Why the Philadelphia Inquirer is in Bankruptcy

They hired Rick Santorum to write a column. $1,750 per column is chicken feed, but Santorum’s was a quota hire. They needed a Republican on the opinion pages, no matter the quality. Santorum has since turned in bad writing based in faulty logic and data in severe need of a fact check. Philadelphia Inquirer = FAIL.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

It is all about poor judgement. A couple of years ago Brian Tierney, a PR man clearly over his head running Philadelphia Newspapers Inc., the Inquirer’s parent, led a consortium that took control of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. Tierney worked hard to turn the corporation behind, including renegotiating union contracts and enlivening the advertising base of both papers. But those of us in the know were ready for Brian Tierney, long a Republican operative, to put his right wing stamp on the papers, and he did so by hiring Rick Santorum, failed former Senator from Pennsylvania. That’s just a bad business decision.

Hiring Santorum to write a column that is never anything more than a meandering screed about how Democrats are flirting with the anti-Christ, attacking Santorum’s blessed traditional values, playing right into the hands of “Islamofascists, etc., is simply a poor choice. Santorum is not a good writer and his ideas are extremist and his use of logic is ill, and not a good “ill,” either. Santorum is basically of the Republican school of “if they disagree with me, then they are the enemy,” a school that is about as anti-American as it gets. But the Phildelphia Inquirer puts him on its editorial pages every two weeks, without editing or fact-checking, once every two weeks.

Friday in Clout we found out what the Philadelphia Inquirer pays Rick Santorum:

Former U. S. Sen. Rick Santorum is collecting $1,750 a shot for the columns that appear every other week in the Inquirer, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The checks are sent to a post office box in Great Falls, Va. – close to a Starbucks, we figure.

OK, it’s only $3,500 a month, but I could probably find 1,000 people who would write a better column than that of Rick Santorum who would cost less and inform the readers more. This is simply a bad business decision. They hired a poor writer with substandard thinking skills who is also a failed extremist right wing politician to write a column solely so the Inquirer had a voice fromt he right wing on its pages. The Bush Administration showed incompetence for eight years, and I suppose Brian Tierney, the CEO of Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc., is just continuing the tradition.

When it comes to it, I say no bailout for any newspaper, not after this kind of demonstration of gross incompetence.

Monday, April 20th, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

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