What Ed Rendell Says To A Rando On The Street And To The “Real” Press Are Two Totally Different Things
When freelance writer Laura Goldman sent us this post on Saturday boldly proclaiming that she’d run into former Governor Ed Rendell on the street and — surprise! — he was no longer interested in purchasing the Inquirer and Daily News after all, we immediately knew something was rotten in Denmark. For so many reasons. Among the main ones: A seasoned veteran of (being in) the news like Rendell knows how to break a story (especially when it’s about himself) and that there is a pecking order in news organizations; you don’t just drop a bombshell like that on some random blogger on the street. This, after all, is why guys like Rendell, Ed Snider, Johnny Doc, et al, are so interested in basically owning the news cycle here to begin with.
Still, you can understand why Rendell might have been queered off the sale, even momentarily. With Philadelphia Media Network journalists essentially in revolt at the very thought of the deal (as well as the early-warning of top-down censorship that accompanied news of it), the issue was already an unholy mess for Fast Eddie, before he began his fateful Saturday stroll around town. And what a stroll it must have been: He also encountered Daily News reporter David Gambacorta on Saturday, telling him the deal “probably won’t happen” and that he was “sickened” by that piece in the Times which, you know, essentially told the truth. On Saturday, Rendell had felt so beaten down by all of it that he’d say anything to get away from the conversation, especially if it was to some lady on the street who may or may not have claimed to be a reporter in the first place. (Can you blame him? Can’t a man just have a Saturday?)
By the time the weekend came to an end, however, Rendell did what decades in politics had taught him to do: Recanted the story, said the deal was still underway, and assailed the reputation of a reporter. Which, in this case, if we’re to be honest, was not a difficult thing to do, the irony here being that this whole blowup over the weekend came at the hands of a “citizen reporter,” which in this day and age, papers like the DN and Inky are supposed to be the antidote to. Further irony: All of this hullaballoo over the last few weeks, and the PMN sale is still, always and ever shall be, a media-on-media story. Outside of media folks, it’s been pretty hard to find anybody in the civilian world at this point who cares about any of this at all.
By Sunday night, all was returned to order: Rendell said he’d swear off commenting about the sale from here on out, and various handwringing victim poses on the part of established PMN journos had resumed. The end. For now.