Cherokees and Chick-fil-A Edition

September 5, 2012

From our Why the Boston Herald Is Essential desk

Exhibit A:

Cherokees use GOP video to target Warren claims

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Massachusetts Republicans looking to overshadow Elizabeth Warren’s turn in the national spotlight are releasing a video with Cherokees at a nearby reservation saying her heritage claims are “slapping Native Americans in the face.”

“That’s not right at all. She is lying to the American public by running for public office and claiming to be of a race that she is not. If she is claiming that she is Native American, prove it,” says John Grant, a resident of Cherokee, N.C., in a GOP video.

The nearly two-minute Web video was filmed in Cherokee long before the Herald interviewed American Indian delegates Monday who also expressed outrage about Warren’s claims to Indian heritage. The Harvard Law School professor dismissed the delegates’ request that she meet with them and discuss her background.

What’s so essential about this story? It’s not like no one else covered this story (see here).

It’s just that the Globe didn’t.

Exhibit B:

Mayor won’t bite on offer of Chick-fil-A sandwich

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino can’t decide whether to back Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren, but he is sure about one thing: He will never endorse a Chick-fil-A sandwich, even if it’s in front of his nose.

Menino, who led the protest against the fast-food chain because of the CEO’s stance against gay marriage, is staying in a hotel building in Charlotte that includes a dreaded Chick-fil-A just downstairs from the hotel lobby.

So the Truth Squad thought that would be a good opportunity to make a peace offering to the mayor — a No. 1 combo meal sandwich on a whole-wheat bun.

Unsurprisingly, Menino not only “recoiled,” he also “actually made a face.”

Why is this story essential? Because the Globe doesn’t do stunt journalism.


Boston Globe Feasts on Chick-fil-A Edition

July 30, 2012

The hardreading staff has already noted the Boston Herald’s insatiable appetite for the Chick-fil-A kerfuffle over gay marriage.

Now it’s the Boston Globe’s turn to chow down.

For starters, the Sunday Globe Ideas section featured numerous Letters to the Editor about the poultry rumpus. Representative sample:

Mayor deserves thanks for standing up to incendiary views of food chain’s president

We disagree with the Boston Globe editorial board, which questioned Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s reaction to Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s incendiary remarks about marriage equality (“Boston shouldn’t block chain because of president’s views,” July 25).

Chick-fil-A has donated millions of dollars to organizations such as Family Research Council and Exodus International, which work to promote discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and to create a hostile climate in which homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia can thrive. These hateful actions cause real harm to millions of individuals and families across this country, and are one of the reasons that LGBT people — even here in Massachusetts — face higher rates of youth suicide attempts, youth homelessness, HIV infection rates, stress, and poor health just because of who they are.

This is not just about policies; it’s about people. For using his public position to ensure and forcefully point out the obvious — that Boston strives to be a wonderfully welcoming and affirming city for LGBT people — Menino deserves our thanks. No doubt, his leadership has improved and even saved lives.

Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A’s Cathy is also learning a lesson in the obvious: It does not pay to discriminate.

Kara S. Suffredini

Executive director



Other letters here and here and here and here.

But wait . . . there’s more!

Tom Keane op-ed:

Rejecting Chick-fil-A is good power play for mayor

Boston Mayor Tom Menino wants to keep fast-food chain Chick-fil-A out of Boston because the company opposes same-sex marriage. Legally, Menino may in the wrong. Yet he is also completely in the right. The dustup has been portrayed as a First Amendment issue. In truth, it’s more about smart politics, mayoral power and — like it or not — Menino’s ability to make the city in his own vision.

Jennifer Graham op-ed:

Skip the boycotts; handle this with love

Apologies to Colonel Sanders, but no one makes a better chicken nugget than S. Truett Cathy, nor does a better job of marketing them.

Chick-fil-A’s billboards are three-dimensional fixtures in the South, with black-and-white cows perched on scaffolding and ladders, putting up signs that say, “Eat mor chikin.” The award-winning advertising campaign, launched in 1995, remains hilarious and fresh, and even has its own website, populated with interactive, spelling-challenged Holsteins. The chain’s “cow parachutists” television ad, which can be seen on YouTube, is classic Chick-fil-A humor.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and the gay and lesbian community could learn a few things from the cows. Most important is this: You catch more flies with honey-mustard sauce than you ever will with vinegar.

Okay: Everybody Chick-fil-Uh Chick-fil-A?

Let’s hope so.


The Herald Feasts on Chick-fil-A Edition

July 27, 2012

The Boston Herald has sunk its teeth into the Chick-fil-A/gay marriage kerfuffle, and the feisty local tabloid is not about to let go.

It started last week with this piece:

Mayor Menino on Chick-fil-A: Stuff it

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

That’s a mayor-for-life talking – and shredding the First Amendment – but fast forward to today’s paper, and the Herald has Menino moonwalking like Michael Jackson:

Menino says he can’t actively block Chick-fil-A

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino repeated today that he doesn’t want Chick-fil-A in Boston, but he backed away from a threat to actively block the fast-food chain from setting up shop in the city.

“I can’t do that. That would be interference to his rights to go there,” Menino said, referring to company president Dan Cathy, who drew the mayor’s wrath by going public with his views against same-sex marriage.

For all the stuff that happened in between, see here.

Meanwhile, crosstown rival Boston Globe has come late to the party.

The local broadsheet had a single story last week (which seems to be a web piece featuring a :19 clip from NECN).

But the Globe is playing serious catch-up in today’s edition (see here and here and here.)

Regardless, the Herald owns this story.

Cherokees and Times-fil-A Edition

September 7, 2012

As the hardreading staff noted the other day, the Boston Herald reported that “Massachusetts Republicans looking to overshadow Elizabeth Warren’s turn in the national spotlight [at the Democratic National Convention] are releasing a video with Cherokees at a nearby reservation saying her heritage claims are ‘slapping Native Americans in the face.'”

The Boston Globe, on the other hand, was silent on the issue.

Now the Globe’s kissin’ cousin, the New York Times, has weighed in:

For Warren, Bad Blood over Ethnic Claims

Karen Geronimo, a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe in town for the Democratic convention, knows what she wants from Elizabeth Warren, the Senate candidate from Massachusetts: a blood sample.

“Someone needs to make her take a DNA test,” said Ms. Geronimo, whose husband, Harlyn Geronimo, is the great-grandson of the legendary warrior Geronimo.

The still-simmering controversy over Ms. Warren’s self-proclaimed American Indian heritage has chased her from the campaign trail in Massachusetts to the convention hall, resonating with a small but vocal constituency: American Indian Democrats.

But still no mention in the local broadsheet.

Hey, Globeniks: Isn’t it good to live in a three-daily town?

Even if this is a crap issue?



Kiss-fil-A Edition

August 4, 2012

Yesterday was “Same-Sex Kiss Day” at your local Chick-fil-A (which currently holds the franchise on the gay marriage rumpus), and coverage in the Boston dailies ran counter to form.

The Boston Globe played it, er, straight:

Another protest for Chick-fil-A

Supporters of gay rights hold kiss-in at mall

BURLINGTON — More than a dozen gay rights supporters joined the national debate surrounding Chick-fil-A on Friday, holding a kiss-in at the restaurant in Burlington Mall to protest the fast-food chain’s donations to antigay groups.

About 15 men and women filed into the mall’s food court shortly before 8 p.m. and stood outside Chick-fil-A, kissing each other, taking pictures, and chanting. The Massachusetts effort, organized by Join the Impact MA and GetEQUAL MA, was part of a national kiss-in campaign on Friday galvanized around the Chick-fil-A controversy.

“I think the greater point is to send a message to the CEOs of companies and politicians that it’s not OK to send money to fight against our rights,” said Keegan O’Brien, 23, of Dorchester. O’Brien, a University of Massachusetts Boston student, led parts of the protest at the mall Friday night.

And etc.

Interestingly, there was no photo with the Globe story – not in print, not on the web.

But the Herald came through with flying colors, photos included:

Protesters to Chick-fil-A: Read our lips

The Burlington Mall food court erupted in applause after about a dozen gay rights advocates descended on Chick-fil-A last night to lock lips for a national “Same-Sex Kiss Day,” a kiss-in to protest the millions of dollars they say the company has donated to anti-gay groups.

The protesters — who duct-taped signs to their T-shirts reading “Chick-fil-A funds hate groups” — were promptly escorted out by mall security. The activist smoochers marched out of the mall, handing out coupons for a “free side of bigotry” and chanting “Hey hey, ho ho! Homophobia has got to go!” as dozens of curious mall patrons followed behind snapping photos with their cellphones.

“When you are purchasing these chicken sandwiches, it’s going to these groups that promote hate against gays and lesbians,” said Sasha Kaufmann of GetEqual Massachusetts, who locked lips with fellow activist Kay Sweeney, 24, of Jamaica Plain for several minutes in front of the fast-food chain.

That’s the spirit, eh?

Herald readers, however, weren’t quite as affectionate.


Tom Menino Good News/Bad News Edition

August 3, 2012

The Boston Herald wins today’s local news bakeoff with a Page One story about Tom Menino.

The good news? He might run for  another term.

The bad news? He might run for another term.

Via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages:

(Oddly, the column by Joe Battenfeld not only doesn’t lead the Herald’s web site, it’s all but buried on the News & Opinion page, the caboose to a Menino/Chick-fil-A piece.)

Regardless, here’s the gist of it:

[C]lose Menino associates and other City Hall watchers say they believe the mayor will give it another go in 2013, despite a host of health problems. His fundraising reports suggest he is getting ready to run again.

The mayor has raised $225,315 in just the first seven months of the year, and has nearly $600,000 in the bank, dwarfing the fundraising of even statewide office holders who are girding to run for governor.

“All signs point to him running again,” said Hyde Park City Councilor Rob Consalvo, a close Menino ally. “The guy is working harder than ever.”

Yes, well, that’s part of the problem. Another run – likely unopposed since his challengers get not just beaten, but vaporized – would produce a knee-buckling sixth term for Menino’s, who’s successfully turned Boston into the political equivalent of Mayberry.

Except he’s not likable.

UPDATE: See the column’s Comments section for details.


Herald Still Mittsing in Action Edition

July 28, 2012

The hardreading staff was sure that after publishing zero pieces yesterday about Mitt Romney’s English muffin’, the Boston Herald would bounce back today with lots of zingy coverage.

No such luck.

The only mention of Romney in today’s paper was this lede to a piece headlined, “ROMNEY ROCKS PREZ ON GROWTH”:

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, knocked on his heels by Olympic gaffes overseas, was back on the offensive yesterday, blasting President Obama in the wake of a mediocre GDP report.

Unless there are some serious Mittigating circumstances, the feisty local tabloid has really screwed the pooch on this story.

But they’ve broiled the Chick(-fil-A) pretty good, although they did cut back to two-plus pages and five pieces today (vs. four-plus and eight yesterday).

The latest offerings include a taste test (apparently not online, but Popeyes won), a preview of the National Same-Sex Kiss Day slated for next Friday, reader reactions (“Mayor’s a turkey), a Joe Fitzgerald column decrying the intolerance shown to Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, and a dueling mayors dustup (“Bloomberg fillets Menino over stance”).

Question for the Herald editors: Had your fill of this story yet? We have.

UPDATE: Saturday’s Boston Globe added this to the chix mix:

In online chat, Brown is brought into Chick-fil-A fray

Senator Scott Brown, who has earned kind words from Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino despite their differing political parties, treaded carefully Friday when asked during a chat about the mayor’s spat with Chick-fil-A over its opposition to gay marriage.

“I disagree with what the CEO from Chick-fil-A said. I was glad he spoke further and said that his company does not discriminate,” Brown wrote from his South Boston campaign headquarters.

Noting that Massachusetts has strong antidiscrimination laws that could prevent problems should the company decide to set up shop in Boston, Brown added, “If they move forward with the location proposal, I trust the mayor and other officials will ensure that those laws are honored.”

Very diplomatic, no?

Saturday’s Wall Street Journal also checked in:

First Amendment Trumps Critics of Chick-fil-A’s Views

CHICAGO—The First Amendment is coming to the rescue of a chicken-sandwich chain that has drawn the ire of politicians outraged by its president’s public opposition to gay marriage.

One by one, local officials here and in Boston have revised their comments regarding the entrepreneur’s stance against gay marriage, tiptoeing between their disapproval of remarks he made on the subject and his right to say them.

Okay, then. We have democratic equilibrium at last.

Boston Herald editors: Do you read us?


Romney Gone Mittsing at the Herald Edition

July 28, 2012

Friday’s Boston Herald was all hands on duck – sorry, deck – covering the local filleting of Chick-fil-A over statements by its anti-gay-marriage CEO Dan Cathy. Page One alone gives you a sense of the Herald’s flood-the-zone coverage of the big buck-buck-bucks faceoff over the chicken chain’s expansion into Boston.

Via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages:

The hardcounting staff tallied four-plus pages and eight separate pieces (enough for a Chick-fil-A bucket?) in Friday’s Herald devoted to the dustup.

Which meant there was no one left to adequately mock Mitt Romney for his five-ring circus in London.

In fact, Friday’s Herald had exactly zero stories about Romney’s Olympic Mittshaps. That task fell to Friday’s Boston Globe, which featured:

1) This front-page report

Romney words on Olympics readiness draw British riposte

British Prime Minister David Cameron and England’s famously tough media tweaked Mitt Romney Thursday after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested that London might not be ready for its Olympic moment.

“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” said Romney, who ran the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. “There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”

Those comments prompted a quick rebuke from Cameron. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron told reporters after visiting the venues where the 2012 Summer Olympics will begin Friday. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere” — an apparent reference to Salt Lake City.


2) This Brian McGrory column

Mitt Romney, lost in translation

To the good, hard-working people of London, please allow me to apologize on behalf of my former governor, Mitt Romney.

When he basically told an interviewer that you Brits were a bunch of layabouts and that your Olympics would almost certainly be a total disaster, he didn’t mean for you to take it personally. Actually, he didn’t really even mean to say it. That’s just what he does, and it takes getting used to.

Will today’s Boston Herald make up for its lack of Romney snark attacks?

We’ll see.