Brian Tierney

New York Times on Philly's Media Future

Local indy media – particularly the Philadelphia Public School Notebookgot big props in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine. Calling it "notably well written" and a place that "breaks stories," the Times also highlights editor Paul Socolar:

Its editor, Paul Socolar, may be something like the journalist of the future. He is earnest, dedicated to a cause, foundation-financed and, to this point, read by a narrow audience. I=2 0accompanied him to a press briefing for the rollout of the Philadelphia school district’s $3.2 billion budget. He quickly imbibed a thick handout filled with charts and long columns of numbers and jotted down questions, which seemed a bit sharper and harder to answer than those asked by the reporters from the city’s two dailies.

Having known Paul for 15 years, it’s well-deserved kudos to one of the city’s most humble, hard-working and principled journalists and to a paper that’s filling in what traditional media has too often ceded – solid beat coverage with an investigative and spirited mission. Plan Philly and Media Mobilizing Project also earn mentions for coverage in areas where big media has lapsed, namely development and immigration.

But clearly the “star” of the story is PNI’s Brian Tierney, and not always in the most flattering of ways (note: “gentleman’s club” congressional testimony not particularly emblematic of his diplomatic skills).

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!
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Gay Marriage

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.

Brian Tierney and the Right-Wing Hackifying of the Inquirer Op-Ed Pages

Yes, I want someone to save the Daily News and the Inquirer, and I think our city would be much worse off if they were gone. But, for the love of God, Brian Tierney's far-far-far-right wing, political hack sensibilities, and what they are doing to the Inquirer Op-Ed pages, make the paper bizarrely out of touch with the city and region.

We get treated to Rick Santorum twice a month. And then we get Kevin Ferris, who today published an embarrassing regurgitation of a talk by John Bolton, who was too far right even for George Bush. "Kevin Ferris," by which I mean John Bolton, tells us just how dangerous Obama's foreign policy is. It is bereft of even a hint of critical thought or analysis. Good work, Kev-o! The stenography was splendid!

Only in this grouping can Michael Smerconish, a Ronald Reagan political appointee to HUD, be considered some sort of sane voice.

And today, Tierney and Co. only made clearer how far they are willing to pander for the far, far, far, right-wing, when they ran a piece of stupidity and racial-clucking by soon to be ex-lawyer John Yoo.

I don't normally like to curse on the front page of the blog. The kids and all that. But... John Fucking Yoo? Seriously? John Fucking Yoo?

John Yoo is not just a right-wing shill. He is the right-wing shill who authored bizarrely disingenuous memos authorizing Bush and Co to start torturing people. He did so by simply ignoring the most important case on point, something you learn not to do within the first month of law school, and he will, with a little luck, be disbarred. Why in the world would John Yoo be given a space in the damn paper? I only hope that when Yoo is disbarred, which hopefully will happen some time after the DOJ internal investigation is released, the Inquirer editors will provide us with an explanation as to why this supreme jackass, and godfather of torture, is given so prominent a place in our newspaper of record.

Luckily, Yoo is apparently only a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. So it is possible that a small piece of justice for all those who were tortured thanks in part to John Yoo will actually occur in Harrisburg, of all places. I guess on the bright side of things, if the Harrisburg Bureau of the paper is not totally killed, the Inquirer can get a great and convenient story, only made bigger by the fact that they promote Mr. Torture's work.

So, Brian Tierney, a big shout out to you, my friend. It is amazing how hard you make it to support your papers, and the work of the actual newsroom. Kudos.

Maybe the real problem is

It’s 11:30 Wednesday morning. The Daily News has a new presidential poll up on its site, showing Barack Obama with a 13 point lead over John McCain.

But if you are the typical Philadelphia internet news consumer, you don’t know about it.

Because, as with many stories displeasing to McCain supporters this election season, no headline or link appears on the front page.

The capricious and stupid decision to run a McCain endorsement next to the Inquirer Editorial Board’s real endorsement certainly tipped Brian Tierney’s hand to all but the most determinedly blind that he has gone back on his promise to keep the Op-Ed page free from his Republican bias, as if giving columns to Rick Santorum and the guy who cleans the bathrooms for, er I mean runs the blog for, for The Weekly Standard were not evidence enough.

Santorum To Write Column For The Inquirer. Seriously.

Oh jeez. Philadelphians Against the Inquirer anyone? --Ray

It's the truth, Ruth. I haven't seen any reports yet covering the press conference, but Editor and Publisher has the skinny.

NEW YORK A press conference will be held at 1:30 this afternoon at the Philadelphia Inquirer to announce that it has added former Sen. Rick Santorum to its stable of columnists...

The story in the paper today includes: "Talking about the threat of Islamic terrorism is now Santorum's main occupation, though the Republican sounds laid-back these days. He is pitching a movie idea to Hollywood and laughed off speculation about a political comeback in Pennsylvania."

That's terrific. I have a pitch for Santorum's movie. It's about an Islamic detainee in Guantanamo who falls in love with one of his interrogators. The title: Man On Dog.

What might be even worse is that the Inquirer is already advertising the hire with a non-news story ("Santorum presses his case against Islamic extremism"). The parenthetical note that Santorum's about to start writing for Tierney is buried halfway down.

Inga Saffron and a few still-talented reporters aside, is there any reason to read, let alone buy, the Inquirer at all?

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