Friday, July 10, 2020

'Woke' Inky On New P.C. Crusade To 'Dismantle Systemic Racism'

By Ralph Cipriano

The social justice warriors at The Philadelphia Inquirer have decided that before they can remake society, they must first remake the newsroom.

So for the last month, some 30 newsroom managers have been working out a plan to dismantle "the systemic racism in our coverage and newsroom culture."

To embrace higher levels of "wokeness," the Inky's newsroom managers, who see systemic racism lurking around every corner, have decided to involve more diverse voices from the staff to help them make "long-term decisions on core questions of coverage, culture and editorial policy." 

Yes, the Inky brain trust has decided, a committee approach is what's needed to make the P.C. Paper of Record even more P.C. How are they going to do that? By "creating a process for flagging sensitive content" as well as a "safe environment for staff to question and stress test our work." 

That's according to Patrick Kerkstra, managing editor and guilty white guy, who outlined the bold new plan in a Wednesday memo to colleagues [or was it comrades?] Regarding longterm decisions Kerkstra wrote, "Historically, these calls have been made by a small group of predominantly white editors. That has to change."

It's been a tough time at the Inky.

In June, top editor Stan Wischnowski "resigned' -- other sources say he was thrown out the window -- for the alleged sin of signing off on a supposedly insensitive headline that said "Buildings Matter Too." 

Even though Wischnowski did the requisite groveling by issuing a formal written apology for that "deeply offensive" headline that somehow insulted the Marxist group known as Black Lives Matter, his sin was deemed unforgivable and he was toast.

Not that the loss of Stan was any big deal. As a former Inquirer staffer wrote about the departed top editor:

"Never wrote or edited a story in 20 years at the Inquirer. Had no original ideas, no sources and knew nothing about the workings of the city, region or the state. Traveled in from West Chester and hid in his office all day avoiding any interaction with the staff. Left the paper in worse shape than when he took over. The lesson here boys and girls is that you can go far by being a yes man."

Before Wischnowski got canned, in March the Inky purged longtime columnist Christine Flowers, the paper's only conservative voice. In an exit interview, Flowers told Big Trial that the newspaper's social justice warriors were "clueless" about so many things, such as the rise of Donald Trump and the rebellion in South Philly over a so-called safe injection site for drug addicts that the newspaper had been relentlessly championing.

But one thing about Progressivism. If something goes wrong, there's only one cure -- more Progressivism.

So in that spirit, the Inky has created five new committees to develop their own "mission statements" on topics such as "voice, editorial identity, coverage, newsroom culture, editor process/policy, and content auditing." The new committees will be assisted by "outside facilitators and a steering committee."

The steering committee is made up of 14 editors and reporters. Besides "creating a process for flagging sensitive content" and "creating a safe environment for staff to question and stress test our work" the groups also want to figure out "is the Inquirer a detached chronicler or the voice of Philly?"

I can answer that one for you and I don't need a committee.

With their relentlessly progressive outlook, the Inky is "detached" all right; it also reads like it was written by out-of-towners who have no clue about the city. As for being the voice of Philly, well the voice of Mount Airy might be more accurate.

But that didn't stop Kerkstra from laying out a bold new progressive course by committee.

"The focus of this work must be on identifying and dismantling the systemic racism in our coverage and newsroom culture," Kerkstra wrote. "But it's inevitable and appropriate that workgroup deliberations of race will intersect with other social inequities in our coverage and culture, and we hope and expect that changes to our editorial processes and culture will help address systemic problems beyond racism," Kerkstra wrote, such as "gender biases in our coverage and newsroom" and "shortcomings in our coverage of LGBTQ communities."

The new committees will be be 5 to 15 members in size with managers "to comprise no more than a third of the total membership of any working group."

Team members will spend one day a month on their committee work. Team leaders and steering committee members will likely need to put in significantly more time, Kerkstra warned. Issue statements from each committee are due Sept. 1st. The goals: a "more equitable journalism and a more inclusive culture."

The Inky's bold new plan, cooked up by 30 newsroom managers, will not only involve 14 members of the steering committee, and up to 75 newsroom volunteers on the five new committees, but also the Maynard Institute, Temple Professor David Brown, and Temple's Klein College of Media and Communication.

So many diverse voices, so much navel gazing, but hopefully, Kerkstra wrote, they'll all end up singing the same tune.

"We hope and expect that the steering committee will achieve consensus or near consensus on each recommendation," Kerkstra wrote. "However, as editor, Gabe [Escobar] is ultimately accountable for our journalism and retains the right to overrule the steering committee on journalism recommendations. If that happens, Gabe will explain his decision to the newsroom."

That should be fun. Let's hope if Escobar has to overrule the consensus, he can explain it to the social justice warriors in their safe place without committing any micro aggressions. Or offending the Marxists at Black Lives Matter.


  1. If this new dynamic at the Inquirer is "freedom of the press" then what is needed is "freedom from the press". The Inquirer is supposed to hold our political, civic leaders and officials accountable, not lie down in the same bed with them.

    1. They also need to hold prosecutors accountable, not be in bed with them either. The prosecution runs to the INKY with "facts" the INKY alerts the region of these "facts", when they prove not to be true, the INKY is unable to correct their mistakes, as they were part of the prosecution. They were compromised by the prosecution.

      To their list of changes desperately needed is to stand with fellow citizens without using them as bait for selling papers or increasing circulation. Pretending to be "fighting corruption" is a poor excuse. A lie travels very fast in this digital age, getting the facts should be job one. Using the DOJ as a credible source must be eliminated as it is common knowledge that prosecutors lie, FBI agents lie, and if INKY journalists do not know this by now we are all doomed.

    2. A simple question to Mr.Josh Rosenblat. You make note of your skill to do research and fact-finding in your resume so I would ask as part of your story on the 190 years of police brutality what studies have you read on police abuse or the killing of blacks? How many officers have you spoken to or took a Friday night ride along in a high crime area of Philadelphia? How about a walk through a simulation of when to decide in a split second to shoot or not shoot your weapon. I know the policy of the Inquirer is to demean and condemn police but just once on a personnel basis allow me to present this challenge. If you claim journalistic integrity then man up to just once show your employees and readers that you are not part of systemic reverse racism and accept the possibility of your skill set being slanted and one dimensional. I extend the same invite to the new group of Inquirer Primadonnas who would not know how to find any neighborhood outside of center city to have a serious discussion on any issue.

  2. Philadelphia needs another daily newspaper to compete with the "progressive" Inquirer. They are the city's "newspaper of record" only because they are the only newspaper in town.

    1. Balanced, objective, thorough, diligent reporting with a variety of viewpoints and perspectives....when did the Philadelphia Inquirer lose its way and foundation as a free and independent press?
      Is the Lenfest Institute of Journalism in support of the philosophy and direction of the Inquirer?

  3. Paul, you are 100 percent right. Nobody can trust the Inquirer, because they're just a shill for every Democratic official in town.

    We could also use an opposition political party if the Republicans ever wake up.

  4. I would campaign and donate to a Vince Fumo led Opposition Party and subscribe to a New Daily that would present intelligent and thoughtful Journalism as is the Mission of this Blog, to counteract the Propaganda that is defecated by the Inquirer and the Will Bunch supported vermin of the Left.

  5. How is the Inqy still afloat. Must be getting propped up by some big dough from somewhere. I hope it stays afloat to save the jobs of some great people(delivery etc). After Christine was dumped I cancelled. Thanks for the best reporting in the city Ralph

  6. What those diverse jackals need in the newly rebooted Inquirer is an all expense paid trip to Fort Bragg where under the training by Delta Force commandos, they will be schooled in the bottom line approach to what radicals and anarchists in countries who hate our guts so much and want to kill all of us with 1,000 ways to die.

    Long ago, the Inky was the purveyor of so much bullshitting on their journalism that people have stopped paying for their newsprint so irrelevant to the issues that nobody cares about their slanted way of portraying our cops as people who hate minorities. The Inquirer would be better off liquidating their newspaper than broadcast slanted journalism to make the poor and useless feel good.

  7. You sound pretty bitter. Shocked that you used to be considered a journalist but not surprised you're just a "blogger" now.

  8. Are you kidding? Working without editors around to censor you is like getting out of jail.

    1. Yeah! Now you're always right! Those hundreds of other journalists and editors had an agenda to keep you from speaking the truth. Bet they're sorry now.

  9. You're awfully brave while you're anonymous. Could this be demented little Bennie Waxman biting ankles again?

    It wasn't hundreds but there actually was an agenda that was exposed in court. And yes they were sorry. When it was all over, the editor of the paper was fired. Not that the facts would matter to a troll like yourself.

  10. What are the odds that the now Resigned Former City Managing Director Brian{ Babalooey} Abernathy will shift gears and emerge as a Flack for the Inquirer or the Media Darling Jeff Lurie's Eagles Buffet.

    The Brains behind Whiskey Dick Kenney's Public Policy Edicts and Reversals or the Daily Fruit of Islam Organ Grinders Pronouncements would be a fitting perch for this Buzzard to land.


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