Boston Dailies Are a Hung Jury on Tsarnaev Fate

April 9, 2015

As we await the start of the sentencing phase of the Boston Marathon Bomber trial, the local dailies are – not surprisingly – seeing justice in very different outcomes for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

The Boston Herald goes for the trifecta in today’s edition: editorial, op-ed column, editorial cartoon – all reaching the same conclusion.

From the Herald editorial (under the headline No mercy for Tsarnaev):

Thirty counts. Thirty guilty verdicts. But that is only the beginning. The toughest part is yet to come — the issue of life or death for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. May this jury show him as little mercy as he showed the victims whose lives he so callously took.

 

From the op-ed piece by Rachelle Cohen:

In a strange way the death penalty seems too good, too easy for Tsarnaev who also wrote that he envied his brother Tamerlan’s martyrdom. Death won’t dissipate the anger that lingers. It won’t bring back those taken from us. And it will surely take years to actually be carried out — such is the American way of justice. But it is the only just end for this unrepentant terrorist.

 

Jerry Holbert’s editorial cartoon:

 

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Crosstown, the Boston Globe does the Herald one better: editorial, two op-ed pieces, editorial cartoon – all pleading the opposite case.

From the Globe editorial (under the headline Now, a harder task for jury: Spare Tsarnaev death penalty):

As the trial now moves into its sentencing phase — the jury must unanimously vote to execute Tsarnaev, or else he will receive a life sentence — the defense team may also raise legal mitigating factors. Tsarnaev was 19 at the time of the bombing; he was apparently a heavy drug user; he had no prior criminal record. By themselves, none of these would seem like a particularly good reason to spare him, but taken as a whole, and alongside evidence of his brother’s dominant role, they should plant seeds of doubt.

In sorting through such life-and-death considerations, jurors face an unenviable task — and mixed precedent. The Oklahoma City bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was put to death. The Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, wasn’t. Tsarnaev obviously should spend the rest of his life in prison. His defense has already made a good case that he does not meet the exceptionally high standards for a federal execution.

 

From Nancy Gertner’s op-ed: “The choices for the government should not be a death finding in a civilian court, or a death finding in a military tribunal, lethal injection or a firing squad. Countless others accused of heinous crimes have pled guilty to a life without parole. There was another way. There still is.”

From Harvey Silverglate’s op-ed:

The feds overstepped in asserting their superior claim to jurisdiction in this case in anticipation of this very moment, and Massachusetts citizens should pay close attention as prosecutors make their case for execution. When our state outlawed the death penalty in 1984, did we really intend for that prohibition to be conditional? Tsarnaev’s crimes indeed are particularly heinous, but we cannot let emotions cloud judgment. Regardless of the jury’s sentencing decision, this trial has starkly illustrated a decline in Massachusetts’ state sovereignty in deciding — literally — life-or-death matters.

 

Dan Wasserman’s editorial cartoon:

 

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It doesn’t get much more opposite than that.

UPDATE: The redoubtable Dan Kennedy ventured farther afield in the local dailies, pointing out the following at Media Nation:

Metro columnists Kevin Cullen and Yvonne Abraham weigh in [against the death penalty] . . .  (Columnist Jeff Jacoby has previously written in favor of death for Tsarnaev.)

Over at the Boston Herald, the message is mixed. In favor of the death penalty [is] columnist Adriana Cohen . . . Columnist Joe Fitzgerald is against capital punishment for Tsarnaev. Former mayor Ray Flynn offers a maybe, writing that he’s against the death penalty but would respect the wishes of the victims’ families.

 

Sorted.


Boston Dailies: Tsarnaev Jury’s In

March 5, 2015

From our Late to the Hanging Party desk

After an initial pool of 1373 potential jurors (who filled out a 28-page questionnaire) was whittled down to 256 by presiding US District Judge George A. O’Toole, whose interviews yielded 75 possibly unbiased jurors who then shrank to the Elite Eighteen – 12 jurors and six alternates – Boston now has an actual jury for the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people – Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lingzi Lu (along with MIT police officer Sean Collier) – and wounded over 200.

And the finalists had their cotillion in Wednesday’s local dailies.

Boston Globe:

 

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Boston Herald:

 

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This is shaping up to be one hellacious bakeoff between the two local dailies.

Fasten your seat belts, as Bette Davis would say. It’s going to be a bumpy trial.


Hark! The Herald! (Tsarnaev Defense Edition)

December 30, 2014

Today’s edition of the selfie local tabloid once again demonstrates its Heraldcentric theory of the universe, as it reports that the trial of  alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is all about, well, the Boston Herald.

Lawyers blast feds over Herald column

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have again asked a judge to postpone his trial, challenging Dzhokhar Tsarnaevprosecutors’ claims about their preparation process and slamming a Herald column that criticized the defense’s repeated efforts to seek delays.

In the motion filed yesterday, Tsarnaev’s legal team disputes the government claim that they have refused to stipulate to any evidence — an acknowledgement that would preclude bringing in officials to testify about how it was acquired and handled.

 

The Herald column in question? This one:

 

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According to today’s report, “[t]he defense motion cites Herald reporter Bob McGovern’s Dec. 26 Full Court Press column, which referred to the defense’s ‘foot-dragging’ and ‘stall tactics’ as an example.”

Jackpot!

As you might expect, crosstown at the Boston Globe there’s nary a word about foot-dragging or stalling or stipulating . . . or the Herald.

Tsarnaev defense renews pitch to delay trial

Says prosecutors sent thousands of documents late

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Attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev renewed their push Monday to delay his death penalty trial, set to start in one week, until the fall.

In papers filed in US District Court, the attorneys for the 21-year-old, who is accused of detonating two bombs at the 2013 Marathon finish line along with his late brother, Tamerlan, said the government has handed over thousands of documents to them at the last moment.

As a result, the attorneys wrote, there is no way they can be ready to defend Tsarnaev both during the trial, and if he is convicted, during the penalty phase, where jurors will be asked to decide whether the former Cambridge resident deserves the death penalty.

 

One town, two different trials, eh?


Herald Hits Tsarnaev Trifecta

December 17, 2013

The hardworking staff predicted, the feisty local tabloid delivered.

After yesterday’s buckshot, today’s Boston Herald aimed its big guns at the stately local broadsheet’s Pulitzer-seeking takeout, The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev.

Start with Yin ‘n’ Yang Twins (we know – it doesn’t make sense, does it?) Howie Carr and Margery Eagan.

Carr’s drive-by:

OH, BROTHER! WHAT A DOOZY

Globe pens ‘Joker’ of a tale on suspects

The Boston Globe is 
going for a Pulitzer Prize — in Political Correctness.

And if some other 
money-hemorrhaging broadsheet does manage to out-moonbat the Globe, well, there’s always the consolation prize — the Profiles in Courage award, for being courageous enough to take the wrong, but fashionable, position.

The Globe’s take: the Tsarnaevs are “homegrown” terrorists. Yes, they were. Their home was a Third World backwater overrun with savages like themselves — Muslim terrorists.

 

Nuts graf:

The headline was “The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev,” although a more 
accurate title might have been “The Fall of the 
Sect. 8 Apartment of Tsarnaev.”

Welfare, though, is one of the parts of the family’s U.S. history that the Globe just sort of skates over, only once mentioning their Temporary Aid to Needy 041513blastaftermath3Families, welfare that is disbursed in, you guessed it, EBT cards.

“Even with that,” the Globe mourns, “money was in short supply.”

Perhaps they could have … worked? But why should they have? By God, these foreign freeloaders were victims.

 

And etc.

Right below Carr’s piece, Eagan checks in with this:

Paper’s report sheds some light on darkest hour

If it makes you feel better, call this Boston Globe report pandering to liberals and making excuses for terrorists. Tell yourself, “If 
we only ditch the PC 
and get tough on radical Muslims,” these attacks will stop.

But you’d be deluding yourself. And some of us would like to know why the Tsarnaev brothers did what they allegedly did.

The Globe did provide details on Tamerlan, 
always the easier to explain. His increasing alienation, anger, religious radicalism. Trolling Jihadist websites. Ditching his snazzy silver boots and fur hat for a Muslim prayer cap. Raging at fellow Muslims for such outrages as celebrating Thanksgiving.

 

No easy explanation of Dzhokhar, Eagan writes, but the Globe report “did cast doubt on an 
expected defense strategy: that he was the dupe of his big brother.”

For the tiebreaker, we go to the Herald’s editorial page and find this beauty:

Those of us who know the cost of newsprint and reporting and artists to draw portraits of the imagined world of the Tsarnaev clan can only express dismay at this shocking waste of resources and its often fawning portrayal of two terrorists — “Jahar’s soft features and mop of hair,” the report card that remarked on his “heart of gold” and Tamerlan, the “gifted athlete” who was “flamboyant, occasionally doing handstands and cartwheels in the [boxing] ring.”

The media spotlight is a powerful thing. There was a time when the Globe used it wisely to ferret out public corruption, not to write tone poems to terrorists.

 

Feisty local tabloid indeed. And 100% irony deficient.


Boston Herald: The Fail of the House of Tsarnaev

December 16, 2013

Okay, well not everyone thinks the Boston Globe’s big Sunday takeout – The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev – is Pulitzer prose the way the hardswooning staff at Campaign Outsider does.

From today’s Boston Herald:

‘SICKENING’

Globe’s bomber tales disgust mother of Marathon survivors

The Stoneham mother whose two sons each lost a leg in the Boston Marathon bombing called “sickening” a nine-page special section in yesterday’s Boston Globe that downplayed Islamic extremism, suggesting the Tsarnaev family’s bad luck, poverty and mental issues had more to do with the plot, while legal experts said BI1E1611.JPGthose claims are likely to figure strongly in any effort to spare surviving accused terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the death penalty.

“I hope people don’t fall for this. It’s a joke. There’s no excuse for what those terrorists did,” Liz Norden said of Tsarnaev, 20, and his older brother Tamerlan, who was killed in Watertown in a firefight with police after four people had been murdered and more than 260 others wounded — with numerous amputations.

Both Norden’s sons, JP and Paul, lost their right legs as one of two pressure-cooker bombs packed with shrapnel exploded in Copley Square on April 15.

 

The feisty local tabloid notes that “[a] Globe spokeswoman declined to comment.”  Herald readers, by contrast, are staging a regular Who Struck John in the comments section.

Representative sample:

 

Picture 2

 

From there, they were off to the races (123 comments as of this posting).

Check the Herald’s editorial page tomorrow for Chapter Two.


Tsarnaev Photo Finish

July 21, 2013

Saturday’s local dailies had – wait for it – very different takes on the State Police photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s April 19 apprehension by law enforcement officials after a “massive manhunt.”

From the Boston Globe:

Some praise officer for bloody images

Sergeant with State Police faces hearing on action

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The State Police sergeant who released dramatic photos of the capture of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev without the agency’s permission received enthusiastic support Friday from an array of backers.

“The department received dozens upon dozens of calls and e-mails today from citizens around the country supporting Sergeant Murphy and what he did,” State Police spokesman David Procopio said Friday.

Sergeant Sean Murphy, who released the images of a bloody Tsarnaev to Boston Magazine Thursday, also drew praise on social media, including Twitter. He said he released the photos in response to Rolling Stone magazine’s putting Tsarnaev on its cover with an image that critics said made him look glamorous.

“Great photos,” one person wrote of Murphy’s images. “I support your decision.”

 

But not everyone felt the same way, as the Boston Herald’s front page noted:

 

Picture 1

 

The inside scoop:

Dzhokhar TsarnaevDzhokhar’s dream photos?

Cop pics could help defense

The leaked state police photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s bloody, woozy capture and surrender in Watertown may be exactly the evidence the Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s legal team needs to help him talk his way out of the death chamber, a former federal prosecutor said yesterday.

“I absolutely think they’re going to be using these in terms of mitigation — that he’s been injured enough, that he suffered, that he was fired upon without firing upon the others,” attorney R. Bradford Bailey told the Herald. “These are the precise types of facts that make a persuasive argument against imposing the death penalty.

“This is certainly material for Judith Clarke and her experience with capital punishment cases,” he added, referring to the San Diego death-penalty specialist who has been appointed to Tsarnaev’s case.

 

This one is, as they say in the betting line, pick ’em.


On the Cover of the Roiling Stone

July 18, 2013

First off, it should be noted that the Boston Herald broke this Rolling Stone story on page 3 of yesterday’s edition (don’t ask about the little green numbers – no idea why they keep popping up):

 

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Today, the feisty local tabloid went for broke:

 

Picture 2

 

The one dissenting voice was columnist Margery Eagan, but she was drowned out by the other coverage, which included a couple of news reports and the always-enlightening comments of Herald readers.

 

Picture 3

 

Our personal favorite among the reader responses:

 

Picture 4

 

But wait – the paper’s not done yet. There’s also a smashmouth editorial, along with a venomous column from Michael Graham:

BomberRollingstoneMagazine’s the picture of desperation

‘McDreamy’ photo won’t get oldies loser Rolling

Hey, Rolling Stone magazine! Next time you want to prove how provocative and edgy you are, put a flattering photo of George Zimmerman on your cover.

Right. Like that’s ever going to happen.

And that’s part of the reason for Boston’s completely righteous anger over the magazine’s “Terrorist Teen Beat” cover featuring Dzhokhar McDreamy. It’s insulting and stupid, and they know it.

But if it sells magazines (or even better — drives up Web traffic), they don’t care.

 

Sounds a bit like the Herald itself.

Crosstown rival Boston Globe has a more evenhanded debate on its front page:

 

Picture 5

 

There’s also a news report and this comme ci comme ça editorial:

[T]he magazine’s advance hype for the story — “a riveting and heartbreaking account of how a charming kid with a bright future became a monster” — hinted at a somewhat more sympathetic portrayal of Tsarnaev than many readers might expect.

Then again, the cover also identifies him as a bomber — going farther in asserting Tsarnaev’s guilt than the criminal justice system has at this point. All of which suggests that Rolling Stone is better at trying to create buzz than at recognizing the sensitivity of a recent incident that led to four Boston-area residents’ deaths and inflicted horrifying injuries on many more. Still, readers shouldn’t assume that a cover story about a suspected evildoer represents an attempt to glamorize him. This issue of Rolling Stone should be judged not by its cover, but on the information that it brings to the public record.

 

Well . . . judge for yourself.