Donald J. trump is tickled orange that Peter Barbey shut down the fakest newspaper in New York City, after the New York Times

Donald Trump can find a lot to adore in Peter Barbey. Like Trump, Barbey is a reputed billionaire whose fortune landed on him by virtue of the fortuitousness of his birth. Barbey mirrors Trump's belligerence toward the working folk, particularly card-carrying union members. And when it comes to merging business sense with scam artistry, Trump and Barbey share a key affinity for taking something of value and turning it into shit.

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Barbey is best known in this parts as the mite media mogul who assumed the reins of Reading Eagle Company after the previous management team ran it into the dirt. But little Petey's vision extended beyond the boundaries of Berks. In 2015 he used some of the wealth his ancestors bequeathed him to buy the Village Voice, vowing through clenched teeth that the storied alternative weekly would "survive and prosper." He cemented this commitment to his new toy by purchasing a $26-million condo in the heart of the West Village.

Prince Peter's journalistic instincts revved to full throttle less than two years later when he shut down the Voice's print edition, boasting that an online-only Voice would reflect "the ever-evolving world around it.. for a new generation of people — and for generations to come."

 For another 12 months anyway.

On Friday, which he lamented as "kind of a sucky day," Citizen Barbey concluded that his fortune can be put to better use than maintaining the tradition of a paper co-founded by Norman Mailer, whose pages were once graced with the legendary prose of Ezra Pound, Henry Miller, Norman Mailer, Jack Newfield, Robert Christgau, Andrew Sarris, Lester Bangs...and on and on. Hiring staff to spiff up a $26-million condo can be quite dear!

Here's Jenna Priest, Reading Eagle Company's human services boss, shooing shellshocked staffers off the premises Friday.

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Let's hear one of the laid-off staffers, Harry Siegel, tell it:

But fear not! While “due to, basically, business realities, we're going to stop publishing Village Voice new material,” Barbey vows that the brand will live on.

"I bought the Village Voice to save it, this isn't exactly how I thought it was going to end up. I'm still trying to save the Village Voice," he said.

Look, the paper’s problems preceded him and maybe his mid-life crisis dream of resurrecting a brand of his own kept the Voice alive a little longer and paid for Aaron Gordon and Talia Lavin and others to do some fine work there in its final days.

That said, fuck Peter D. Barbey.

Today, Peter D. Barbey is the toast of Gotham.

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Perhaps publisher Petey, who once said that running a newspaper is "an obligation and a privilege at the same time," was playing 12-dimensional bridge all along.  Instead of preserving the legacy of the "dropouts and the beatniks and the aesthetes and the outsiders" who made the Voice such a lower Manhattan institution over half a century, maybe his game all along was to shutter the paper as a bastion of fresh journalism and instead cash in on the trove of classic writing by the giants of the Fourth Estate penned when Peter was just a pipsqueak in prep school. Sounds like a plan.

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The Village Voice is dead. The Reading Eagle lives. For those staffers , sucky days may lie ahead.

If Vaughn Spencer prevails in next Tuesday's primary (which he won't), he could have ethics complaints coming out his ass

So just because the city of Reading has a code of ethics, and just because Albert Boscov contributed roughly 26 times the legal amount to Mayor Vaughn Spencer's reelection campaign, what does it all mean?

Has somebody broken the law and now faces the risk of jail time? Is throwing gobs of money at the incumbent merely the price of doing business with the city (pay-to-play, wink, wink)? Will Spencer merely be required to promise to play nice the next time he runs for office?

After all, it's not like Spencer has ever been called on the carpet on ethics charges before.

Here's how it works.

City clerk Linda Kelleher said any citizen can file a (confidential) complaint alleging misconduct under the code of ethics. The evidence then will be decided by a board of five citizens. Penalties can range from censure (naughty mayor) to a directive to return the campaign contributions to the donor (sorry, spent).

Of course, none of this will ever be considered until well after Tuesday's primary, which leaves it up to the morning newspaper to report this week on these financial shenanigans involving the paper's biggest and bestest advertiser.

That is not how it works in the world of journalism, Reading Eagle style.

Before you sigh away your cynicism and pour your first drink of the day, it does not all have to be moot, citizens of Reading.

Complaints, meet Vaughn Spencer's ass.

Here is the link where you can download a copy of the form and file your very own complaint.

While you're filling it out, you may want to hum "Did you Boscov today?"

Harry Deitz announces thrilling new hiring policy that will prevent the Reading Eagle from ever hiring anyone like him again

STOP THE PRESSES! Hold the pixels! This is news. This is huge.

You will not read all about it in the morning paper, but Harry Deitz called a staff meeting earlier this month and the big news wasn't the launch of a new touristy-type division, Pretzel City Productions, whose first production will be a Roy Rogers tribute (good luck selling out that) whose opening act will be the guy (Dave Kline) who heads the new division.

Nope. The big news was a policy change aimed at reforming the company's good-old-boys, backslapping hiring practices. Hence, the newspaper will no longer allow staffers to feather the payroll with relatives who will work under their wing doing, perhaps, very, very little work.

Staffers are calling this the no-no-nepotism policy.

In the past and present, payroll padding covered departments ranging from union shops (engravers) through advertising (the Woolwines) through promotions & marketing (the Ernestos).

But did you know...

Harry Deitz Jr. was himself a throw-in to the deal that brought his daddy, the "smokin' Shamokin" Harry Deitz Sr., to the Eagle in the mid-'70s. The Eagle wanted to lure the veteran Harry Sr., the greenhorn Harry Jr. needed a job, and wet-behind-the-ears Harry was like the minor-league prospect necessary to sweeten the pot.

Older staffers at the Eagle are laughing their nuts off over the irony.

They only wish the policy change was retroactive.




Become a designated driver at the Reading Craft Beer Festival, pay only $20 to get in

Would you like to get stinking drunk sampling more than 100 craft beers over three or four hours?

Who wouldn't?

But just who is going to get all those slobbering alkies home from the Santander Arena after the Reading Craft Beer Festival ends its first run on the Saturday afternoon of April 18?

The organizers had a swell idea!

Offer a special deal for designated drivers in addition to the deluxe ducats for the boozehounds.

Here's the shakedown:

That lounge furniture seals the deal.


Doubletree. Doubletalk.

From a story in the Reading Eagle on January 22, 2013

[L]ocal hotel officials say the county has enough lodging.

Craig Poole, general manager of the Crowne Plaza Reading hotel in Wyomissing, was unsuccessful last month when he asked City Council not to approve adding a $1 million city loan to the financing package for the $59 million Doubletree Hotel.

“A 200-room hotel won’t bring any more people to Reading,” he said. “It will take them away from the other hotels.”

Flash-forward to the Reading Eagle on November 3:

Craig Poole said he's going where he needs to be....

“I'm here for a purpose: to bring a great hotel into a city that needs it,” said Poole, 66. “I believe in my heart that this is where I need to be."


Letter writer wants to talk shit about Democrats; Reading Eagle happy to let them

With the holy-roller gay bashers somehow taking the day off, the morning paper instead ran a rant taking to task Senator Judy Schwank for opposing harassment against women or something or other:

There is, of course, a logical link between a state official checking her "moral compass," to argue that ladies should not be mistreated by pigs from Robesonia or elsewhere, and attacking (married) Bill Clinton for having sex, which he did not, because a blowjob is not sex but an "inappropriate relationship," which is "wrong."

 But that is mere haggling over how a term is defined, such as what "is" is. Let us peer instead at one of those crazy little things called facts, which often get in the way of appropriate behavior in the realm of political discourse.

Poor Monica, a 19-year-old intern, used and abused by a president whose moral compass is sticking straight out like a boner. Except...except...if she were not 19...but a grown woman, a consenting adult:

Never let that most wonderful of sources, Wikipedia, get in the way of a good scold because, sorry, Judy, this whole thing is your own damn fault so don't wave your moral compass at us but at Ted Kennedy for taking a shower with illegal transsexual immigrants smoking pot.

By the way, Randy, Kennedy's passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, was not an intern either, but a 28-year-old campaign worker.

And thank you, again, Jim Homan for keeping the Reading Eagle opinion pages clear of facts.