Eleven more people were murdered in Philadelphia this weekend, bringing the city's homicide toll to 127 in the first 112 days of 2007.
Don't look for the story on the front page of the city's biggest newspaper. The Philadelphia Inquirer didn't think 11 murders in one weekend was newsworthy. The left-wing newspaper's lead story Monday is "Scandals plaguing Bush's team," which is a rehash of old news about Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove, etc.
The newspaper couldn't find room on Page 1 to report the rash of murders. But the editors did run a story on the resignation of the city's library director on A1. That's a real page turner. Hmmm. Which is more important to the lives of Philadelphians? 11 more people murdered in what is becoming the most dangerous city in America or a story about some old white guy leaving his job as library director and the internal politics of the library board?
There's also a story about how aging baby boomers will face health problems as they get older. They also have a story about traffic congestion in the suburbs (this is news?) and a profile of one of the city's mayoral candidates.
Five stories on the front page and none of them mention the 11 murders over the weekend. (And you're telling me the Inquirer didn't win any Pulitzer Prizes this year? Hard to believe.) For the record, the Inky did acknowledge the murder spree in a one-column story that ran on B1. That's 17 pages into the paper before you read about the killings.
Television journalism in Philadelphia isn't any better. If you tuned in to the TV news Sunday night, the big story wasn't the climbing death rate. It was about rising temperatures. The lead story on the big three Philadelphia TV stations was the nice weather. Yes, it's spring in Philadelphia and the weather was nice. People went outside and did outdoor things.
When will city leaders, the governor and the media elite get serious about the daily slaughter taking place on Philadelphia streets?
The 11 murders over the weekend should have been the top story on the front page of Philadelphia's daily newspaper and should be the lead story on every radio and TV newscast. The newspaper should have run mug shots of the 11 dead Philadelphians just like newspapers ran photos of the victims of last week's Virginia Tech shootings.
And somebody should inform Edward G. Rendell, the "governor of Philadelphia," that he needs to stop attending ribbon-cuttings for restaurants across the state and start paying attention to the death toll in the state's biggest city. One in six votes Rendell received in his re-election bid for governor in 2006 came from Philadelphia. Don't you think the governor should take a little more interest in the violence on Philadelphia streets?
At least one news organization is paying attention.
The Associated Press is working on a story on Philadelphia's murder rate, which far exceeds many bigger cities in the U.S. and is on pace to be the highest in a decade.
Maybe the Inquirer can pick up the AP story for its Tuesday edition. That might the only way Philadelphia newspaper readers will know there's a serious crime problem in the City of Brotherly Love.