WARNING: The HAM meter on this post is off the charts.
What does it take to be a journalist? Seriously, I want to know.
I am constantly baffled at the lack of basic knowledge exhibited by those that are presenting this crap as fact. How anyone can consider themselves knowledgable enough about the Saint Elizabeths project to write an ARTICLE IN A NATIONAL PUBLICATION yet would a) not know Saint Elizabeths was located in the Congress Heights neighborhood (not Anacostia) and b) would regurgitate the same old "Anacostia is dangerous" line. Apparently so "tough" that the wildlife within its gates wouldn't last that long outside in Anacostia (which is really Congress Heights).
In case you think I am going crazy read this excerpt for yourself, I am adding the bold for emphasis.
"A cheerful 55-year-old with a neatly trimmed mustache, Mills, who is managing the project for DHS, tells visitors to look out for animals. There are loads. Herds of deer, a flock of wild turkeys, and a bald eagle reside in the fenced-in facility. They might not last long outside. St. Elizabeths is located in Anacostia, one of D.C.’s toughest neighborhoods. But they have little to fear inside the high-security fences. “It’s like the wild kingdom in here,” Mills says with a chuckle."
Pardon my french but what the hell does Mr. Leonard (the article's author) think we would do to a bald eagle? Shoot it with our Glocks, then deep fry it and serve it with some mumbo sauce? Is that what they do in the "toughest" neighborhoods? Murder wildlife for the hell of it? This is Congress Heights, not Bartertown!
Who approves this stuff?! Really? Where is the basic fact checking? Where is the sense of "let me get my fanny off this golf cart and take a tour around the neighborhood, maybe I can learn something." I'm not saying Congress Heights or Anacostia for that matter is perfect, I will be honest about our challenges and shortcomings but I don't need to go making stuff up and I definitely can take the time to tell the difference between one neighborhood and another one two neighborhoods away. I'm no journalist (as if the typos didn't clue you in) but I do have some responsibility to at least try and get this stuff right.
Thank you Bloomberg News and thank you Devin Leonard (@devinleonard) for making my job (and daily life) all the more difficult because you couldn't be bothered to fact check something as simple as the damn neighborhood name. I would send you a bucket of fried bald eagle but we just ate the last one.
I live in Congress Heights and I really love the wildlife in my neighborhood, it is one of the many things that I get to experience regularly living here. So when I "shoot" a deer it looks like this:
P.S. If you were wondering why I waited until today to post about this article it was because I was hoping after numerous people on Twitter alerted the writer that his article was factually wrong (and perpetuated more negative stereotypes about Anacostia) the article would be fixed.
No such luck. So if I and my neighbors are going to have spend lord knows how long educating the people who read this article then I might as well just vent my frustration here. At the very least perhaps someone who was not aware before can see that the struggle is real. We fight this type of LAZY reporting on the daily.
I have said it once and I will say it again. DC should create an office just to deal with east of the river marketing and economic development and staff that sucker with people who actually LIVE HERE!