Battle of the Bulger (Cullen the Facts Edition)

June 8, 2013

The Boston Herald wants you to know it’s on the Whitey Bulger trial like Brown on Williamson, so they’re running this ad in today’s edition:


Picture 2


And here’s an example of that “complete coverage.”

060713bulgermg002Witness ban lifted for Globe duo

Judge Denise J. Casper ruled yesterday that Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy and columnist Kevin Cullen can attend James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial, exempting them from her order to keep witnesses out of the courtroom except to testify . . .

In a separate court motion yesterday, Bulger’s lawyers threatened a push to isolate the jury from the outside world throughout the expected four-month trial “if the editors of the Globe do not show better judgment in the publication of columns that are designed to sell newspapers and for-profit books written by this columnist (Cullen).”


Interesting, yes? But hardly complete.

Here’s the same issue in the Globe:

Earlier Friday, Bulger’s defense attorney J. W. Carney Jr. filed a court motion in support of the request to ban Murphy and Cullen from the courtroom, alleging that Cullen’s Friday column on Bulger was sensational and would prejudice a jury.

Carney later said he would consider asking that the jury in the case be sequestered, which would prove to be costly and a hardship for jurors, if the Globe does not “show better judgment in the publication of columns that are designed to sell newspapers and for-profit books written by this columnist.”

But Casper rejected Carney’s argument when she granted the newspaper’s request to exclude Cullen and Murphy from the courtroom during testimony, noting the journalists’ constitutional rights in reporting on Bulger’s past and covering his trial.

Casper said she read the column Friday morning and indicated it seemed to support the Boston Globe’s argument, telling Carney, “From a 1st Amendment point of view I don’t know if it lends more support to your position, or more support to your opposing party’s point of view.”


[To be sure graf goes here.]

To be sure, both papers are pursing their own interests: the Herald to make the Globe look bad, the Globe to make itself look good. (The stately local broadsheet for the most part doesn’t concern itself with the feisty local tabloid.)

That’s all to be expected. But hey, Heraldniks: Complete coverage? Try again.

Battle of the Bulger (Can I Be a Witness? Edition)

June 7, 2013

The Boston Globe is reporting on its website that its reporters can cover the trial of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

Judge rejects Bulger effort to ban Globe journalists

US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper ruled today that Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen and reporter Shelley Murphy can cover the trial of James “Whitey’’ Bulger, the South Boston gangster who was recorded on jailhouse tapes describing his disdain for the two journalists who have chronicled his career for decades . . .

Bulger’s defense team put Cullen and Murphy on their witness list, saying they might need to be called to impeach testimony from key prosecution witnesses. But federal prosecutors, citing comments Bulger made in the jail conversations, said he was motivated by his disdain towards Cullen and Murphy.


The feeling is, of course, mutual, as Cullen’s column in today’s dead-tree edition illustrates.

I’ll be glad to submit some sample testimony right here so they can decide whether they really want to call me as a defense witness.de5e692f74914a5487db1f8aabf250e4-de5e692f74914a5487db1f8aabf250e4-0

I believe Whitey Bulger is a deeply cynical and vicious criminal who made millions by killing and intimidating people while he was protected by a deeply corrupted FBI.

I believe he made millions from the drug trade, extorting money from drug dealers even as he and his apologists propagated the nonsense that he never was involved in drugs.


And etc. in much the same vein. Except all that’s, well, moot now.

But not yet for Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, who’s also on Bulger’s witness list and has not been dismissed from it by today’s ruling. So Carr can continue to produce drive-bys like Wednesday’s piece:

Picture 8No question about it, I’ll find courtside seat

First I tried to get a victim’s seat in the courtroom — no go.

Then I figured I’d just attend Whitey’s trial as a reporter — but Bulger put me on his witness list, although I am confident the judge will eventually decide to allow me to watch the trial, even if I do have to be a witness — a hostile witness, that is.

But given my dismal record in court, I don’t want to take any chances. So I filled out a jury questionnaire just in case that might get me inside.


And etc. – including most notably Question 39:

Based upon any … articles you have read, have you formed an opinion regarding James “Whitey” Bulger that would prevent you from being a fair and impartial juror in this case?

I think I read several hundred times in the Globe that, “Jimmy kept the drugs out of Southie.” Is that true?


The hardreading staff can’t really say, but maybe Kevin Cullen can.