This Just In: A look at local news online and on the tube. | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This Just In: A look at local news online and on the tube.

The marquee of the Zion Lutheran Church of Brentwood
The marquee of the Zion Lutheran Church of Brentwood

Flaming Moderate 

KDKA money-and-politics editor Jon Delano, a self-described “flaming moderate,” has an active (and flaming) Twitter presence. Critics are accusing him of race-baiting. Recently, he posted a photo of Trayvon Martin flipping the bird with the caption, “Gun jury found #Zimmerman used in self defense against attack by #TrayvonMartin now up for auction? Whadya think?” 

Erin Ninehouser decided to tell him. Ninehouser, co-director of, a nonprofit “fighting the toxic effects of inflammatory media,” has called him out repeatedly. “It’s a shame that a respected local journalist like Delano feels like he has to mimic the inflammatory Fox ‘News’ style to get attention. Similar to Hannity and O’Reilly, who use the ‘we’re just asking questions, folks!’ cover to push conspiracy theories and prey on racial animus.”

Delano’s Twitter bio (@jondelano) reads, Just a regular dude who has worked a lot of great jobs, enjoys a good debate, RTs stories I disagree with just [to] stir the pot, and hates PC when it limits speech. “I’m a First Amendment absolutist,” Delano tells CP. “I may disagree vehemently with your point of view, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. I think the First Amendment is key to a healthy democracy. If people are not free to speak their views, however abhorrent those views are to some, then you put at risk our democratic foundation.” 

Flagrant Oversight

Speaking of democratic foundations, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette opted out of endorsing a U.S. presidential candidate, but its editorial board did take time from its busy day to scrutinize new Philippines president Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte (“The flagrant Filipino”), demonstrating its solid commitment to Pittsburgh’s 400 or so Filipino-identifying citizens, and that it really knows how to tap into a demographic.

In the final paragraph of the unsigned editorial, Duterte is compared to Donald Trump: “Both can validly be considered political outliers and potty-mouth speakers, but there the comparison ends. Mr. Duterte has governed a tough, multicultural city of 1.5 million for 22 years, having been elected seven times. Mr. Trump has no previous such experience.” 

Wise words, if Duterte were facing Trump this fall. Was this a non-endorsement of Trump wrapped inside a critique of a president 8,500 miles away? More importantly, how many licks DOES it take to get to the center of a Post-Gazette unsigned editorial?

Beat the Other Stations!

On May 16, KDKA touted a story this way: “Prevent or even beat cancer!” In the promo, Susan Koeppen says, “Hey everybody, serious subject to talk about. We’re talking about cancer …”  Dr. Maria Simbra, KDKA’s health editor, proceeds to report on “studies” on the correlation between cancer survival and exercise, and “possibilities,” and speaks to a doctor who is “hopeful.” In Simbra’s wrap-up, she says, “Still, a lot of unknowns about exercise and cancer …”

Being so flippant in a promo, as though this were a story on a new toothpaste, is both misleading and irresponsible. 

Rust Belt Bieber

The online magazine Glassblock, founded by Adam Shuck and David Bernabo, has launched! It promises “a platform to showcase the truly compelling and distinctive things happening here while simultaneously — crucially — not shying away from pointing out the work that’s still left to do.”

The magazine includes the humor column “Pittsburgh, In Theory,” by Bartholomew Q. Kryzinski, which considers the internet’s various questions about Pittsburgh through the lens of post-structuralist critical theory.” (Yes, I said “humor.”) The column poses the question, “Are there any celebrities that ‘live’ in Pittsburgh?”

Kryzinski responds, “That woman on the 54C wearing Steelers leggings and a Pirates jersey in a snowstorm? She is the next Kardashian of Appalachia. Your neighbor sitting in a broken folding chair in his parking spot? The Rust Belt Bieber! The raw, untapped possibility that surrounds you at every moment is staggering. Now that celebrity has been divorced from talent, everyone is a celebrity, everyone obscure.”

Message in a Bottleneck

Not so obscure is the marquee of the Zion Lutheran Church of Brentwood, located at the heavily traveled intersection of Route 51 and Brownsville Road. Motorists can always expect clever (and sometimes risqué) turns of phrase from “sign guy,” such as “A long time ago, in a Galilee far, far way” and “Forgiveness is swallowing when you want to spit.” 

The “sign guy,” says Rev. Garrett Siemsen, assistant pastor of family ministries, is actually the moniker for a group of men and women that sometimes includes the janitor, who brainstorm each week to create a marquee message for the captive audience. Sometimes the message is from a book, and sometimes it’s original. The most popular messages are ones about — you guessed it — sports. 

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