Thursday, January 12, 2017
Print Media Plays Catch-Up in Sara Packer Case
Those days are gone. Despite being supplied with taxpayer subsidized offices, the coverage that daily newspapers provides concerning county government is abysmal. The Express Times has failed to send a reporter to cover NorCo government for months.It's been over a year since a real reporter, as opposed to a freelancer, has been there.The Morning Call is only slightly better. It still sends a real reporter to cover most Council meetings, but is absent or late from numerous committee meetings. WFMZ-TV69 has a reporter at every meeting, and sends someone to cover many of the townships and boroughs as well. One news source is still making an effort to hold government accountable
While the daily newspaper coverage has been shallow or nonexistent, just the way government likes it, TV reporting has grown by leaps and bounds. DA John Morganelli actually commended WFMZ-TV69 over its coverage of the Stockertown firing range, which eventually led to the prosecution of the person responsible for firing at people's homes.
The coverage that WFMZ-TV69 and NBC10 provided of the Sara Packer prosecution has caught print media flat-footed. I have told you that NBC10's Deanna Durante first reported about Sara Packer's employment as an adoption supervisor on December 28, but WFMZ-TV69 made the connection even earlier, on December 23. Despite having their own taxpayer-subsidized offices at the courthouse, both dailies yawned and celebrated Christmas. Only this week have they begun to cover an important story, and one that includes a county administration that is unwilling to do anything to reassure the public or defend beleaguered caseworkers.
Because of all the cutbacks, the only reporters left at the dailies are those who've been conditioned to keep their heads down and not speak out.The ones who did ended up at WFMZ-TV69.
So Tuesday, when Willie Reynolds was presenting his eight-point Bethlehem 2017 plan, one of the reporters asked whether anything had happened to prompt him to recommend campaign finance limits. What she was really asking is whether the shitstorm he took over Martin Tower made him realize he needed to do something. But she couldn't ask that question. She's learned to keep her head down.
And so it goes.
This and other blogs attempt to hold power accountable, but we lack the audience. Ironically,the persons they used to sneer at are doing what they once did.
When that stops, this democracy will officially be dead.