Those of you who have been following my posting for the last few weeks are familiar with my contempt for the “Save the Library” movement that sprung up in Philly last month. My column this week visits the media’s role in this story:
What happened was a parade of histrionics that defied rational thinking. Teachers proclaimed that the only way — the only way — they could inspire their kids was by sending them to the library. Closing certain branches, “experts” told us, would create a “period of adjustment” that would cause untold discomfort because each branch has its own “character” that cannot be replaced. Large-eyed innocent waifs asserted that the library is a great place to go because it “changes kids’ futures.”
Grown men actually wept for the local news crews.
There were demonstrations, pickets, and angry protests, seemingly every day.
And news cameras were everywhere filming it all and projecting it into homes all around the Delaware Valley. Here was a warm and fuzzy cause everyone could get behind; here was a cause everyone could agree was worthy; here was a cause everyone could feel good about supporting. And for the media, here were the ratings.
With the local media behind them, lawsuits were filed. In this media circus, which judge wants to be the scrooge who denies the heart’s desire of crying men, noble teachers and the chilllldruuuun? Thus, it came as no surprise that an injunction was granted preventing the closure of the 11 library branches and granting the courts a veto power over the Philadelphia budget, which I’m not sure that can be found in the city’s constitution.
Read it all here.