Gruber Tells Ballenger He’s Fired!
Long time Michigan political pundit Bill Ballenger learned from the Steve Gruber Show today that he had been fired from the company he founded in 1987, Inside Michigan Politics.
Ballenger has been an outspoken critic of the politicizing of the Flint water crisis. As a Flint native he says there is no issue at his home with elevated lead levels and questions how serious the issue really is. “It is miniscule”, Ballenger said in citing that “only something like 47 kids out of 2000” have shown elevated lead levels in their blood. Ballenger also said as a Flint native he wonders if all of the lead issues are from the cities water supply. There could be several other environmental factors that may have contributed to lead levels that are dangerous to kids in Flint he said. Those other factors include old buildings with lead based paint and abandoned buildings that have been burned by arsonists causing lead to enter the soil.
Regardless, as a result of his comments on the water crisis in Flint Ballenger has been fired by the new owner of Inside Michigan politics, Susan J. Demas. In a press release early today Demas wrote Bill “is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.” Demas concludes her statement with this: "So, it is with a heavy heart that I am informing you that as of this morning, Bill Ballenger is not associated with Inside Michigan Politics in any way, shape or form."
Ouch! The guy was a political pundit and he had the nerve to say much of the attention being focused on Flint is politically motivated. Not exactly a stretch I'd say.
The shocking part was when we called him this morning to join us on the show- we were the ones who actually broke the news to him that he had been fired! He didn't know. He thought we had made a mistake, we hadn’t. A few minutes later he joined us on the air. “I haven’t talked to Susan” he said and added, “I really don’t know what’s going on.”
That’s right, Susan J. Demas who bought Inside Michigan Politics, the iconic Michigan political brand in 2013, from the man who created it, fired him by press release!
I guess that makes Bill Ballenger the latest political casualty of the Flint water crisis. The question now is whether or not IMP will be viable and respected in light of the callous, disrespectful treatment of it’s founder. Ballinger has been one of the leading voices regarding politics in Michigan for nearly three decades. I'm guessing he will still be one of those important voices going forward.
We are awaiting a press release on that.