Former Gov. Ed Rendell usually loves the spotlight. But after a week of harsh criticism in the news, he’s angry and he’s not talking to the press anymore.
Reporters at the Daily News, Inquirer and Philly.com last week blew the lid off of alleged censorship by their parent company whenever they tried to report on a group of investors that is trying to buy the media company.
Speculation that the investors, led by former Gov. Ed Rendell, would meddle with the freedom of the local press, as the group already appeared to have influence on the reporting of its possible purchase of the newspapers, has Rendell “mad as hell,” reports the Daily News.
"I'm not going to talk to anybody any more. I'm done," Rendell told the Daily News. "You're going to have to waterboard me to get me to say anything."
Articles and columns were written by multiple news sources last week about the allegations made by reporters of the Philadelphia Media Network. In a statement signed by 300 newsroom employees Friday, reporters voiced concerns about a possible change in ownership of PMN and expressed “dismay” over how they said coverage of the sale process was “compromised and censored” when management allegedly demanded that paragraphs and full articles about the plans of Rendell’s group be removed from Philly.com or not reported at all.
“As the only business mentioned in the Bill of Rights, newspapers serve more than private ends,” the reporters’ statement said. “The news we publish is crucial to civic life, to holding the powerful accountable, to democracy itself.”
Philadelphia Media Network chief executive officer and publisher Greg Osberg responded with his own statement, expressing support for the journalists’ “clear message” but disagreeing that censorship had occurred.
Rendell evidently has not appreciated the recent press coverage, as he told the Daily News that he and his investors are simply “trying to save the company.”
An article in the New York Times and a blog post by writer Laura Goldman, who says the “Rendellization of the paper has started,” topped Rendell’s list of anger sources, reports the Daily News.
Rendell was furious that the Times “gratuitously” referenced the time Rendell wrapped his hands around Inquirer reporter Amy Rosenthal during an interview, and the former governor claims he did not know that Laura Goldman was a reporter when he spoke to her.
Goldman says that she’s known Rendell for 30 years and she has interviewed him several times, reports the Daily News.
Despite his promises to give the media the silent treatment, Rendell told the Daily News that his investor group is still pursuing the purchase of PMN.