Boston Dailies Engage in Olympic Gamesmanship

March 21, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

In the wake of the new WBUR poll that registers a knee-buckling 52% opposition to Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid, the major players have decided it’s time to buckle down. And to pick a local daily to get the word out.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Marty Walsh has drifted toward the Boston Herald, while Boston 2024 gets a front-page boost from the Boston Globe.

Start with the latter:

Boston 2024 goes campaign-style

Bid committee uses political tactics and operatives

It was the ideal place to launch a grassroots movement: a Roxbury basketball tournament that drew a who’s who of political players, from the governor and mayor to city councilors and ward committee activists.

And right inside the entrance were three young people handing out Boston 2024 wristbands and urging anyone 1200_olympics_tlumackiwithin earshot to volunteer for the city’s Olympic bid.

“Whether you’re for or against, we want to hear your voice,” Willie Bodrick II proclaimed as he pitched the Games to a local lawyer and nonprofit executive.

Bodrick, a 27-year-old pastor who worked on Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial bid, is part of a sophisticated campaign-style operation that the local Olympic organizing group has built to persuade skeptical Bostonians to embrace efforts to land the 2024 Summer Games.

 

Michael Levenson’s piece continues, “the organization now looks much like a well-funded candidate’s operation, with digital media strategists, field teams, fund-raisers, liaisons to clergy and to ethnic media, and consultants who have worked on the biggest races in Massachusetts politics.”

And they all get trotted out here, from uber-consultants Doug Rubin and Will Keyser to “voter-mobilization guru” John Walsh to the ubiquitous Rev. Jeffrey Brown.

Crosstown, the Boston Herald channels Marty Walsh in Richard Weir’s piece.

Walsh hits reset button in quest for Olympic gold

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh, amid nosediving public support for Boston’s Olympics bid, is looking to hit the “reset button” in hopes of restoring confidence in the push to host the 2024 Summer Games and cutting his own political losses, according to City Hall insiders and observers.

Walsh called out former Gov. Deval Patrick Thursday over his controversial $7,500-a-day lobbying fee for the group behind the bid, Boston 2024, just hours before Patrick finally relented and said he would forgo pay for his work.

“Mayor Walsh has hit the reset button on the Olympic effort given that this is his city and he has the most to lose politically,” said one insider close to the Walsh administration.

 

Yeah – especially since he told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio last month that he’d consider 70% support for the Boston Olympics “satisfactory.” We’re a long way from that, Mistah Mayah, and headed in the wrong direction.

(Cheek by jowl with Weir’s piece is a Joe Battenfeld column calling for Mitt Romney to take over the whole mess, and a Joe Fitzgerald rumination on Deval Patrick’s $7500-a-day hubris.)

This could get interesting if the Globe becomes the preferred conduit for the Boston 2024 machers, and the Herald generally serves as the unofficial newsletter of the Walsh administration.

We shall see, eh?


Another Advertising UMassage at the Boston Globe

March 19, 2015

As the hardreading staff has repeatedly noted, the University of Massachusetts has slowly been colonizing the Boston Globe, stamping itself on the stately local broadsheet like Marty Walsh on City of Boston signage.

Today’s bit of UMasstery:

 

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If it feels a little unseemly how much UMass and the Globe are joined at the hip pocket, Erin Smith’s Boston Herald piece today only makes it unseemlier.

Institute contractors hit up for Globe mag

UMass PR firm solicited ads for Ted K tribute

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The public relations company representing the University of Massachusetts Building Authority, which hired firms to build the new Kennedy Institute, has acknowledged it solicited those contractors for pricey ads in an upcoming Boston Globe commemorative magazine section.

Julie Kahn, an executive with Regan Communications, said she used a list of vendors provided by the institute, named for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, to make the sales calls for the ads, which started at $15,000 for a half-page.

 

So. Regan Communications has as clients: 1) the UMass Building Authority, a public agency that “financed and oversaw construction of the Kennedy Institute on the UMass Boston campus;” and 2) the Boston Globe, which is publishing “a special section to mark the opening of the Institute.”

So. Regan Communications gets from one client a list of companies involved in the construction of the Institute and uses it on behalf of its other client to solicit paid ads to celebrate said building.

How convenient.

But . . . how appropriate?

Kahn to the Herald: “It went out to everyone they did business with — everyone who profited. I don’t see a conflict. I was just given a list by the EMK Institute that they wanted me to contact. When you do a roast or someone retires, you call all your vendors to give back. This is very common in this business.”

In the PR business, yes. The question here is about the journalism business.

More of Kahn’s defense:

“A lot of contractors were on that list and most of them said, ‘No, we can’t afford it,’ ” she said. “A handful said yes and 80 or 90 percent said no. If there was pressure, I think we would have had a lot more success.”

 

Fine, but that doesn’t speak to propriety either. Competence, maybe, but not propriety.

(To be sure graf goes here.)

To be sure, the headscratching staff hasn’t settled on whether this mishegoss is the stuff of misdemeanor or felony. We lean toward the former, though. Certainly, it doesn’t sink to the level of the Los Angeles Times/Staples Center train wreck back in 1999.

Even so, given how much the Globe and UMass are playing footsie these days, it really doesn’t look – or smell – all that good for the mately local broadsheet.


Boston Herald AWOL on Gardner Heist Anniversary

March 19, 2015

Unless the hardreading staff’s memory fails us, the Boston Herald (especially Tom Mashberg) did yeoman’s work in the wake of the Great Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Robbery in 1990.

And unless our eyes fail us, the fartsy local tabloid has published exactly nothing about the 25th anniversary of The Big Snatch.

Plug Boston Herald Gardner Museum into the Googletron and you get one lame Associated Press piece.

Boston museum marks 25 years since infamous art theft

Art Heist Mystery

BOSTON — It’s been called the biggest art heist in U.S. history, perhaps the biggest in the world. But 25 years later, the theft of 13 works from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum remains unsolved.

The theft has spawned books, rumors and speculation about who was responsible — and multiple dead ends.

Yet authorities and museum officials remain hopeful, noting that stolen art almost always gets returned — it just sometimes takes a generation or so.

“Although a quarter-century has passed since the art was stolen, we have always been determined to recover it and we remain optimistic that we will,” said Anne Hawley, the Gardner’s director, who was in charge at the time of the theft.

 

Good for them. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe has been on the Gardner anniversary like Brown on Williamson.

Representative samples:

 

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Not to mention Bill McKeen’s review of Stephen Kurkjian’s Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist last weekend.

But . . . nothing in the Herald.

Paging Tom Mashberg. Paging Mr. Tom Mashberg.

P.S. Don’t bother linking – Mashberg’s pieces are all archived. Translation: Give the Herald $3.95 a pop.

That’s just wrong.


Joe Fitz Calls Boston Herald Bosses Chuckleheads

March 18, 2015

Well, not exactly that specifically, but still . . .

As you splendid readers might remember (c’mon, it was only yesterday), the hardreading staff couldn’t help but note the fuddy local tabloid’s tut-tutting about Gov. Charlie Baker’s St. Patrick’s Day skit lampooning the MBTA (Maybe Better Tomorrow, Alright?) and its snow woes.

Representative sample from yesterday’s front page:

 

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Today, Herald columnist Joe Fitzgerald essentially told his bosses to put a sock in it.

Listen to Charlie and just lighten up, everybody

 

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Charlie Baker, this one’s for you.

If you saw yesterday’s Herald, you read of the governor’s give-me-a-break response to knee-jerk critics who charged he should not have made lighthearted references to dysfunction at the T three days ago at the St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in Southie.

“If you can’t poke fun at yourself,” he scoffed, “you’re not getting it.”

Too often the jokes on Beacon Hill are on us, which is what made Baker’s slapstick such a breath of fresh air.

 

As opposed, presumably, to all the hot air coming from the umbrage-industrial complex.

Let’s just hope Fitzgerald got the last word on this idiotic riff. We’re pretty sure the Heraldniks can come up with a different idiotic riff without too much trouble.


Boston Herald: Boston.com Credibility Went Southie in St. Pat’s Coverage

March 18, 2015

No question: Boston.com has had its troubles lately.

And here comes more. From Boston Herald scribe Jessica Heslam’s column in today’s edition of the failly local tabloid:

Boston.com lowers the bar

Another kerfuffle after Southie 
post: ‘Every day is a drunk day’

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One day after a new editor took charge to impose standards at the Boston Globe’s beleaguered Boston.com, the website is drawing fire again — this time for posting a story that stated, “Every day is a drunk day in Southie.”

Headlined “True Life: I Was a Bartender In Southie During the St. Paddy’s Day Parade,” the post was written by Boston.com wire staff writer Jamie Loftus, who wrote about her experience at a South Boston restaurant during Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“Every day is a drunk day in Southie, but St. Paddy’s Day runs by a completely separate set of laws,” wrote Loftus, whose website bio says she is also a “standup and sketch performer.” “Sure, the tips are good, but servers earn every cent when it comes to dealing with the drunk masses first thing in the morning.”

 

Money quote: “I’m surprised such bigoted views are still tolerated at Boston.com,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston).

There’s also a tsk-tsk from former Boston mayor/current Herald contributor Ray Flynn, but it’s not worth repeating.

What is worth repeating: Boston.com needs some serious adult supervision.

Either that, or the Boston Globe should tear the sheets with Buston.com.


Boston Herald Gets Its Irish Up

March 17, 2015

The faulty (but still fáilte) local tabloid is giving the umbrage-industrial complex a bad name. For the second day in a row, the Boston Herald is mewling about the so-called jokes at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Start with yesterday’s Herald:

Baker teams with T chief to yuk it up over rail fail

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Gov. Charlie Baker’s appearance alongside embattled MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott in a skit goofing on the transit system’s winter woes got a chilly reception from some who say it runs counter to Baker’s image as a reformer of the troubled authority.

“I think it would be prudent to try to avoid making a joke out of it,” said David Tuerck, executive director of the Beacon Hill Institute, who noted that the commuter rail is still operating on a reduced schedule.

“This was a mistake for him. It’s in bad taste. It’s not amusing to people who are still putting up with the inconvenience of a situation that’s gone on for weeks now, well beyond the period when we had a lot of snow.”

 

The piece included a different critique from one local solon: “[A]ll of these highly produced skits seem to be supplanting the genuineness of the event as it had been in years past,” state Sen. Robert Hedlund said. “It’s become more of an over-the-top production.”

As has the Herald’s rail fail crusade. Today’s front page, lower left:

 

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Story inside:

Baker defends jokes

‘If you can’t poke fun at yourself, you’re not getting it’

Gov. Charlie Baker is standing by his MBTA skit at South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast — and doubled down last night at another holiday dinner in Lowell, where he mocked the transit agency’s dysfunctional commuter rail line.

“It was an opportunity for all of us to sort of poke fun at ourselves, and let’s face it, we all know it’s been a long winter. The MBTA had some issues we worked pretty hard with them to fix,” Baker told the Herald last night. “If you can’t poke fun at yourself, you’re 031615bakerjb01not getting it.”

Baker drew some chuckles at the St. Patrick’s Day fete in Lowell, when he joked that during the height of the storms he would be told a number of commuter rail engines were ready to go the next day — only to see that number shrink the following morning.

“I was like, what are these things, teenagers? ‘I got up this morning, Dad looked at me kind of funny. I was out drinking last night. I’m sorry.’ … I wish I was kidding, but the simple truth is the main reason we had so much trouble with the commuter rail is because inside those big, brawny locomotives beats the heart of a 16-year-old,” Baker said.

 

Now that’s not funny.

The frosty local tabloid also got chilly about some gag props.

Newly minted Attorney General Maura Healey also drew some heat for holding up several fake subpoenas at the Sunday breakfast, and jokingly telling lawmakers in the crowd, “Some of you might be familiar with these. So laugh.”

Santa Clara University Law School professor Margalynne Armstrong found the joke inappropriate for the state’s top lawwoman.

“She needs to make sure she gives the office the respect it deserves. It’s important to not treat her power lightly,” Armstrong said. “The decent thing to do would be to apologize. And it should be a real apology.”

 

Really, where are they finding these folks?

Regardless, new motto for the Herald: Erin Go Blah!


Remembering Firefighter Michael Ryan Kennedy

March 16, 2015

Michael R. Kennedy (BFD Ladder 15, Engine 33) died in last year’s tragic Back Bay fire at the age of 33. There’s a reason this memorial ad for him appears in today’s Boston Herald and not the Boston Globe.

 

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You know why.


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