Hark! The Herald! (Battle of the Bulger Edition)

May 31, 2013

From our Walt Whitman desk

The Boston Herald is still pounding away at Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Elsewhere) over the Massachusetts welfare rumpus, but the feisty local tabloid has its eye on bigger game next week when the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger begins in earnest.

Here’s the preview the Herald ran in today’s edition:


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And here are some of the details:


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It’s all fabulously overdone:

Look for Howie Carr, who vowed to watch Whitey every step of the way through judgment day, on the video reports.

No deadly detail is too small, so Herald reporters will be tweeting live . . .

[Reporter Laurel Sweet will] be close enough to look into Whitey’s eyes as loved ones of his 19 alleged murder victims take the stand. She’ll also be able to read jurors’ reactions to the gruesome evidence and chilling testimony.



Crosstown, there’s no word yet from the Boston Globe on who’ll be close enough to look into Whitey’s eyes, but today’s edition does feature this:

Globe’s Cullen, Murphy may testify in Bulger trial

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger, who has bragged about strafing The Boston Globe offices with gunfire during the busing crisis of the 1970s, may call two of the newspaper’s journalists as defense witnesses at his upcoming trial.

His legal team filed a list of 78 potential witnesses Thursday, including Globe columnist Kevin Cullen and reporter ­Shelley Murphy.

Both have covered Bulger for decades and earlier this year published a book detailing his rise to power in Boston’s underworld and his capture in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., ­after 16 years on the run as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives . . .

Other journalists on the ­potential witness list include former Globe reporters Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, as well as Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr.


Damn – the Herald forgot to mention that part in its full-page promo, although it did have this online (tip o’the pixel to Mike Deehan at Massterlist).

Then again, there’s always tomorrow.


Massachusetts Welfare? Well, Foul! (II)

May 30, 2013

This is mother’s milk to our feisty local tabloid.


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The Boston Herald is on the Massachusetts welfare abuse scandal like Brown on Williamson. Today’s edition goes yesterday’s one better, with three – count ’em, three – full pages of pleased-as-punch coverage.


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You’ll notice there are two Truth Squad screeds (here and here) about Deval Patrick’s no-show response to State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s audit of the Department of Transitional Assistance, along with one Howie Carr mail-in, a high-dudgeon editorial,  and this editorial cartoon.


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There’s also this roll call (You Asked for It!) of the Senate votes last week rejecting photo IDs on EBT cards 30-8. (Full vote here.)


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And this convenience store receipt purportedly showing a seven grand balance on someone’s EBT card.


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It just doesn’t get any better than this for the Herald (from its editorial):

[I]t isn’t just the zombie-benefits problem.

It’s the individual who claimed to have had his EBT card lost or stolen — 127 times. It’s the use of a Massachusetts benefits card in St. Thomas — over a period of four months (surprise, they happened to be the coldest months of the year in New England). It’s the double-dipping, and all of the other clear signals of fraud that DTA missed along the way.


But the Herald’s not missing any.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the DTA rumpus is just monkey-business as usual. Page One:


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But instead of piling on, the stately local broadsheet goes the misery-loves-company route.


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New Bay State slogan: Thank God for New Jersey, eh?


Massachusetts Welfare? Well, Foul!

May 29, 2013

The new audit of the Massachusetts welfare system gets very – say it with me – different treatment in the local dailies today.

Boston Globe Page One:


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Massachusetts gave millions of dollars in questionable public assis tance to people who were listed as dead, used multiple Social Security numbers to boost their payments, or apparently sold their benefit cards for cash over the past few years, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

The report by State Auditor Suzanne Bump is the latest study finding that the state did not do nearly enough to ensure that welfare benefits went only to qualified recipients. The head of the agency that administers the aid quit in January after another scathing report from the inspector general.

Bump’s audit found that 1,160 recipients were either dead or used a deceased person’s Social Security number, costing $2.4 million between July 2010 and April 2012.

It also flagged another $15.6 million in suspicious transactions from electronic benefit cards between 2010 and 2012, including cards that were used as far away as Alaska, Hawaii, or the US Virgin Islands, suggesting the recipients either no longer lived in Massachusetts or had extra cash for travel.



Helpful chart:





Other fun facts to know and tell:

• The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance “provides aid to roughly one in seven people in the state”

• That’s about 885,000 people

• Who receive $1.7 billion a year

• And drive the Boston Herald to distraction

Not surprisingly, Page One of today’s feisty local tabloid is sharp, if a bit hyperventilating:


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Inside, the gimme gals and guys get the usual double-barreled treatment, complete with the told-you-so front pages of yore:


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And Howie Carr mails in the usual about  the “Department of Terrorist Assistance,” although it’s probably safe to say Tamerlan Tsarnaev is not among the 1164 ghost riders.

Anyway, just for the record, here’s the Herald’s bottom line (note the “possible,” “suggesting,” and etc.):


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Listen – the hardworking staff hates paying taxes as much as the next guy, assuming the next guy isn’t Mitt Romney. And there’s no question the DTA has problems that should be fixed. But isn’t this being blown out of proportion a bit?

1164 out of 885,000?

$18 million out of $1.7 billion?

Really, there’s gotta be something better the Herald could hyperventilate about.

Then again, it wouldn’t sell as many papers, would it?




Boston Dailies Memorialize Vets

May 27, 2013

Both local dailies feature tributes to America’s military veterans this Memorial Day, although in – all together now – different ways.

The Boston Globe remembers the 45 Massachusetts soldiers killed in Afghanistan over the past 12 years.

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Crosstown, the Boston Herald focuses on one particular veteran.



George J. Gottwald Jr. gets his own spread inside the feisty local tabloid:

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The Herald also gives over its editorial and op-ed pages to Memorial Day tributes.

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Tip o’ the pixel to both papers today.


Boston Herald a Suffolk University Satellite Campus

May 24, 2013

There’s some serious co-branding going on at the Boston Herald these days, where the Suffolk University logo is on the feisty local tabloid like Howie Carr on a Bay State solon.

For starters, there’s the Suffolk connection to the Herald’s weekly Press Party webcast, the underdog half of the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight with WGBH’s Beat the Press. Here’s the ad from today’s paper:


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And here’s how the webcast’s background looks:


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Suffolk even gets part of the bug for video packages:


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In the Herald itself, Suffolk’s VP of Whatever John Nucci now seems to have his own column:


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But there’s no tag or ID for Nucci, just the Suffolk logo.

Wait – there’s more. Nucci also turns up in Press Party packages, just to round things out.


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The Nucci column, it turns out, is part of this initiative, which the Herald announced a couple of weeks ago.

raceformayorHerald, Suffolk U. set to give voters a lesson in city politics

Suffolk University and the Boston Herald are joining forces to provide the most comprehensive multimedia coverage anywhere on this year’s milestone race for mayor of Boston.

The university, which already teams with the Herald on the weekly “Press Party” media analysis Web show, brings to the table an array of important tools for voters who want cutting-edge coverage of the mayoral battle.


Those tools includes polling and blogs and Nucci and stuff. So that’s a lesson in something.

But . . . is it just us, or is this a bit much, considering that the Herald is supposed to be sort of covering Suffolk University?

Not to get technical about it.

Here’s Your Hat, What’s Your Murray?

May 23, 2013

The local dailies have very – all together now – different takes on yesterday’s swan song for Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray.

The Boston Globe runs it upper left on today’s front page:


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The Boston Herald gives it all of Page One:


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And page two . . and page four . . . and page five . . .


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Never one to disappoint, the feisty local tabloid features all the usual aspects in today’s coverage, starting with Joe Battenfeld’s batting Murray around:

IMG_2307.JPGTim Murray, we hardly needed ye

When Tim Murray flees the lieutenant governor’s office, he will leave behind a historic legacy: that we don’t need a lieutenant governor . . .

Despite Patrick’s flowery tribute to his second banana yesterday, Murray had no power or influence in the administration and usually could be found standing behind the governor at press conferences, saying nothing. The lieutenant governor ranked so low he didn’t even merit one of those cool MEMA vests that Patrick wears during disasters.


And etc.

Next up, Howie Carr mails in his balding retreads:

010512murray03‘Crash’ is no test dummy

The Worcester Chamber of Commerce?

Nobody’s all that surprised to see Tim “Crash” Murray take the golden parachute. But shouldn’t it have been a more appropriate job, like, say, with NASCAR?



As you’d expect, the going-away party is a lot more subdued crosstown at the stately local broadsheet. In addition to the straightforward Page One piece, there’s this sober-minded assessment from op-ed columnist Joan Vennochi:

Murray’s ambition meets reality

IF ONLY there were no mysterious car crash.

If only he weren’t embroiled in a possible fund-raising scandal.

If only Governor Deval Patrick resigned and left the job of acting governor to his lieutenant governor, Timothy P. Murray could be the Democrat to beat in 2014.

Murray’s ambition — always grander than his profile — felt more delusional as time and controversy dragged on.


Even the boyos at the Herald would agree with that, yeah?

The Globe also features a largely judgment-free editorial about Murray’s departure:

An unsurprising end to Murray’s once-promising political career

The announcement Wednesday that Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray will resign to lead the Worcester Chamber of Commerce mainly served to ratify what most on Beacon Hill basically knew: that his recent political scandals had left him without a path to higher office, while his current duties were too limited to sustain an ambitious person’s career.

Murray’s departure ends an awkward chapter in Massachusetts political history . . .


That level of understatement, however, is entirely missing from the Herald’s editorial today:

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray yesterday gave the people of Massachusetts his two-week notice, thus drawing a curtain on one of the most underwhelming tenures of a statewide office-holder in recent Massachusetts history. And that’s saying something.

Murray is trading the privilege of elected office for what amounts to a bigger salary and a shorter commute, resigning with nearly two years left in his term to accept a lucrative job as president of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Now, we aren’t particularly sorry to see Murray go but we happen to think elected officials shouldn’t throw over the voters simply for the favor of a fat paycheck.


Wait a second . . . the Herald spends all this time saying Murray was a useless slug in a worthless job, but now he should have stayed?

The hardreading staff will be at the chiropractor’s if you need us.


One of the Boston Dailies Can’t Count

May 22, 2013

Wednesday’s Boston Globe:


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Wednesday’s Boston Herald:


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Go figure.

(Official Two-Daily Town tally to come.)

One Out of One Killers Prefers the Boston Herald

May 9, 2013

From our Late to the Guilty Party desk

Wednesday’s Boston Herald featured this Slam the Big Door front page:


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The piece itself:

GRAHAM BODIESKiller pens letter about ’88 slaying of Fall River woman

‘I did as I was told’

Stone-cold killer Daniel Tavares tells the Herald in a chilling letter from prison he “will plea to the charge of murder” in the 1988 stabbing death of a 32-year-old Fall River mother, but he’s showing no remorse — and cruelly refusing to apologize to her three daughters.

In the letter to a Herald reporter from a Washington state prison cell, Tavares claims Gayle Botelho was killed because she and another man “decided to steal from the wrong people.”

“I remember every single thing about that day. … Stuff like that gets burned into your memory,” Tavares wrote.


And gets printed on Page One of the Herald.

(Check out multiple instances of “I Did As I Was Told” in the Googletron.)

Meanwhile, crosstown at the Boston Globe, the stately local broadsheet has nothing new on Daniel Tavares.

Search result:


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Herald 1 (killer), Globe 0.

Herald Retakes Memorial Ad-vantage from Globe

May 7, 2013

When we last chronicled the Marathon-bombings-related advertising in the local dailies, the Boston Globe was the clear favorite, two ads to none over the Boston Herald.

Especially notable was this ad from the Newbury Street League and the Buck – sorry, Back Bay Association.


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Notable because it seemed a serious snubbing of the feisty local tabloid by the tony local retail set.

Today, however, the Herald stands tall in the ad department, a page-and-a-half strong:


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And, interestingly, there’s this feature in today’s Herald as well:


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Coincidence? We think not.

Herald: No College Credit for UMass/Dartmouth

May 6, 2013

From our Two Different Worlds desk

Another 7-10 split in the local dailies today, this time over the relationship between UMass/Dartmouth and suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Start with Rachelle Cohen’s op-ed in the Boston Herald:

Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, Dzhokhar TsarnaevUMass flunking Marathon test

Secrecy on detained students 
is suspect

UMass/Dartmouth officials continue to stonewall on the issue of releasing information on the records of four students now in custody in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing.

The taxpayers, whose hard-earned dollars keep the place in business, should be outraged.

“We are prohibited from releasing such records by [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act],” insisted school spokesman John Hoey. “Our interpretation of the law indicates that that information is confidential.”

Note that little “our interpretation” caveat.


Not buying it, eh, Shelly?

After pointing out the academic deficiencies of Tsarnaev and his “buddies, Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakhstan nationals, and Cambridge resident Robel Phillipos” (not to mention the “cash cow” status of the two full-freight-paying Kazakhs), Cohen concludes thusly:

There is a level of moral bankruptcy at play here — not just on the part of these “students” — and we do use the word loosely. Yes, these three, had they spoken up instead of covering up, might have saved the life of MIT police officer Sean Collier and saved the community 24 hours of trauma.

But there is also a kind of moral bankruptcy on the part of university officials who are now complicit in withholding records that might reflect as badly on the administration of this school as they do on the former students now in federal custody.


Crosstown at the Boston Globe, almost predictably there’s a more empathetic take on the UMass/Dartmouth administration. From Adrian Walker’s column:

UMass Dartmouth a shaken campus

walkera.pngDARTMOUTH — Gazing out at the college quad, the new chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth wonders whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had watched his classmates as they gathered to mourn the three people he allegedly had helped murder the day before. A hastily organized vigil was attended by 300 faculty and students on April 16, after Tsarnaev had returned to campus.

“Of all the things that shock me, one of the things that really blows my mind is that he came back here,” Chancellor Divina Grossman said Friday. “He came back to our dorm. He came back to use the gym. He was among us. That is incomprehensible to me.”

Grossman, who is completing her first year at the helm of the school, suddenly finds herself presiding over an institution in crisis.


In the course of an stunningly uncritical piece, Walker does note this: “The arrests have prompted self-examination at the school, Grossman said. The students’ poor grades have raised questions about how they managed to stay in school at all. One of them, Dias Kadyrbayev, had flunked out.”

And then come the ten most feared words in the English language:

“It’s clear to me that we need a task force,” she said. “We need to review all our policies and procedures. We have to look at everything we did. We owe it to the Commonwealth, we owe it to the people who died, and we owe it to the faculty and students here.”


Just one question: Could Shelly Cohen be on the task force?