Why Was This On the Front Page?

On Friday, the Erie Times News ran a front page story ( “Loved and Left Behind“) about the failed marriage between Dr. Blaine Bell, a local dentist, and Martha Ramirez Bell, a Columbian woman who married him and moved to Erie.  The marriage, which was his 4th marriage and her second, ended after 7 weeks, leaving her stuck in Erie, with very little money, and facing deportation with her daughter.

The story does an effective job of portraying Dr. Bell as a person with lots of problems.  In addition to mentioning his 4 marriages, including one that lasted 9 days, it notes that on his Facebook page there was a picture of his latest girlfriend, who is also Columbian.  (He seems to draw his future ex-wives from the Southern Hemisphere.)  The reader is drawn inexorably to the conclusion that Dr. Bell is a skunk, and we have a hard time imagining how he could tell his side of the story in a way that would persuade us otherwise.

The question I have, though, is WHY IS THIS DIVORCE FRONT PAGE NEWS?

I mean, people get divorced all the time, and most divorces appear in small type in the back sections of the paper.  Yes, this one is a bit unusual, since it involves a rich man and an immigrant woman, and there will be questions raised about immigration law and prenuptial agreements, but still, WHY DOES THIS STORY GET 3 PAGES?

Does the Erie Times News believe in the sanctity of marriage, and therefore that someone who trashes this sacred institution deserves social stigma?

Is this lady now on the rebound and dating one of the reporters at the Erie Times News?

Is the Erie Times News trying to become the Erie Inquirer in order to increase subscriptions?

Inquiring minds want to know.


5 thoughts on “Why Was This On the Front Page?

  1. Because people LOVE dirty laundry. It’s pretty sad, eh?

    My hometown paper, the Meadville Tribune, has been doing a similar stint for the past year or so with articles involving a court case (and lots of drama) regarding a woman who claims to have a baby by Michael Jordan and is suing him for custody. It shouldn’t be front page news, let alone printed in the paper at all…

  2. Hi Valerie,

    Part of the story was that she was left in Erie alone and poor, and facing deportation. She did date him for 2 years, so she’s not the stereotypical short-term Internet romance or woman seeking American citizenship through marriage.

    There was a heavy focus on the character of the dentist too, including his marital history and the cheapness of the prenuptial agreement in comparison to his wealth.

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