Kevin ‘Cullen’ It in Today’s Column About the Herald

January 12, 2018

So, to recap:

On Wednesday, Boston Herald reporter Brian Dowling had this piece in the selfie local tabloid.

Herald execs’ pay disclosed in bankruptcy filings

Premium salaries as bankruptcy neared

The Herald paid substantial salaries to its publisher and top executive as the newspaper’s finances grew dire and management directed the company to a bankruptcy sale, according to court papers.

Patrick J. Purcell, the Herald’s publisher, took home $970,092 in the year prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing in Delaware on Dec. 8, according to papers in the ongoing bankruptcy case. His compensation included fringe benefits of a golf membership and use of a company vehicle.

 

Among others, Jeff Jacoby, late of the shaky local tabloid, applauded the paper for running the story (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation).

 

 

Now comes today’s piece by the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, in which he whacks Purcell and waxes nostalgic about the feisty local tabloid.

Herald mogul takes a hit

It was the perfect Boston Herald story: Greedy entrepreneur runs business into the ground, walks away to his myriad mansions with pockets lined with millions while working stiffs are left holding the bag.

Remarkably, that story, which ran in Wednesday’s Herald pretty much straight, without typical tabloid excess, was about the publisher of the Boston Herald, Pat Purcell. It noted that in the year leading up to the Herald filing for bankruptcy and being put up for sale, Purcell was paying himself an annual salary of almost a million dollars, while doling out some $265,000 in salaries among his three daughters.

If you ask me, the best argument for wanting the Herald to survive was on robust display when reporter Brian Dowling wrote that story and the Herald courageously printed it.

 

(Spoiler alert: Purcell does not come across as a sympathetic character in the piece. But Herald staffers do.)

Cullen’s column a far cry from this mash note Globe owner John Henry published when Purcell first announced the sale last month.

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Pat Purcell’s service to Boston

Patrick J. Purcell, longtime owner and publisher of the Boston Herald, is someone who has spent most of his adult life tending to one of the most essential tasks of our democracy: leading civic conversations that are sometimes contentious but are invariably important. While his efforts on behalf of journalism for the city are well known, the personal impact he has had on so many over decades isn’t as well known.

Boston knows Pat as the driven media executive who long ago bought the Herald from Rupert Murdoch and infused it with a very strong vision for his adopted city. But he is also unfailingly described as a loyal friend and devoted family man, who landed here after a colorful career in New York and became a Bostonian to the core.

 

Which, apparently, means greedy and heartless.

 

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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:

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.38.54 AM

 

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:

 

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 10.39.52 AM

 

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.


Convention Wisdom Edition

September 3, 2012

After suffering through the Republican National Convention last week (Dateline: Tampa) and no doubt dreading the Democratic National Convention this week, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has this message for the two political parties:

Scrap the conventions

To elaborate:

The conventions, by contrast, deprived of their essential purpose, have been reduced to an exercise in mutual self-aggrandizement. The two major parties garner obsessive press attention — media organizations sent 15,000 employees to Tampa for the Republican convention — without generating any real news. The media, in turn, make a great show of being eyewitnesses to history, when all they’re really witnessing is an immense infomercial.

Why perpetuate the charade?

The Boston Herald’s Rachelle Cohen has an answer:

New stars shine in GOP galaxy

TAMPA, Fla. — The balloons have been popped, the confetti swept, Mitt Romney has departed in his newly painted presidential campaign plane and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a prominent Romney surrogate, is predicting this convention — estimated to have cost $100 million — may be the last of its kind.

And maybe that would be OK. After all, the broadcast networks have minimized their coverage — although as it turned out Thursday night not minimized enough to save the nation the ramblings of a doddering 82-year-old actor.

But conventions aren’t just about TV. They’re about revving up the delegates, especially from those key swing states, for the tough job ahead. And they are about showcasing the party’s future stars.

Is that worth all the worthless media coverage?

You tell us.