After certain kinds of brain damage a patient may exhibit left neglect or right neglect.
He can still see things on that side of the body, can still move that side, but only when he consciously focuses. Most of the time he won't notice things on that side and won't deal with events there.
The city and media of Spokane have a similar problem with the north half of town, which is large, well-established and broadly lower middle class. Addresses in this area seem to be unknown. The media generally skips stories here, or mislabels the location, sometimes describing it as West, sometimes as Downtown, sometimes as East.
Heard a prime example last week on a local "about your money" investment show. The host was describing the subjective nature of value, using Spokane real estate as a metaphor. He was saying that a house on the South Hill would sell for 25% more than a precisely identical house in the Valley, because the South Hill has prestige. His sidekick asked "What about the North side?" and the host said "Well, we don't need to mention that, do we?" in a condescending tone that would be instantly readable by outsiders to mean "The North side is the black part of town." But it isn't! In fact there's only one small concentration of blacks in Spokane, and it's within the South Hill. There are poor and rich areas, low-crime and high-crime areas scattered everywhere. (Spokane is uniquely scattered and homogenized, as Polistra described here.
Yet for this investment show host, along with the rest of the ruling class, the North side is just intolerably unimaginable. Terra Incognita. Here be dragons.
Another example: The city website had been listing a construction project on the west end of Wellesley, scheduled to start Aug 16. Since Monday the media have been "reporting" that this section of Wellesley is now closed, so you need to take the detours listed on the signs.
Trouble is, the west end of Wellesley has not been closed. Nothing is happening there;
no roadblocks, no equipment, no detours. The city hasn't even put up the usual pre-project announcement signs warning us that the street is about to be closed for repairs. And the bus line hasn't issued a Rider Alert, which they generally do when a detour is scheduled.
I was puzzled, so I emailed one of the TV stations yesterday. It appears that they actually read the email (though they didn't bother to reply to a non-existent resident of a non-existent area) and they also must have checked with the city, triggering a brief wake-up from its Northwest Neglect.
Today the morning traffic reports are no longer "reporting" that this part of Wellesley is closed, and the city's website now says that the project will start Aug 30.