Mar 9, 2014

The Morning Call's Unbashful Cheerleading

The special section in this weekend's Morning Call is called Great Expectations, The Story of Allentown's Renaissance. In this 36-page special section, The Morning Call will take a closer look at the urban renaissance underway in Allentown, the projects that will bring thousands of workers and hundreds of new residents to the city's downtown... Less than 48 hours ago this blogger wrote that molovinsky on allentown was turning the corner on the arena, but I didn't mean that I would condone unfettered cheerleading by the press. In the first of four sections each Morning Call reporter writes an essay referencing Allentown's past, although none of them have any actual memory or experience of that era, beyond the paper's archives. The second section promotes the new businesses arriving and refers to center city as a boomtown. The article omits the reality that taxpayers across the state are subsidizing Allentown's transformation. Section C is about The People Behind the Transformation. Although the paper writes that they are the engine of change, it can also be said that they are the private beneficiaries of public money. The last section may be the worst. It is supposedly essays by civic leaders. Some of them are bystanders, and some of them had absolutely nothing to do with any of it. All four sections are packed with paid advertisements, with the biggest ads coming from those benefitting the most. Yesterday, I reached out to several current and former members of our political establishment, for their opinion of the paper's special edition. They all agreed that it ranged from unbalanced to outright promotion, dressed up as journalism.


Anonymous said...

When circulation revenues decline, journalistic viewpoints are for sale. When journalistic viewpoints are for sale, circulation revenues decline.

Welcome to the death spiral of the old media.

Dreaming of Justice said...

I have a curious old opaque blue glass lamp I'd like to offer the Mayor. I just hope that, once this genie is out of it's bottle all of these wishes come true.
Hoping for the best. Bracing for another enormous sinkhole.

Anonymous said...

The Call publishes a special section every year around this time, with different names over the years, but essentially a place where local companies can talk about the good things they've done over the year, Puff pieces, and everyone knows they are. Perhaps the MOA archivists could search out outraged comments on the blog about journalistic integrity when those editions were published. It's an issue now because the Arena and the revival are your baby, so to speak.

But, more to the point: You mention that the journalists write about eras they couldn't have possibly lived through, and that they based their work entirely on archival material. Fair enough. Retirements and the recent string of layoffs have taken care of those writers who would have fit your criteria -- folks who actually experienced the era first-hand. Still, a few of them would be in their late 70s or early 80s, or perhaps older. I think it's a great idea to have older folks on the staff, with real institutional knowledge, but I suspect corporations, and Tribune in particular, does not share this. (I also think politicians and other power brokers dislike people on news room staffs with institutional knowledge). Living through an particular era is also not a guarantee that you're also unbiased about it, or have superior knowledge, as you seem to suggest.

It seems to me you're placing high, if not impossible, expectations on the business of reporting the news, and then reveling in the failure to meet your high standards.

Finally, the last few sentences of your piece involve blind quotes. I have no doubt you actually called these people and that they said what they said. But it's another thing to get them to say it on the record, and to let readers know who these esteemed leaders are.

If you want to be more than a cranky blogger, employ some of the journalistic standards you make an effort to uphold.

michael molovinsky said...

dreaming @8:42; the paper acts as if the project's success is a fait accompli, while the rest of us will wait and see.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:23, glad to host your critique of my post, which is as long as the post itself; however, one clarification: i didn't quote anybody in the piece, but you're correct, i did speak to them. they do not consider me a cranky blogger,rather a candid source of alternative news and realistic viewpoints.

Anonymous said...

6:00am -

OUTSTANDING observation!

The special section was VERY lightweight. It avoided many legitimate concerns raised here and elsewhere. This was nothing more than a compendium of press release material.

One example causally mentioned some believe this effort to be nothing more than corporate welfare. The writer then moved quickly along with NO discussion. First of all, MANY feel this way and would like better understanding. To bad, the writer didn't follow through with a 'let's examine that view.' Too hot to handle, I presume.

I don't believe the special section gave ENOUGH credit to taxpayers all across the state, either. All this 'success' is a GIFT from them. If only those families in Erie knew it! They deserve more thanks.

I will also note, the latest Reilly building announced removes even MORE surface lot parking. Don't remember any discussion of that either.

Oh, how I miss old-fashion journalism that questioned and answered concerns of individual citizens, keeping a true monitor on public official actions.

Anonymous said...

Great picture and only if the local political cheerleaders looked like that? I have redd danti's inferno and from the looks of the allentown administration cheerleading section they fall under 3,4 and 8 and there is probably a few more?

I guess than I have a very different way of measuring secess?

Anonymous said...

This is 9:49AM again. Just a few random thoughts, please.

9:23 reads like a Morning Call official.

I remember how wildly popular, and TRUSTED the old program '60 Minutes' was in its beginning. If those editors were actually NOT trustworthy, they sure were better at hiding it than today's Morning Call staff.

Thank goodness for so-called 'cranky bloggers' and the like. They're winning the 'ratings battle,' so to speak!

Anonymous said...

Smashing stuff, Comrade Molovinsky!.

Pravda would be proud. Izvestia would be impressed. TASS would be excited.

The local newspaper, or some other well-known entity which disseminates approved information to the public, needs to sponsor a major international tournament every year at the Pawlowski Palace of Sport around the Christmas holiday --- then, at long last, I will REALLY feel like I am right at home here in the City With No (Spending?) Limits!

A major international ice hockey tournament would go along way towards filling all those rooms at all these new hotels downtown, of course.

Might I suggest The Morning Call Patriotic Worker's Cup as the name of the trophy to be presented to the annual winner?


Soviet Red Army (retired)