The Rittenhouse Review

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

Sunday, November 13, 2005  

Another Philadelphia Outlet Hating Bloggers

We all know by now that Philadelphia magazine hates bloggers, but who would have thought the Philadelphia Inquirer, home to such quality practitioners of the craft as Daniel Rubin and Inga Saffron, despises them as well?

Or is it just Karen Heller, the paper’s breezy, Sunday “Image”-section columnist, who is published under the all-too-appropriate heading, “Intuition,” and not too long ago was bumped back to page two or three, space depending, and who in today’s installment, on page three, “Newscasters Primp for Date with Destiny,” a “think piece,” I think, about TV news, disparages blogging thusly:

Trying to be the progressive network, NBC is blogging away, [Brian] Williams along with his staff. Correspondent Martin Savidge recently posted, “This is quickly turning into another day of sad and uplifting stories from the Katrina zone,” while colleague Carl Quintanilla added, “I get nervous around alligators. Call me crazy.”

Imagine Peter Jennings filing such trenchant reports. Every visit to the blogosphere, the teenage diary jottings unnaturally mixed with overriding snarky humor, is a reminder that it’s still in diapers. It needs to grow up, a lot. [Emphasis added.]

My, my, my. “Diapers”?!

I suppose we can’t expect Heller, who traffics regularly in the tired and abysmally uninteresting genre surrounding the immortal question, “What’s a working mother to do when her husband is such a lazy loser and there’s so much laundry to be done?”, to have spent much time in the blogosphere beyond a quick perusal of the juvenile regurgitations of her friends’ children’s nastygrams about this or that clique that’s fallen out of favor, but can’t we expect more from a woman who gets paid, salary and benefits, to write a mere 600 words once a week?

And, by the way, the next time someone (see, for example, Maureen Dowd) claims that “nobody” ever comments on the physical appearance of male journalists, CEOs, politicians -- name your poison -- keep these observations of Heller in mind:

[Tom] Brokaw was distinct and memorable, which can’t be said of Williams and sometime CBS dauphin John Roberts, who resemble a pair of smart Ken dolls. They’re like Ralph Bellamy or Andy Garcia, satisfactory while we wait for Cary Grant or George Clooney to appear.

Well, that’s Heller for you. Keeping our collective public discourse at an elevated, call it a Heller-vated, level.

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