Out-of-Town Journalists Can’t Stop Complaining About Philly

The Democratic National Convention is almost over, and some national media just can’t wait to get out of here.

Media services tent photo — several chairs are overturned

The media services desk at the Democratic National Convention, possibly after being ransacked by angry out-of-town journalists | Photo: Dan McQuade

Journalists are saying mean things about Philadelphia. Now a Philadelphia publication is writing about it. Stop the presses!

To recap: On Monday, journalists apparently realized the convention was located about four miles south of Center City, at the Wells Fargo Center. Even though every Philadelphia reporter I knew had an uneventful, quick ride home on the Broad Street Subway, out-of-towners who drove or took Uber waited a long time to get out of the arena. They complained about it on Twitter, and I wrote about it.

Philadelphians on Twitter responded to whining journalists on Twitter like they always do: With a righteous indignation that rivals that of Bernie Sanders supporters. Like Bernie-or-Busters, they care deeply about what they believe in and they do not like being mocked for their beliefs. They also have some pretty great lines. “Journalists love to fancy themselves as savvy and street-smart until they’re slightly inconvenienced,” tweeted @ArkansasFred.

Anyway, this continued. It’s not quite as bad as the infamous showing of Atlantic City during the 1964 Democratic National Convention, but there have been complaints about the city. Here’s one: David Sirota is a lefty journalist who can destroy a shady healthcare merger with his reporting but can’t seem to figure out how the Broad Street Line works.


First off, Veterans Stadium and The Spectrum were far from lavish; the former is famous as one of the biggest dumps in American sports. Second, I wrote about this a little on Tuesday: The location of the sports complex is not ideal, as you can’t really walk to it. But there is ample parking for those coming out of town — or for, say, a media tent to write this story — there is a subway line that is a 10-minute ride from Center City and the construction of the sports complex in an industrial zone displaced far fewer residents than one downtown would. One of the deader zones in Center City is the area around the Convention Center, as one side of the street is just a blank wall. To Sirota’s credit — after letting people know he was not mad, he was actually laughing — he had some fun with it.



And why not: He’s actually From Here! Though born in New Haven, Sirota grew up in Montco and went to Penn Charter. As a result, he is also a character on The Goldbergs.

Let’s move on to Gawker writer Andy Cush, who penned a story Tuesday afternoon titled, “Like The Rest of Us, NYC’s Guardian Angels Are Looking For Something To Do At The DNC. Here’s how it opened:

I was sitting eating a bland Panera sandwich, at the decidedly bland corner of Arch and Twelfth Streets in Center City Philadelphia, when I spotted a row of familiar red berets out the window. The Guardian Angels are in town!

We can’t begrudge him for saying that corner — which should really be written “12th and Arch” — is bland. As I wrote above: The area around the Convention Center isn’t amazing, though the Google StreetView there is pretty funny. We can’t begrudge him for saying Panera sandwiches are bland, either. But we can make fun of him for complaining about the food when he is literally across the street from the Reading Terminal Market.


Much like with Sirota, Cush tweeted that every Philadelphian he knew came out of the woodwork to castigate him. He, too, played the From Here card: “Both my parents are Philadelphians. The only sacred tradition in my home is when my dad puts the Eagles ornament on the xmas tree each yr.”

So we’ll cut him some slack. But few Philadelphia takes reach that of Time correspondent Phil Elliott, who tweeted these two this afternoon:

He was quickly told, in no particular order:

  • “deliberately being in your way is more important to society than anything you have done or ever will do in your entire life” — @historyinflicks
  • “the people getting groceries didnt ask for you to come and are more important than you” — @stephanproctor
  • “hey phil, i hope you stay stuck in traffic for a month” — @mikewilm
  • “You’re a fucking bellend” — @thesillyoldbear
  • “Dear Phil, from your ‘friends’ in Philadelphia, go fuck yourself” — @Dan_Benenson
  • “and you work for a publication that used to be incredibly respected, and now is a poor mans clickbait buzzfeed” — @eqloprtntyhtr
  • “I’ll make sure to clear your way, doff my cap, and bow deeply if I ever pass you in the street, milord” — @Trillburne
  • “You think your tweet is going to change the driving pattern of a city” — @KeithHudd
  • “Then feel free to get the fuck out. You can watch from afar” — @PhilaPhans
  • “what if poop was pee?” — @chevy_face (Editor’s Note: This should be “what if poop were pee?”)

Yikes! Tough crowd. People also said he was acting like an uncaring medieval king, told him he was fat and sent him lots of photos of his face. (This is a thing people do on Twitter, but it doesn’t work on me because I’m so darn pretty.) Why did people respond to him like this? Because Twitter is an impersonal platform that rewards caustic, over-the-top shaming, and because he did sound like a real jerk telling a whole city to get off the roads so he could get to the convention. But, fear not, Elliott was just trying to help. He says he worded it poorly. He even agreed it was a bad tweet. Okay, fair enough.

That’s three people we’ve pretty much let off the hook for their tweets about Philly. Is there anything absolutely indefensible someone has tweeted about the city?

Ugh. Like Elliott, Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam Smith has been hounded by Philadelphians on Twitter. Unlike Elliott, he has yet to take back what is clearly the worst take of the week. Smith has acknowledged that he “look[s] like the love child of John Elway and Gary Busey,” however.

There is a bright spot here. In three of the four examples above, the offenders were shamed into mea culpas. That, I believe, could provide a clue as to why Philadelphians are so defensive about their city: We can simply harass everyone into loving Philly! Hey, it’s worked this week. If Bernie Sanders’ supporters were as good at this as Philadelphians are, he’d have won the nomination.

Follow @dhm on Twitter.