Boston 2024: The Grift That Keeps on Giving

June 11, 2015

As you splendid readers well know, the Boston news media – from the Boston Business Journal to WGBH to Boston Magazine to WBUR to the Boston Globe – are on Store 2024 like Brown on Williamson.

But not the Boston Herald.

Sure, the feisty local tabloid has provided some basic coverage of the five-ring monte Olympic bid, but it’s not breaking news the way other local outlets have. The Herald these days is more about Deval Patrick’s financial shenanigans.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Exhibit A: Yesterday’s Joe Battenfeld column.

Patrick Secretly Diverted Junket Cash

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 11.43.29 AM

Former Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration secretly diverted nearly $27 million in public money to off-budget accounts that paid for a $1.35 million trade junket tab, bloated advertising contracts, and a deal with a federally subsidized tourism venture backed by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, a Herald investigation has found.

The maneuver to fatten the hidden “trust” 

accounts with millions from state quasi-public agencies allowed Patrick to skirt the state Legislature and evade state budget cutbacks during the recession, the Herald found.


Elsewhere in the piece, the number seems to be over $37 million. Helpful chart:


Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.34.52 AM



Exhibit B: Today’s Herald page 5 (with bonus Inexplicable Green 1).


Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 11.23.02 AM


See? Even the paper’s Olympic coverage is part of its Devalue Pak.

Meanwhile, the latest Boston NOlympics revelations include this in the BBJ, which suggests that those expecting the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to “save the Boston Olympics” Must Be Taking Acid. The Boston Globe contributes this front-page piece about Boston 2024 relocating the Widett Circle food wholesalers to the Seaport (one really smart person we know thinks the entire Boston 2024 effort is just a land grab to develop the New Boston Food Market site). The Globe also features this Metro piece about the full-court press on the Boston 2024 organizers to finally get down to specifics.

WBUR also has a couple of new reports today about bigger Olympic footprints, and WGBH tosses in this piece about new venues and public relations.

But the Boston Herald? Call it the shelfie local tabloid.

Ads ‘n’ Ends from the Boston Dailies

April 13, 2015

The headscratching staff noticed a couple of odd ads in the local papers today, starting with this quarter-page in the Boston Globe.



Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.29.18 PM


From our Readability desk:


Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.28.25 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 2.28.51 PM


New federal law, eh? We couldn’t find one, but we did find this at The Motley Fool.

While the option of getting free channels via an HDTV antenna has been around since 2009, cable companies have little interest in letting their paying customers know they don’t actually need to pay.


The Fools added this wrinkle – “The biggest wild card is what stations will be picked up in your area” – which the ad failed to mention. Either way, it was funny to see this ad in the Globe and not the Boston Herald.

Instead, the sippy local tabloid featured this half-page.


Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 3.08.24 PM


Readability squad:


Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.32.17 PM


Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 4.32.34 PM


The Strike 3 Foundation . . . is it just us, or is that tantamount to naming the organization You’re Out? The About section never mentions the origin/significance of the name, so maybe we’re just whiffing on this one.

Regardless, the foundation – “a charitable agency that heightens awareness, mobilizes support, and raises funding for childhood cancer research” – is hosting a gourmet fundraiser at the WGBH Studios in Brighton. Excellent idea. Excellent cause.

But running the ad in the Herald?


Crisscross, anyone?

Why Boston Globe ‘Capital’ with an A?

August 8, 2014

It’s been a couple of months since the Boston Globe launched its weekly section Capital, and for the most part it seems pretty fat (12 pages) and happy (exuberant layouts). The only thing even vaguely controversial about the sections is the spelling of its name.

Globe editor Brian McGrory has a running gag with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio about why it’s Capital with an a not an o. McGrory keeps wriggling out of revealing the paper’s reasons, but here are three possible ones from today’s edition.


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 3.11.06 PM


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 3.11.26 PM


Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 3.11.43 PM


Would those ads likely have run in the A or B section if there were no Capital? Probably. But you have to believe a section geared toward political junkies is a more appealing environment for all three advertisers. For the first two, it’s obvious. For Steward Health Care, it’s a bit more oblique.

From Bruce Mohl’s CommonWealth piece last month on why Steward “is missing from the group of health care competitors that have banded together to fight the consent agreement negotiated by Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley”:

Some think the company decided to sit this one out because of its close ties to Coakley. The attorney general in 2010 approved the acquisition by Cerberus/Steward of six Caritas Christi hospitals owned by the Boston archdiocese. Coakley also retains some regulatory oversight over Steward, including a say in whether the health care system can shut down any of its hospitals.

Steward executives, led by CEO Ralph de la Torre, gave big to Coakley when she ran for the US Senate in 2010 and ponied up again earlier this year as she mounted her run for governor. Campaign finance records indicate de la Torre and his wife Wing led a group of Steward executives and spouses who made $500 donations to Coakley on February 26. More Steward officials contributed to Coakley in late March.

In all, Steward executives have contributed more than $18,000 to Coakley since late last year. No other health care system has taken such an interest in the gubernatorial campaign, which may help explain why Steward is less interested in the legal fight over the Partners expansion plans.


Interesting. But back to the original question: Why Capital with an a? Maybe because that’s what it hauls in.

P.S. Needless to say, none of the above ads ran in the Boston Herald.

Margery Eagan to Boston Globe

July 30, 2014

Boston Herald columnist Margery Eagan is taking her talents crosstown to the Boston Globe’s Catholic website, according to Two-Daily Town sources.  She’ll join the vertical the Globe established for John L. Allen Jr., former correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The feisty local tabloid will be significantly less feisty without Eagan, who’s never been shy about weighing in on all matters Cathoholic.

Check out Boston Public Radio on WGBH radio this afternoon for further details from Globe editor Brian McGrory.

And all best, Margery.

UPDATE: Here’s the Globe press release.

Margery Eagan Named Spirituality Columnist For Crux, A New Website Covering Catholicism

BOSTON (July 30, 2014) – Margery Eagan, a well-known Boston columnist and radio talk show host, will become the spirituality columnist for Crux, a website devoted to Catholicism being launched by Boston Globe Media Partners in early September.

Eagan has been a columnist at the Boston Herald since the early 1980s, interrupted by a stint as a senior writer at Boston Magazine. She will continue to co-host “Boston Public Radio,” a daily current events talk show, with Jim Braude on WGBH Radio (89.7 FM).

In her column for Crux, Eagan will explore issues of spirituality, contemplation, and devotion, drawing on her personal experience with her Catholic faith, as well as that of other Catholics and those of various religious traditions.

“Margery has had a longstanding fascination with issues around spirituality and has spent no small part of her adult life exploring deep issues involving her Catholic faith,” said Globe editor Brian McGrory. “We couldn’t be more delighted to add her smart, engaging voice to our strong roster of reporters and columnists that will be the backbone of this new site.”

Crux will be a standalone website that covers the institution of the church, with particular focus on how the words and actions of Pope Francis affect Catholics worldwide. It will delve into the practices and challenges of living a Catholic life, and publish the wide-ranging thoughts and opinions of Catholics and others. It will be found Readers can follow Crux on Twitter, @Crux, and Facebook,

Teresa Hanafin, editor of the new site, said Eagan’s exploration of her own spirituality through retreats and extensive reading will add a valuable dimension to Crux. “There are many, many Catholics who engage in a very deep, spiritual examination of their faith and their personal relationship with God,” Hanafin said. “Margery is of that world. She understands it, she experiences it, and now she will discuss it with the readers of Crux.”

A native of Fall River, Massachusetts, Eagan received a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Stanford University. She has written for the Fall River Herald News, the New Bedford Standard Times, the Burlington Free Press in Vermont, Boston Magazine, and the Globe. She has appeared on CNN and Fox News, and is a regular panelist on “Beat the Press,” a media criticism show that is part of the “Greater Boston” public affairs show on WGBH television.


Boston Globe Namesniks Done Alan Cumming Wrong

April 30, 2014

Start with full disclosure: The hardreading staff met Masterpiece Mystery man Alan Cumming at his Boston University Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center Friends Speakers Series appearance Monday night and found him to be the sweetest guy ever.

Exhibit A: His Twitter feed that featured this selfie with his mum:


Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 12.50.50 AM


So we were a bit dismayed when we saw this Names item in yesterday’s Boston Globe.

The comings and goings of Alan Cumming




Alan Cumming spent a busy day in Boston Monday. The Scottish actor, who stars on CBS’s “The Good Wife” and is currently reprising the role of the lascivious emcee in “Cabaret” on Broadway, began the afternoon at WGBH’s Calderwood Studio, taping a series of intros for the new season of “Masterpiece Mystery.” Then it was off to BU’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, where Cumming talked about his life and work. The actor was adorable as ever, even if The New York Times, in its review of “Cabaret,” called him a “little softer around the jaw.”


(Fuller disclosure: The hardreading staff has numerous connections to the Gotlieb Center, which we’re happy to detail upon request.)

Not to get technical about it, but said Times review  of “Cabaret” was a full-throated endorsement of Cumming’s reprise of his 1998 performance as the M.C.:

Alan Cumming, who won a Tony as the nasty M.C. in 1998, is back, offering a slightly looser, older-but-wiser variation on the same performance . . . Mr. Cumming’s M.C., who commandeered a part that Joel Grey would have seemed to own exclusively, has become the new model for most interpretations of the role . . .

So that Names item might have been a little soft around the jawboning, yeah?


WGBH = We’ve Got Bad Habits (Koch Bros. Edition)

February 8, 2014


For several months an environmental advocacy outfit called Forecast the Facts has been protesting the presence of conservative billionaire David Koch on WGBH’s board of trustees. There was a flurry of coverage last October, the highlight of which was this contribution from the feisty local tabloid:




Now comes a new skirmish, according to today’s Herald.

Koch foes say ’GBH gave them wrong meeting date

Environmental protesters planning to picket the WGBH board of trustees this week accused the station of slipping them bad David Kochinformation about the date of the meeting — but the PBS affiliate denied it was a secret plot to thwart their campaign.

“Oh, heavens no,” said Channel 2 spokeswoman Jeanne Hopkins. “Of course not. We welcome all comers. We’re open to all.”



(Full disclosure: The hardreading staff used to toil at the World’s Greatest Broadcast House, but we drifted.)

The protesters say the station forecast the meeting for Thursday but held it on Wednesday. Hopkins told the Herald “the station has no record of giving them the wrong date.” And tossed in this priceless endnote:

“We feel bad,” she said, adding, however, that “one person with a very nice flier” did show up Thursday to protest.


See? All it takes is a nice flier.


WGBH Herald Hostage, Day 4 (Part 2)

October 11, 2013

The hardreading staff didn’t know the half of it in its earlier post this morning. Also in today’s Boston Herald, a handful of other shoutouts in the WGBH/David Koch rumpus.

Working our way through the opinion pages from left to right, start with this editorial:

Going cuckoo on Koch

Perhaps we should be accustomed to the lunatic fringe making comparisons between conservatives and, say, the Ku Klux Klan. We confess it’s a bit surprising when a man of the cloth engages in the odious practice, but hey, when it comes to protecting Mother Earth all bets are off!


Segue smoothly to Jerry Holbert’s editorial cartoon:


Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 2.26.12 PM


Toss in a couple of Letters to the Editor:

Opposing views silenced

Just because protesters disagree with David Koch is no reason to shut him down and have him removed from the WGBH board (“Tough climate as WGBH faces protest over board member,” Oct. 10). That’s even if protesters do think they are scientifically correct about climate change, despite the fact that the issue is still being debated and researched and there is no unanimity on it in the scientific community.

A protester is quoted as saying of Koch, “His presence is extremely offensive. People who are actively fighting to destroy the climate should not have equal political voice.” The whole point of free speech in a democracy is so all sides may be heard.

I even support the protesters’ right to make statements that I believe are strident, hysterical and inaccurate. But to be “offended” by someone’s “presence” just because they disagree with you and to demand that their rights be abrogated is a far greater offense.

— Jeffrey Miner, Belmont


Raise the heat on Koch

There is profound irony in the use of the word “heat” in your headline about the grassroots movement to encourage WGBH to sever ties with pollution powerbroker David Koch (“Activists put heat on WGBH to oust donor, board giant,” Oct. 3). Thanks to Koch’s relentless assault on regulations to combat heat-trapping carbon emissions, we are on the verge of a climate cliff far more hazardous than any economic “fiscal cliff.”

Just as Boston will be underwater if we don’t get serious about reducing emissions, WGBH’s credibility will be underwater if the station doesn’t wash its hands of a man whose actions and statements on science contradict the station’s mission of educating and informing the public.

— D. R. Tucker, Brockton


And finish off Kochapalooza with a Michael Graham column:

Koch’s cash trash to libs

David Koch has a lot to learn about tolerance and diversity.

Koch, as every Occupod knows, is one of the infamous Koch Brothers (pronounced “coke,” as in “short for cocaine,’’ as in “white things that kill people!”). The Kochs are, well, they’re just the most dangerous, hateful and awful people in America. They regularly (and hatefully) give away millions of dollars to hospitals, universities, think tanks and, yes, public television.David Koch

Specifically, David Koch has given $18 million to support the science show “NOVA” and he sits on the WGBH board.

Liberals are demanding that he be thrown off the board over his political views.

In the name of tolerance and diversity, of course.


And just think: We still have the hardworking staff at Campaign Outsider’s Beat the Press Party Bakeoff to look forward to.





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,380 other followers