Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Holy Hypocrisy! Inky Lawyers Seek To Out Confidential Source!

By Ralph Cipriano

Lawyers for The Philadelphia Inquirer, that bastion of free speech, are currently on a mission to root out the identity of a confidential source who leaked embarrassing emails from the newspaper's top management to

Those emails, published in an Aug. 2 blog post, revealed that Bill Marimow, the Inquirer's former top editor and a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, told his daughter and a trio of friends that he thought Pulitzer-Prize winning architecture critic Inga Saffron's "diatribe" delivered at Stu Bykofsky's going away party was "totally inappropriate," "an unmitigated disaster," as well as "vindictive, mean-spirited and shocking."

At the July 12, 2019 going-away party held in the Inquirer newsroom, Saffron trashed Bykofsky as a sexist, ethically challenged print dinosaur with "a taste for child prostitutes in Thailand." That prompted Byko to file a lawsuit against the Inquirer and Saffron alleging defamation. 

There's a reason why the Inky is pissed about the leaks. The leaked emails not only revealed why Marimow will probably be Bykofsky's star witness when the case goes to trial, but they also disclosed  how the Inquirer's top editors were closely monitoring social media in the aftermath of the going-away party debacle, and engaging in damage control while dealing with a nosy reporter from The Washington Post. Finally, the emails revealed that some top Inky editors were openly rooting for Saffron in her attack on Bykofsky 

Since Big Trial's scoop, lawyers from the Inquirer have struck back by filing written questions known as interrogatories in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court seeking to get Bykofsky to divulge whether he was the confidential source who leaked the emails to Big Trial. In addition, the Inquirer's lawyers are seeking to depose Mark Schwartz, Bykofsky's lawyer, to find out if he was the confidential source.

So on Monday, in a letter to Eli Segal, the Inquirer's lawyer, Schwartz outed himself as the confidential source. In addition, Schwartz took a couple of shots at the city's paper of record for what he described as rank journalistic hypocrisy. 

"Dear Mr. Segal," Schwartz began.

"Notwithstanding my client Stu Bykofsky’s response to your discovery requests, I understand that you are still concerned with obtaining the identity of who it was who shared certain non-confidential information initially provided by you and your client with Mr. Ralph Cipriano. I find this strange and punitive in light of your client’s routine invocation of the Shield Law."

"Further, I understand that you have threatened to take my deposition to secure this information," Schwartz wrote. "Deposing me would be an extraordinarily oppressive and vindictive measure, not to mention extremely problematic given various privileges that apply. Deposing a party’s lawyer is simply not done. In contrast, what was initiated by me with Mr. Cipriano was completely appropriate."

"So as not to belabor matters and sideline the case with non-issues, please be advised that I, alone, was Mr. Cipriano’s source, much in the same way that your clients have sources of information," Schwartz confessed.

"You should know that, prior to doing so, I contacted my personal 'ethics' counsel who has been kept fully abreast of matters and has been accord with my releasing said materials," Schwartz wrote.

"As to the content of what was provided, it struck me that these materials memorializing reactions by top management were compelling and newsworthy in and of themselves, with some members amazingly rooting for Ms. Saffron," Schwartz wrote.

"The Inquirer should have done a story on the materials as they describe the mindset of senior management," Schwartz wrote. "It is my sincere belief that had this involved another newspaper, the Inquirer would have covered the matter. Clearly, your client and you wish to repress coverage, something again ironic for a newspaper to attempt."

"It was particularly appropriate that Ralph Cipriano be provided with this information for his blog, as they depict the very same insensitivity of management to what transpired that was accorded Mr. Cipriano, resulting in his own successful litigation," Schwartz wrote. "Perhaps the environment now depicted is even worse."

As an Inquirer reporter in 1998, I sued my own newspaper for libel after Robert Rosenthal, then the Inky's top editor, told The Washington Post that I wrote things that weren't true about Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the archbishop of Philadelphia. 

Unfortunately for the Inquirer, everything I wrote about His Eminence turned out to be true. So the newspaper had to settle the case in 2001 by issuing a public apology and paying a confidential sum. Shortly after the case was settled, the Inquirer fired Rosenthal.

My account of the case was published here, in addition to a contemporaneous report by Editor & Publisher.

Schwartz ended his letter to the Inquirer's lawyer by writing:

"Finally, given your insistence on an explanation, while I do not waive any other rights as an individual or an attorney, I hereby waive any rights to confidentiality that Mr. Cipriano has had with respect to my being a source under the Pennsylvania Shield Law . . . and First Amendment."

"Very truly yours, Mark D. Schwartz, Esquire."

As is typical of the Inquirer's sanctimonious brain trust, they apparently view themselves as above being questioned about this topic. 

Segal, the Inquirer's lawyer, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Gabriel Escobar, editor and senior vice president of the Inquirer. 

Rank hypocrisy, indeed. 


  1. Brilliant article Mr Cipriano, nothing better than seeing that site and papers go under. I love the emails that they send me, offering deals to renew.

    1. If the Inquirer goes under, the local polity will be come better informed and smarter. You know, the opposite of what the oligarchs want. read the Slate Article "Citizen Annenberg" and see how The Inquirer has long been a tool to support the rich and their interests. Little has changed at The InquisitorI mean...we I guess I mean the Inquisitor

  2. Watch your back, Ralph. If they come for you, fight the bastards hard. Good work, as always.

  3. Watch your back, Ralph. If they come for you, fight the bastards hard. Good work, as always.

  4. I can't imagine why the Inky would have a problem with confidential information being leaked which can and will be used against them.

    The Inky had no problem sharing details of a confidential investigation that benefited their agenda and their pals in the federal building.

    Information taken from Traffic Court Judges who were told the information collected was for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's eyes only. Two weeks later is was front page news.

  5. Your Campaign to advocate for this Horse's Ass is laughable.

    Your Claims against Your Former Employer had merit.

    Why would His Attorney need to leak information when this elongated rodent sought Your Counsel

    Have You ever sought to interview Inga Saffron or others in the Newsroom who despised this POS who was a No Talent Larry Fields wannabe who was bought by Sam Rappaport with a Famous Pickle and corned beef sandwich.

  6. I would have been happy to interview Inga but she decided not to talk, probably under the advice of lawyers. I understand that Byko has upset a lot of people in the newsroom by not going along with their "woke" views.

    To me, that's a plus. If you're coming after the guy on the corruption angle, it helps to have facts on your side. But that's not what transpired at Byko's going away party.

    Incidentally, I know from my own ordeal that the prevailing wisdom of the newsroom doesn't amount to a warm bucket of piss. Had I followed their advice the editor who libeled me would have gotten away with it.

    The groupthink of the newsroom leads one way, off a cliff. Which is where that paper is headed.

    1. When Willard Rouse was doing deals with Rappaport who was a Mob Associate, I don't remember the Sleuth Inky Investigative Reporters and the Government rushing to Kill the Deals as they later performed with the Penn's Landing Shakedown by the Mental Cross Dressing Midget, Nicky Crow, lionized and immortalized by GA.

      Apparently, Marimow wasn't bothered by Issues of Corruption when it came to Tierney, or leaking Stories to His Daughter at the WAPO.

      Marimow has always been a Traitor to Journalism which allowed Him to parachute into Tierney Graft and Corruption Enterprises when He left the Stinky.

  7. Remember, the geniuses in the Inky newsroom decided it was a good idea to let Brian Tierney invest their pension fund. He not only bankrupted the newspaper, he also bankrupted the pension fund. What a bunch of dopes.

  8. Inquirer staff credo Love Diversity Tolerance Be Better.Inquirer staff actions...Let's sooo.trash Stu's retirement party and invite Inga.

  9. Sadly, Big Trial is becoming more and more like the Inquirer. It only reports on those issues which advances its own agenda and protects it favorites. And BT silences diverse voices.
    Ah well. I guess that is where journalism or whatever this is is going.

  10. Well, allowing one of the 4 comments I posted is generous, I guess. I suspect there is a "His Eminence" at BigTrial like there is one at the Inquirer. The Inquirer is a lot like the Catholic Church in the middle ages; it will tell you what to think, what information you can have, and will silence you if you speak your truth.
    Comcast is a lot like the Catholic Church - they have the CEO which is like the Pope, and the BODs, which is like the College of Cardinals, and the silence victims. The only difference is the Catholics are held accountable. Comcast...not so much.
    The Curtis Institute under the direction if Gerry Lenfest was a lot like Comcast....


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