Now the Spotlight Has Turned On ‘Spotlight’

November 23, 2015

It was bound to happen: First,there was the tremendous acclaim for Spotlight, the film about the Boston Globe’s dogged pursuit of pedophile priests and the Boston archdiocese that sheltered and enabled them.

Now come the complaints.

It started, to the best of our knowledge, with attorney Eric MacLeish in the November 10 Boston Globe Names column.

MacLeish objects to and lauds ‘Spotlight’

The news has been nearly all good for “Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s movie about the Boston Globe investigation that revealed systemic coverup and sexual abuse of children by priests in the Boston Archdiocese. The film, which opened in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles on Friday, is getting rave reviews and is considered a front-runner 04182010_11macleish-7569377to win the Oscar for best picture. But not everyone thinks the movie gets the story right.

Boston attorney Eric MacLeish, who in the early 1990s represented hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests, objects to his portrayal in “Spotlight.” In a lengthy Facebook post, MacLeish, played by actor Billy Crudup in the movie, encourages people to see “Spotlight” but adds that “events involving my character are not only inaccurate but the opposite of what occurred.”


Namesnik Mark Shanahan adds, “Curiously, MacLeish hasn’t seen the movie and on Sunday told Walter Robinson, former editor of the Globe’s Spotlight team, that he doesn’t plan to see it any time soon.” MacLeish subsequently did some moonwalking on the subject, texting to the Globe that “[m]y character is inaccurately portrayed but the film is too important and too good to let this be a distraction.”

But the distractions keep coming. The redoubtable Kevin Cullen added Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn to the list of the disgruntled in his Globe column yesterday.

When truth ends up on editing room floor

“Spotlight,” the movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, had its general release on Friday and film critics agree: “Spotlight” is one of the best movies of the year.1000_jack_dunn

Jack Dunn had a different reaction. After seeing the film at the Loews theater across from Boston Common, he stepped onto the sidewalk and threw up.

The movie sickened him because he is portrayed as someone who minimized the suffering of those who were sexually abused, as someone who tried to steer Globe reporters away from the story, as someone invested in the coverup.


Dunn is a BC High graduate and a member of the school’s board of trustees. He told Cullen, “The things they have me saying in the movie, I never said . . . But worse is the way they have me saying those things, like I didn’t care about the victims, that I tried to make the story go away. The dialogue assigned to me is completely fabricated and represents the opposite of who I am and what I did on behalf of victims. It makes me look callous and indifferent.”

And not just him, Cullen adds:

Dunn isn’t the only real person portrayed in the film who has a beef with McCarthy. Steve Kurkjian, a legendary Globe reporter, is portrayed as a curmudgeon who was dismissive of the importance of the story. That couldn’t be further from the truth . . .


So that’s three now.

As night follows day, the Boston Herald picked up the story and added a fourth name to the list today.

‘Spotlight’ injustices claimed

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Four people who played real-life roles in the uncovering of the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal say the new film “Spotlight” has put false words in their mouths — and some are demanding apologies and cuts in the movie that showcases the Boston Globe’s reporting.

Boston College public affairs director Jack Dunn, former Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, and victim lawyer Eric MacLeish all say their actions were misrepresented in a way that casts them in a negative light, apparently in an effort to add drama to the film.


The Gilman piece – about fact vs. fiction in the movie – appeared in the Arizona Daily Star a few days ago.

Quite intentionally there was no internal discussion whatsoever of potential [business]consequences.

So it is to my extreme dismay that I’m shown on the screen giving voice to one such business concern — exactly the type of thing I had purposely avoided in the few interactions about the investigation. The only true aspect of that brief scene in my office is the outcome: We would challenge the Church in court.


Funny, “Spotlight” is being challenged in court, too. As Cullen noted yesterday, “[Jack Dunn’s] lawyer sent a letter to the filmmakers, demanding that the offending scene be deleted from the movie . . .”

We’ve got plenty of eight-to-five says that never happens.

Boston Herald Keeps Driving Grand Prix Crash Car

November 7, 2015

Give Joe Battenfeld and the racy local tabloid their due: They’re not downshifting their efforts to total the proposed Grand Prix of Boston, maybe the second-worst idea Mayor Marty Walsh has had in office. (Store 2024 – c’mon down!)

Today’s Boston Herald, Page One  (Inexplicable Little Green Numbers Galore!).


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Battenfeld’s piece (with Chris Cassidy):

Life in the IndyCar fast lane

Docs show target audience young, rich

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Massive luxury skyboxes and beer gardens will loom large over the proposed 2.2-mile Boston IndyCar race course in the Seaport District that could jam traffic and require more permits for the Labor Day weekend spectacle, new documents show.

A 47-page “Stakeholders Info Deck” from the Grand Prix of Boston, obtained by the Herald, is targeting young, smartphone-wielding, rich professionals.


Not, we might add, the Boston Herald readership. The young, smartphone-wielding, rich professionals do, however, read the Boston Globe, which is still drafting in second place.


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And round and round we go.

Boston Herald Drives IndyCar Coverage

November 2, 2015

The Not-So-Grand Prix of Boston keeps sputtering along, and it’s the racy local tabloid that’s serving as the pit crew.

Today’s Boston Herald, Page One.


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Page 2:

Mayor gives ultimatum to IndyCar

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh is demanding IndyCar promoters get their act together, issuing an ultimatum to “finalize” deals with state agencies soon, in a major toughening of his stance on the planned Labor Day road race.

In an emailed letter obtained by the Herald, Walsh’s chief of operations, Patrick Brophy, gave IndyCar just 14 days to reach financial and other agreements with several agencies that control most of the planned course on the waterfront.

“It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Brophy said in an email Friday to Jim Freudenberg, chief commercial officer for the Grand Prix of Boston, local promoters for the race. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.”


We’ll see if IndyCar can move that fast.

Meanwhile, the Boston Globe has stalled out on the story.

(Your eat-their-dust punchline goes here.)

Stop the Presses! Herald Promotes Crosstown Rival!!

October 30, 2015

Even in the cutthroat world of daily newspapers, every now and then the mouse does a mitzvah for the lion.



So it was with the Boston Herald yesterday (tip o’ the pixel to the Missus).


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Wait, what?

The feisty local tabloid is actually promoting the Boston Globe’s marquee moment?

Alert the media!

Boston Dailies Double-Teamster Attorney-Fee Story

October 24, 2015

From our Mish-Math desk

On the face of it, one of the local dailies has trouble with numbers today.

Boston Globe:

City to pay lawyer in Teamsters’ case $625 an hour

The defense attorney hired by Mayor Martin J. Walsh to represent his administration in a federal investigation of a union’s alleged extortion scheme will be paid $625 an hour, according to a contract released Friday.

That rate is nearly three times what the city usually pays outside lawyers.


Boston Herald:

Lawyers in Teamster probe to get $910 an hour

The private legal team hired by Mayor Martin J. Walsh to investigate City Hall in the wake of the federal Teamsters extortion probe will be paid $910 an hour, according to the contract.


So what doesn’t add up here? Actually, it’s what does add up that accounts for the discrepancy. From the feisty local tabloid:

Attorney Brian T. Kelly, a former federal prosecutor who helped convict mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, will be paid $625 an hour while his associate will earn $285 an hour, a copy of the contract obtained by the Herald states.


That’s the second graf in the Herald. The Globe mentions it in the ninth.  But the stately local broadsheet has info on other costly city contracts, so let’s call it a draw.

Hark! The Herald! (Radio Raves Edition)

October 19, 2015

From our Walt Whitman desk

The Boston Herald made its own page 2 today with this sort of newsish story.

Herald honored as ‘Innovator of the Year’

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PALO ALTO, Calif. — The Boston Herald was named “Innovator of the Year” yesterday after a vote of a joint conference of the Associated Press Media Editors and American Society of News Editors at Stanford University.
The coveted APME innovation award recognized the Herald for “its innovative platform called Boston Herald Radio that is fully integrated with its print, online and video divisions.”

“Innovator of the Year is a prestigious national award that speaks to a news organization’s innovative and creative approaches to reach their audience,” said Joe Hight, a member of APME’s executive committee and awards program chair. “The Boston Herald shows it is a leader in the country by winning this award. Boston Herald Radio is not only innovative but practical.


That’s six “innovations” if you’re keeping score at home.

Of course what’s most innovative about BHR, as we call it here at the Global Worldwide Headquarters, is the platform it provides for cross- and self-promotion. But why get technical about it on such a happy occasion?

Instead, hearty congratulations to the firsty local tabloid.


Boston Herald Has Good Trolley Karma

October 6, 2015

The feisty local tabloid has two MBTA-related stories pretty much to itself today.

First, Kimberly Atkins’ column on an advertising rumpus that’s shadowed the T for two years now.

T ad issue may merit court’s consideration

Free-speech dispute on Supreme’s radar

WASHINGTON — A free-speech dispute over political ads in MBTA buses, trains and stations is likely headed for the U.S. Supreme Court and could have far-reaching effects on Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 2.35.04 PMpaid messages on public property.

The case stems from 2013, when the MBTA agreed to post paid ads from pro-Palestinian group Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine that read: “4.7 million Palestinians are classified by the U.N. as refugees.” But the T then rejected the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s ad, submitted in response, which read: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.”


So far, as Atkins reports, “[t]wo federal courts had backed the MBTA’s decision to reject the AFDI ad, under its policy barring ‘disparaging’ or ‘demeaning’ messages.”

Prior to those two decisions, the MBTA’s batting average in ad dustups was well below the Mendoza Line, as the hardreading staff noted two years ago. And Atkins also writes that “[i]n New York and Philadelphia, by contrast, courts have ordered transit agencies to run paid ads they had rejected, including one that claimed Muslims believe ‘killing Jews is worship.'”

So who knows if it even gets to the Supremes, and who knows how they’ll lean.

But we’re guessing the MBTA loses this one too.

Elsewhere in today’s Herald, there’s this news from the T’s Ghost of Winter Past.

Scott bows out of bid for NTSB post

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President Obama has withdrawn his nomination of former MBTA chief Beverly Scott to the National Transportation Safety Board, abruptly ending her controversial bid to the $155,000-a-year post, the Herald has learned.

Obama officially rescinded her nomination yesterday, according to a White House document viewed by the Herald. A White House spokesman said last night Scott requested that her nomination be withdrawn “due to personal reasons related to her family.”

Efforts to reach Scott were unsuccessful.


That’s a surprise, eh?

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, today’s Boston Globe does have a squib (via the State House News Service) about Scott, although it tells a slightly different story.


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Huh. Maybe we need Scott herself to come forward as the tiebreaker.

Yeah – that’s coming just like a Riverside train.


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