Tuesday, March 14, 2006

We Ain't Ignert


So a columnist at the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader in northeastern Pennsylvania went off on Miami Herald Leonard Pitts for pointing out in a column Friday that "people are ignorant in Appalachia."

"I think Pitts is lower than a coal mine, meaner than a mountain winter, sneakier than a Pennsylvania politician voting for a pay raise," wrote Casey Jones. "How dare Pitts paint the mountains with such a broad brush?"

Pitts was criticizing so-called Christians for bashing gays instead of helping people who need it (aka, doing something Jesus would do). But let's be glad that Casey Jones, whose column is on Romenesko, sets the record straight. Now we know that Appalachia doesn't have rampant abject poverty anymore -- whew, that's a relief! -- and everybody there is educated to the nines.

Hell, forget about the mountain folk. They aren't hillbillies anymore, they're Hilfigers.

The fact is, though, that in the heart of Appalachia -- in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee and parts of West Virginia -- the poverty rate is still ridiculously high. America should be concerned about it. And that's the truth no matter what some scribbler from uppity Wilkes-Barre might say.

Newspaper Games
I don't think it was a coincidence that the Miami Herald ran the report, "BSO Brass Escape Scandal Blame," in today's paper. It's one day before New Times hits the streets -- and in that will be reporter (and unofficial Pulp correspondent) Wyatt Olson's in-depth report on the same topic.

Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a pre-emptive strike.

"And damned annoying," Olson adds. "But ahh, the sport of it all."

Olson knows that's the way the game is played. All is fair when it comes to getting the story first. Relentless and well-sourced Herald reporter Wanda DeMarzo was perfectly within her rights to beat him to the punch. She did a good job and she clearly had been gathering this information for a long time. We'd all have done the same and the Pulp tips its hat to her.

But Olson's story will have plenty of exclusive information in it yet.

Story of the Day
Carol Marbin Miller is striking again with another report on state Medicaid cuts to programs that provide feeding for the sickest and poorest folks among us. It's a crime and state bureaucrats are pulling out nothing but excuses while critically ill people literally starve. This the same day big news broke about Miller's other baby, the boot camp death.

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