Jul 11, 2022

Another Billy Joel Moment For Allentown

Years ago, former mayor Joe Daddona invited Billy Joel to come here, to soften the image that his song had created about Allentown.  Likewise, current mayor Matt Tuerk is upset about how CBS portrayed Allentown in their broadcast last week.

The CBS segment was based on a supposed correlation between cities with a drastic population shift, and the Jan. 6 riot.  It creates a collage of changing demographics feeding white resentment, resulting in crazed Trump supporters descending upon the Capital. Choosing Allentown as representative of this correlation doesn't sit well with Tuerk and others. He would like CBS to return, and see Allentown through his eyes. Gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro has also expressed dismay about the program.

I have some back-channel insight about the CBS production. As a chronicler of local history, CBS contacted me last winter to participate in the interviews. In the course of several conversations, the Jan. 6 riot correlation was never mentioned. I suspect that both men interviewed, Ed Frack and Gary Iacocca, felt broadsided when the program aired.

I doubt that Tuerk will have much success in having CBS revisit Allentown. Mainstream media isn't very big about conceding misrepresentations.

Part 1 of my analysis of the CBS program appeared yesterday on this blog.


  1. Mike I haven't seen the CBS show but know Allentowns demographics are show as something straight out of California. We have the same problem with litter on almost every street downtown as well as the open air drug sales in areas on the rise.

  2. Anon@6:46, A link to the CBS segment is in the post. It's only about 6 min. long, so I encourage readers to watch it.

  3. I cut the cable years ago. Don't miss the false narrative news, the crappy brain dead programming, or the politicized sports. Glad I missed this big lie special report.

  4. Mike, I watched your link. It's reminds me of why I cut the cable. Instead of seeking truth, revelation, or different perspectives, this reporting is typical of modern reporting that tailors questioning and editing to fit a preordained narrative, in this case, White rage fueled the January 6th riot at the capital. News as propaganda is the new norm. If CBS really wanted to understand Allentown a little digging and mixing with the locals would have revealed a lot of good will among those of who us who call Allentown home. They simply weren't interested in that story, for reasons of self interest, they prefer to divide by race, creed, and gender preference. That makes them evil right? It also implies they may be the real racists.

  5. Call me a cynic, but I find it unsurprising that the media is using a false narrative that furthers their political bias.

    And shockingly (heavy sarcasm intended) two democrat politicians (one of whom is currently running for Governor) have stepped forward to "defend" the city from the false accusations.

    In addition, I am much less certain than you are that Tuerk and Shapiro won't be successful in having CBS follow up on the original story. The "follow-up" just needs to be closer to the elections in November. That's the whole point of the phony narrative.

    Should that follow-up happen, I am sure Tuerk's and Shapiro's "defense" will sing the praises of Allentown while also (again, shockingly) continuing to paint their political opponents as racists.

    Gotta keep the fake narrative going.

  6. We should listen to the words of those arrested and convicted. It has mirror what has been revealed in the Jan 6th hearings. I don't recall many arrested from Allentown. But we can certainly learn the motives from the criminals themselves. Why did so many people fall for the BIG LIE and what is their background. Were their predisposed to conspiracy social media? Trump media is still peddling bamboo ballots delivered by dead people in suitcases and thermostats changing votes because of Italian space lasers. The cult of misinformation lead my a reality TV personality. Marketing success but bad for America.

  7. I am 66 yrs. old and have lived in Allentown all my life, while it is not the Allentown of my childhood and I am sorry to see what it has become it is not as bad as portrayed by CBS. I hate to see the litter and closed up store fronts and the neglected properties however that is not all caused by newcomers to our city. The reporter kept referring to tension between the locals and newcomers I'm sorry I just don't see it as that bad. We have had peaceful protests here but nothing like the violent riots other cities have had. I felt the CBS segment was stirring up problems that are minor here.

  8. Two points; first there are very few "real" Allentonians left in the city. Almost all of my neighbors are like myself, from somewhere else. This isn't only Allentown's story but one shared by most mid size cities. Most of the residents today don't know of the "Glory Days". Bet CBS had to search long and hard to find an old timer who would be tell them what they wanted to hear. Second point; anyone who believes one party or another has a monopoly on conspiracy theories is either a blind partisan or isn't paying attention. One of our two major parties, with the support of the mainstream press believed/believe the ridiculous conspiracy theory that the 2016 presidential election was stolen when the president of Russia colluding with candidate Trump. That whopper lasted three years and is still firmly fixed as fact in many fevered minds.

  9. CBS is really stretching things trying to connect the changes in Allentown to the January 6th event. The two gentleman from Allentown certainly are not racists' by any means. Rather what I call realists. Any one of the life long residents (including myself) see the difference between way back then to now.

    Allentown's problems don't stem from long time residents but rather those who have been locating to Allentown over the last 40 years or so. That's a fact that needs to be acknowledged before we can begin a discussion. Sorry if that steps on peoples toes. This is not me being a racist but rather declare it to be fact grounded in historical data.

    No democrat, republican nor a hero riding into town can solve these kinds of problems. Only the people themselves can.

    I like others have stories about the old neighborhood where we once lived About a 1/2 block from the latest shooting around 11th and Tilghman. When we left there were 2 boarded up drug houses. A couple arrests a month and an ever increasing amount of HUD homes. I'm sure ours is similar to dozens of other stories as well. And it wasn't because farmers were leaving rural areas to come live in Allentown.

  10. Everybody knows Allentown has changed dramatically from what is used to be. Anybody Who doesn't know that is delusional

  11. Both of those guys interviewed in that story are long-time business friends of mine, and both wonderful men. To imply bad motives and intentions to justify the CBS plan to associate Jan6 with racism is a disgrace. Both men have spent their careers promoting Lehigh Valley businesses, both their own and many others, to make this a great place to be. Closing a small restaurant in a crime-ridden neighborhood is not racism, it is survival.
    Finally, there were no gun arrests at the Jan 6 demonstration/riot. Can the same be said for downtown Allentown?

  12. This is just a forerunner of the Democrat strategy for the elections. It is white supremacists, abortion and republicans are fascists and racists.

    Jan 6 was only about the concern for election integrity, a subject that can be judged by the over the top denials and protests and outrage of the winners focused on anyone who could question the election.

    Me thinks they protest too much.

    It sure appears there will not be debate based on policy, just emotions of fear by the democrat base.