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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tony Phyrillas: LV Ramblings a "Left Wing Attack Blog"

Tony Phyrillas, a Mount Penn Borough councilman seeking reelection, is also a "veteran newspaperman with 25 years experience" as a reporter, city editor and columnist at The Pottstown Mercury. The online edition of that paper recommends Tony's blog.

You'd think a "veteran newspaperman with 25 years experience" would avoid anything that would compromise his journalistic integrity. Yet on Saturday, Phyrillas thought nothing of posting a series of jokes lifted in their entirety from the Internet. He misrepresented them as his own work product.

No one should have to tell a journalist or blogger it's wrong to plagiarize. But just in case someone was napping in journalism school, the Society of Professional Journalists contains that little piece of advice in its code of ethics.

In fact, that code goes a bit further. Journalists should:

— Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

— Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.

Until I complained about Phyrillas the Plagiarist yesterday, this "veteran newsman" linked to a blog promoting his reelection. He quickly removed it after Chris Casey pointed it out in a comment to my post. Tony still maintains a link to another of his blogs, which promotes the Mount Penn GOP.

Instead of making a correction or clarification to his offending post, Tony just added a prefatory comment, admitting he picked the stuff up somewhere. According to Rebecca's Pocket, changing or deleting an entry destroys the integrity of the network. Phyrillas should have done a correction.

I don't know. Maybe it's not plagiarism in the People's Republic of Pottstown. Maybe reporters there can just wing it.

Now my criticism of Phyrillas has nothing to do with ideology. He could be a Tory for all I care. Yet his spin is that a "left wing attack blog" trying to knock him down a few pegs.

And he's right.

We had a secret meeting Sunday night, and I'm the grand wizard. We dress in red robes, and next week, we'll be launching a prank phone call campaign.


Blah Society said...

"We had a secret meeting Sunday night, and I'm the grand wizard. We dress in red robes, and next week, we'll be launching a prank phone call campaign."

I'll bring the brownies this time!

Are we having the meeting in your mom's basement again?

Bernie O'Hare said...


Gort said...

Did you clear this with Kos?

LVDem said...

Bernie, I'd suggest avoiding Kos on this matter. Kos is a liberal blog and I'd recommend staying away from them while dealing with this. Just my recommendation. It gives the right winger credibility in his claim. Right now, his claim is worthless considering your relentless pursuit of several local D's.

Anonymous said...

I'm very surprised to see his blogsite listed as number three on Blog Net News. After reading several of the entries, I am not that impressed. It's not horrible, but certainly not something I'd expect of a professional journalist - mediocre is a better description, I think.

Bernie O'Hare said...


Dude, I'm pretty sure Gort was just screwin' around.

What Phyrillas does not know or want to know is that I'm a purist when it comes to blogging. We are a new form of media, and have very little credibility. When Phyrillas plagiarizes or makes a bogus clarification, he damages the credibility of us all.

And you're right, I've gone after some other bloggers on "my team" when I've had serious issues with their practices. They aren't professional journalists either, yet I think I was rougher with them and for less cause. We're going thru growing pains so it is understandable when it comes from amateurs like us. Yet those folks eventually understood where I was coming from.

Our strength is our weakness. We are more or less raw and unfiltered, and there is no editorial control. We can get things out quickly, but sometimes we can make big mistakes.

In Phyrillas case, he is a professional journalist, and really should know better. He flat out plagiarized. I can't think of a reporter in the LV who would ever knowingly do that, and who wouldn't be mortified at the suggestion. Yet this dude's an editor, and apparently there are no consequences for his ethical lapse. Because of that, I could never rely on his newspaper for anything. It has no credibility to me.

Also, it's completely unethical for him to be a city editor yet hold a partisan public office and have his newspaper link to his blog, where all his election blogs are listed. Do you think that a MC reporter would be allowed to sit on Allentown city council? Do you think the ET editor would be permitted to run for Northampton County council? God, the MC disciplined a columnist whose sole sin was to act as grand marshall at a gay pride parade. They'd rather get into legal trouble with the columnist than have someone challenge their journalistic integrity.

And if for some ungodly reason mainstream reporters and editors were allowed to seek public office, do you think their newspapers would permit them to link to their election blogs?

As far as I'm concerned, he's completely unethical.

Sorry for going on.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I'm afraid I agree.

Blah Society said...


Don't be sorry for "going on" with all of that. I completely agree with what you write.

This feels like Journalism 101 all over again. I suppose Phyrillas skipped the first week of that class.

river said...

whether Bernie is left or right wing, he is one of the best taxpayer watchdogs we have ever had in the Lehigh Valley. And he doesn't stay left or right either.. he does what is best for everyone. How can anyone complain about that!

river said...

Bernie said "God, the MC disciplined a columnist whose sole sin was to act as grand marshall at a gay pride parade." FUNNY THING..... That Gay Parade was sponsored by the Merge or Pulse newspaper, or one similar, and that paper was sponsored by the Morning Call!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Bernie probably remembers which one it was. I cant remember what the paper was but it was connected with the MC. I love LV history and I loved FW columns in the MC every weekend. The MC didn't just screw Frank they screwed all us history lovers in the Lehigh Valley. Thanks

river said...

frank or fred.. thats what the MC did to me

river said...

where the heck is Mount Penn anyway???

Blah Society said...

Merge is by The Morning Call.

PA progressive said...

Mt. Penn is just outside Reading. The place where the pagoda sits is Mount Penn and the borough lies at it's foot.

Phyrillis also routinely steals photos and pictures from the web without credit, attribution or links.

Now, as far as these meetings go, please remember, it's George Soros who pays us all and it's PINK robes we wear, not red. Oh, and those brownies? Get some better grass this time...please. That last batch did nothing for me.

Bernie O'Hare said...

PaPro, I read your excellent post at BerksDems. You can be damn sure I'll be mentioning what you said about the pic. I actually thought the pic was one that Phyrillas took of the gift he was given. Oh yeah, that's another odd thing. Most reporters don't accept gifts, either.

I'll make sure to tell my supplier, a prison guardf, that we need better grass this time.

Bernie O'Hare said...


I appreciate your kind words. I took one of those tests a few months ago to determine my ideology. I came back a frickin' solcialist!

I'm not sure where I am. Some of my views are very left wing, but for some reason, I really admire a lot of the people on the right and completely agree with fiscal restraint when possible. So I'm a mixed bag, I guess. I know I really resent when people tow the party line, whether on the left or right. I'm a Dem but I'll vote for an R if I think he or she is a better candidate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:52, I'm working on Severson. It takes time and I do happen to have a full time job. I have to squeeze in the LC elections office and possibly Bucks County before I warap it up. I'm 70% done. Unless you want to pay me for this research, you better be patient.

Anonymous said...

I'll wait. How much $ do you want to get it done quicker. I thought you were on the take. Anyways....any new news on any local candidates? Nazareth, Bethlehem, Easton?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 10:04,

It should have been done but there's always a lot going on.

Chris said...

just look at the amount of comments on this site compared to his...his blog refreshing every 10 seconds may just be altering his traffic numbers a little

Chris said...

and bernie, the pottstown mercury is a local joke of a newspaper. it is miles behind the reading eagle or morning call, let alone the freaking philadelphia daily news.

it's basically a local yokel rag