Boston Globe Keeps ‘Spotlight’ Off Its Own Reporters

March 16, 2016

As the hardreading staff has previously noted, Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn – among others – vociferously protested the portrayal of him in the movie Spotlight. As Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen wrote last November:

After seeing the film at the Loews theater across from Boston Common, [Dunn] stepped onto the sidewalk and threw up.

The movie sickened him because he is portrayed as someone who minimized the suffering of those who were sexually abused, as someone who tried to steer Globe reporters away from the story, as someone invested in the coverup.

 

Dunn’s lawyer subsequently “sent a letter to the filmmakers, demanding that the offending scene be deleted from the movie.”

Well, that hasn’t happened, but this has, as Mark Shanahan reports in today’s Globe:

B.C. dialogue fiction, ‘Spotlight’ studio says

Open Road Films, the studio that distributed the Oscar-winning film “Spotlight,” issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging that dialogue attributed in the movie to Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn was fictional.

When “Spotlight” was released last fall, Dunn expressed outrage, saying that he was depicted as someone who downplayed the suffering of people who were sexually abused by priests. He enlisted a lawyer to contact Open Road and demand the removal of a scene in the movie in which his character discusses whether previous administrators at Boston College High School were aware of sexual abuse there.

 

At issue was a scene depicting Dunn in a 2002 meeting with Globe reporters Walter “Robby” Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer (played by Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams). The topic: Allegations of sexual abuse at BC High. The offending dialogue from the character playing Dunn: “It’s a big school, Robby, you know that. And we’re talking about seven alleged victims over, what, eight years?”

The Globe piece includes this statement from Open Road Films:

“As is the case with most movies based on historical events, ‘Spotlight’ contains fictionalized dialogue that was attributed to Mr. Dunn for dramatic effect. We acknowledge that Mr. Dunn was not part of the Archdiocesan coverup. It is clear from his efforts on behalf of the victims at BC High that he and the filmmakers share a deep, mutual concern for victims of abuse.”

What the Globe piece does not include is Robinson’s and Pfeiffer’s previous backing of the movie version (tip o’ the pixel to splendid reader Ember2378 for the link). But the Boston Herald’s Jack Encarnacao helpfully fills in the details.

The [studio’s] statement comes after both the Globe’s Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer said the scene in the movie captured Dunn’s “spirited public relations defense of BC High” during their first Spotlight team interview with him in 2002 during the paper’s probe of clergy sexual abuse.

 

Robinson and Pfeiffer did not respond to the Herald’s calls seeking comment. We’ll see if anyone else has better luck.

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Hey, Kevin Cullen: The Globe’s Not Here!

January 4, 2016

The hardlyreading staff held hostage: Day 8.

Random notes from around the Globe:

• Today’s edition of the Boston Globe plunks its delivery woes right on Page One.

 

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Crosstown, the Boston Herald has yet to mention the meltdown. We don’t care who prints the fraidy local tabloid – that’s just journalistic malpractice.

 

• Are we the only ones who think the new Globe ePaper is a classic case of schlimmbesserung? You know, to make worse by trying to improve?

 

• Kevin Cullen’s front-page piece today is a hoot. Favorite part:

Whatever they pay the delivery people, it’s not enough, and it’s more than a little depressing to think this debacle has been brought about by a desire to pay them even less.

 

Interesting Twitter exchange yesterday in the wake of Cullen’s piece going online. First:

 

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Then:

 

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Huh.

 

Rapid strides! Today’s “delivery delay” list is down to 112 zip codes (from 117 yesterday).

 

• Free the Zippy the Pinhead One!

 

More, most likely, to come.


Now the Spotlight Has Turned On ‘Spotlight’

November 23, 2015

It was bound to happen: First,there was the tremendous acclaim for Spotlight, the film about the Boston Globe’s dogged pursuit of pedophile priests and the Boston archdiocese that sheltered and enabled them.

Now come the complaints.

It started, to the best of our knowledge, with attorney Eric MacLeish in the November 10 Boston Globe Names column.

MacLeish objects to and lauds ‘Spotlight’

The news has been nearly all good for “Spotlight,” director Tom McCarthy’s movie about the Boston Globe investigation that revealed systemic coverup and sexual abuse of children by priests in the Boston Archdiocese. The film, which opened in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles on Friday, is getting rave reviews and is considered a front-runner 04182010_11macleish-7569377to win the Oscar for best picture. But not everyone thinks the movie gets the story right.

Boston attorney Eric MacLeish, who in the early 1990s represented hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by priests, objects to his portrayal in “Spotlight.” In a lengthy Facebook post, MacLeish, played by actor Billy Crudup in the movie, encourages people to see “Spotlight” but adds that “events involving my character are not only inaccurate but the opposite of what occurred.”

 

Namesnik Mark Shanahan adds, “Curiously, MacLeish hasn’t seen the movie and on Sunday told Walter Robinson, former editor of the Globe’s Spotlight team, that he doesn’t plan to see it any time soon.” MacLeish subsequently did some moonwalking on the subject, texting to the Globe that “[m]y character is inaccurately portrayed but the film is too important and too good to let this be a distraction.”

But the distractions keep coming. The redoubtable Kevin Cullen added Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn to the list of the disgruntled in his Globe column yesterday.

When truth ends up on editing room floor

“Spotlight,” the movie about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the coverup of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests, had its general release on Friday and film critics agree: “Spotlight” is one of the best movies of the year.1000_jack_dunn

Jack Dunn had a different reaction. After seeing the film at the Loews theater across from Boston Common, he stepped onto the sidewalk and threw up.

The movie sickened him because he is portrayed as someone who minimized the suffering of those who were sexually abused, as someone who tried to steer Globe reporters away from the story, as someone invested in the coverup.

 

Dunn is a BC High graduate and a member of the school’s board of trustees. He told Cullen, “The things they have me saying in the movie, I never said . . . But worse is the way they have me saying those things, like I didn’t care about the victims, that I tried to make the story go away. The dialogue assigned to me is completely fabricated and represents the opposite of who I am and what I did on behalf of victims. It makes me look callous and indifferent.”

And not just him, Cullen adds:

Dunn isn’t the only real person portrayed in the film who has a beef with McCarthy. Steve Kurkjian, a legendary Globe reporter, is portrayed as a curmudgeon who was dismissive of the importance of the story. That couldn’t be further from the truth . . .

 

So that’s three now.

As night follows day, the Boston Herald picked up the story and added a fourth name to the list today.

‘Spotlight’ injustices claimed

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Four people who played real-life roles in the uncovering of the Boston clergy sex-abuse scandal say the new film “Spotlight” has put false words in their mouths — and some are demanding apologies and cuts in the movie that showcases the Boston Globe’s reporting.

Boston College public affairs director Jack Dunn, former Globe reporter Stephen Kurkjian, former Globe publisher Richard Gilman, and victim lawyer Eric MacLeish all say their actions were misrepresented in a way that casts them in a negative light, apparently in an effort to add drama to the film.

 

The Gilman piece – about fact vs. fiction in the movie – appeared in the Arizona Daily Star a few days ago.

Quite intentionally there was no internal discussion whatsoever of potential [business]consequences.

So it is to my extreme dismay that I’m shown on the screen giving voice to one such business concern — exactly the type of thing I had purposely avoided in the few interactions about the investigation. The only true aspect of that brief scene in my office is the outcome: We would challenge the Church in court.

 

Funny, “Spotlight” is being challenged in court, too. As Cullen noted yesterday, “[Jack Dunn’s] lawyer sent a letter to the filmmakers, demanding that the offending scene be deleted from the movie . . .”

We’ve got plenty of eight-to-five says that never happens.


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 Globe – Finally! – Passes Judgment on Inexcusably Inept DCF

February 22, 2014

For weeks now the Boston Herald has been on the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families like Brown on Williamson.

Representative sample:

 

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And for roughly the same time, the hardreading  staff has wondered why the Boston Globe has been AWOL on the state agency debacle.

Finally, Globe columnist Kevin Cullen weighed in yesterday.

Olga Roche should fall on her sword

If Olga Roche were British, she would have resigned long ago.

But she’s not, and so she’s still here, with the word embattled forever attached, like a tattoo, to her and the agency she allegedly maeda_24hearing_met8leads, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

I have never met Olga Roche, and for all I know she is a very nice person. I know people who think as much.

But she is presiding over a deeply troubled agency, charged with protecting the most vulnerable citizens of the Commonwealth, and her staying in her position, in the wake of such scandal, is the height of arrogance.

It is also, for Massachusetts, typical.

 

Flash!

This may be the one and only time Kevin Cullen agrees with the feisty local tabloid.

Alert the media.

 


Baby I Won’t Drive Your Carr (Peter Gelzinis Edition)

June 20, 2013

All the while self-styled vigilante John Martorano has occupied center stage in the James “Whitey” Bulger trial this week, he’s been joined at the hit – sorry, hip – with Boston Herald scribbler Howie Carr, who split a six-figure advance with Martorano for the book Hitman.

But in his Herald column today, Peter Gelzinis writes Carr out of the picture.

New England MobBlood money only motivation for Johnny Martorano

“Other than the 20 people you killed, Mr. Martorano, is there anything else notable in your life?”

The 72-year-old henchman of Winter Hill decked out in a light blue suit seemed a bit bewildered by the question Hank Brennan, co-counsel for Whitey Bulger, tossed at him.

After momentarily wrestling with it, much like a bear might grapple with a camper’s jar of peanut butter, Johnny Martorano said, “I can’t change it.”

No, he can’t. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to squeeze every nickel he can from the loathsome life he’s lived.

 

Gelzinis writes further, “[y]esterday, we learned that in addition to the $250,000 Johnny pocketed for the movie rights to his life story, he stands to make another 250 grand if such a film ever makes it into production. And that’s not counting the $70,000 or so he says he’s made from his book.”

What Gelzinis chooses not to mention is that Carr was Martorano’s partner in Murder, Ink.

Conveniently, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen fills in the blanks in his column today:

Brennan nailed Johnny when he got him to talk about how he has made money since being released from custody.

“Are you remorseful, Mr. Martorano?” Brennan asked.

“Yes,” Johnny replied.

But, Mr. Martorano, you wrote a book with Howie Carr and made money off the blood of your victims, Hank Brennan suggested. You split the $110,000 advance for the book with Carr, Mr. Martorano.

 

So, wait – Martorano got $70,000 and Carr got $40,000? Sounds like someone got strong-armed.

 


Baby I Can Drive My Carr (Hair Mail Edition)

June 19, 2013

Talk about mailing it in: Apparently Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr can cover the James “Whitey” Bulger trial without actually attending it.

First, today’s third-class piece:

Johnny’s bad, but not the real rat

The worst word you can ever use against Johnny Martorano is “rat,” so you can bet that Whitey Bulger’s lawyers will be throwing it up against him again this morning within 30 seconds or so of resuming their cross-examination.

They’ll be trying to make him lose his cool. Good luck with that.

Stipulated, I wrote a book with Martorano, and we split the profits. I get along pretty well with him. So does just everybody else I know who knows him, believe it or not.

 

Carr’s readers? Not so friendly. Representative (if ungrammatical) sample:

 

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And it gets even worse when it turns out Carr was a no-show yesterday:

 

Picture 3

 

Unless the hardreading staff is misreading this, Howie’s reporting telepathically.

Meanwhile, crosstown at the Boston Globe Kevin Cullen has his daily bookend to Carr’s whatever.

Pretty sure Cullen was even in the courtroom.