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Making Sense of Philly Mayor 'Shooting the Messenger' After Pope's Visit

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Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter at a news conference where he accuses the media of scaring people away from the Pope's visit

Philadelphia’s mayor was critical of how the media covered Pope Francis’ trip to his city, saying the media scared people away by talking about the crowds. We ask Poynter’s Kelly McBride if this is another case of "shooting the messenger."

The big news recently was His Holiness, the Pope, making a grand tour of the U.S. His final stop was in Philadelphia, where huge crowds greeted the pontiff. But apparently that wasn't enough for The City of Brotherly Love's Mayor, Michael Nutter, who took a shot at the news media:

"I think in so many instances, the reporting of the information we put out - because we don't write the stories, we put out information - I think the reporting on this was detrimental to the mindset of many Philadelphians and others," Nutter said. "I think in many instances, you scared the s---t out of many of us with these stories, - I'm sorry."

Undereath that bleep was one of the 7 dirty words you can't say on radio. And to talk about his diatribe against the 4th Estate, we're talking with Poynter's Kelly McBride.

My first question: the mayor was apparently ticked off at the media enough where he used this most unholy of words - but maybe he does have a point - are we guilty of being Debbie Downers and accentuating the negative?

Not really, she says.

Also, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell disagreed with the mayor's assertion.

“They did things very, very well on the one hand. On the other hand, we’re starting to get tremendous blowback, and not just from reporters,” Rendell said of Nutter’s administration, according to CBS3. “The reporters just basically reported what the Secret Service and the Mayor and the Police Commissioner said. I don’t think they can be blamed in creating fear in people’s minds.”


Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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