In light of the rash of the crime wave in Prince George’s (which is finally getting some editorial love from the D.C. media…only took a Rushern Baker’s dozen killings), ol’ Petula Dvorak broke an unspoken rule: Don’t call Prince George’s County PG.
The residents do not like the acronym PG, and for good reason — my own brother, who is not a DMV resident, has stated it is perhaps the most “gangsta” name for a jurisdiction. No one in the wealthy, if occasionally crime-plagued, county wants to be associated with a gangsta acronym.
While it is not overtly stated, The Washington Post has an agreement with residents of Prince George’s not to use PG in their writing: Hence why you will occasionally see Pr. George’s in a headline, even if it’s barely shorter than the county’s full name. That’s why I am surprised an editor missed the PG reference in Dvorak’s recent and otherwise quite good column on the rash of violence:
Montgomery County wanted the much beloved and coveted grocery store (Wegman’s) on its turf for years. But PG got it first, and for once, its story of being one of the wealthiest African American suburbs in America was told, and it was victorious.
In one sentence the writer reveals a bias: It is Montgomery County, not MoCo, but it is PG, not Prince George’s County. I know from covering Prince George’s that residents are sensitive to how their county is perceived: Requests like “We need more positive stories on Prince George’s” are common. I tend to agree with them, but in the face of the current death count, surely plenty of crime reporting is warranted. But is the use of PG? Don’t think so.