Wednesday, July 8, 2009


To the residents of Phoenixville,

I began writing for the Phoenix as a freelance contributor in January of this past year. Recently I’ve had the fortune of stepping into the role of political columnist and have been very sincere in my efforts to write truthfully about what I hear the various people I encounter want to know about.

In a short time I’ve developed a healthy list of critics.

A few days ago management at the Phoenix buckled under the pressure applied by the phone calls and emails of my critics and censored my reporting by pulling my story about library expansion from its internet archive.

Not the editor, Leann Pettit, or the general manager of the Phoenix, Alexander Gould, called me to explain that there were some prominent people in town that had a problem with my reporting. I discovered the truth I’d reported had been censored only on my own. When I called to speak with Alexander to find out why, I never received a return call.

The actions by the Phoenix—censoring credible news when prominent individuals take issue with the reporting, and their lack of respect for me as loyal partner for the past 6 months—show that the organization is missing professionalism and backbone.

I write to encourage anyone who appreciates my political contributions to the Phoenix to call and write Alexander Gould and Leann Pettit and express your dissatisfaction with their suspect censorship. Let them know you appreciate news even when it doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy feeling. Demand from them an apology for censoring truthful political reporting.
I don't know if my reporting is exactly one sided, but if anyone takes issues with any of my reporting I can only share with them that I have very limited resources and time to gather facts and can only report on what I am able to get my hands on. I can't help that one side seems to be willing to share information and opinion more than the other.
You all deserve an apology from the Phoenix. So write and call and express you outrage over their censorship. After you get the apology you deserve, find a new place for real news and real reporting—I promise you without me it won’t be there.


Joe Rooney


Anonymous said...

I wrote to the editor of the Phoenix when an article was published in the Tri-County Record online but not the Phoenix. The statistics shown on the Journal Registers own web counters have articles written my Mr. Rooney as top "eyeball getters". It makes no sense for the Journal Register or the Phoenix to mess with what little success outside of local kids sports reporting they are having getting readers.

Anonymous said...

The piece still shows up at

Karen said...

Anonymous 10:43 a.m., I checked your link, and it is now operative.

Personally, I have received several emails regarding an inoperative link to Mr. Rooney's article over the last few days.

I can verify Joe's contention that the former link did not work, and I still have the emails which alerted me to the situation.

Here is the direct link to the article:

I have removed a portion of the header to reflect this update.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that they removed the comments posted after the article. I wonder if that is why it was temporarily removed?

I hope Joe Rooney continues his coverage of the library expansion. He has a straightforward and honest writing style. I look forward to more of his columns.

Anonymous said...

I can't deny that a url exists, but I can not find a link or heading for the article if I begin looking for the article at the home and news page of the Phoenix. Seems like censorship to me. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

If you go to and do a search for "library" you'll see the article at the top of the list. There are no comments.

Anonymous said...

"very limited resources and time to gather facts and can only report on what I am able to get my hands on"

Joe, you shouldn't report then. It's best to have all the facts, then some. Without it, reporting is reckless. And it's not like the Phoenix is publishing everyday either.

Anonymous said...

From the most recent article to be found at
"To follow proceedings as they happen, or to stand before Borough representatives to voice your opinion, you can attend the next Planning Committee meeting scheduled for July 9th at 7pm in the Municipal Building."

Anonymous said...

Do we still live in a Democracy or is this Communist China & Russia.Joe,I hope this pisses you off and makes you even more determined to uncover the truth about the LIE-BERRY,Holy Ghost & the Parking Authority.See who the complaintants were and then will we know where the conspiracy's LIE.If the papers don't want the truth ,put it on these blogs because it seems that this is where the truth is and not in some fluff piece that the editors want.All these out of towners running these organizations have council in their pocket and none of them pay boro taxes.Keep this crap in their township (SCHUYLKILL)and let their residents pay for it.It's time for the boro residents to stand up like OJR & get a backbone to uncover the inept ELECTED morons on School Board and Council that make these dumb a$$ decisions.

gwen said...

I assume that the "prominent" people are associated with the library. If that is so, then what is that saying about the function of the library in Phoenixville? That agents from an entity (the library) whose entire reason for existence lies in the free dissemination of information to all citizens would insist that statements made by a citizen in a newspaper (a constitutionally protected entity)be obliterated because it does not suit their purposes is shameful and more.

This issue is a very serious one, this censorship. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are basic principles of our lives in this country. If it does happen that the library representatives are so thin-skinned that they cannot handle criticism of their mis-statements, then perhaps resignation would be a good idea.

If untrue statements are being touted as truth and repeated enough so that people believe it just to get a building built, then perhaps it is time that some folks react to that. Truthiness only works for a short period, and that time is gone.

Anonymous said...

This newspaper has been wimpy for several years now. It is not hard to believe they folded to pressure. Free speech is slowly fading in our small twons and across the country as well. Political correctness and apathy prevail with only the bullies getting their way. At the top of which slippery slope are we perched as a nation? Shut up and go with the flow. Don't make waves and for God's sakes don't think and express those thoughts publicly!

Anonymous said...

After this story broke became interested in what else the Phoenix might be hiding and performed a search for Barry Cassidy on their web site--surprisingly, for a guys who's been covered in the press as heavily as he has for the last several years, only 17 items come up under the search. Where's all of the other stuff?

Anonymous said...

I don't think they are hiding anything. I just think they are a mess.
My opinion regarding this free Saturday paper? By the time Saturday rolls around, whatever news in the paper is old news and whatever activities reported on are on the same day the paper comes out, leaving very little time for people to plan to attend, etc. IMHO the paper should come out on Wednesday.