Philadelphia Will Do  

Herb Denenberg, Media Expert

021109herb.jpg Things were good for Bulletin columnist Herb Denenberg back in 2005. Bush was president, the war was still semi-popular (I guess) and the economy only mildly stunk. As such, the former consumer reporter spent most of his columns writing about squirrels in attics and the many different kinds of beetles.

Things are different in 2009. Some dude named Obama is president, the Phillies are reigning World Champions and the economy really, really stinks. As such, Herb Denenberg has used his recent columns to relentlessly bash Barack Obama, Democrats and the like. He spends about half of his sentences whining about how awful the good ol’ United States of America is, and the other half telling certain people (Democrats, Obama, the news media, Hollywood, college professors, etc.) to leave America because they hate it. I believe this is the time we can actually use the word “ironic” without fear of using it wrong. So, yes: Ironic!

The media has received the brunt of his ire recently, including a recent column on the Philadelphia magazine piece about the Inquirer. While he does come up with, um, a great new slogan for the Inky (”In Philadelphia, nearly everyone hates the Inquirer”) he also takes shots at Phillymag as well.

Any summary of this part of the column would not do it justice, so let’s just blockquote it out:

He misses something else, which suggests even after conducting 100 interviews, he is not in touch with the Philadelphia scene. He notes that Brian Tierney is the co-owner, publisher and CEO of this “city’s newspapers.” I’ve got news for Mr. Volk and Philadelphia Magazine. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News are not this “city’s newspapers” as if they were the only ones. For over four years, there happens to be another daily, The Bulletin, and there happens to be many strong weeklies. And there’s the Metro, another daily, certainly worthy of note. Mr. Volk notes that the Inquirer is surrounded by a strong ring of suburban papers, and hence have no room to expand. But he should note that it faces competition from two other dailies, which are also taking a significant number of readers away from the Inquirer. As the Inquirer contracts, the Bulletin expands. As they say, that’s just one more nail in the Inquirer coffin.

Apparently the exhaustive research of the Philadelphia Magazine failed to uncover the existence of the Bulletin. The best daily in America, the Wall Street Journal, is aware of the Bulletin, obviously reads it, and recently quoted it in one of its editorials. [...] Later, the editorial, in discussing all the new competition eating away at the Inquirer, noted, “Smaller papers like the Bulletin are also working hard to reach a larger audience.”

If the best paper in the land can find and quote the Bulletin, something is radically wrong when Philadelphia Magazine, in an article on the very subject of the Philadelphia newspaper scene, seems to be clueless on what’s going on in its own market.

I think that could be a new slogan for the Bulletin: “Read by the Wall Street Journal!”

What’s Wrong With Newspapers And The Pundits Who Write About Them [The Bulletin]

  1. dmac Says: Feb 11 10:23 AM

    I must also recommend this recent Denenberg column. It opens with, “The book How to Ruin the United States of America by Ben Stein,” and includes a discussion of Pulitzer winners in the 40s and 50s (cherrypicked to get the “best” ones) with the most recent 10 Pulitzer winners. It’s amazing, even with this cherrypicking, how much better the recent winners are than the old ones. I’ll put Middlesex up against South Pacific any day.

  2. Mooney Says: Feb 11 8:05 PM

    The only reason the Wall Street Journal knew about the story is because Kevin Williamson, the former Editor-in-chief of The Bulletin, noted the story on his National Review Online media blog. Mr. Denienberg is foolish (or given his age, possibly senile) if he believes that the WSJ knew about and reads The Bulletin. I thought he was supposed to be a consumer advocate.

  3. Alex Says: Feb 13 5:03 PM

    Um, also — The Grapes of Wrath and All the King’s Men were all about the greatness of America? Really?

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