Inquirer

Let's Play a Game!

Let's play a game. I took screen shots last night from Philly.com, NYTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com. Which one of these is not like the others?

New York Times:

They are talking about Obama's role in healthcare, recovery of bodies from the Air France crash, an article about torture and the DOJ, etc.

Washington Post:

They are talking about the Virginia Governor's race, Obama's Normandy speech, and Gordon Brown's battle to keep control of the British government.

And Philly.com:

They are talking about... celebrity mug shots. Actually, they aren't even talking about them, because there isn't even a news story. Just galleries of celebrity mug shots. They do note a couple of news stories- the Phillies, and a family barbecue for the young woman who was sexually assaulted in Kensington. But, what is by far the most screen real estate for? Lot's of celebrity mug shots. I guess it is understandable. Who would feel like they got their money's worth without a mug shot of Jennifer Capriati from 1994?

I know the Inquirer isn't the Times or the Post. But, if your interaction with the paper was strictly through Philly.com, you might think it was a print version of the Smoking Gun, only with a lot of dated material.

So, which one of these is not like the others?

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!
colbertnation.com
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.

Demonstration against John Yoo today

The National Lawyers Guild will be participating in a demonstration at the Inquirer against John "The President Can Crush a Child's Testicles if he Feels Like it" Yoo. This will go down at 5pm today.

Today, the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild will participate in a demonstration against the Philadelphia Inquirer’s recent decision to hire John Yoo as a monthly columnist. The demonstration's purpose is not to limit John Yoo's First Amendment right to speech, but to voice our disapproval with the Inquirer’s decision to present Yoo as a legitimate legal authority, despite his actions to the contrary.

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.

Schools Round-Up: School safety, graduation tests, and a few more out-of touch Inky editorials

A lot of school news in the past few weeks to share:

School Safety
The District’s Safe Schools Advocate has been in the news slamming the District regarding its failures on ensuring safety – or should I say, some strange interpretation of it, since apparently he defines it as the number of students expelled from schools and closing “loopholes” like an appeal process, according to a yet unpublished report.

What he gets right: the climate is declining in schools, and options for getting troubled students help in time is as impossible as ever. Teachers, who have seen the loss of aides, NTAs vice principals, school-home liaisons and a burgeoning class size, ARE dealing with far more abuse with far fewer resources.

What he misses the boat on: his recommendations – expelling kids automatically, closing appeals processes, increasing the number of disciplinary school replacements and hiring a “discipline czar”? Anyone who argues that the solution to complicated issues of violence and climate is throwing out thousands of students onto the streets and closing appeals processes is not only short-sighted but irresponsible.

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