Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hey! Look at us! Over here, south of the river!!

You might think from my last post that I might have something against Maryland.

And you'd be right. Though I have family there, and two kick-ass cousins that grew up there, my dislike for Maryland has been growing over the past six years - ever since I moved here from Pennsylvania.

I can't be certain, but Maryland seems to be the most self-important state in the union. The world is centered there - perhaps you weren't aware of that - and its unofficial motto is 'If you can dream it, we can tax it.'

I'm not the only one. Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell wrote such a column in Sunday's paper; readers had written her enough times complaining about the news they read from Maryland - even in the Northern Virginia edition.

One quote she used:

"[A]s a Virginia resident, I find the Post's coverage of Virginia news inadequate and given from a distant perspective. I perceive a somewhat snobby and distant attitude toward us Virginians in many things Washingtonian."

This is from a guy named David Dadisman - the Washington Post's vice president for circulation.

But at least the Post isn't as bad as television news.

I've taken notes on the past two 10 p.m. broadcasts from our local Fox affiliate, WTTG.

Last night, with my wife at book club, I watched the first 30 minutes until she arrived. There was not anything about Virginia whatsoever mentioned until eight minutes into the broadcast - during the first weather segment. And that's out of pure necessity, because both of DC's major airport are technically located in Virginia. (No, BWI does not count, no matter what its name wants to tell you.)

The first actual Virginia story came at 19 minutes after the hour, when they had a 30-second reader (i.e., no video) about scam artists in Manassas. Prior to that, we were treated to stories from such nearby locations as Towson, Md.; Sharpsburg, Md.; Ft. Myers, Fla.; Decatur, Ill.; and Merlin, Ore.

Tonight was even worse. My wife and I were out for dinner, so I didn't tune into the broadcast until three minutes into the news. So perhaps a Virginia story led the newscast, which would be damned amazing.

Instead, we were relegated to the same thing we were the night prior - a mention in the early weather segment, and nothing else. I watched the first 30 minutes, and never heard Virginia or anyplace therein uttered outside of the weather segment.

According to Yahoo maps, our apartment is just under 14 miles from the WTTG offices. We're part of a larger region, Northern Virginia, that encompasses around two million people spread over five jurisdictions. Surely there's something newsworthy here - something, certainly, more newsworthy than the Maryland Eastern Shore firefighters who posed next-to-nude for a fundraising calendar.

We deserve better than the shitty service we receive from Fox-5. Other outlets - print, broadcast and radio - are better - moderately so - but Fox-5 is the worst.

Supposedly, we're in their coverage area. But you'd never know it by what they put on the air.


ME said...

There's no Fox affiliate in norhern VA? Is the Maryland one too close for them to justify another one?

Anonymous said...

BWI is virtually the EXACT same distance from Washington as Dulles. So, yes, BWI is a Washington airport.

Brian said...

Matt: Northern VA, DC and parts of Maryland are all a part of one metro area. Think of it like the NYC area - there's three states, but all part of the greater NYC metropolitan area.

Anon, there's truth to that (though 'virtually the exact'? Either it is, or it isn't). But certainly you would not argue that BWI serves the Baltimore area first, Washington second.

honeykbee said...

What could possibly be more important than semi-nude fire fighters?? Come on, now. Be realistic.