ABC News tapes on campus

ABC News recently tapped the University of Detroit Mercy to host an online show discussing politics and progress in the city featuring both local analysts and national correspondents.

“Straight Talk with Matt and LZ,” featuring Matt Dowd and LZ Granderson taped an episode on campus Monday, Sept. 19.

Both Detroit natives, Dowd and Granderson said were excited to be back home.

Poet Jessica Care Moore kicked off the show with a reading from her recent book, “Sunlight Through Bullet Holes.”

Guests included Jonathan Karl, chief White House correspondent for ABC News, and Ron Fournier, University of Detroit alum and well-known political reporter who recently returned to Detroit as associate publisher of Crain’s Business Detroit.

Dowd started the conversation about the recent terror attacks in New York, and how they might affect the coming presidential election.

“America is getting a chance to see how the two (candidates), one of whom is going to be our next commander-in-chief, would deal with this issue,” answered Karl.  “We’re seeing very different responses.  You have Trump coming on fast and strong, and channeling our anger, and Hillary Clinton coming out more measured, but also trying to give the sense that she would deal forcefully with this threat.”

Fournier added to Karl’s comments saying that technological, economic and social change have directed the American people to narrow it down to such candidates as Clinton and Trump.

Next, the hosts introduced Peter Cummings, a real estate developer and founder of The Platform Detroit, and Angie Reyes, the executive director of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.

They discussed the importance of education and helping youth in Detroit to get the resources they need to succeed, as well as bringing business back into Detroit to help revitalize the city. 

Cummings touched on the workings of billionaire businessman Dan Gilbert, and his push to bring thousands of jobs back to the city, as well as the election of Mayor Mike Duggan, the first white mayor of Detroit since the 1970s.

Faith and religion are also controversial issues during each election cycle.

To discuss this topic, the hosts introduced Fatima Abdrabboh, director of the American Arab Ant-Discrimination Committee in Dearborn, and Ashley McGuire, senior fellow of the Catholic Association. 

Abdrabboh, a practicing Muslim, talked about the misunderstanding of faith among many Americans.

“Islam traditions have deep roots in this country,” she said.  “The idea that Islam, or practicing Muslims, are foreign to this country is something that we really have to dismantle.”

McGuire added that it will be tough this election to determine which faiths side with which candidates, considering both candidates are relatively unpopular across the board.

Dowd and Granderson closed the show with one final guest, Chuck Stokes, director of editorial and public affairs for WXYZ-TV.  

“Many things have changed (in Detroit),” said Stokes.  “We have made a lot of progress, but that doesn’t mean that we have solved all of the problems, and it doesn’t mean that we don’t have new problems.”

To watch the full episode of “Straight Talk with Matt and LZ,” visit, or visit the Detroit Mercy website for more information.