It's sad to see that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is still so desperately out of touch with his PA constituents. After it was announced this week that Pennsylvania is facing a $1.9 BILLIONdeficit, and the strong negative public reaction to Rendell's $35 million Bailout of Boscov's Department Store, Rendell is looking to secure a $10 Million bailout for blatantly left-wing biased news rag The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Chris Friend from the Philadelphia Bulletin, recently sat down with Chuck Ardo, the Governor's press secretary for clarification.
"The Bulletin: It has been reported that Inquirer publisher Brian Tierney has approached Gov. Rendell for a $10 million bailout for the newspaper.
Did that conversation take place?
Chuck Ardo: The governor and Brian Tierney have had a number of conversations over the course of the last several months. The governor has made no commitment as a result of those conversations.
TB: Is the bailout something that is still on the table?
CA: He would certainly be open to discussions with Brian, but we need to look at the situation that we are in economically and financially, and I think any discussions have to be seen through that prism.
TB: If the governor were to say, “Sure, we’ll do it,” from where would the money come?
CA: If the governor was persuaded to the wisdom of helping Philadelphia Media Holdings, the money could come from a number of revenue streams. It’s hard to say, and would depend on what kind of help they would need.
TB: Would that require legislative approval, or would it come from the executive branch?
CA: There are ways that the executive branch can do this without need for legislative action.
TB: Would the money be a grant or a loan?
CA: It would depend on what the discussions might lead to. But as of now, no commitment has been made at this point.
TB: It’s one thing when the government becomes involved in car companies and banks, but how do you think the public would react to a media company seeking and receiving government bailout money from Gov. Rendell? Can it truly be viewed as objective and unbiased in its political reporting?
CA: The entire concept of a democracy depends on an informed public. Newspapers are a critical source of information, so there is a fundamental need for newspapers to continue to provide that information to the public. Now whether that information rises to the level of triggering help from the commonwealth, is something we’ll have to wait for the future to unfold.“
Reactions all over Pennsylvania to this situation have been negative. “I guess my first reaction would have to be, ‘Are you kidding me?,’” said state Rep. Doug Reichley, R-134th, of Lehigh County. “Mack Trucks in Allentown could use a bailout, but I haven’t seen the governor’s office soliciting them to see how much aid they need. Maybe the governor’s office could make the best out of two bad situations by placing slot machines in all the Boscov’s stores,” he said. “That would be a way of drawing shoppers into the failing retail chain he is trying to prop up, and would assist the declining slots revenue until the two Philadelphia slots locations are done with litigation.”
“If the Inquirer didn’t alienate 50 percent of its potential customer base with left-wing nonsense masquerading as news, it wouldn’t be in Harrisburg with a cup in its hand. If I cut my customer base in half, I’d be out of business in a week,” said Kevin Kelly, founder of The Loyal Opposition in Philadelphia.
“Thomas Jefferson understood the importance of a free press in a free society when he said, ‘Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter,’” said Matthew Brouillette who is the president of the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation.
This whole bailout boondoggle, has this blogger wondering just how long The Inquirer was looking to slip their hands in the state's pockets, it might explain this slobbery little knob-job that was somehow granted front and center print distinction back in September of 2008. With tough investigative and unbiased reporting like that, it's hard to see why this paper is going under.