The Inquirer Embarrassment Continues

For those who haven't been paying attention, Brian Tierney's hiring of John "Crushing Kids' Testicles" Yoo continues to embarrass the Inquirer.

First, going after Daily News writer Will Bunch, the Inquirer's Harold Jackson gave us an ultimate "man shouts at clouds" defense of the move.

But that happens when your information comes from those bloggers who never let the facts get in the way when they're trying to whip people into a frenzy to boost Web site hits.

It's a shame that one blogger who disseminated poor information is actually a full-time journalist for a sister publication in The Inquirer building.

To set the record straight, no one tried to hide Yoo's becoming a regular columnist. He had appeared in The Inquirer occasionally since 2005, and his commentaries became a monthly feature about eight months ago.

Ha. Ha. Ha. Those 'bloggers' and their internets tubes! Hey Harold, a blog is a tool, not a viewpoint. Shouting about blogs makes about as much sense as shouting about food processors. And considering that Jackson is going after Bunch, a guy who actually writes for a paper, it raises a question: If the problem is that fancy pants blogging, would Jackson feel better about if another reporter put it in the paper instead? That seems pretty strange.

Then yesterday, the National Lawyers Guild and others protested outside the Inquirer building.

The protest over hiring Yoo as a monthly contributor has to do with his tenuous voice as a legal expert and not his right to free speech, attorney Ryan Hancock of the National Lawyers Guild said yesterday.

"The Inquirer is paying John Yoo and offering him as a legal authority," Hancock said. "I don’t like a lot about what [Inquirer columnist] Michael Smerconish says but he’s just a pundit. When Yoo’s held out as a legal authority, that’s where it crosses the line."

And finally, further emphasizing the paper's status as a national laughingstock, the Colbert Report took a turn last night:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Extra! Extra! Bleed All About It!
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As I have said before, this is really just embarrassing the paper. There are a lot of good journalists there who are doing great work, and they don't deserve to have their work impugned by someone as morally depraved and totally unqualified as John Yoo.

Yep, yep, yep

Nothing helps a paper facing forcible economic reorgainzation get back on its feet like casting your lot with the intellectual justifier-in-chief for the most morally questionable practices of what ended up the most deeply unpopular administration since the invention of modern polling. I mean what could go wrong?

-Sean
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

not only that

but "casting your lot with the intellectual justifier-in-chief for the most morally questionable practices of what ended up the most deeply unpopular administration" in the city that's rejected the republicans for so long, the local chapter of the party is as functional as men's nipples and related vestigial structures.

Jackson and Polman embarrass themselves

Both Harold Jackson and Dick Polman offered up embarrassingly lame, vague, generic defenses along the lines anyone could have predicted: we support freedom of expression, we want a diversity of viewpoints, we support his right to be heard. Just as Obama ought to get to speak at Notre Dame, so we should get to publish Yoo.

First of all, I hope both of them feel the full weight of shame knowing perfectly well that the only damn reason for running Yoo is because Brian Tierney and the new right-wing publishing crew demanded it.

But that wouldn't be so bad if there were an actual dearth of conservatives in the Inky Opinion section. Instead, they've got Smerconish, who has guest-hosted Bill O'Reilly. They've got Kevin Ferris, who actually argued last fall that it was a good thing that McCain was an irrational hothead. They've got Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum. And they had Jonathan Last, although he seems to have been dropped. I actually think Smerconish was a good add - he's pretty unpredictable and unorthodox. But Ferris and Santorum are just singing off the same hard-right hymnal. They're not even interesting to read - if you've heard the latest iteration of right-wing talking points going around, then you already know what they're going to say. The idea that a right-wing perspective would be missing without also adding a likely war criminal is demonstrably false and insulting to our intelligence.

And I'm good and sick of the idea that ideas are being shut out or censored if a particular outlet declines to publish a particular pundit. Yoo has many, many, many options for spewing his defense of torture and executive aggrandizement. It would constitute editorial discretion, not censorship, if the Inquirer actually selected a moderate conservative - a David Brooks type - and opted to pass on the hard-right lawyer who gave his boss incompetent legal advice.

As for the idea that the Inquirer is so determined to present a range of viewpoints: Where are the people as far to the left as Ferris/Santorum/Yoo are to the right? Where's the $1750 per column for Bill Ayers? Or bell hooks? Or even Michael Moore or Barbara Ehrenreich? I'm aware that the Inky's general editorial line is center-left and is viewed as to the left of center by the public and by their fellow newsie types. But look - this is a paper that called for Bill Clinton to resign after he was caught in a perjury trap about a private consensual affair. Then George Bush deliberately violated FISA, lied about violating it and tried to keep it a secret, and the paper declined to call for his resignation. Chris Satullo penned a mealy-mouthed half-hearted explanation trying to justify the discrepancy. But facts is facts: if the leftmost position of your editorial board is that Bush really shouldn't be driven out of office, then there's a pretty goddamn wide open space to the left of your board that isn't being represented in your pages. (Trudy Rubin? JANE EISNER when she was there?) At present, what we're offered is mushy liberal-leaning centrism balanced by at least three hard-right ideologues.

correct

Trudy Rubin is not the left-wing equivalent of either Yoo or Santorum. it's wholly unbalanced.

and there are so many other conservative writers out there who have something interesting to say, who are not moral monsters.

but yes, all this nonsense about balance is just that: nonsense.

Nothing substantive to add here, but I must say it:

What an awful, awful man.

Photos from the protest, via

Photos from the protest, via Ray Skwire.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/phillybits/sets/72157618466825641/

Thanks

for the information and the images, Dan.

Keep up the good work.

And the Inky needs to drop

their excuse that they're providing a forum to counter their "liberal" image. That's the worst excuse of all.

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