The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is calling them the “Twin Philly Scandals.”
Scandal #1: The District Attorney’s shameful persecution of four members of the Philadelphia archdiocese, unjustly convicted of child sex abuse.
Scandal #2. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s decision not to run a two-page ad in yesterday’s edition, defending said convicted child sex abusers.
The Catholic League, an aggressive and steadfast advocate for Catholic priests and laymen accused/suspected/convicted of sexually abusing minors, wrote to the Inquirer on May 14th, asking them to run a two-page ad in their May 20th edition. The paper declined. The ad accuses the “ambitious” District Attorney Seth Williams of running roughshod over fact and fairness to score a headline-grabbing case. (This would be the blockbuster case involving Msr. Lynn and three others.) Here’s what a small part of the ad looks like. I can’t show you the whole thing because it’s basically longer than the Magna Carta and resists tidy screengrabbing.
As the Catholic League points out, the cash-starved Inquirer has some balls rejecting a $58,000 ad. That’s a journalist’s salary (or two, these days). (The Inquirer offered an official “no comment” when I asked if the ad was really worth that much.) But maybe it wasn’t simply the content of the ad–which is repellant–but the format, that pushed them away. Without any pictures, it’s basically a lo-fi version of the “Sponsored Content” that’s become commonplace on news websites, including Philly Mag’s occasionally. And the last thing the Inky needs is a bunch of outraged readers thinking the editorial is its own.