We Bend to No One

My father Shamus taught me to always fight one more round.

Nobody can beat you if you fight one more round.

Back on January 20, 2020, I published a column on my website that introduced a new online news site called THE SCRANTON NEWS. I wrote the news. Feminist political scientist, activist and former college professor Stephanie Bressler (to whom I’m married) edited the news.

Together we took on the world. Together we reported and commented on what we witnessed. Together we provided 21st Century American outlaw journalism to our readers.

Then Covid struck.

Life changed utterly.

We went underground.

Today we’re still healthy, good citizens in our 70s, still wearing N95 masks among strangers indoors and looking forward to getting our latest booster shot. We haven’t been sick, don’t want to get sick and don’t want to make anybody else sick.

We’re fighting one more round.

We’re also resurrecting THE SCRANTON NEWS with a new name and supercharged mission.  

The Scranton City News is born.

Our logo is the black shamrock. Discovered by stouthearted Druids thousands of years ago, the plant sprouted from rugged cracks in harsh cliffs on the raw western edge of Ireland. Rising to life in tough terrain, this dark three-leaf clover bent to no one.

We bend to no one.

That includes politicians, public relations flacks, business hacks and untrustworthy descendants of hard coal country robber barons, people who never cared about people and still don’t — coddled gentry who expect to forever control Scranton progress for their “own kind”  of self-absorbed elite establishment types.

Northeastern Pennsylvania media fails to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Lazy, timid and predictable, shallow news stories and cute columns lack depth no matter how many journalism awards tedious editorial managers claim. Local television network news affiliates spend more time digging into dog and cat survivor stories than investigating tales of struggle from combat veterans suffering PTSD.

Don’t expect aggressive news coverage and commentary from the pseudo-hip “news executives” who run the Scranton Times-Tribune now owned and operated by dull company men and cutthroat carpetbaggers from a Wall Street hedge fund. Don’t expect bureaucratic clerks of fact masquerading as reporters or the laziest feature-writing columnist in America to hold the powerful accountable for betraying the public trust.

The Scranton City News will challenge the masters. As knights of truth we’ll face the fire-breathers. We’ll slay the lies. And we’ll do it for free. No advertisers need apply.

Like radical pamphleteers during the Revolutionary War, we’ll publish when the need arises. As guerrilla irregulars we declare independence from corrupt and incompetent government and media the way Thomas Paine advocated “Common Sense” in 1776.

Both Paine’s missives and The Scranton City News exhibit a radical democratic spirit. In these revolutionary times, as Paine fought monarchy, we’ll fight American business and political royalty that believes peasants have no say in the way we’re marketed or governed, that only bloated plutocrats with money and power are entitled to access.

The Scranton City News will fight their power.

Look for street reporting and political commentary, societal self-defense against liberal or conservative attacks on logic and reason. Although we’re registered to vote, we’re neither Democrats nor Republicans. We bow to no political party. The Scranton City News is disruptive, rude, argumentative, biased and proud of it.

We are the enemy of the people who try to keep us silent, censored and stupid.

I’m specifically talking about sacred political blowhards like my Scranton Hill Section neighbor U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, U.S. Sen. John Fetterman, Gov. Josh Shapiro, and even “that scrappy kid from Scranton” President Joe Biden — all Democrats who should know better.

Into his fourth year as president, Biden has not yet granted an interview to a Scranton journalist. Although I’ve asked several times over the years in writing to speak with the President, White House staff ignored my requests. I’ve interviewed former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in the past. And Biden once called into my talk radio show during the time he served as a senator.

Maybe the old boy just isn’t up to the job.

Tell “Scranton Joe” to expect our call.

Donald Trump and his species better beware as well. We fought them before and we’ll fight them again. Save me a seat at Trump’s next rally, inauguration or sentencing — whatever comes first.

If anyone questions my credentials, I’m a state and national journalism award winner. I bring personal references from some of this nation’s most respected print and broadcast journalists, including at least one Pulitzer Prize winner, as well as the former British Sky News editor who hired me to provide daily live international commentary at the 2005 Michael Jackson child molestation trial in California.

One continuing battle here in Biden’s birthplace pits the annual Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Lackawanna County all-male dinner against equal opportunity for women. For more than a century, these lugs have banned women from their event unless the females are serving beer, ham, cabbage and potatoes. So brainwashed are countless local women by this bigoted tradition, they condone, justify and enable such shameful behavior from this gaggle of male chauvinist Paddy’s pigs,

After Scranton voters elected Paige Gebhardt Cognetti as the city’s first woman mayor in a special 2019 election and then elected her in a landslide to a full term in 2021, the Friendly Sons buckled and invited her to be the first woman to address the fete at a virtual dinner held online because of the Covid pandemic. In 2022 the lads invited her again. A smiling Cognetti happily addressed the brotherhood, relieved nobody in the press asked if she and a new female county judge were the only connected women guests the men allowed into the room.

He-man misogynists last year decided not to invite Cognetti and the judge. Cognetti went to the press for help, eventually refusing to attend when the lads issued what she considered a grudging and insincere invite. The judge also went elsewhere.

This year’s 118th dinner returns to downtown Scranton Saturday for the first time in 40 years. Will the Friendly Sons invite Cognetti? If so, will she attend even if the bully boys ban other women? Will Cognetti, who won her historic bid to office thanks to women, try to have her cabbage and eat it, too?

Read all about it Thursday — only in The Scranton City News.