WHYY: Philadelphia Media Network killed two stories about potential buyer of company

WHYY’s Newsworks
Dave Davies writes that he has more evidence — a photo of the Inquirer’s budget for the Tuesday paper — that the management of Philadelphia Media Network has quashed news stories about a potential buyer of the company. The Inquirer planned to write about Bart Blatstein’s group after it issued a press release Monday, but “the story was spiked,” according to Davies. On Tuesday, spokesman Mark Block asked that a Daily News blog post about Blatstein’s group be removed and replaced with the company’s statement that it wasn’t negotiating with the buyers. A Daily News story for Wednesday’s paper was also spiked, Davies writes.

What’s really amazing about all this is that it’s hard to imagine how the owners of Philadelphia Media Network would be harmed by some simple, straight-ahead reporting on the Blatstein group.

The existence of the partnership and its ambitions would be noted for the public record, a response from the company would be included, and the papers’ owners would be free to engage or ignore the group as they choose.

I asked Block Thursday by email about the spiked Inquirer stories; he said he had no comment.

The Inquirer ended up publishing a story about Blatstein’s group on Wednesday; it said the bidding period may have ended already. The Daily News also published a story on Thursday.

Earlier, Jim Romenesko reported that the Inquirer deleted a paragraph from a story about the buyer group headed by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. The paragraph said that the sellers “would be fortunate” to get a bid as high as $100 million, reported to be their goal. More realistic: $40 million.

Related: Philly Guild files grievance over spiked stories | Philebrity asks Blatstein, “Why do you think PMN tried to kill the story about your group yesterday?” His response: “I don’t know. (Philebrity) || Earlier: If Rendell’s group buys the paper, “the Fourth Estate in Philly will essentially cease to exist as a serious journalistic enterprise.” (Philadelphia magazine) | Did first phase for Philly papers sale end last week?

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  • http://lubetkinsotherblog.blogspot.com PodcastSteve

    This is reminiscent of the era when the Inquirer was owned by Walter Annenberg and he decreed that the paper could not mention the name of the then-sitting governor of Pennsylvania, Milton Schaap, who was a Democrat. It was also during Annenberg’s ownership that the now notorious Harry Karafin blackmailed the rich and powerful to keep scandalous articles about them from being published. The wonderfully talented, award winning journalists at both newspapers must be miserable about this terrible behavior by their owners.