By: Robin Ford Wallace, Reporter
Executive Chairman Ted Rumley isn’t angry at the way nationally aired
comedy/news program The Daily Show portrayed him, the county or the South in
general in its segment last week on the Tennessee-Georgia “border war” for
rights to the Tennessee River.
But nor could
he comment on whether or not the piece was entertaining: “I haven’t had a
chance to look at it yet,” he said by phone on Monday morning. “I guess you’ve
got to have cable or something to get it, right?”
The piece, a
spoof documentary that aired Sept. 18, intersperses interviews with Rumley and
a Tennessee politico with footage from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as
well as with improbable quotes from an Elvis-pompadour-sporting purported
Georgian who accuses Tennesseans of inducting their beer through a bodily
aperture that does not designed for that purpose.
And on the
subject of beverages, the interviewer, Al Madrigal, refers during the clip to
reality TV star Honey Boo Boo as the most famous person in Georgia and asks
Rumley if the water crisis is the reason she drinks so many Red Bulls.
In the footage,
Rumley appears irritated by Madrigal’s ribbing and tells him not to “mess with
Sentinel, like many of Rumley’s constituents, knows the county boss to be a
guitar-strumming, joke-telling, fairly entertaining guy himself, and called on
Monday to give him a chance to get back some of his own.
is a grim day, Rumley was catching up on work after a brief absence supporting
his wife during problematic hip replacement surgery, and “the Executator” was
simply in no mood to crack wise. “I haven’t had a lot of sleep in the last
week,” he said.
Rumley said the
Daily Show interviewer had spoken with him at the proposed Georgia intake point
on the Tennessee River in July on the same day he was questioned by several
other television reporters. “I actually talked longer with the Fox affiliate
out of Nashville,” he said.
gotten used to such press interest, whether on screen or in print, since the
“border war” issue came up, and he didn’t find the Daily Show interview any
different except for the interviewer’s jokey tone. “To me, it was not a big deal,”
executive then got back to work with a terse message for Madrigal and crew –
and possibly for the Dade County Sentinel: “We’ve got more important things to
do in Dade County.”
In deference to
which, the Sentinel somehow forebore to ask Rumley for comment on the