Too Much for Sisyphus  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   April/May 2008

Too Much for Sisyphus    

I read with more interest than usual the story "Double Whammy" about the troubles in Jena, Louisiana. Why? Because the same kind of shoddy national reporting swept through my South Georgia community in 2007 when news surfaced that Turner County was finally having an "integrated" prom after years of segregation.

I tried to follow all the national reports on the "integrated" prom and send corrections to the various media outlets, but I soon gave up. It was a task not even Sisyphus would undertake.

The problem is the national media jumped on a story with both feet and hands and tried to wring out something that would prove a notion that the South is steeped in racism. Rather than investigate and get all the facts straight, the national media chose to quote a few people who did not have all the facts and then distort that information.

I note that of all the reporting I personally saw about our 2007 TCHS prom, only Reader's Digest had all the information correct, and its story did leave out a few pertinent details.

If this is the kind of reporting we can expect from now on from the national media, then I respectfully request on behalf of ALL small Southern communities that you keep the hell out of our towns and our business.

Ben Baker


Wiregrass Farmer

Ashburn, Georgia