Holly Allen, the marketing officer for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, has joined Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley in taking exception to Frontline’s recent unrelentingly grim take on the city of Dayton and its prospects.
I appreciate your interest in the Dayton region. Really, I do. But after watching Tuesday evening’s FRONTLINE special titled ‘Left Behind America,’ I believe I could assist your reporter, Alec MacGillis, with filling in the gaps; telling the whole story.
First, I’ll give you credit where credit is due. I’m glad you mentioned the commendable work being done by the leaders of the Gem City Market to address the food desert felt by our city’s west side. They’re doing great work and have the support of us all.
The many woes of the Rust Belt and the industrial heartland have been frequently dissected since the election of Donald Trump (and less often, before it). Even as large portions of the country thrive, unemployment, poverty and opiate addiction continue to ravage huge swaths of the nation, including Dayton, Ohio.
Once a backbone of the U.S. auto industry, the city has never recovered from the loss of its stalwart employers. Dayton is the laboratory through which reporter Alec MacGillis, as part of a collaboration between ProPublica and Frontline, examined an America that is suffering even as the nations economy booms. In addition to showing the searing human cost of a long-term economic collapse, MacGillis reveals a divide that is rarely acknowledged. Beyond the often chronicled gap between urban and rural in the U.S., there is a growing chasm between cities — those that have soared in a winner-take-all society, and those that have been left behind.
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