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Our View: The national media comes to town




Rich with history and culture, the South can be intoxicating, exotic and sometimes incomprehensible to the outsider. 


Its tumultuous past and vivid characters also make it an inviting target for national media and Hollywood. 


When five senior citizens were killed in the late ''90s, the cases were featured on an edition of the "48 Hours," where Columbus was likened to Andy Griffith''s Mayberry. They opened the so-called investigative piece with the familiar theme song to "The Andy Griffith Show." 


The show was far from investigative, focusing its interviews primarily on a local hair dresser and her friends. The end result was more a caricature of a place only vaguely recognizable to locals. So it goes. 


Thursday, Los Angeles broadcaster Tavis Smiley and Princeton professor Cornel West made a stop in Columbus, as a part of their "Poverty Tour: A Call to Conscience," a bus trip stopping in 18 U.S. cities to "to highlight the plight of the poor people." 


They spent most of their time in Columbus talking with two families who live in homes built through Habitat for Humanity -- the Wilsons, a family of 14 (12 now that two children have grown up and moved out), living in Caledonia, and the Minors, a mother taking care of her adult son, who is a quadriplegic; the Minors live in Columbus. 


Their stories, though unique, are not of poverty. 


But West, who admittedly wanted to see the birthplace of playwright Tennessee Williams, and Smiley, who says he wants to be "unconventional," aren''t looking to create a picture of despair and poverty. 


They are looking to redefine how the American people look at poverty, Smiley said. People without hope or opportunity are in poverty, too, albeit not financial poverty, he said. 


It sounds good, at least on the surface. 


The radio and TV broadcasts of The Poverty Tour should air in about six weeks. An exact date or time wasn''t given. 


Until the pieces air, we will be waiting with bated breath and hoping the broadcasters stay true to their word, eschewing outdated stereotypes and painting a fair picture of our lovely community.



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Reader Comments

Article Comment pat henry commented at 8/12/2011 10:48:00 PM:

And two race baiting socialists hook up with the WBG!!!


Article Comment zenreaper commented at 8/15/2011 2:02:00 PM:

"The end result was more a caricature of a place only vaguely recognizable to locals."

This place IS a caricature of what a REAL southern town should be. We have corrupt politicians, fat, drucken law enforcement, and virtually NO education system. Caricature may be too weak, we are the MASCOT for "The South", as viewed by the rest of the country. The blacks and whites hate each other, the "success" stories can't form a complete sentence, and the taxes keep going up to finance crap we DO NOT NEED.


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