Yoo’s New Gig: Writing Column For Philly Inquirer

May 12, 2009 7:30 a.m.

It was one thing when the Philadelphia Inquirer gave a column to hard-core right-winger Rick Santorum. But that looks like a responsible decision compared to their latest hiring…

Will Bunch, of the Philadelphia Daily News (a unit of the Inquirer), reports that in late 2008, the Inquirer quietly signed a contract with John Yoo, giving a monthly column to the architect of Bush’s torture program.Reports Bunch:

Because Yoo’s working arrangement with the Inquirer was never formally announced, even people who work here at 400 North Broad Street, the home of the Daily News and Inquirer, weren’t immediately aware (myself included)that Yoo was now a regular columnist, joining an increasingly rightward-tilting lineup that also includes the likes ex-Sen. Rick Santorum (at $1,750 a pop), Michael Smerconish, a moderate Republican who is also a forceful advocate for torture, Kevin Ferris and others.

Bunch asked the Inquirer‘s editorial page editor, Harold Jackson, about the decision, and got the following response:

John Yoo has written freelance commentaries for The Inquirer since 2005, however he entered into a contract to write a monthly column in late 2008. I won’t discuss the compensation of anyone who writes for us. Of course, we know more about Mr. Yoo’s actions in the Justice Department now than we did at the time we contracted him. But we did not blindly enter into our agreement. He’s a Philadelphian, and very knowledgeable about the legal subjects he discusses in his commentaries. Our readers have been able to get directly from Mr. Yoo his thoughts on a number of subjects concerning law and the courts, including measures taken by the White House post-9/11. That has promoted further discourse, which is the objective of newspaper commentary.

Needless to say, Bunch disagrees. And he urges readers who also feel the same way to contact the Inquirer at inquirer.letters@phillynews.com.

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