'Sarcastic' Headline Gets Local Magazine Tossed from Detroit Airport

Thursday, 04 Apr 2013 01:37 PM

By Michael Mullins

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A free, local magazine will no longer be allowed at Detroit Metro Airport after officials at the transportation hub were displeased by its headline cover that read, "Welcome to Detroit: 'The Most Miserable City in America.'"

According to the publisher of The Metropolitan magazine, the headline was an attempt at sarcasm while the article itself actually attacked the financial magazine Forbes for labeling the Motor City as "America's Most Miserable" city in a piece it published in February.

Airport Spokesman Mike Conway, who made the decision to pull the publication, told the local CBS affiliate that he knows what sarcasm is, and that headline was not it.

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"You don’t have to explain the concept of sarcasm to me. I get sarcasm; I understand what sarcasm is; I laugh when I watch Monty Python movies, so I know what irony is and sarcasm is," said Conway. "This just landed flat."

According to Conway, the headline prompted multiple complaints from airport customers and employees, particularly airport ambassador volunteers whose job is to promote the transportation hub among visiting travelers.

"[The Ambassadors] mission is to help customers that are lost or have questions or whatever. But their whole objective is to help the image of Detroit," said Conway. "They see this publication that says Detroit is the most miserable city in America . . . and we're spreading that message around the world, my view is -- whether it's too sensitive or not -- we don't need to allow this."

Though unhappy with Conway's decision to remove his publication, magazine publisher and editor Anthony Brancaleone told Crain's Detroit Business that he understands the motivation behind the move.

"My argument is not with Mike Conway. He's got a tough job over there. We're both professional, and we're going to push through and be fine," he said. "My real argument is with Forbes magazine. It was shocking and I didn't like it, and I wanted to hit back."

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According to Brancaleone, approximately 20,000 issues of The Metropolitan are generally distributed throughout a typical month at the airport. An additional 5,000 copies of the publication are distributed at 100 locations in metro Detroit.

The issues discarded from the airport were redistributed at other locations in Detroit, said Brancaleone.

Related stories:

Ex-Detroit Mayor Convicted of Widespread Corruption

Mich. Gov. Rick Snyder Mulls Takeover of Detroit

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