "The Silverdome, a vacant stadium that used to be home to the Detroit Lions..." And then it all goes to shit. First off, that same sentence also leads with "the occasional big event." Uh, what? Until the Silverdome closed, it was in use more than occasionally. Yeah, so maybe WWE and monster truck rallies aren't an East Coaster's idea of fun, but they entertained a lot of people for a lot of years, and kept people employed.
"It's alarming to see its disrepair." Alarming if you don't live in Michigan. Everyone here knows the new owners of the stadium have been dicking around with the maintenance of the thing ever since it was sold five years ago. That's twofold: The city of Pontiac (see that? not the city of Detroit, because it's two different fucking cities) sold the property for way less than it was worth and the new owner got it for a song and has just been siting on it.
What's most annoying is Evans somehow linking the Silverdome's fate with the city's bankruptcy (and didn't even link to a fellow Gawker writer's coverage? For shame!) and "that the economic downturn of Detroit is not necessarily a direct result of the recession or outsourced labor." What the fuck? The Silverdome went downhill because the fucking Lions started playing in Ford Field. I know someone at Deadspin is working this weekend! Ask them.
I'm sure the writers at Gawker are nice people and all, and we all make mistakes, but let me refer you (and them) to a Q&A that Florida-based Adam Weinstein did last year when John Cook brought him aboard:
Q: Is Florida as weird as its reputation says it is?
A: It is a place that lives up to its reputation and also requires a bit of demystifying and translating by people who are here.
So that's nice of Gawker to have someone in the penis of the United States to demystify! and translate! things like closeted GOP politicos and why black men get killed at random. But no dice for anyone else in the country? Fuck that.
By the way, can everyone in Detroit stop sharing the Silverdome pics and buy a house or something? Jesus.
For future fucking reference, if anyone in Gawker Media needs a Detroit explanation, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org. My Gchat is (usually) open all day! And I know how to use Campfire!
UPDATE: Evans fixed the headline. Thanks for the link!