Yesterday, the Washington Post published an article on an alarming story involving a dentist allegedly committing sexual assault on his patient. It’s a pretty intense story, and what it definitely didn’t need was even more “spice”, yet that’s what the author added when he tried to say it happened in Georgetown.
The dentist in question lives in Rockville, was trained at the University of Maryland and has his office at 2311 M St. That address is definitely not in Georgetown. Nothing about this guy is associated with Georgetown. Yet the headline of the Post article boldly states “Georgetown Dentist Charged with Sexually Assaulting Patient During Procedure”.
This is all part of a tired trick that journalists use to “spice” up stories involving places or people sorta near Georgetown, but not actually there. You see it, for instance, in a lot with stories about Duke Ellington School. The angle of the stories are normally about how the student body of the school is so different from the neighborhood it’s in. That’s true enough, but the journalists never believe that accurately describing the school as being in Burleith will get that point across, so it’s always described as being in Georgetown. You know, where all those rich people live.
Listen, this isn’t the end of the world. And the much, much, much bigger story here is this guy’s (alleged) crime (and, if true, probably crimes). When hotels or restaurants extend the definition of Georgetown to include the West End or Glover Park, it’s probably a bit of false advertising, but buyer beware. But journalists, on the other hand, ought to be held to a higher standard of accuracy.