Those who awoke Sunday to a morning constitutional, a cup of coffee, and a dose of Harry Deitz were treated to what might seem like gloating.
Under a column headlined "Editor envy is somewhat of an honor," the editor, Harry Deitz, bloviated at great length about how "some of the second-guessers and critics envy my job, because they don't hesitate to share how well they could do it."
Come on, really? Nobody could fulfill the duties of editor quite like Harry Deitz because while readers might think the role of a newspaper is to report the news, in fact, Sir harry reveals, "Our simple agenda is to make our community a better place to live."
So why doesn't the Reading Eagle spill a little ink on the move to open a community health center in Reading to serve thousands of poor people?
Steve Reinbrecht, a former staffer, asked that very question in a letter to the editor that criticized the saturation coverage given instead to the rehab center for the stars, the Caron Foundation:
I don’t understand the news judgment here. Why does the paper feature a boutique center that I expect will serve mostly wealthy people, perhaps from all over the country or world, rather than something that will more effectively improve the health of the entire community?
You will not read that paragraph in the morning paper.
That's because editorial page editor Jim Homan shot back to Steve, "I can’t use the portion where you’re questioning our news judgment. The publisher will not allow that.”
Sadly, it seems, despite the editor's "opportunity to have a significant, positive and lasting impact" in "a job that many people would love to have," one power the editor does not have is determining what will be published on the editorial page in the letters to the editor.
That is the role of the meddlesome publisher, who simply cannot allow the decisions of his staff to be challenged. Or else it is a simple way for Homan to pass the buck.
Either way, it makes the conclusion of the Deitz piece on editor envy particularly ludicrous: "That's why we listen to our critics and take some pride in how important they consider our jobs as editors."