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George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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I’m the guy who asked the ‘best question ever’ ... about poop.

[Above: Video proof that the stuff below is true. At about 5:40 in.]


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It’s not always good for a journalist’s reputation for a public official to say that a question he asked was the "best question ever." Such praise can just mean that the question allowed said public official to brag, stick to talking points or avoid controversy.

In this case, however, I am eager to claim credit for being the Tribune Editorial Board member who asked Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about poop found on the trail at Jenny Lake in Grand Teton National Park. It certainly wasn’t a talking point she had prepared for our editorial board meeting a few months ago. But it gave her the chance to talk about those wonderful national parks she runs. And about some honest poop, not the kind that gets thrown around in Congress.

From Sunday’s D.C. Notebook by Thomas Burr and Matt Canham:

"Interior Secretary Sally Jewell spoke at the National Press Club last week and pointed out that the "best question ever" to her came from The Salt Lake Tribune. In an editorial board meeting, Jewell said a journalist from the newspaper noted that he was hiking in the Grand Teton National Park and saw warnings to be on the lookout for bears.

"He said, Jewell recounted, "’I was hiking and saw something on the trail that really made me really nervous so I turned around and went back to my car. I want to know if I really needed to go back to my car,’ so he held up his phone with this picture and said, ‘Is this bear poop?’ And the good thing is, I actually knew the answer. And the answer was, ‘No. You could have kept on your hike.’ I mean there may have been bears, but they weren’t pooping there on the trail."

"Jewell said the poop in question came from a large mammal but was clearly not from a bear, who we’re guessing may have been doing his business in the woods."

So, it seems, we could have kept walking on that amazingly beautiful trail, and probably not have been eaten by a bear.

Oh, well. It was about to start raining, anyway.

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