As an Elberton native in my freshman year at the University of Georgia, I was horrified in reading Barry Paschal's recent column concerning my hometown and our newspaper. His accusations, given in condescending tone, were not only grossly inaccurate, but also appalling and hurtful to all of us who proudly call Elberton home and enjoy reading our "little weekly," though he apparently views his little semiweekly as vastly superior.
I have no doubt that he had the best intentions in writing the column. Maybe he wished to stand up for a friend, maybe for his community. Regardless, though, the angry editorial came across as malicious towards a man and city innocent of any wrongdoing. Had he done his research, you would have easily discovered that The Elberton Star made little mention of state Sen. Jim Whitehead's remark in its coverage of the meeting. It was The Athens Banner-Herald and the people of Athens who "got all vapory" after discovering the quote in The Star's article, firing off their now-famous editorial.
Though the editors of The Star might have taken issue with the remark (I have no idea what their beliefs are), they did nothing to "ignite the furor." Elberton Star publisher Gary Jones is anything but a "blockhead," and calling him that is incredibly amateur.
I would also like to take a minute clear up a few other things. Though I do not know Paschal's intentions, the way that the column was written made it sound as if he believes Elberton is full of Athens-like liberals. No research required here, Mr. Paschal! Elbert County is home to a large population of wealthy, conservative, Protestant Christians, much the same as Columbia County, and we vote likewise. Even those who vote and run as Democrats in this area, like most places in Georgia until a few years ago, consider themselves conservative. For heaven's sake, it was Elberton people who were joking with Whitehead about the UGA liberals.
Though we lack the "bedroom community" title that your area has attained, and the suburban people and growth that come with it, our hometowns are much the same. We are not ignorant hicks, radical liberals, "blockheads," or "humorless stuffed shirts." We found the Athens Banner-Herald editorial (and most every editorial they write) every bit as outlandish as Paschal did.
.... As a journalist, Paschal has every right to opine to his heart's delight. However, name-calling and fallacious accusations are not contained within that right. Your editorial displayed a complete lack of journalistic integrity, not to mention Christian compassion for a fellow journalist. ... Place blame where it is due -- outside of Elberton, off of Gary Jones and The Star, and on the Athens Banner-Herald. ...
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.