20/20 Revisits Eastern Kentucky

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

ABC's 20/20 revisits the mountains of eastern Kentucky.

Last week's special report and some controversial statements by a Fox News commentator left many in the mountains furious ... and this could be just the beginning of the debate.

Appalachia remains in the national spotlight, but not for the reasons many people want. As seen in a YouTube video, Bill O'Reilly called the region "hopeless."

O'Reilly says, "You grow up and you see this, you get the heck outta there! You don't stay there! And that's the problem."

Willa Johnson documents stories of mountain people as a youth media producer at Appalshop. She says O'Reilly is no mountain expert.

Johnson says, "He talked about a culture of ignorance, but a lot of what he said proved to be ignorance to me."

Lt. Governor and Hazard native Daniel Mongiardo says, "We have the best people in the country in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, and it's a shame that they don't show the entire picture of who we are, and that really upsets me."

20/20 producers tell Mountain News Friday night's follow-up will focus on solutions, but many are unsure exactly what to expect.

Appalshop media producer Mimi Pickering says, "That's one of the problems with television is, it goes so quickly. I don't know how much they can get into because these are real structural, long-term problems."

Pickering's husband, Dee Davis, was featured in the report.

Pickering says, "Maybe this will stimulate more of a discussion on the local, state and national level of the kinds of things we need."

It's a discussion that continues to draw attention.

20/20 also interviewed Governor Beshear this week. He tells Mountain News what makes eastern Kentucky unique is not its problems, but its progress.

Our attempts to contact Bill O'Reilly went unanswered Friday.


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  • by the REAL Angelswillsing Location: Southern KY on Apr 16, 2009 at 07:22 PM
    It's sad that you all wanted to slander my name, and act out...i am Glad you appologized, and I accept...I worked in Nursing a LONG time...even tho you made it look bad for me, I will continue to serve in the Nursing position as I have for some years now...Good luck to you... and to yours... :o)
  • by FakeWondirPoster Location: USA on Apr 16, 2009 at 07:03 PM
    I'm so ashamed. I made up the post below "from" Angelswillsing. I am twisted, warped and should be punished. I am so sorry that I cry every night while holding my pink blankie and sucking my thumb. I'm crying now and my tears have blurred my vision and are dripping onto my computer keyboard making it too slippery to continue.
  • by WGuest30703149 Location: Kentucky on Apr 6, 2009 at 11:06 AM
    I have been so nasty to Angel and I am so ashamed of myself. She has done so much for everyone, including myself. She is a wonderful example of the people from Kentucky. Angel, will you please accept my sincere apology?
  • by Guesty092 Location: Kentucky on Apr 6, 2009 at 11:00 AM
    I have made such horrible posts on Wondir about a person named Angelswillsing. She is from KY and is really a very nice person. I am really sorry that I have been nasty to her and make a public apology here.
  • by ilikeangels Location: Oregon on Mar 29, 2009 at 07:53 AM
    I've been visiting from Oregon and am absolutely enthralled with the landscape and "down home" common sense of the folks of Eastern Kentucky. This is a good, decent and honorable place to call home; I have a feeling the secret is about to get out. Thanks, everyone, for your hospitality. And angels, your dreams will save lives. I wish there were more like you, with the courage to go for what they want. My whacky state could use a little Kentucky thinking!
  • by Guest30562916 Location: Wondir on Mar 28, 2009 at 09:04 PM
    Wow, I hand it to angelswillsing for all of the work she is putting in to serve others. I wish I had half of her drive to pursue my dreams. She is an inspiration
  • by angelswillsing Location: KY on Mar 18, 2009 at 03:57 PM
    I work in a Walmart as a greeter, and I am trying real hard to get training to be a nurse. I study real hard and all, and I try to solve medical cases on the internet! O'Reily is a LIAR! LIARS whoud be BOOTED off the air! If he was a guest here, her clearly was up to no good!
  • by tyler Location: inez ky on Mar 10, 2009 at 04:54 PM
    These videos only shows us how stupid some people can be, there were some places on that video that i have never seen in my life, its actually quit amusing, i live in inez kentucky my lifes fine i have all my teeth and im not on pills!!! i think the people in these vid's need to just grow up and face reality GET A JOB! and in my opinion the rest of us are doing just fine : )
  • by Anonymous Location: harlan on Feb 26, 2009 at 06:38 AM
    BAD TEETH! that is a nation wide problem, not just KY. i know people that have insurance and just dont like going to the dentist. other times its laziness on the person or parents part. And then of course the people that dont have insurance because its not offered. AND nowadays doctors are realizing the importance of dental hygene. bacteria or infections in the mouth can cause serious health problems...
  • by megan Location: bath on Feb 24, 2009 at 02:11 PM
    I thougt it was so stupid how they said that whatever percent of people didn't have teeth. They are just trying to stero type us and I can't stand it.! I HAVE TEETH! ANd i don't sell pill either . She just thinks cause she was from Here that she knows everything. !!!! I "dislike" 20/20

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