Philadelphia Newspapers’ Tierney, Will Bunch Talk Yoo Controversy on Philly Radio

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By: E&P Staff

Nonprofit Philadelphia radio station WHYY FM sat down with Philadelphia Newspapers CEO Brian Tierney and Philadelphia Daily News Senior Writer Will Bunch on Tuesday to discuss their differences of opinion on John Yoo, an author of the Bush administration’s widely criticized legal memos on harsh interrogation techniques.

WHYY posted a full transcript of the show Thursday afternoon. Some excerpts:

TIERNEY: “I mean, everyone knew what [Yoo’s] role was in the Justice Department for quite some time and the fact that he hasn?t been indicted or he hasn?t been convicted of anything. It?s funny. I?m going to be blunt with you. I?m not encouraging more e-mails. But in terms of the amount of traffic that I?ve received on this issue. Although we talk about it a certain amount, in terms of really, in terms of my mailbox. Not a huge amount of mail. And also I as publisher of this paper, like for instance, I?ve received hundreds of emails a year about Will or Dick Polman that they are too darned liberal. I mean 99 to 1 of the comments I get from readers is that our paper is too liberal. And I?ve never gone to Will or his editor or Dick Polman and said tone it down. I wouldn?t want anyone like Will or Dick Polman to at all think. Gee is Brian trying to send me a message. I want them to paint in the boldest of all possible colors. I want a John Yoo to come in and ? not to defend the memorandums which is what he hasn?t been doing ? but just talking about issues of politics. Constitutional law. Where he is a noted expert. And I?m all for that. I want our editorial page at the end of a week or two weeks I want every person who picks it up to love certain things and absolutely hate certain things. If you can go two weeks with looking at our editorial page and not see something you hated we haven?t done our job.”

BUNCH: “You have to understand that the hiring of John Yoo is what they, in tennis they would call an unforced error. I think if the Inquirer or the Daily news where I work, if the papers are covering the issue of torture. Yes we need to know why the administration felt this was justified but I think as a broad editorial policy I think there?s an opportunity to take a more a moral stand, a more forceful stand.”

The end of the exchange? A tongue-in-cheek “You’re fired, Will,” from Tierney.

Check it out, here.

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