Patriot News Does 180, Headline Calls Reed “Scam Artist”

Remember a few years ago when I’d bang my head against the desk for the repeated lauding the Patriot News would bestow on former Mayor Stephen Reed?

It seemed like Reed couldn’t fart without writers like John Luciew calling it something like “a new fragrant aroma to fill the air of the city of Harrisburg”

Back when the Sports Hall of Fame, Capitol View Commerce Center, The Incinerator, Restaurant Row and dozens more projects were announced that never came to fruition were “s’poda” be saviors of Harrisburg’s economic crunch, The Patriot News (and it’s website, PennLive) would write accolade after accolade for the man dubbed “Mayor For Life” during his 28 year reign at City Hall.

Interviews, profiles, editorials, endorsements and features would make one think that Stephen Reed was the Messiah, once here to rescue this riverbank city from it’s own devices, demographic disparity and limited tax base. But today, Heather Long sung a different tune with regard to the former leader.

In a long-overdue editorial in today’s Patriot News, Long said this about Reed: “…it’s hard not to wonder how different Harrisburg might be if the mayor who left the city with a financial mess and a smoke-drenched office to clean up had been in office a lot fewer years.”

Which, if you’ve been reading the Patriot News for the past few years, would likely leave you scratching your head as well.

One may argue that print media and traditional newspapers are in the twilight of their lives, on a life support system powered by the traffic these sites get from the comment sections and local fluff pieces. But after citizen activists like Eric Papenfuse, Bill Cluck, Jim Roxbury, Tara Auchey and this blogger have been beating the “Reed fucked up!” drum for the past several years, it’s about friggin’ time the Patriot got on board.

Maybe they’re taking a cue from the huge web traffic they garnered with the Sandusky scandal and realizing that they’re better off reporting the truth and doing actual investigative journalism than piggy-backing off the AP or placating the local good-ole-boys.

There are probably a hundred angles the Patriot can take when talking about the three decades of fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement this city has suffered from. And probably hundreds of charges that can (and hopefully will) be levied on the people who drove us into this ditch.

But the local newspaper cannot live on the fence. They must take a stand and REPORT on what has actually happened inside Harrisburg city hall over the past thirty years.

And Heather Long took a step in the right direction today.

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