Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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May 10, 2013

OPINION: The Front Page Backstory: Because there's always more than what you see

Accusing reporter of racism isn't the whole story

JACKSONVILLE —

“Racist.”

A strong accusation to have leveled at you in a 3:14 a.m. Friday email.

I received such a a missive from a "reader" who emailed me from her cell phone with the following, unsigned, message:

“A comment on the headline story in the Jacksonville Daily Progress of the ETMC doctor that was arrested in Jacksonville. There is no doctor at ETMC that is of 'middle eastern descent ' practicing that is a colleague of Dr. Cunningham. The referred colleague is Indian. India is not a middle eastern country. India is the southern most country in Asia, and the largest democracy in the world. The report with 'middle eastern descent' is false and assuming on The Daily Progress's part that since the Dr. was making accusations of someone being a terrorist, they have to be of middle eastern descent. Having the accurate facts and validating them before printing should be essential, also a little bit of 2nd grade geography without being racist wouldn't hurt. Thank you.'

The woman's comments were made in reference to a story published this week. The headline on the story read: “Fired doctor, drunk with shotgun, arrested Wednesday.”

The reader made a lot of incorrect assumptions in her email:

• She assumed we selected the phrase “Middle Eastern” ourselves.

• She also assumed we had been provided with a geographic location of where the doctor in question actually was from — one that we chose to identify as the Middle East.

That is not the case in either regard.

After receiving news about this shotgun incident Thursday, I contacted representatives of ETMC-Jacksonville, the hospital with the parking lot in which this arrest took place. ETMC-Jacksonville personnel declined to provide me with any information about this story. I was ultimately referred to a hospital representative who emphatically declined to comment.

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