Thursday, February 13, 2014

With friends like the Washington Post who needs enemies?!

I know the Washington Post  is going through some "transition" but does this mean that no one is fact checking their articles? Where are the editors and why are they posting these poorly researched articles for public viewing? The Ward 8 listservs and social media forums have been abuzz as of late with disapproval and disappointment for two Post articles in particular. Residents of that neighborhood have not only blasted the writers in the comments but are writing letters to the Washington Post expressing their disapproval. The first article by Tim Carman (@TimCarman) about NURISH Food + Drink was just insulting. In my book a "pale shade of red" is called PINK. Who chooses the word "watermelon" when writing an article about a business in a black neighborhood?! What color was the brown wall? Fried chicken?!

When "watermelon" is the new pink. 

It's like that now? 
I was not the only one offended by this article. The historic Anacostia listserv  "went ham" (look that up if you don't know).  Residents wrote letters to Mr. Carman and voiced their displeasure, in addition to commenting on the article. I am including two such comments below.

The second article, written by Washington Post staff reporter, Hamil Harris (@HamilHarris) is supposed to be about the Big K development but it was so wrought with misinformation I couldn't take any parts of the article seriously. Nor should I have. The thrust of the article so missed the mark about the community's real issue with the site (more "affordable" housing to an area already saturated with it) that I wonder if the reporter was even in Anacostia. The original article (it has since been edited sort off) made a point to pointing out the closing of Uniontown Bar & Grill because the owner was arrested on "drug charges" and that Big Chair Coffee was shuttered (no mention of that at all in the update).

The new but not really improved correction -- and no mention of the new NURISH Food + Drink cafe.  

My dear mother WHO LIVES THREE HOURS AWAY knows that Big Chair Coffee and Uniontown reopened months ago and she knows NURISH opened two weeks ago. She totally understands Anacostia's beef with the current Big K Project -- housing type. In fact,  I am pretty sure Moms could have dashed off a  more factual text message on the primary debate surrounding the project.

I don't know if this recent spate of misreporting can be chalked up to an overall agenda (Ward 8 is a mess and will continue to be) or a lack of research. Regardless, the results are damaging. People in our neighborhoods feel like ever time we take a step forward someone is there ready to donkey kick us back another two steps. With friends like this who needs enemies? Who writes an article about a new cafe but doesn't write about the quality of the food but instead hyper-focuses on the bullet proof glass the cafe doesn't have? Who does that? What kind of "reporter" highlights the closed businesses in Anacostia without mentioning that those same businesses reopened months ago and that new businesses have opened along with it? Who does that? And why?!

I have said it before and I say it again, living east of the river means you spend a lot of time educating and re-educating people (including media) about the reality of our neighborhoods. No wonder my neighbors are so skeptical of the media -- they have been getting it so wrong for so long.

East of the river issues are literally not black and white. The just add water and "gentrification" style of reporting is stale. BTW -- Can you guys please stop asking me for interviews on the subject of gentrification? I am just going to say "no." Not only is the subject tired, you will most likely get it wrong, and I don't have the time to educate you. I would much rather talk about the latest trend in canine footie pajamas than the alleged "gentrification" of Ward 8.

Now repeat after me. "East of the River wants, has experience with, and deserves nice things and we are going to report that accurately!"

So my dear Washington Post, either do adequate research when reporting about our Ward 7 and Ward 8 communities OR FOR GOODNESS SAKE'S WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE!


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Anthony Lorenzo Green said...


IMGoph said...

first problem - expecting anything Hamil Harris writes to ever be quality. :)

Anonymous said...

Whenever the WaPo writes about Anacostia, I am embarrassed as a Washingtonian by the misperceptions, biases, and plain ignorance. Evident that there is no 'news.' It's all a marketing campaign. Is there one editor who isn't a pawn of the media-marketing-entertainment machine? Investigate. Go beyond your prejudices. They are glaring and further discount your relevance.

spirit equality said...

What's with TIm Carman saying Nurish is "watermelon"-colored? WTF? He's a fool. I've literally never read anyone use "watermelon" to describe the color of a restaurant ever and he uses it to describe the color of an establishment in a predominantly black neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Yes, that was mad fowl in behalf of the writer to be insulting regarding his "article" on the restaurant establishment. Who is this clown anyway?

Anonymous said...

Is there such a thing as canine footie pajamas? Reading CHoTR is always educational!