The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Sunday, February 15, 2004  

Scurrilous Reporting Will Get You Nowhere

I love the Philadelphia Daily News. I can’t live without it. The tabloid is delivered to my front door each and every day, except Sundays, of course, on which the paper takes leave of this city. I can’t live without the Philadelphia Inquirer either, another of the newspapers dropped at -- or, more accurately, with respect to both the Inquirer and the Daily News -- at best near my front door every morning. (And I’ve really got to call somebody about that.)

I say all of that knowing full well that I’m not the typical Daily News reader. It’s widely known, particularly among the local intelligentsia that appreciates the tabloid, to say nothing of those within that group who have a grasp on the paper’s core audience, that many, and more likely most, Daily News readers, could -- and would -- easily and happily live without the Inquirer should Knight-Ridder Inc. decide, once again, in the newspapers’ next round of negotiations with the newsroom unions, to try to “cut costs” by pushing the closure of the Daily News.

Look, KRI guys, get real. As they say in Philly, “Ain’t gawnna happin.”

Still, the Daily News this week disappointed me not once, but twice, with scurrilous -- and that is the kindest word I can find -- reporting about Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), in two separate articles by the otherwise outstanding William Bunch, “local angle” be damned.

Because I am not privy to the assignment procedures at the paper, I don’t know that I can blame or chastise Bunch personally for these horrible and, as I suspect he would, if pressed, concede, groundless, pieces, these little scraps of National Enquire-esque reportage that, if they deserved any major media outlet at all, might better have been carried by CNN or Fox News, do not belong in the Daily News, a newspaper that the great Neal Pollack, a former resident of Philadelphia, once called, in an e-mail to me, the American newspaper that best captures the character of the city in which it is published.

I couldn’t agree more.

Still, bring it back up, people.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |