Boston Globe ‘Potlight’ Team Is Less Than Frank

May 3, 2019

First, a disclaimer.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe Spotlight Team report on political influence in the Massachusetts Weed Bakeoff is a terrific piece of reporting.

Increasing their nut graf:

[S]o far, winning a license to sell pot in Massachusetts often seems to be determined by whom you know — or if you can afford to pay a lobbyist or consultant who knows people.

At least 12 of the 17 recreational pot stores open as of May 1 hired lobbyists or former politicians. The Boston Globe Spotlight Team obtained, through public records requests, thousands of e-mails relating to pot shop proposals in a host of communities. The fingerprints of influence peddlers — consultants, lawyers, lobbyists — are all over them.

This should be no surprise; it would be a surprise, in fact, if the influence business had taken a pass on the lucrative potential of pot. But the flood of former government officials coming into the pot business — including former governor and current presidential candidate William F. Weld, former state House speaker Thomas M. Finneran, former state senator Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr., former Boston city councilor Michael P. Ross and even former Boston police superintendent-in-chief Daniel Linskey — is striking.

 

Noticeably absent from that roll-your-own call: former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank, even though the Globe itself recently noted his tokin’ contribution to the weedification of the Bay State.

Barney Frank joins local marijuana business

When it comes to marijuana, Barney Frank and Bill Weld were both decades ahead of the political curve.

Frank, the longtime former Massachusetts congressman, supported legalization when he was a state representative in the early 1970s. Weld, for his part, backed medical marijuana as the governor of Massachusetts in the early 1990s. (Neither proposal went anywhere.)

Now, it’s Frank who will follow in Weld’s footsteps by joining a marijuana company. But while Weld last year joined the board of a slick conglomerate with national ambitions, Frank is linking up with a decidedly less corporate operation: Beantown Greentown, a local group of underground growers, marketers, and event organizers — you may remember their 100-foot joint stunt — trying to go legit.

 

The hardreading staff is not at all sure why the Globe bogarted Barney in its otherwise impressive investigation.

But our interest is definitely high.

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Stop & Shop Ad Feeds the Public a Bunch of Baloney

April 23, 2019

During the 10-day strike by roughly 31,000 Stop & Shop workers the past couple of weeks, the supermarket chain ran a series of ads like this one in the Boston dailies.

 

Last Friday the five locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers responded with this clearly superior ad in the Boston Globe.

 

 

The UFCW won not only the ad battle, but the contract skirmish as well, as Globe reporter Katie Johnston details on Page One of today’s edition.

If members of the five union locals approve — voting starts later this week — new part-time workers would get lower pension contributions and would not be guaranteed time-and-a-half pay on Sundays and holidays during their first three years, as other workers are, according to the union. In a workforce largely made up of part-timers, this is not an insignificant change.

But the union succeeded in beating back a raft of other proposals. And if the contract is approved, current workers would get raises and the company would boost pension contributions for full-timers and maintain its current contributions for part-timers. That prompted the president of one of the five union locals to declare a “major victory.”

 

UMass Amherst labor studies professor Tom Juravich agreed, noting that 75% of loyal shoppers stayed away during the strike and the company lost $2 million a day. “That kind of leverage is unprecedented since the golden years of auto and steel,” he told Johnston.

So it was, well, interesting to see this ad also run in today’s Globe.

 

Sorry, fellas. Your customers were neither patient nor understanding. And they definitely did not stick with you.

You got your ads kicked.


Stop & Shop to Boston Herald: Eat Your Heart Out

April 14, 2019

Now that the Teamsters have gone out in sympathy with the nearly 31,000 Stop & Shop workers who went on strike three days ago, management is apparently looking for some sympathy of its own. Thus, this full-page ad in today’s Boston Globe.

 

Here’s their website if you want more of management’s side. One thing they do not address is why they didn’t run the ad in the Boston Herald.

Afraid the readership is too union-friendly and an ad addressed to them would be a waste of money? Or just oblivious to the thirsty local tabloid, like so many others in this town.

Whatever, let’s hope those readers stop shopping at Stop & Shop. For good.


Boston Globe Story a Free Ad for Fenway Advertiser

April 6, 2019

From our Boston GlobeSox desk

A sharp-eyed Two-Daily Town reader posted this on Facebook last night.

Wow, the Boston Globe has a story about a Red Sox commercial partner — a casino, no less — entering into a deal to put an ad on the left field wall (I refuse to call the edifice by its brand name.) And it comes with a picture of the new logo. Imagine that. How ever did the team owners convince the region’s dominant media outlet to run a piece on what is essentially a marketing deal that enriches the owners but means nothing to fans. Boy, that’s some pull, huh? ( The Globe, by the way, most recently ran an editorial opposing expanding casino gambling, a move that would hamper the Sox newest partner.  Hmm, wonder if [the] hard reading staff at “It’s Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town” took notice.)

 

Sure enough, this piece was sitting up like tee-ball on the Globe’s website.

Red Sox and MGM Resorts officials reveal additions at Fenway Park

The Green Monster has a new logo, just in time for the Red Sox home opener.

A large advertisement featuring MGM Resorts’ roaring lion trademark was unveiled at Fenway Park Friday, courtesy of a new partnership between the team and the casino giant.

“This is hallowed ground,” said Jim Murren, chief executive officer of MGM Resorts International. “The fact that Fenway Sports is willing to work with us is humbling.”

 

Yeesh.

The story also flacks “an array of new concession snacks, renovations to the press box and player clubhouses, and augmented-reality capabilities for the MLB Ballpark app, which will allow fans to roam the stadium with their phones, scan certain objects, and see them come to life.”

Two things to note:

1) Nowhere in that piece – or in the print version – is it disclosed that the Boston Globe is owned by Red Sox owner John Henry.

2) The piece was written by a Globe correspondent – not a staffer – who is presumably blameless in this matter and so will go unnamed.

But the correspondent’s editors – they’ve got some ‘splaining to do, no?


Boston Globe Redacts Redactions in Wynn Lawsuit

March 15, 2019

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

The Boston Globe is shooting blanks on the Steve Wynn/Massachusetts Gaming Commission rumpus, which involves a lawsuit over documents that the disgraced casino mogul says are covered by attorney-client privilege.

Here’s how the stately local broadsheet handled the story in today’s edition.

It’s not until the 13th graf that the piece even mentions this fact: “The meeting minutes included substantial redactions, something [commission chairwoman Cathy] Judd-Stein said was necessary because the sessions included ‘a significant amount of attorney-client privileged communications.’”

No longer crosstown at the Boston Herald, Page One says it all.

 

 

Inside, the story gets the deluxe double-truck treatment.

 

 

Hey, Globeniks, you taking notes?

(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, the web version of the Globe piece does have a visual component.

(To be clear graf goes here)

To be clear, though, it’s a photo of the almost-finished Encore casino, not any of the redacted documents.

Score one for the snappy local tabloid.


Boston Herald: Most of the Hub a Red Light District

March 7, 2019

The hardreading staff has long held that the traffic lights in Boston must have been timed by Joe Cocker.

Unlike a real city such as New York – where one can routinely drive up, say, Madison Avenue for 10, 20, 30 blocks without stopping – making two consecutive lights in this town qualifies as a Dear Diary day.

The Boston Herald certainly gets that, as today’s front page attests.

 

 

Driving drivers nuts graf in the piece by Sean Philip Cotter and Meghan Ottolini:

“You have three lights in 50 yards, and the middle one will be green and the other two won’t. Then the opposite. No one’s going anywhere,” Uber driver Felipe Rios told the Herald last week, voicing a common gripe about constant stops and starts that he and other drivers see as unnecessary.

 

The gridlock grid extends from most of Mass. Ave to stretches of road on both sides of the Greenway to roads around TD Garden and Congress Street, according to this handy chart.

 

 

Sadly, unsticking those points doesn’t seem to be a top priority for city officials.

A recent national study found Boston has the worst congestion in the country, worse than even Los Angeles. But [City transportation chief Gina] Fiandaca said making traffic in Boston move faster isn’t her top concern.

“Our pedestrian safety programs are our No. 1 priority,” Fiandaca said, citing concerns that synced lights lead to speeding and put pedestrians and cyclists in danger.

 

It’s worth checking out the whole report, including this video and even some whining by Uber drivers.

If you’re in your car, of course, only at red lights.


MA Treasurer Didn’t Stiff Herald on Lost Property List

March 4, 2019

As the hardreading staff pawed through yesterday’s Boston Globe, we came upon this “Notice of Names of Persons Appearing to be Owners of Unclaimed Property” – a 54-page free standing insert produced by the Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General.

It’s the state’s semi-annual list of tens of thousands of people who might have unclaimed funds in the possession of the Massachusetts Treasury.

 

 

Not to get technical about it, but that’s no Amy – as far as we can tell it’s the very talented local actress Celeste Oliva, about whom our kissin’ cousins at Campaign Outsider have written several times.

Regardless, imagine our total lack of surprise when we turned to the Boston Herald and found – no unclaimed property list in the thirsty local tabloid. Free standing insult.

So we called the office of Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to ask why she skipped the Herald, whose readers are for the most part a) Massachusetts residents, and b) easily as forgetful as Globe readers.

Deputy communications director Emma Sands was kind enough to straighten us out: The insert will run in the Herald this coming Sunday; this is the second time the Treasurer has run the insert in the two Boston dailies on consecutive Sundays; and the insert will run in a variety of regional papers in the coming weeks.

Office of the Treasurer: An equal-opportunity advertiser.

P.S. The hardsearching staff did not find its name on the list, alas.