He’s right. I do. And I seem to be the only blogger in the Delaware Valley who never believed that Brian Tierney would keep his hands off the editorial content of the Inquirer. Everyone said “wait and see, wait and see.”
Here’s a reminder from the May 23 article announcing the deal:
“Pressed on how his promise to respect the newsroom will be enforced, Tierney said, ‘I’ll beat the crap out of anyone’ who breaks it.”
The Newspaper Guild has produced a radio advertisement that speaks to its concerns.
As a vigorous and zealous PR counselor, Brian fiercely fought on behalf of his client, the beleaguered Philadelphia Catholic archdiocese.
He tried mightily to suppress news coverage of the church’s ham-handed efforts to hide pedophile priests by moving them from one parish to another, instead of turning them over to law enforcement.
At least one Inquirer columnist has written about his pressure tactics in that role, which included a public tongue-lashing. (Now who do you think will be one of the 150 journalists getting a pink slip in the next week or so?)
It’s that previous background that makes him such an unlikely person to publish the Inquirer. It calls to mind the Annenberg years, when you couldn’t mention Milton Schapp’s name in the paper, even though he was a sitting governor.
Now, it’s a little disappointing that Inquirer readers and the business community are losing Executive Editor Amanda Bennett. Three years ago, she got a standing ovation from the Philadelphia PR community at a panel program where she acknowledged that the business section of the paper had failed to provide any kind of sustained coverage of local companies that contribute to the vibrancy of the economy.
Now, I have nothing against Bill Marimow, he’s a top notch journalist with a long reputation here and elsewhere, but what made Amanda fall out of favor?
Was it the NPR interview she gave when Knight-Ridder, the former owner, told management they would have to make major job cuts, and she said she spent the morning throwing up? She told Editor & Publisher that it’s “nothing personal, just business.”
Amanda walks the plank while Brian watches.
Even more worrisome, Brian’s using each of these changes to further consolidate control of the Inquirer’s content in his hands.
Take a look at this paragraph in the press release Brian issued announcing that he’s tossing Amanda Bennett off of the SS Inquirer:
“Following the model of several other large city newspapers, Mr. Tierney also announced that Chris Satullo, editor of the editorial page, will
report directly to the publisher. Previously, Satullo reported to the editor.”
So now Chris Satullo, one of the most respected editorial writers around, has to worry about whether he came down too hard on the housing industry (a member of the Toll Brothers family is one of the Inquirer’s investors) or the Church, or some other client or “friend of Brian” (FOB)…
Wasn’t there a promise that the investors wouldn’t be getting directly involved in the editorial? But didn’t he also promise he wouldn’t take the publisher title? That lasted how long?
Oh well. The emperor didn’t have any clothes when he made the Promise. He’s still walking around in his BVDs.