Things aren’t going so great in the “City of Brotherly Love” for ad/PR guru and media maven wannabe Brian Tierney.
The front man for the purchase of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News ate a big plate of crow in February when he tossed both properties into Chapter 11. That bankruptcy filing came after seemingly never-ending rounds of cuts and concessions that sapped morale at the papers.
So how does he generate some buzz for the Inky? Why he hires the guy who provided legal justification for the CIA use of torture, of course. Inquirer editorial page director Harold Jackson says constitutional scholar and ex-Justice Dept. official John Yoo was hired to counter criticism that the Inquirer is a “knee jerk liberal publication.” Genghis Khan was unavailable.
Tierney is unfazed. Besides the torture-approval thing, Tierney notes the Yoo is a native of Philly, a bright guy, faculty member at Berkeley and went to his old school, Episcopal Academy.
There still is that torture thing.
Tierney says he got more complaints about shrinking the size of the comics than over the hiring of Yoo. That's going to change real fast.
Tierney has every right to hire whomever he wants to pen a column. And he is doubly right to say: “The most important speech to defend is the speech you hate.”
But geez, Brian, we are not talking about free speech. We are talking about a guy who can justify the use of waterboarding. What does that say about Yoo? What does it say about America? What does it tell potential enemies?
The promise of the U.S. is better than John Yoo. The Inquirer can do a lot better than providing a platform for the redemption of Yoo. The wounds of his legal memos are still very fresh.