The Powers committed $1 million a year for fifteen years to launch the "non-partisan and centrist" Center for Michigan, and are raising another $15 million from Michigan companies and foundations. Starting with Bebow, a former Ann Arbor News reporter and editor-in-chief of mlive.com, they've since snapped up staff from the shrinking media business, including Derek Melot from the Lansing State Journal and veteran Detroit News investigative reporter Ron French. As the November 6 election approached, the "truth squad" at bridgemi.com was working overtime blowing the whistle on dishonest political ads. A Pete Hoekstra TV spot calling Debbie Stabenow the "worst senator ever" and a Mattie Maroun mailer that claimed a new bridge to Canada would take money from the schools both earned "flagrant fouls."
"We're not trying to win Pulitzer Prizes," says Bebow. "We're not trying to be well known in the world of nonprofit news sites ... What we care about is informing Michigan citizens and providing the kind of depth that our team of writers used to do for newspapers."