Two Shades of Harold Brown in Boston Dailies’ Obits

February 26, 2019

In the eyes of some Bostonians, real estate magnate Harold Brown, who died on Sunday at the age of 94, was a legendary slumlord; to others he was a storied landlord and philanthropist.

In the local dailies he was both – but in separate papers.

The first sendoff came in yesterday’s Boston Herald, with the main source for Sean Philip Cotter’s piece being Brown’s rabbi.

Storied landlord Brown dies at 94

Boston native built real estate empire

Harold Brown, the storied Boston landlord who turned one small apartment building into a sprawling real estate empire, has died, according to his rabbi. He was 94.

Brown, who retired from his position atop Hamilton Co. at age 93 last year, amassed billions of dollars worth of Boston-area property over more than six decades in the real estate business and created a charitable foundation that gave to local causes.

 

Today the frothy local tabloid features this piece on the Obituaries page, which described Brown as being “[k]nown for his quick wit, no-nonsense approach and generosity.” But apparently that wasn’t enough hagiography for the Herald, because Howie Carr also weighs in today with this mash note.

Harold Brown: Hard worker, veteran, friend

Harold Brown was a friend of mine.

He was good to me, my family, and a lot of other people. Talk about up by the bootstraps — his mother was a fortuneteller, that’s how she put food on the table during the Depression. He was a veteran of both World War II and Korea.

When he died on Sunday, at age 94, Harold Brown was probably worth well over $1 billion. He had long ago set up a giant charitable foundation. If you walked through the door of his modest offices on Brighton Avenue with your hand out, chances are, you and your group got taken care of.

 

The rest of the column is classic whataboutism: Everyone greased politicians, Brown just forgot to delegate his bribery. Hey! – the Kennedys were slumlords too. That 75 State Street scandal? Brown was the victim of Whitey Bulger, not the scammer.

And etc.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Brown’s life is a very different story, although Bryan Marquard’s obit starts off in standard style.

HAROLD BROWN 1925-2019

Hard-driving developer reshaped housing

Harold Brown liked to tell the story of growing up so poor that his immigrant mother padlocked the icebox between meals to keep her seven hungry children from pilfering food the family would need for its next meal.

Years later he was faring better. In the mid-1950s, fresh from the success of building a doughnut shop chain, he bought his first rental property — a Commonwealth Avenue apartment building. One purchase led to another as he created a formidable real estate empire that his company estimates at $2.3 billion.

 

The Globe obit gives a more straightforward recounting of Brown’s legal woes and financial shenanigans, from a federal bribery conviction in 1986 to his 1991 filing for bankruptcy protection when he was $650 million in debt.

But the Globe also gives him his due on the business side (“At one point in the 1980s . . . Mr. Brown’s holdings were so expansive that he estimated he collected rent from one of every 15 tenants in Greater Boston”) and on the philanthropic front, from his establishing The Hamilton Company Charitable Foundation and contributing to Franciscan Children’s to rescuing the Coolidge Corner Theatre and donating a $2.3 million building to house the Fenway Community Health Center.

Taken all together, that’s exactly why you want to live in a two-daily town.

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Boston Globe & Herald Provide a Tale of Two RFKs

June 4, 2018

In a city where opinions about the Kennedy family have been a jump ball for, like, ever, it’s no surprise that yesterday’s Boston dailies would deliver decidedly different remembrances of Robert F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his murder in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen.

Let’s begin with this front-page piece in the Boston Sunday Globe by David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and former Boston Globe Washington bureau chief.

A voice stilled at 42, but still very much alive

RFK’s assassination made his mark in history forever a question of why might have been

For 12 weeks he traveled the country, up and down the coasts, to Indiana the day Martin Luther King Jr. was killed; to Nebraska, where he won a vital primary in a devoutly conservative state; to Oregon, where he suffered the first political loss by any member of his family; and then to California, where he vowed to go on to the Democratic convention “and let’s win there,’’ only to walk through a hotel kitchen where it all — the campaign against a long war, the campaign for a new sense of national purpose — tumbled to an end with an outstretched arm and spray of gunfire.

And then, for 50 years — a half-century of memories and myths — men and women of a certain age, and millions of Americans uncertain of what might have been, have disagreed about the meaning of Robert F. Kennedy’s life but have a curious, almost eerie, agreement about the meaning of that presidential campaign. Many he touched, and even some who were not moved by his insurgency against a sitting president of his own party, cursed his death at the time — and today almost inevitably employ a four-letter word to describe the meaning of his final years:

“He had a sense of hope for a better life for people of color,’’ said Antonia Hernandez, a former Edward M. Kennedy aide on Capitol Hill who now is president of the California Community Foundation.

 

Shribman’s piece is The Full Bobby, complete with four consecutive “hope” quotes and this declamation:

“In some ways, he and Malcolm X were bigger losses than John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, because Malcolm and Bobby were both evolving figures,’’ said Douglas D. Ross, assistant secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and author of “Robert F. Kennedy: Apostle of Change,’’ published shortly after the senator’s assassination. “Today he stands as the last person to put together minorities and white working-class voters. . . . Bobby was the only political figure who could create a different kind of coalition.’’

 

But . . .

Bobby was also a political figure who could create a different kind of . . . depiction.

Cue Boston Herald columnist and professional Kennedy hater Howie Carr.

Let’s not polish halo for St. Bobby just yet

Stand by for a torrent of slobbering stories about Robert F. Kennedy as the 50th anniversary of his assassination approaches Wednesday.

The main speaker at the official ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery will be Bill Clinton. I kid you not — Bill Clinton!

Look, of course it’s terrible that RFK was murdered at the age of 42, leaving behind all those kids and Ethel pregnant with the last of them. But since his passing, there’s been even more historical revisionism about Bobby than with almost any of the other liberal icons.

 

Drive liberals nuts grafs:

As attorney general in 1963, RFK authorized the FBI bugs on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That’s why he lost the Oregon primary just before he was assassinated. Hoover dropped a dime on him, although of course Bobby had his reasons for signing off on that earlier FBI Spygate.

Hoover had just killed a Senate investigation into one of JFK’s favorite White House hookers, an alleged East German spy named Ellen Rometsch, and … well, one hand washes the other in the Deep State, then as now.

Despite all the millions of gallons of ink that have been spilled about his “growth” and “evolution” in the groovy Sixties, Bobby was indisputably a homophobe and an anti-Semite.

 

Pick your poison – or your person – yeah?


Howie Carr’s Coffee Mug Not Worth Beans. Honest.

January 9, 2018

As the hardbeaning staff noted the other day, Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr has introduced a line of coffee that he claims is New England’s New Favorite.

 

 

Except, apparently, it isn’t.

From Adam Gaffin’s essential Universal Hub.

 

 

And then there’s this, from sharp-eyed commenter Samantha.

 

 

We actually would buy a coffee named “Hones Thowie,” but that’s neither here nor there.

Meanwhile, who’s on Carr’s side? One person, apparently, on Twitter, but zero reviews on the Howie Store website.

Brew hoo.


Big Brewhaha Over Boston Herald’s Howie Carr

January 7, 2018

Back when I was maybe 11 years old, my old man had left his job with American Airlines, ushering in the Bologna Years while he started his own business. I remember riding in the car one day when he asked the kids what he should call the new company, which was going to sell retread airplane tires.

How about Honest John’s, I piped up. Remarkably, he ignored my fine suggestion and went with Adroit Industries.

I was reminded of that episode when I saw this quarter-page ad in today’s Boston Herald.

 

 

At the website, what could not possibly be New England’s Favorite Coffee is described thusly:

Howie Carr spent eighteen months tasting hundreds of blends of coffee. Now he’s pleased to offer the best-tasting coffee in the land. It’s strong, bold, and satisfying — just like the Howie Carr Show [stopped reading here . . . ]

 

And the cost for this Signature Blend? A knee-buckling $10.99.

Then again, gotta pay those fees at Mar-a-Lago, right?

Or maybe Howie Carr(toon) is just preparing for the One-Daily Town era to arrive.


Boston Globe ‘Names’ Column Stiffs Boston Herald

April 28, 2017

From our No Credit Where Credit’s Due desk

It’s one thing for the Namesniks at the Boston Globe to rip off the hardreading staff. It’s quite another to xerox the Boston Herald without attribution.

From today’s Names:

 

 

Only one thing missing from the piece – acknowledgement that the firsty local tabloid’s Jessica Heslam had the story two days ago.

New honcho at 5 generates static

‘Move it’ mandate miffs on-camera staff

There’s a new “move it, move it” mandate being preached by Channel 5’s top newsroom honcho — but some miffed reporters don’t want to dance along.

Paige Harrison, who took over as WCVB-TV’s news director in January, has laid down a harsh edict demanding reporters get expressive during every TV live shot and stand-up.

 

Hey, Globies – maybe you could be more stand-up, eh?


Boston Globe Namesniks Finally Credit Their Sources

February 20, 2017

First, disclosure.

The hardreading staff has a serious beef with the Boston Globe’s Names column, as we noted in a recent post.

Boston Globe ‘Names’ Outs Howie Carr, Stiffs Two-Daily Town

Twice this week the hardreading staff has noted that Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, a charter member of the Donald Trump coat holder brigade, is also now a member of Trump’s swanky Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.

We also noted that neither Boston daily had reported on Carr’s quantum leap in social status, ending yesterday’s post this way: “Hey – you Namesniks at the Globe: Wanna grab a piece of this?”

Apparently they did, since this appears under Mark Shanahan’s byline in today’s snakey local broadsheet.

Trump backer Howie Carr is now a Mar-a-Lago Club member

Conservative talk-show host Howie Carr fancies himself a man of the people, albeit one who went to an exclusive prep school (Deefield Academy), attended a fine liberal arts college (University of North Carolina), and resides in a wealthy Boston enclave (Wellesley). So it should be no surprise that, like any other average Joe, Carr has become a newly-minted member of the Mar-a-Lago Club, President Trump’s posh Palm Beach, Fla., retreat.

 

That, not surprisingly, went over like the metric system here at the Global Worldwide Headquarters. But, hey, that’s show biz.

Then again . . . we did seem to tap into some basic sense of decency in the Namesniks, as yesterday’s column featured something new (at least as far as we can tell) – honest to God attribution.

 

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Of course, that does nothing for the hardbleeding staff.

But we’re happy to take one for the team.


Boston Globe ‘Names’ Outs Howie Carr, Stiffs Two-Daily Town

February 10, 2017

Twice this week the hardreading staff has noted that Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, a charter member of the Donald Trump coat holder brigade, is also now a member of Trump’s swanky Florida resort Mar-a-Lago.

We also noted that neither Boston daily had reported on Carr’s quantum leap in social status, ending yesterday’s post this way: “Hey – you Namesniks at the Globe: Wanna grab a piece of this?”

Apparently they did, since this appears under Mark Shanahan’s byline in today’s snakey local broadsheet.

Trump backer Howie Carr joins Mar-a-Lago

Conservative talk-show host Howie Carr fancies himself a man of the people, albeit one who went to an exclusive prep school (Deefield Academy), attended a fine liberal arts college (University of North Carolina), and resides in a wealthy Boston enclave (Wellesley). So it should be no surprise that, like any other average Joe, Carr has become a newly-minted member of the Mar-a-Lago Club, President Trump’s posh Palm Beach, Fla., retreat. Politico.com reports that Carr and his second wife, Kathy, are a few of the regular folks who’ve become Mar-a-Lago members since Trump moved into the White House. The Carrs must have really scrimped and saved to be able to swing the club’s initiation fee, which recently doubled to $200,000. We tried to reach Carr on Thursday to talk about the many perks and privileges he’ll be enjoying at Mar-a-Lago, but no luck. The right-wing radio host was an early supporter of Trump’s peculiar brand of populism and their friendship has only grown. Indeed, Carr was among 800 ordinary Americans who spent New Year’s Eve with Trump at the Mar-a-Lago Club.

 

Politico.com reports? Like all of a sudden you read the Politico Playbook item buried in last Monday’s edition?

C’mon, man – credit where credit’s due, eh?