Ever since County Executive Mark Hackel released phony audio files in December 2016 in attempt to silence Warren Mayor James Fouts from pursuing the Freedom Hill Illegal Dumping Issue, The media has been relentlessly pursuing the Mayor of the third largest City in Michigan at all hours, including weekends, and incessantly phoning him at his home.
The less obnoxious Television stations have been parked outside the Mayor’s residence shining bright TV lights into his home until late at night. The more obnoxious ones are knocking at the Mayor’s door hoping for an “exclusive interview”, a “gotcha interview”, or endless questions about the engineered recordings.
Mayor Fouts has even encountered death threats. A voicemail that was left for the Mayor described how someone “would like to put a noose around (the Mayor’s) neck and watch (him) choking until all the life was out of (him).” Another suggested that “(the Mayor) need to do everyone a favor and commit suicide.” These are unacceptable obscenities and vial threats based on unfounded and unverified information that are threatening the life of an elected public official who has dedicated his life to improving the quality of life for Warren residents.
While the City of Warren police continue to offer the Mayor around the clock security and police patrols, the Mayor felt that he was a low priority and felt these people only did this after being incited by the repeated airing of the phony tapes on every station.
Prior to this incident, The Mayor anticipated watching the local Television News Stations, which now he dreads because of the incessant reporting about the phony audio files.
During the city-sponsored January 16 annual Dr. Martin Luther King Ceremony, the media was obsessed with the latest release of these engineered recordings. This media’s unquenchable thirst for sensationalism ruined the solemn ceremony and turned it into a media circus trampling on the musical instruments of the Renaissance High School Quintet’s band instruments.
The media does have some responsibility to show restraint and a balanced story, but clearly this is NOT the case with regards to the Mayor of the third largest city in Michigan. Sadly, it would appear that the media’s view of the Mayor is dark. They have no room for considering all of the good the Mayor has done for the city of Warren, nor any room for the real culprit, and no room for respecting the Mayor’s right to privacy or his right to confront his accuser.
The media, in effect, has become an echo chamber for an electronic lynch mob. It’s a sensational story, so why stop the drumbeat?
What is most hurtful to the Mayor however is that his- so-called political “friends” who called for his resignation-a rush to judgment. These “fair weather” friends were more than eager in their elections to use the Mayor’s personal endorsement in their successful campaigns. This confirms that adage of President Harry S. Truman: “If you want a friend in politics, get yourself a dog.”
This public “every politician for himself or herself” desertion has caused the Mayor much personal anguish. While the Mayor had anticipated that life has its ups-and-downs, this has been downright disheartening to him, especially after helping those candidates with personal help and endorsements.
Much of this criticism aimed at the Mayor has come from outside of the City of Warren from individuals who are spreading viscous lies about the Mayor. To fuel the flames, anyone who had a past grievance with the Mayor are now competing with each other to get media attention by lying and conjuring up ridiculous stories. The more outlandish the lie, the bigger the news story.
The silver lining throughout this experience has been the outpouring show of support in solidarity of the Mayor from the residents of Warren who have stood and continue to stand behind their elected official.
Mayor Fouts is grateful to these these loyal supporters from the bottom of his heart. It is this confidence in him that keeps the Mayor working hard on the behalf of his constituency creating a safe, clean, and forward thinking city.
In a statetemtn, Mayor Fouts said “…that God gives him the strength to withstand the unfounded criticism that he’s had to endure.” and that “with the help and faith of many he will continue to work hard for the deserving Warren taxpayer, undeterred from his mission to serve and protect the residents of Warren.”