Who Am I?

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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

16 December 2007

The Crappy Pensacola News Journal

Our local newspaper, the Pensacola News Journal is pretty awful as I have already mentioned. They proved it again today.

We had a cold front come through the area yesterday, bringing with it some strong winds. Hardest hit was the town of Navarre, where people incurred damage to their property. In reporting this event, the PNJ’s intrepid, star reporter Sean Dugas went and interviewed some residents. (You can read the story by clicking
here. I don't know how long the link will work.) Here’s what he wrote about one Navarre resident.

Lisolette Heilman, 76, was taking a nap in her mobile home on Avenida Del Sol near the Publix in Navarre when she heard what sounded like an explosion as the winds ripped a metal awning off the back of her home and tore a bowling ball-size hole in her roof.

“It sounded like 16 cannons going off in front of my house,” she said with a heavy German accent. “I thought it was a dream.”


Say what? Was it really necessary to report that Ms. Heilman spoke with an accent? What if her name had been Shenid Bhayroo (referenced in another story)? Would it have been any more or less racist to say that Ms. Bhayroo spoke in a heavy middle-eastern accent? Or that Shaniqua Jackson spoke in a heavy ghetto-Ebonics accent? Of course not. But the newspaper never could have gotten away with saying such a thing about Ms. Jackson, because a certain reverend with the same last name would be on a plane down here from New York before you could say “Don Imus.”

What the hell is wrong with people? The fact that Ms. Heilman spoke with a heavy German accent has absolutely no place in a news story…especially that news story. Perhaps Mr. Dugas was only trying to add “color” to his story. If so, he forgot to mention the "heavy Polish accent" of Will Poloski, age 14, whom he quoted earlier in the story. Mr. Dugas obviously felt it necessary to inform us of something that was completely irrelevant and inappropriate.

Such is the racist state of affairs that still exists in small southern towns, even ones that pretend to be as cosmopolitan and sophisticated as Pensacola, Florida does. Heh, this is such a backwoods burg. Probably always will be.

3 comments:

Redlefty said...

Ha, I would've been mentioned as having a "redneck twang" in my younger days.

Hopefully more people like you can have an impact on that community.

Anonymous said...

Well Said. The PNJ Sucks!

Ghost said...

Though I am not familiar with the PNJ, I must offer a differing opinion if simply for the intellectual exercise. When a person's first response when asked to describe a presumably loud noise involves a specific and/or large number of cannons, one would typically wonder as to how they came to that conclusion. Mentioning that Ms. Heilman spoke with a heavy accent would help give an idea as to why such an interesting description for the sound was given, and yes, add color to an otherwise uninteresting interview (Yep, there was wind and minor damage. Like most everyone else. Oh well.) It could have been left out of the previous story about the boy simply because stories about children tend to "sell" well in most media. Saying that someone has a specific or heavy doesn't necessarily imply judgment on the part of the reporter, though I'm not in a position to be a good judge of Sean Dugas or his character based on his other pieces, so there may be more to this than I'm aware of.