“Indistinguishable,” thy name is two old white guys.
In the news business — one dominated by youthful folk with hair abundant and appealingly tinted — old white guys populate the space reserved for colorless throwbacks. It’s a space I know well.
Ergo, there’s a certain amount of confusion. I am constantly called “Richard” or “Dale” or “Clark” or any number of names not mine, but belonging to other old white guys in the Atlanta TV market.
Yet the proverbial light bulb finally went off over my head when I saw the above photo of myself and Richard Elliot, a reporter at WSB-TV. The bulb light blinked a message: No wonder they’re confused!
Mr. Elliott and I covered the legislative session this year. I’d plotted the photo after a moment of misunderstanding early in the proceedings.
One morning, I’d cornered Rep. Betty Price in the House anteroom and asked her for an interview. Rep. Price is the wife of Tom Price, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services. He’d resigned from Congress. His 6th district seat was up for grabs in a special election. Rumor was that Betty Price was among those considering a run for the seat.
Rep. Price politely yet firmly declined my interview request, then did a double take and asked: Didn’t we already have this conversation? No ma’am, I assured her. I stalked off to the press room, where I spotted Mr. Elliott.
Did you ask Betty Price for an interview this morning? I asked him, adding that I had just done so. I sure did, Mr. Elliott answered. Just a few minutes ago. She turned me down, too.
Thus began a 40-day joke (Georgia’s legislature meets for 40 days) about mistaken identity.
Mr. Elliott is one of the hardest working general assignment reporters in the Atlanta market, seemingly WSB’s go-to on everything from mayhem to natural disasters to jurisprudence. When Lori Geary, WSB’s longtime political reporter, was absent in previous years, the station sent Mr. Elliott. When she fled WSB to start her own business in December 2016, he replaced her at the Capitol.
Had the blonde coiffed Ms. Geary stayed, there might have ensued another type of confusion altogether. This year, WGCL regularly sent Atlanta newcomer Giovanna Drpic to cover the legislature. She joined WAGA’s Claire Sims, who made Capitol appearances on those special occasions when she had successfully sweet-talked the station out of assigning her to stories about mistreated house pets or disrespectful treatment of Old Glory.
In fact, when I got Ms Drpic and Ms Sims to pose for the below photo, the former — speaking of Mr. Elliott and me — whispered Yes! I thought it was strange how similar you two looked.
I’m quite sure Mr. Elliott, who also happens to be the nicest guy in the whole friggin’ world, is a decade or so younger than me. He has always told me that I look like his father.
So there’s that.