The Mackinac Center has already reached millions of people this year, thanks to hundreds of news articles citing its research; op-eds in some of the Beltway’s most well-read outlets; and interviews aired by radio and television stations in Michigan and elsewhere.
Its first study of 2017 — the Michigan Public High School Context and Performance Report Card — received news coverage from local and statewide outlets, raising awareness of the need to reform how schools are graded.
Director of Education Policy Ben DeGrow explained in an op-ed for The Detroit News that accounting for both performance and poverty — as is done in the Center’s report — provides an accurate picture of how schools are performing. The state’s Top-to-Bottom rankings consider only performance, meaning schools that serve high populations of students in poverty — like many charters — could unfairly be slated for closure, as explained by CBS 5 (WNEM-TV). Saginaw’s Arthur Hill High School, for one, might be closed even though its performance is average when students’ socioeconomic status is considered.
Kentucky and Missouri media — along with national news outlets — turned to the Mackinac Center as each state considered and passed right-to-work legislation. Newspapers in both states and The Washington Times published opinion columns by Mackinac staff. The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, NBC and numerous local news outlets quoted or cited Director of Labor Policy F. Vincent Vernuccio.
The Center also received national attention for its research on cigarette taxes and smuggling. The New York Post — published in the state with the highest taxes and smuggling rates in the country — wrote that while the legal paid sales of cigarettes may decline after a tax increase, only a small percentage is due to people kicking the habit. Michael LaFaive, study co-author and director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Center, explained in op-eds published by The Hill and elsewhere that this is because high taxes lead people to obtain cigarettes elsewhere, allowing them to avoid or evade the tax, rather than quit. Fox News, The Boston Globe, Washington Examiner and The Salt Lake Tribune are a few of the other outlets to cover the research.
In February, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation received widespread media coverage, particularly in northern Michigan, when it resurrected its fight to protect free speech. The Traverse City Record-Eagle, Associated Press, Fox 17, Up North Live, 9 & 10 News and others told the story of David Gersenson. A lodging owner, Gersenson must pay a tax on each room he rents to fund a marketing campaign he doesn’t want. The Center is representing him because it knows that forced speech subsidies violate a person’s First Amendment rights.
Other outlets to cite or feature the Mackinac Center’s work in the early weeks of 2017 include MLive, the Detroit Free Press, the Petoskey News-Review, WJR-AM, Bloomberg, NPR and many more.