City Hall a Koh-Conspirator in HuffPost Ortiz Hit?

July 8, 2016

A smashmouth piece in the Huffington Post this week about U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and her pattern of political prosecutions has drawn attention in both local dailies, but, as usual, from different angles.

Yesterday’s Boston Globe featured a Joan Vennochi column with this lede:

POLITICAL CORRUPTION cases generate big headlines — and big push back.

Just ask US Attorney Carmen Ortiz. She made a big splash when she indicted two aides to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on charges they forced organizers of a music festival to hire union workers. But now, with Walsh presumed to be her ultimate prize, a posse of critics is throwing cold water on the prosecution.

 

Vennochi proceeded to cite criticism of Ortiz by former AG Martha Coakley, attorney Harvey Silverglate, and retired federal judge Nancy Gertner – all of whom were quoted in the HuffPost takedown.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, though, the focus was more on the question of Marty Walsh’s possible involvement in the Ortiz hit, given that she has already indicted two Walsh administration officials on charges of extortion.

Yesterday’s front page (Inexplicable Little Green Number sold separately):

 

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The story inside has Walsh denying he’s “waging a PR counteroffensive” against Ortiz, but points out that “Walsh’s chief of staff, Daniel A. Koh, formerly served as chief of staff to Huffington Post Editor Arianna Huffington and as general manager of Huffington Post Live before joining the mayor’s inner circle.”

Today there’s no follow-up in the Globe, but the Herald has this piece by Dan Atkinson.

Call for answers on Huffington Post piece

PAC wants ‘public scrutiny’ re Walsh role

A national conservative group wants to see any communications between City Hall and the authors of a Huffington Post piece blasting U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, saying that if Mayor Martin J. Walsh or his staff engaged in a political hit job, they should be “held up to public scrutiny.”Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 1.53.24 PM

A Herald front-page story yesterday quoted Walsh saying he and his aides had no involvement in the article, titled “This Federal Prosecutor Is Building A Career Indicting The Good Guys.” But the mayor admitted that he and his chief of staff, Daniel A. Koh — who used to work at The Huffington Post — knew the piece was in the works.

“Both the timeline and the mayor’s answer raised red flags for us,” said Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for America Rising PAC, which filed a public records request with the city for any emails and texts between the Walsh administration and The Huffington Post.

 

Just what Walsh needs right now, eh? One more group emauling him.

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To Know Trump, Read Both Boston Dailies

December 29, 2015

From our One Towne, Two Different Worlds desk

Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump (R-Donald Trump) gets the coveted Boston Herald Pooh-Pooh Platter (pat. pending) today, with the target being Bill Clinton.

Page One:

 

MA_BH

 

Inside spread (with bonanza of Inexplicable Little Green Numbers):

 

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We’ll leave you to read the cartoon columnists for yourself (here and here). But we do want to point out this quote in the news report from Lori Davis, a member of the “Women for Trump” Coalition in New Hampshire.

“Hillary has some issues with how Mr. Trump views women. She claims Mr. Trump is sexist,” Davis said. “Meanwhile, her husband can’t seem to stay monogamous — not to mention even discreet. Perhaps she might want to rethink things before she starts tackling Mr. Trump. She should clean up her own house.”

 

That’ll be an interesting leitmotif to follow as the Big Dog hits the campaign trail.

Rounding out the frothy local tabloid’s Trumpa Stumpa coverage, columnist Kimberly Atkins proposes in her usual levelheaded way that maybe Bill could help Hill. There’s a special place reserved in heaven for anyone who can maintain a measured voice at the Herald, and Atkins seems a mortal lock for first-ballot entry.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the GOP’s Hair Apparent gets the usual treatment in a balanced trail report from Jim O’Sullivan (representative sample: “[Trump] assured New Hampshire residents that their first-in-the-nation primary would be secure if he were elected, even though the chief executive has no direct authority over party primary calendars.”). And columnist Joan Vennochi weighed in with some observations about Hillary’s Bill problem.

In other words, everyone ran true to form today on the local dailies front.


Herald Pounds Away at GruberGaffe

November 15, 2014

It’s Day Five of the Jonathan Gruber rumpus and the Boston Herald is still on it like Brown on Williamson.

Today’s front page of the frenzy local tabloid:

 

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Inside, the dustup gets the high-priced spread:

 

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The derail Obamacare piece is especially noteworthy, since it is – as the great Raymond Chandler would say – thinner than the gold on a week-end wedding ring.

MIT professor’s gaffes could derail Obamacare

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Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber — the MIT brainiac caught on video admitting the law’s “lack of transparency” was meant to dupe a gullible American public — could end up becoming Obamacare’s demolition man, with congressional Republicans threatening to hold hearings and experts saying his bombshell comments could impact the Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act.

 

Those “experts” turn out to be one guy from a conservative think tank.

“Justices and their clerks read the news like everybody else does,” said Joshua Archambault, a health care expert at the Pioneer Institute. “I think it will be in the back of their minds.”

 

Then again, maybe not, since the subterfuge was meant to keep Obamacare’s penalties from looking like a tax, while the Supremes have already declared it is a tax.

Whatever.

Crosstown, the Boston Globe has studiously avoided GruberGaffe, with only one report so far, buried in yesterday’s A section. But tomorrow we get this Joan Vennochi column.

‘Stupidity’ comments create new problems for ACA

GIVEN THE ongoing frenzy over photos of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, it’s easy to understand why some people might underestimate the intelligence of the American public.

Yet Jonathan Gruber did more than underestimate it. The MIT economist and architect of the Affordable gruberCare Act trashed his fellow citizens, by attributing the ability of Democrats to pass the law to deliberate duping, aided by the “stupidity of the American voter.”

Those videotaped comments, distributed via social media, created a new problem for an administration dealing with plenty of old ones. Thanks to Gruber, the anti-Obamacare gang suddenly has fresh fodder. As a result, the GOP’s campaign against the health care law “gained new momentum,” reported the Washington Post, and Gruber may be called to testify about remarks he retroactively explained as “off the cuff.”

 

And now Gruber’s getting cuffed – by Vennochi, by the Herald, by the GOP, probably by Pope Francis in the next few days.

Who’s stupid now, eh?


Martha Coakley: Redemption in Boston Globe, Rejection in Boston Herald

November 7, 2014

From our Late to the Party Pooper desk

Is it just us, or did the Boston Globe bend over backwards yesterday to sponsor the Martha Coakley Victory in Defeat Tour?

For your Page One consideration:

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 1.11.25 AM

 

Then, Yvonne Abraham’s Metro column:

Redemption, even in loss

Martha Coakley did not lose the election on Tuesday. Charlie Baker won it.

Both candidates — haunted by four-year-old criticisms of their failed bids for US senator and governor, respectively — put the ghosts of 2010 to rest for good this week.

In fact, they’d left them behind months ago, but some critics hadn’t noticed. Tuesday showed them. There was undeniable redemption in Baker’s victory, and, however painful it had to be, in Coakley’s narrow defeat.

 

Cut to Joan Vennoch’si op-ed:

Martha Coakley gets political redemption

THIS TIME, no one could say Martha Coakley gave up the fight.

In fact, she didn’t formally concede the governor’s race to Republican Charlie Baker until Wednesday morning.

Forgive her if she hung on a little too long.

 

Sorry, Joan – Boston Herald editorial page editor Rachelle Cohen doesn’t forgive her.

Coakley takes cowardly way out

Fails to bow off political stage gracefully to Baker

In politics as in life there are right ways and wrong ways to do things. How unfortunate that Martha Coakley had to end her political career on such a sour note — choosing the wrong way.

With hundreds of her supporters still in the Fairmont Copley Plaza ballroom as election eve turned into morning, Coakley slipped out and headed home. The job of telling the crowd to go home fell to her running mate, Steve Kerrigan, who told supporters, “It’s going to be a long night or rather a long morning” and urged folks to head on out.

 

Cohen’s conclusion: “It was simply wrong [for Coakley] to skulk away without a word — even if that word fell short of a concession speech.”

Hmmm. You tell us.


Conduct ‘Unbecoming’ in Mass. AG’s Race

August 28, 2014

Today’s local dailies have very different takes on the political rumpus du jour: Attorney General hopeful Warren Tolman (D-Teamsters AFL-CIO) calling AG hopeful Maura Healey (D-Hoopsters Teamsters) “unbecoming” for hectoring him about his lobbying work. [Apologies for the mixup.]

The Boston Globe is on the story like Brown on Williamson, starting Page One Metro.

 

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Tolman’s moonwalking, of course, accomplished nothing with the umbrage-industrial complex, exemplified by this response:

Barbara Lee, of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which is dedicated to getting more women involved in politics, tweeted: “Code for close race = #unbecoming #unladylike #cold #bossy. Men always try to knock women off pedestal[s] like this in #mapoli and beyond.”

 

#Seriously? #Whatpedestal?

On the op-ed page of the stately local broadsheet (yikes! can we still use that term?), columnist Joan Vennochi tried to inject some reality into the conversation.

Unbecoming issue in the AG race

ATTORNEY GENERAL candidate Maura Healey was ruthlessly pushing Democratic rival Warren Tolman to explain what she describes as his record as a lobbyist, when Tolman, who contends he never lobbied anyone, replied: “Maura, it’s just unbecoming. I’m surprised you continue to push these issues rather than talk about the issues people care about.”

Tolman said he’s sorry now. But before he apologized, the word “unbecoming” triggered an urgent fundraising letter from Marty Walz, a Healey backer and president of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. “It means unattractive, indecorous. It’s not a word you hear men on Beacon Hill use about each other,” wrote Walz.

True enough. And, with Tolman in the lead in a tight, increasingly nasty race, it’s no surprise the Healey campaign would jump on her opponent’s use of it. After all, the word “unbecoming” holds a special place in Massachusetts politics. But overplaying it is a mistake. It didn’t help the last female candidate who tried.

 

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, an editorial entirely underplayed it.

Time to get real

How did it come to this? How did two really smart contenders for attorney general, two people who have already served the public and seem committed to the notion of public service, get caught up in a meaningless war of words?

Warren Tolman, a former state senator (and a sometime writer for these pages), took issue in a Tuesday debate with his Democratic primary opponent Maura Healey, a former assistant attorney general, when she criticized his work as a lobbyist.

“You go down this path, Maura, it’s just unbecoming,” he said.

Well, you would have thought from the reaction of the sisterhood that the man had just suggested she tie on an apron and return to the kitchen.

 

Right. Better both candidates should get back to business.


Herald Takes Dig at Globe State House Digs

August 10, 2014

Last week, as you splendid readers might – or, more likely, might not – recall, the hardreading staff noted the yin and yang of State House renovation coverage in the local dailies. Today comes the latest installment in the form of this piece by Boston Herald political scribe Matt Stout.

Treat the Press

Renovation 
costs for Globe 
at State House near $30G

New six-figure “blast” windows, $120,000 in floor repairs, $26,000 to move wall sockets because of “revised furniture layouts” — the extra $2.3 million spent to repair the State House’s gubernatorial suite ran the gamut of changes.ASTU2274.JPG

Count The Boston Globe among those added costs.

Work connected to the broadsheet’s fourth-floor State House office is sprinkled throughout the project’s so-called change orders, thanks in part to its place in the building’s cozy southwest corner.

 

Mee-ow. The final tally? “All told, the state credited $29,550 in unforeseen work in connection with the paper’s digs.”

Funny, but that fact went unmentioned in both Akilah Johnson’s report last week (which was entirely uncritical) and Joan Vennochi’s follow-up column the next day (which was reasonably critical of the “museum quality” makeover).

Big deal, you say? Thirty grand is lunch money compared to the total $11.3 million tab? Just sour grapes on the part of the Herald?

Roll your own.

Last graf of Stout’s piece:

The Herald’s fifth-floor office was unaffected by the monthslong construction. (Though, if anyone over there is reading, our A/C has been making weird noises.)

 

Buck up, Matt – summer’s almost gone.


Class Notes from Boston’s Op-It Gals

October 24, 2013

Two of the best columnists in town – the Globe’s Joan Vennochi and the Herald’s Margery Eagan (yeah yeah, she’s technically not an op-ed columnist but couldn’t resist the headline) – land on the same square today in their coverage of the Boston mayoral race: The “phony class war” as Vennochi puts it, or the “‘washerwoman’ fixation” as Eagan has it.

From the former:

BOSTON DOESN’T need a phony class war, fueled by labor supporters of mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh — not when it faces the prospect of a real one.

Forget about new Boston versus old Boston. The real issue is rich Boston versus poor Boston and whether the next mayor cares enough to do something about it.

 

From the latter:

This “washerwoman” fixation is about politicians battling over who’s had a tougher life. That’s supposed to determine which candidate would make the better mayor, senator or governor — though I’ve yet to see any proof.

 

Both pieces are worth reading. Vennochi’s conclusion:

Where the next mayor came from matters less than where he wants the city to go — and how many Bostonians get there with him.

 

Eagan:

[Y]ou can’t fight class warfare if you’re both smart, powerful men in the same class. Vote Connolly or vote Walsh. But prince vs. pauper this race is not.

 

They’re both right.