Monday, January 22, 2018

"Hey Fredo -- Bring Out The Peppers And Sausage"

By Ralph Cipriano

Last week, I took a virtual tour of the new merged Inquirer/Daily News/ newsroom, thanks to a brand new feature on their website that's accessible to even hardcore non-subscribers like myself.

It's been 20 years since my last day at the Inquirer, when I was escorted out of the building by an editor. So, I figured I was due for a return visit. But I emerged from my virtual tour feeling like Frank Pentangeli.

Remember the scene in Godfather II where crusty old Frank [AKA "Frankie Five Angels" and "Frankie Pants"] attends the first communion of the late Don Corleone's grandson. It's a big fancy party on the shores of Lake Tahoe, Nevada back in 1958; quite a contrast with the old-fashioned Sicilian wedding scene set on Long Island  in 1945 that opened the original Godfather.

"Hey Fredo," Frank says, "What's with the food around here?"

"A kid comes up to me in a white jacket, gives me a Ritz cracker, and uh, chopped liver, he says canapés  I say uh, uh, can o' peas my ass, that's a Ritz cracker and chopped liver! . . . Bring out the peppers and sausage."

Then, Frank jumps on stage to take issue with the slow music that the boys in the orchestra are playing.

"I can't believe, out of 30 professional musicians, there isn't one Italian in, in the group here," Frank says. "Come on, let's have a tarantella."

That's how I felt after I toured the new merged Inky newsroom.

On "The Newsroom" page at the bottom of the website, they show the same old reporter's notebook that I used to carry in my back pocket when I was an Inky reporter for more than a decade. Then, they introduce more than 100 reporters who explain their new beats at the new merged Inky.

There's some old familiar faces in the crowd, people I used to work with, but the new Inky newsroom seems more devoted to remaking society rather than reporting the news.

"We've recently reorganized our beats and coverage teams to ensure that we focused on the issues, ideas and institutions that matter most to people of our region," it says. "Here's what we're covering and how to reach us."

On the Inquirer's new "justice and injustice" team, they've got a reporter who covers "unjust systems." He'll never run out of material in this town. They've got a reporter who writes about "violent crimes," and another reporter who writes about "victims."

So, theoretically in any crime story, say, one that involves a purse-snatching, it may take two reporters to write it. One to report on the violent nature of the crime, and another to write about the story from the victim's point of view.

But let's say the assailant comes from a disadvantaged background, and may have been discriminated against in the past. Or he or she is possibly an immigrant, or somebody who may be a minority person living in a neighborhood simmering with ethnic, racial and cultural tensions. Or the purse-snatcher is someone who perceives that they live in an unjust society.

Fortunately, in the new Inky newsroom, there's a vast array of specialists to draw on who can flesh out the cultural, racial and societal aspects of that purse-snatching.

On the "identity and values" team they've got a reporter who writes about "social justice" exploring how "race, gender, sexuality and class shape our lives in uneven ways." Another reporter on the team writes about "social justice, criminal justice and the lives of Philadelphians, from the streets, the prisons and the bars." A third reporter writes about "race, gender, identity and values."

Hey Fredo, does anybody still cover the freaking City Council? Is anybody down at the Roundhouse, seeing what the cops are up to? Does anybody still cover the courts?

From the online description, the new Inky newsroom is a relentless parade of PC warriors who meet every day to march around the Rizzo statue, and plot Big Frank's demise. But we're not done yet.

In the new Inky newsroom, they have a "class" reporter who writes about "aspects of poverty, wealth, and the middle class relating to both economic and social issues." There's a reporter who covers immigration, and another reporter who covers "neighborhoods and gentrification," specifically "characters, tensions and issues."  On the "policy and solutions" team, there's a  reporter who writes about "fairness," particularly "economic equity issues, including school funding, and affordable housing." They also have a full-time reporter who covers "the commerce of cannabis."

In the Inky's new world order, they've got four metro columnists. It's a perfectly diverse team, featuring a couple of white guys and a couple women of color. Of course, all the columnists, local, suburban and national, are liberals who hate Trump. Of the more than 100 reporters working in the new Inky newsroom, if there's a conservative in the bunch, or a Libertarian, or a contrarian, you'd never know it by reading the paper.

The closest they come is whenever Stu Bykofsky decides it's time to rip our sad sack of a mayor again.

I knew I'd hit rock bottom in my tour of this new fancy pants newsroom when I saw that the obituary writer, a job I once had, is now an "obituary storyteller." She writes about dead "movers and shakers" who presumably aren't doing much moving and shaking anymore.

Hey Fredo, with all those PC warriors running around town with all the same preconceived notions in their heads, it's no wonder the paper is so freaking boring and predictable all the time.


  1. Hopefully with all the reporters that will cover crime, justice, injustice, victims, abuse of power, politics, corruption, they can find one reporter that can take their own notes at a trial and not borrow from the prosecutors footnotes, whereby forming their own opinions, not echoing an already power hungry prosecution machines voice.

    No public official should be interviewed or questioned as to their thoughts on the innocence or guilt of a defendant.

    As unthinkable as it sounds, a reporter should have to sit through the entire trial they are covering, not make guest appearances in an out of the courtroom, glaring at defendants, who dare to defend themselves. It sounds like there are enough of them to go around now so we should soon begin to read some unbiased reporting.

    If a reporter is unable to truly cover a trial without reporting the prosecutions version only, a disclaimer heading should precede the article stating clearly, "These are not my thought, I did not sit through the trial and have not done any research on this case, I am using the prosecution/government as my only source of information, the defendant very well may be innocent and have suffered unjustly at the hands of the prosecution ,they may even plead guilty to a crime they did not commit or a crime that did not occur, but you will not read it here, as we only carry the prosecutions version of the facts" .

    Using a disclaimer will allow the public, prospective jurors and judges from forming an opinion on the defendant. Words matter, reporters hold a defendants fate in their hands, let’s not give the already almighty prosecution any more of an unfair advantage over a defendant.

  2. DOJ is pursuing charges against NewsWeek and its parent Company for conspiracy and money laundering.
    Any chance Ralph, of you being called as a witness in this case?
    We know that you are generally well rewarded for your services but this should be a case that should churn your journalistic spirit.

    1. They haven't clued me on any money laundering. I get enough subpoenas as it is so I'd prefer to sit this one out.

  3. Is this how the feds silence those that print a view point other than their own ?

  4. Don't worry Nicky Scarfo and Phil Narducci would take care of this!

  5. So the Inky has amassed an army of reporters that are ready to pounce on abuses of power, as they see it. I am assuming it means politicians, union leaders, police, or anyone else other than prosecutors. I am going to suggest to them they either hire Ralph back or have a team of reporters that can do what this one man is doing singlehandedly for victims. It’s no wonder he was fired, very few have the courage to uncover corruption at any level no matter how inconvenient it is at the time.

    In my mind a victim is a victim, be it, victims of sexual abuse or abuse at the hands of the justice department, our stories need to be told.

    We have women coming forward who have lived with sexual abuse or the fear of sexual abuse finding their voices but victims of prosecutorial misconduct are left to languish in disgrace. Sexual abuse victims who have lost their incomes, their jobs, who have had their dreams and aspirations taken from them by their abusers are now feeling a sense of justice by speaking out.

    Victims of the justice department have no voice, they are forced to live a life of shame and humiliation, dreams that go unrealized, life savings that have evaporated trying to defend oneself of imaginary crimes. When do we get to read our victim impact statement in front of our accusers, telling the world what happened to our families at the hand of the justice department?

  6. Abuse of power comes in many forms, overlooking or turning a blind eye when it involves the justice department impacts not only the defendants but our basic human need for dignity, it impacts our families, our extended families for generations, our communities, it teach us how to treat one another. It takes our basic need for security away, it takes our voices away.

    We are taught to put our trust in our government, to have prosecutors violate that trust violates the wellbeing of our belief system. I want to believe in the media, to depend on the media to be fair and to get to the bottom of a problem, not assume that because the justice department speaks it speaks the truth.
    This newly improved newsroom is not going to solve any ills by having a team of reporters scouring the land for corruption when it’s right in front of them, with victims screaming for help in plain sight. So save your pats on the back for the newsroom because on the street the power you wield is for the abusers, not the victims. Society is carrying a heavy burden and needs immediate relief from the very people that need to get our stories out and in front of the public.

    Ralph has the courage to stand up for victims, the Inky is unwilling to listen to victims of the justice departments abuse unless it comes at the hands of victims of police officers or detectives. According to the Inky, there does not seem to be much of a problem at all with prosecutors.

    Sexual abuse is being dealt with fairly and swiftly, especially in the workplace, abuse against victims of the justice system grind very slowly or not at all, victims have very little recourse to claim their lives back, no one believes these victims of abuse after having been maligned by a major news source and representatives of their government .

    Much like sex abuse victim have been made to feel they like they did something to encourage their abusers to attack them, was their skirt too short, their blouse too low cut. Did victims of prosecutorial abuse engage in politics, or some other hated profession and deserved to be punished and deserved our scorn. Articles given to the media by prosecutors are used as another way for them to have control, to intimidate, shame and silence their targets.

    When highly regarded news outlets turn their backs on these victims, they are engaging in the same cover-ups that sexual abuse victims have had to endure by not getting involved and looking the other way.

    Most Americans believe that if the government wants to pin a crime on someone that they have the means, that thinking is widespread and universally accepted. I suggest this should be the first order of business for the newly organized newsroom, removing the fear of innocents being accused of crimes. Publicizing a story of a defendant that spent a lifetime in prison for a crime they did not commit, may help to showcase abuse but it’s too late for the victim and does not show urgency, this problem is still happening every day.

    The Inky could lead the way as a beacon of light for other papers to follow by exposing corruption on all levels of the justice department, not just the lowest rungs. When they chose instead to circle the wagons and keep victims alienated and abused, it’s not justice it’s called business as usual.

  7. When Kenney and Krasner are paraded in handcuffs for circumventing federal immigration law, we will know that DOJ has their heads screwed on right and not just running secret societies and sex parties.

    1. No one should be paraded in front of a frenzied media , one only needs to view the documentary nominated for an Oscar this year for Best Documentary Feature, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL to see what lengths Cyrus Vance Jr. D. A. of New York took to humiliate the workers of a small Asian bank in New York City, it was the only bank in the United States the government went after in the saving and loan scandal . The name of the documentary was chosen as it was said, big banks were too big to jail.

      The workers were all chained together and marched through the courthouse in front of the media, to make them look guilty and strengthen his case . I suggest the public and the media watch this documentary, realizing exactly what the government is teaching us on how we should treat one another, its unacceptable behavior on the part of the prosecution. No wonder there are such displays of hatred in our country, we witness this behavior and do not comment on it. It's wrong, and we need the media to step up do their part to stop such displays of humiliation.

      The documentary can be viewed on Amazon Video, Itunes, VUDU, YouTube, Google Play

  8. Ralph, does Vince have anything to say about his chief nemesis Hon. Pat Meehan going down in flames for alleged pandering with his paramour and paying her off on the Public's Dime?
    It would be interesting to discover which Gentleman's Club his soulmate was employed before landing on the Congressman couch?

  9. He's got a lot to say; but none of it publicly. Yet.


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.