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Abridged Daily News Columnists

I have been researching a story, doing interviews and all that good stuff most of the day. But I’ve holed up in a coffee shop to bring you Abridged Daily News Columnists!

Ronnie Polaneczky: I actually said “good idea!” when I saw Polaneczky had written about selling her gold and getting cash. Selling gold has exploded in popularity (or at least Google popularity) since 2006 and the local news has noticed. But is Polaneczky the only columnist who has actually sold her own gold? Right: Who cares!

The column is standard stuff with a cute anecdote at the end. It’s a nice touch, though, that one of the places she goes to sell her old jewelry is a gold dealer who set up at Hampton Inn in Bensalem. Right across from the Woodhaven Mall!

Stu Bykofsky: Do I have a rule that I don’t abridge stories about bureaucratic tussles in animal control? I do now, but I’d really encourage you to study the lead carefully:

WITH PACCA in its grave and PSPCA decapitated, local animal-lovers fear that innocent animals will pay with their lives for the uncivil war between the agencies that has raged for some 18 months.

Were all of the animals really innocent? Are we to assume none of these dogs assaulted people, stole bones or sold drugs on the side?

I get that Bykofsky really cares about animals, and I’m sure he’s heartbroken. I know he’s also hoping to paint the animals as sympathetically as possible. I really don’t think we need innocent to modify animals there, though. Of course they’re innocent! They’re animals! I know: Whatever. But I think it’s detrimental to the column. It’s not that it’s bad writing; columns are most convincing when the writer is clear and clean and makes solid points. Let the story carry the column! I dream of a world where no one in the media uses the phrase “innocent animals.”

Or maybe stuff like that resonates. And Bykofsky has won a lot of awards for writing about animals. I dunno.

John Baer: Baer interviews Allyson Schwartz, who says she will maybe run for Arlen Specter’s U.S. Senate seat. Baer thinks otherwise. Hm. Analysis, opinion, and the worst modifier I can find is “tough statewide run.” Excellent.

Michael Smerconish: Hmm. Smerconish is praising CNBC’s Rick Santelli for complaining about “losers’ mortgages” and yelling, “President Obama, are you listening?” on air. Sigh. I’m probably wrong. Going shamelessly over-the-top works. Anyway, the American populace is suddenly concerned about rich people stealing their money. Eh.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Ronnie Polaneczky: Here’s the charming story of a man who wants to trade an old Charlie Manuel (a lifetime .198 hitter) baseball card for an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a Phillies game, essentially. What a heartwarming story!

Michael Smerconish: It’s 2009, which means everyone is a (pardon the term) citizen economist.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Ronnie Polaneczky: I don’t abridge octuplet stories.

Stu Bykofsky: Sweet! Another octuplet column I don’t have to read. (Well, okay, I did read it. My favorite part at the end is when Stu writes she needs Norplant.)

Michael Smerconish: Aww, nobody paid attention to Smerconish’s “exclusive interview” with Pakistan’s president! So now he’s writing about that woman who got the record for biggest breast implants.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Jill Porter: Last year, Jill Porter helped get Hershey’s to pull candy stamped “ICEBREAKERS” from the market because it sort of looked like crack (but not really). (It’s okay, Wired’s website agreed.) Anyway, Porter wrote about Michael Phelps and why marijuana should be legal. Color me surprised and proud.

Ronnie Polaneczky: Hey, here’s the story of the cantor at police funerals at the Basilica.

John Baer: Now that Ed Rendell wants to legalize video poker to help get some money for the state (more on this later), some lawmakers have shot back with calls for legalized prostitution and marijuana. Yes, yes a million times yes! Oh, apparently they’re saying it as a joke. Sadness.

Michael Smerconish: Before the Internet nobody attempted to make money off a celebrity doing something stupid in public. Smerconish is all about narcing when he sees a drug deal, though, which is something that actually has real consequences (as opposed to selling a tape of Christian Bale being angry or whatever).

Stu Bykofsky: Oh, man, Stu Bykofsky has responded to the Phillymag article about newspapers with his own plan for how to save newspapers! The idea: Sue Google for sending the websites free traffic!

Publishers sowed the seeds of their own destruction - pre-Tierney - by stampeding to the Internet and giving away their content for free, overturning a business model that had sustained them for centuries.

We must stop the insanity - now! It’s time for some brave publisher - Hello, Brian - to stand up and howl: “No more free content!”

This company should charge online visitors a small fee, maybe $5 a month, for our content - which is copyrighted, then sue the pants off anyone stealing it.

Should Google “pick up” (steal) our stuff, if we successfully sued them for $1 billion, two good things happen: 1) Our money problems are solved; 2) everyone else will stop stealing our content.

Apparently indexing a site and sending readers its way is highly illegal. Or, rather, it would be if the site was behind a pay-wall. Which is why ESPN Insider is currently suing Google for giving away its content for free. Oh wait!

Bloggers can’t replace newspapers.

No one says they should, are or will. You sure stuck it to those non-existent people! This column was written in 2003. Maybe earlier. Bykofsky just decided to run it now.

The million bloggers comment mostly on what was revealed by resource-rich newspapers. No matter how many eyeballs they attract, blogs rarely “break through” because they are so many and so scattered. They lack newspapers’ broad-based public square, where the masses assemble. They also lack the public megaphone and spotlight, which may be the print press’ most important weapons.

Blogs are also not news-gathering organizations. This is like saying, “No way can one actor make a movie. It takes a lot of people! YouTube should be ashamed of itself!” This article is a giant strawman made of smaller strawmen, then lit on fire at Burning Man.

And, on a side note, how dare Burning Man think it can replace all other forms of recreation!

Was it a blogger who turned a spotlight, and publicly shamed, the Postal Service for dumping mail? No, that was the Daily News. Did a blogger have the resources in time, talent and staff to drag DHS onto the front pages and into the grand-jury room? No, that was the Inquirer. Every day newspapers run stories that would not otherwise be told.

Yes, and the other way around, too. Blogs cover stories newspapers can’t, won’t or don’t cover.

Do all (any?) bloggers have the training or the inclination to post only what is verifiable? Working for a newspaper means you have been vetted by virtue of education or experience, and you hew to ethical norms of accuracy, honesty and objectivity. Do we always succeed? No. But almost all of us make an honest effort, and we have angels on our shoulders (called editors) to ensure that we do.

Fun fact: The Daily News runs more corrections than most blogs — and not because the blogs write something stupid! Of course, that comparison is dumb, but I’m working with what I’m stealing from the newspaper here.

That’s why I’ll trust the Associated Press’ reporting of President Obama’s recovery plan over anything I’ll read at or

Good job, cherrypicking two random sites, one where anyone can post, and another that’s a cesspool of nonsense. That’s why I trust’s reporting on BatBoy’s wedding more than anything I read in the Weekly World News!

As Volk writes from his smug platform, doesn’t he realize that maybe half the stories in each issue of his magazine had their genesis in earlier newspaper reporting? We also provide the material for WIP and other talk radio to gab about all day, not to mention providing leads for TV-news-assignment desks. I’m not bragging or complaining. It’s just true.

There’s a rule in advertising — I know a lot about advertising, I’ve seen both Trust Me and Mad Men — that if you’re the big fish, you don’t attack the smaller ones. It’s why you usually don’t see ExxonMobil doing attack ads against BP. So, yes, newspapers have been the most trusted and dominant news medium for a long, long time now. Everyone knows that. You don’t get a bonus for pointing it out.

But what makes it even funnier is Stu’s most recent column on Monday was about something he heard on the radio. How dare he take information from someone he heard on a radio broadcast! They ought to charge for radio, and if Stu writes about it, radio can sue.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Ronnie Polaneczky: Best sentence in this column: “Community College of Philadelphia deserves props for Earleena’s rebirth.”

Elmer Smith: Best sentence in this one: “THOSE WHO took part will remember the mayor’s citywide ‘whup me, beat me, spank me tour’ as a rare opportunity to dropkick a public official.”

John Baer: Here’s how old Arlen Specter is: The article wondering if he’s run for more elected offices than any other politician ever mentions Harold Stassen. I guess that doesn’t necessarily make him old, but trust me: Arlen Specter is old.

I also enjoyed this comment on the column:

Tell the Senator he may be enjoying the stay of execution that God gave him…but he is not going to survive this world and his legacy will blow away like the dust he is made of….Be humble you far from perfect Politician!!

Michael Smerconish: Noted Pakistani foreign policy expert Smerconish had dinner with the former president of Pakistan! It’s funny that Smerconish writes “[w]e’ve outsourced the hunt for Osama to Pakistan,” which is basically what John Kerry said during a debate in 2004 (though I believe he was talking about warlords instead of Pakistan). Still: Smerconish taking rhetorical cues from John Kerry! Pretty awesome.

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Michael Smerconish: First point in today’s Smerconish column, which is about Sunday’s inaugural concert (topical!): “Sasha and Malia will provide significant insulation and political cover for whatever rocky times might come to their father’s administration.”

Elmer Smith: First reality TV show references made today by Elmer Smith: “Ozzy Osbourne or Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown.” Last time either of these shows aired: 2005.

(Oh, yeah! We’re finally getting public access! I predict within 2 or 3 months, Philadelphia Will Do will be doing nothing but posting clips from this.)

Christine Flowers: First point made in Christine Flowers’ column today: “We non-Obama voters shouldn’t be bullied into supporting our new president.” A…greed, I guess? I have no idea how one could be bullied into supporting Obama. Did Barry open the conservative capitalist gulags yet?!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Stu Bykofsky: Hey, know who was also happy on Tuesday: White people!

Michael Smerconish: Hey, here’s a column about how Barack Obama and John Roberts messed up the oath. Smerconish did research to conclusively prove that there is never a pause before the candidate’s name during an oath! How dare Barack Hussein Obama disrespect America like that!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

John Baer: What’s a good way to start off your presidency when the economy is in shambles? Ahh, yes, a ridiculously expensive inauguration celebration!

Ronnie Polaneczky: Hmm, yes gay men aren’t allowed to give blood. But if we allow them to, what will high schoolers titter at when filling out the form at the blood drive they’re attending to get out of class?

Stu Bykofsky: “I crave a Pittsburgh-Philadelphia showdown, because it would make the Keystone State a winner no matter what. We could use some good news.” I have no idea who would be excited in Philadelphia if the Eagles lost in the Super Bowl, even if it was to the Steelers. Oh, and this column contains a reference to that noted box office and critical disaster, Pay it Forward!

Michael Smerconish: Ooh, look how excited Michael Smerconish is! He gets to write about the Fumo trial — but can really just write about himself, since the prosecution played an interview of Fumo from Smerconish’s radio show!

Abridged Daily News Columnists

Ronnie Polaneczky: 30 years ago, a nun scared away some tough youths by saying she was from Philadelphia.

Michael Smerconish: Oh, boy, Michael Smerconish does not care for the hooking up and the casual sex and the hippity hop and the “i”-Pods and the hey hey. Also he thinks it’s especially bad for women, he hints, because if there’s one person who know what’s best for you, ladies, it’s Michael Smerconish.

First Time The Word ‘Hooters’ Has Appeared On Front?


And, no, the band and the restaurant don’t count.