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Originally published Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM

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Mayor knocks Glenn Beck for Detroit-Hiroshima comparison

Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck took swipes at Detroit on Monday, comparing the city to Hiroshima and bashing unions and the automotive...

Detroit Free Press

DETROIT — Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck took swipes at Detroit on Monday, comparing the city to Hiroshima and bashing unions and the automotive bailout.

"Bad policies and union deals helped rot this city from the core," he said during a segment called "Hiroshima vs. Detroit: Which City Embraced the American Dream?" on his Fox News program.

Showing pictures of Hiroshima destroyed by an atomic bomb and decay in Detroit, Beck pointed out that Hiroshima today is a thriving metropolis and much of Detroit is in ruin.

"One city embraced the free market system and the entrepreneurial spirit," Beck said. "The other embraced progressive policies and corrupt government and unions and companies that weren't allowed to fail. And they should have failed because they stunk on ice."

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing lambasted Beck for uninformed reporting and offered him a chance to see the city himself.

"Like many national media members, Glenn Beck has probably never been to Detroit, understood Detroit, and doesn't care about Detroit," Bing said. "We welcome him to see and experience Detroit for himself so that he can deliver facts, rather than repeat fiction."

Beck didn't mention that Ford did not take money from President George W. Bush's automotive bailout package.

"Oh, you can blame Ford and GM, their bad corporate polices," Beck said. "And those policies because of the progressives weren't allowed to reset. Nobody allowed them to fail."

Snopes.com, a website dedicated to analyzing Internet rumors and legends, has references dating to late 2010 about an e-mail chain letter that made a comparison similar to Beck's. Using five of the same photos as those on the Snopes.com website, Beck claims Hiroshima was able to rebuild after the atomic bomb, while Detroit has continued to decay.

Beck's comments sparked outrage from Detroit council members.

"Detroit has become synonymous with black," Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said, suggesting the comments are racially motivated. "Everyone is after Detroit."

Said Councilman Ken Cockrel: "Glenn Beck is an idiot."

The Rev. Charles Williams II, a community activist, wants a debate with Beck.

"I'm challenging him to a real conversation about Detroit," Williams told the Detroit Free Press.

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