Greater Boston Papers Galvin-ized by State Secrecy

March 14, 2015

Well the hardreading staff opened up the old emailbag and here’s what poured out:

This week, The Boston Globe stands with the Patriot Ledger, the Boston Herald, and all of GateHouse Media Massachusetts in an unprecedented, coordinated condemnation of Secretary of State William Galvin’s rulings on the state’s public records law.

These newspapers will each publish editorials on open-records issues as part of a unique statewide collaboration amongst these news organizations. The Boston Globe’s editorial, now available online at BostonGlobe.com, will run in the print edition of the Sunday Boston Globe on March 15th.

 

Sneak peek:

With Mass. public records law in tatters, it’s time for reform

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WHEN AN ordinary citizen requests basic government records in Massachusetts, he or she often faces frustrating delays and opacity. The Commonwealth has remained notoriously weak in providing public records, since the laws governing them are essentially toothless, and thus easily ignored.

Recent rulings, however, have made a bad situation intolerably worse. By interpreting regulations governing the privacy of criminal records too broadly, Secretary of State William Galvin’s office has established the police as the arbiters and censors of arrest records. In one recent case described in a story this week by Globe reporter Todd Wallack, Galvin’s office ruled that Boston police can withhold the names of five police officers who were caught driving drunk.

 

The Boston Herald ran its editorial in today’s edition, which – thanks to the unusual calculus of the Herald’s circulation – actually might have a higher readership than tomorrow’s.

Time for ‘Sunshine’

So here it is the eve of Sunshine Week and we in Massachusetts have precious little to celebrate.

With every passing day the state’s public records law — never one of the best in the nation, but hardly in the sorry state it finds itself today — is being nickel-and-dimed to death by regulations and the bureaucrats who interpret them.

Case in point, a series of recent rulings by the secretary of state’s office that effectively put off limits to the press and the public a host of information about arrests and criminal records.

We credit the reporting of The Boston Globe’s Todd Wallack with bringing this situation to light in an article in Wednesday’s edition. And today we stand with our colleagues at the Globe, the Patriot Ledger (and others in the GateHouse Media family) that are running similar editorials — in condemning a practice that threatens not just the ability of the press to do its job but public safety as well.

 

We really are close to the end times when the frosty local tabloid gives the Globe credit for anything.

Then again, the Patriot Ledger also credits Wallack in its editorial, which begins this way:

Giving police discretion to keep public arrest records secret is criminal

The Patriot Ledger stands with the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and GateHouse Media against Galvin’s rulings on state’s public records law

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Massachusetts police now have sweeping discretion to decide which criminal records they will – and will not – release to the public, according to a series of rulings made by Secretary of State William Galvin.

That level of discretion should not exist.

Police should never have the power to shield the identities of those they arrest or keep information about arrests secret. Given their role in our society, police should always be transparent – most especially when one of their own is charged with a crime.

 

Further on: “In a March 11 Globe article, “With Mass. OK, police withhold criminal records,” Todd Wallack reports Galvin’s office “decided that many records related to criminal charges are exempt from the Massachusetts public records law, giving individual police chiefs and other officials the power to decide what to release or keep secret …”

The Patriot Ledger calls the triple-teaming “an unprecedented, coordinated condemnation of Galvin’s rulings on the state’s public records law.”

We doubt this coordination will become a regular feature in the local press, but nice to see precedent broken every now and again.


Boston Herald’s Clinton Obsession Is Hill-arious

February 25, 2015

The feisty local tabloid has a hill-acious dislike of Hillary Rodham Clinton, with today’s edition serving as Exhibit Umpteen.

Start with the page 2 column by the always unreadable Adriana Cohen, who rattles on about salary inequality in both the Obama White House and Clinton’s training-wheels-up presidential campaign.

Last April [Clinton] tweeted, “20 years ago, women made 72 cents on the dollar to men. Today it’s still just 77 cents. More work to do. #EqualPay #NoCeilings.”Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 11.50.35 AM

Now flash forward to today — she’s reportedly given the top jobs, and salaries, on her exploratory presidential campaign staff to men.

But that’s not all.

Back when she was a U.S. senator for New York, reports are now surfacing that she paid women on her staff only 72 cents to a man’s dollar. Proof she’s no champion of women.

 

Okay, then.

Next page, Tom Shattuck’s column about a softball interview with Elizabeth Warren on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Into the middle of his rant (he called MSNBC “America’s most shamelessly partisan cable ‘news’ channel” – didn’t he read this?), Shattuck drops an H-bomb.

All anyone really cared about Warren this week wasn’t the middle-class hammering thing. Monday was the day the hated conservative genius Karl Rove’s video went viral — brilliantly using Warren’s own words, in her own voice, in a video to hammer Hillary Clinton.

 

Okay, then.

Moving along in our madcap review, say hello to Joe Fitzgerald, who serves up some Clinton evergreens.

Are you, too, tired of looking at Hillary Clinton?

It infuriates her when anyone suggests she rode her husband’s coattails to prominence, but who was she before Bill’s star began to rise?

Indignantly assuring us she was “no Tammy Wynette, standing by her man” when it was revealed her man was a lecher, she raged against a “vast right-wing conspiracy” for making his philandering public.

As Secretary of State, when asked by Sen. Ron Johnson if she had any thoughts on the motives behind the murders of four Americans in the attack at Benghazi, she snapped, “At this point, what difference does it make?”

 

Okay, then.

Next up: Jonah Goldberg’s syndicated column on the op-ed page.

Hillary searches for true (’16) self

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 12.37.22 PMPR gurus can’t hide her opportunistic quest for power

“Is Hillary Rodham Clinton a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Chipotle burrito bowl? A can of Bud or a bottle of Blue Moon? JC Penney or
J. Crew?”

That was the opening question of a front-page Washington Post story on Clinton’s effort to figure out her “brand.” To that end, she has recruited a team of corporate marketing specialists to “help imagine Hillary 5.0.”

After decades of public life, even Clinton doesn’t really know who she is — or at least who she should be this time around.

 

But the Herald sure does.


Crushin’ Kerry

September 20, 2013

As if Secretary of State John Kerry didn’t have enough mishegoss in his life, he gets a couple of dope slaps in the local dailies today.

Start with this piece in the Boston Globe:

fc32fb5d4df04f27916882bed2947259-fc32fb5d4df04f27916882bed2947259-0Despite a number of verbal miscues, John Kerry’s star rising

Statements have at times haunted the new secretary

WASHINGTON — John F. Kerry has a history of speaking his mind, both in speeches and in off-the-cuff remarks. It is a habit that over the course of his long public career has sometimes haunted him.

He became a national figure in 1971, when he said many members of the military in Vietnam, including himself, had committed atrocities, a statement his detractors criticized during his 2004 presidential run. During that failed campaign, he was also accused of being a “flip-flopper” for the clumsy way he explained his votes on Iraq War funding: “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

Now, as secretary of state, where carefully articulated positions are the ingredients of successful international diplomacy — and where misstatements of policy or inartful comments can reverberate through foreign capitals — Kerry has made several remarks this year that his staffers have been forced to clarify or disavow.

 

Speaking of clarify or disavow, there’s this facewash from the Boston Herald’s Inside Track:

 

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The Kerry folks insist that Long Jawn hasn’t had any work done (“That’s not a denial, that’s a fact”), but others beg to differ.

“He had a ton of fat grafting into his lower face,” said Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Boston University Medical Center. “If you look at his face before, he was very gaunt. The side of his cheeks were sunken in and hollow.”

Spiegel didn’t think much of the work the secretary of state had done, either.

“He’s been a little over-injected, I would say . . . “

 

I say!

 


Herald: Catchin’ Kerry

July 6, 2013

For two days now the Boston Herald has been on Nantucket John Kerry like Brown on Williamson over his paddling while Egypt burns.

Yesterday’s front page:

 

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Today Kerry just got the top of Page One:

 

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But the feisty local tabloid gave Long Jawn a good working-over on page two.

DSC_6847.JPGExperts: John Kerry’s credibility could sink with boat flap

John F. Kerry’s credibility took on more water on the second day of his Nantucket vacation flap, as the State Department backed off its initial denial the embattled secretary of state was yachting during the Egyptian military coup — and President Obama tweeted a photo of himself kayaking in a hat, sunglasses and polo shirt.

The Herald reported yesterday that Kerry spent the Fourth of July cavorting on his island getaway even as chaos from the military’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi rocked Egypt.

 

The State Department also conceded that yes, Kerry “was ‘briefly’ aboard his $7 million luxury craft, the Isabel, on the day of the coup, after previously insisting the yacht sighting was ‘completely inaccurate.'”

Gotcha!

Crosstown at Boston Globe the only thing Kerry got was let off the hook. Page One:

 

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Jump:

 

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But here’s the best – and most lenient  – part of the piece (note the choice of “on a yacht” vs. “on his yacht”):

Meanwhile, the Kerry camp was sidetracked by a self-inflicted wound after a State Department spokeswoman initially denied that Kerry had been on a yacht in Nantucket while Egypt was undergoing its latest revolution. The spokeswoman on Friday retracted her denial, which led to the image of Kerry on his yacht getting even more attention. The criticism came from predictably partisan quarters, but still it was a distraction at a critical time.

 

Hey, Heraldniks: You gonna take that lying down?


Local Dailies Kerry On with Senate Speculation

December 16, 2012

It’s no secret that the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald inhabit entirely different political landscapes here in the Bay State.

Exhibit Umpteen: Their respective takes on who might succeed Sen. John Kerry (D-Reporting for Due-ty) if he gets what is widely regarded as a well-deserved nod for Secretary of State.

From Saturday’s Boston Globe piece by Glen Johnson:

A number of US House members, including Representatives Edward J. Markey and Michael Capuano, are also possible Democratic candidates in a special election.

 

From Friday’s much more expansive Boston Herald column by Howie Carr:

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That’s what you now see when you try to access the Herald website. Except none of the links – Full Site, Basic Mobile Site, Get App – actually link (at least not at 1:39 Saturday morning).

Luckily, the hardtyping staff is one of the Herald’s up to 17 home delivery subscribers, so we can tell you that this is what Carr wrote:

Let’s go down the congressional list. Ed Markey’s wanted this seat since 1984, but he could never risk his safe seat, lest he lose and starve to death. One of his only jobs in the Dreaded Private Sector was driving an ice cream truck. Now Mr. Frosty will have a free shot.

Ditto, Mike Capuano. He’s morphed from an unrepentant Somerville hack into a twitchy, MoveOn mouthbreather. Remember his exhortations to his union thugs on the Common about spilling a little blood?

 

The hardguessing staff anticipates more than a little blood in what looks like an inevitable Senate bakeoff.


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