Baby I Can Drive My Carr

June 18, 2013

From our Walt Whitman desk

By now it’s clear to the hardreading staff – as it should be to everyone – that the trial of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger is about one thing and one thing only:

Howie Carr.

The Boston Herald columnist previously milked his presence on Bulger’s witness list for some bulk-mail pieces. Now it’s John Martorano’s turn to get a Carr ride.

From today’s piece:

061713evidence 007Martorano’s ‘career’ nothing to be proud of

Johnny Martorano seems a little more subdued these days. He’s 72 now, but it’s more than that.

I think it’s the fact that unlike during the earlier Zip Connolly trials, he’s been back in Boston for a while now. He sees his family, they can read the papers, and even though “hit man” is a fearsome job 
description, obviously it’s not anything to brag about.

And by the way, Johnny was absolutely correct on the witness stand yesterday. I did name the biography about him “Hitman” — actually, it was one of my neighbors in Florida. And yes, it is named “Hitman” because I thought that title would sell more.


And etc.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen also addressed what label should be attached to Martorano:

[A]ccording to Johnny Martorano, he was no hitman. He murdered people. Many people. But he didn’t do it for money. He did it for friendship. He did it for honor. He did it for blah, blah, blah.

Seriously, I don’t know what’s more ridiculous: Whitey’s claim that he was never an informant, or Johnny Martorano’s insistence that he was never a hitman.


Hey, Kevin, don’t you know:  That’s “Hitman” with a capital Howie. Just ask ‘im.


Battle of the Bulger (Rat-tat-Ptooey Edition)

June 13, 2013

The Boston Herald goes all news noir in today’s edition, starting with its Page One “Whitey and Crew in Their Lair” collage.


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(Just checked – Whitey and Crew aren’t on Pinterest yet)

Inside we get this rogues’ gallery of State Police surveillance shots.


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Crosstown at the Boston Globe, it’s Trial Coverage 101 for a non-televised case: courtroom sketches, transcript excerpts, and etc.


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One place the two dailies do intersect, though, is in these dueling columns.


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Both columnists paint Bulger’s lawyer, Jay Carney, as a man trying to lead the jury down the garden path by contending that Bulger was just a crook, not a murderer or an informant.

From Howie Carr’s column:

“Jim Bulger is of Irish descent and the worst thing an Irish person can do is become an informant.”

There’s not enough space in the paper to refute that one. So how about this one?

“Jim Bulger made millions upon millions upon millions of dollars.”

Then why are we the taxpayers picking up the tab for this “indigent” 83-year-old defendant?


From Kevin Cullen’s column:

It is obvious the defense strategy is to acknowledge that Whitey was a top echelon criminal but to refute any suggestion that he was a top echelon informant for the FBI who used his status to allow him to murder and maim with impunity.

Of course, that plays to Whitey’s grossly inflated view of himself. He was a millionaire! Admire his asset acquisition skills! He got an FBI agent to feed him information about criminal rivals and honest law enforcement efforts to nail him. Admire how he read Machiavelli and took those lessons to heart!

It’s classic Whitey: I’m the smartest guy in the room, and the rest of you are a bunch of rubes who just fell off a turnip truck.




Herald Hitches Carr to Globe

June 9, 2013

Apparently Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr has run out of ways to milk his presence on Whitey Bulger’s witness list, which would presumably keep him from covering the mobster’s trial in person.

So the feisty local tabloid has followed in the Boston Globe’s footsteps and asked the court to let their Howie go.

jacobs_howie_3-6288449Herald wants columnist in courtroom

The Boston Herald filed a request in federal court Saturday to exclude the newspaper’s columnist Howie Carr from a sequestration order that would prevent him from sitting in the courtroom during the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster who has been the subject of countless Carr columns and several books.

The motion came a day after US District Court Judge Denise Casper granted a similar request from The Boston Globe to exclude veteran journalists, reporter Shelley Murphy and columnist Kevin Cullen, who wrote a book together about Bulger, from the same sequestration order. “The Boston Herald and Mr. Carr respectfully submit that the reasons supporting exemption of those journalists similarly require exclusion of Mr. Carr from the sequestration order,” the newspaper’s lawyer, Elizabeth A. Ritvo, said in the filing Saturday.


Funny thing is, that report appeared in the Globe. Nothing in the Herald about it.

The hardreading staff is checking with our Walt Whitman desk for clarification.

Battle of the Bulger (Cullen the Facts Edition)

June 8, 2013

The Boston Herald wants you to know it’s on the Whitey Bulger trial like Brown on Williamson, so they’re running this ad in today’s edition:


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And here’s an example of that “complete coverage.”

060713bulgermg002Witness ban lifted for Globe duo

Judge Denise J. Casper ruled yesterday that Boston Globe reporter Shelley Murphy and columnist Kevin Cullen can attend James “Whitey” Bulger’s trial, exempting them from her order to keep witnesses out of the courtroom except to testify . . .

In a separate court motion yesterday, Bulger’s lawyers threatened a push to isolate the jury from the outside world throughout the expected four-month trial “if the editors of the Globe do not show better judgment in the publication of columns that are designed to sell newspapers and for-profit books written by this columnist (Cullen).”


Interesting, yes? But hardly complete.

Here’s the same issue in the Globe:

Earlier Friday, Bulger’s defense attorney J. W. Carney Jr. filed a court motion in support of the request to ban Murphy and Cullen from the courtroom, alleging that Cullen’s Friday column on Bulger was sensational and would prejudice a jury.

Carney later said he would consider asking that the jury in the case be sequestered, which would prove to be costly and a hardship for jurors, if the Globe does not “show better judgment in the publication of columns that are designed to sell newspapers and for-profit books written by this columnist.”

But Casper rejected Carney’s argument when she granted the newspaper’s request to exclude Cullen and Murphy from the courtroom during testimony, noting the journalists’ constitutional rights in reporting on Bulger’s past and covering his trial.

Casper said she read the column Friday morning and indicated it seemed to support the Boston Globe’s argument, telling Carney, “From a 1st Amendment point of view I don’t know if it lends more support to your position, or more support to your opposing party’s point of view.”


[To be sure graf goes here.]

To be sure, both papers are pursing their own interests: the Herald to make the Globe look bad, the Globe to make itself look good. (The stately local broadsheet for the most part doesn’t concern itself with the feisty local tabloid.)

That’s all to be expected. But hey, Heraldniks: Complete coverage? Try again.

Battle of the Bulger (Can I Be a Witness? Edition)

June 7, 2013

The Boston Globe is reporting on its website that its reporters can cover the trial of mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

Judge rejects Bulger effort to ban Globe journalists

US District Court Judge Denise J. Casper ruled today that Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen and reporter Shelley Murphy can cover the trial of James “Whitey’’ Bulger, the South Boston gangster who was recorded on jailhouse tapes describing his disdain for the two journalists who have chronicled his career for decades . . .

Bulger’s defense team put Cullen and Murphy on their witness list, saying they might need to be called to impeach testimony from key prosecution witnesses. But federal prosecutors, citing comments Bulger made in the jail conversations, said he was motivated by his disdain towards Cullen and Murphy.


The feeling is, of course, mutual, as Cullen’s column in today’s dead-tree edition illustrates.

I’ll be glad to submit some sample testimony right here so they can decide whether they really want to call me as a defense witness.de5e692f74914a5487db1f8aabf250e4-de5e692f74914a5487db1f8aabf250e4-0

I believe Whitey Bulger is a deeply cynical and vicious criminal who made millions by killing and intimidating people while he was protected by a deeply corrupted FBI.

I believe he made millions from the drug trade, extorting money from drug dealers even as he and his apologists propagated the nonsense that he never was involved in drugs.


And etc. in much the same vein. Except all that’s, well, moot now.

But not yet for Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr, who’s also on Bulger’s witness list and has not been dismissed from it by today’s ruling. So Carr can continue to produce drive-bys like Wednesday’s piece:

Picture 8No question about it, I’ll find courtside seat

First I tried to get a victim’s seat in the courtroom — no go.

Then I figured I’d just attend Whitey’s trial as a reporter — but Bulger put me on his witness list, although I am confident the judge will eventually decide to allow me to watch the trial, even if I do have to be a witness — a hostile witness, that is.

But given my dismal record in court, I don’t want to take any chances. So I filled out a jury questionnaire just in case that might get me inside.


And etc. – including most notably Question 39:

Based upon any … articles you have read, have you formed an opinion regarding James “Whitey” Bulger that would prevent you from being a fair and impartial juror in this case?

I think I read several hundred times in the Globe that, “Jimmy kept the drugs out of Southie.” Is that true?


The hardreading staff can’t really say, but maybe Kevin Cullen can.


Hark! The Herald! (Battle of the Bulger Edition)

May 31, 2013

From our Walt Whitman desk

The Boston Herald is still pounding away at Gov. Deval Patrick (D-Elsewhere) over the Massachusetts welfare rumpus, but the feisty local tabloid has its eye on bigger game next week when the trial of James “Whitey” Bulger begins in earnest.

Here’s the preview the Herald ran in today’s edition:


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And here are some of the details:


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It’s all fabulously overdone:

Look for Howie Carr, who vowed to watch Whitey every step of the way through judgment day, on the video reports.

No deadly detail is too small, so Herald reporters will be tweeting live . . .

[Reporter Laurel Sweet will] be close enough to look into Whitey’s eyes as loved ones of his 19 alleged murder victims take the stand. She’ll also be able to read jurors’ reactions to the gruesome evidence and chilling testimony.



Crosstown, there’s no word yet from the Boston Globe on who’ll be close enough to look into Whitey’s eyes, but today’s edition does feature this:

Globe’s Cullen, Murphy may testify in Bulger trial

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger, who has bragged about strafing The Boston Globe offices with gunfire during the busing crisis of the 1970s, may call two of the newspaper’s journalists as defense witnesses at his upcoming trial.

His legal team filed a list of 78 potential witnesses Thursday, including Globe columnist Kevin Cullen and reporter ­Shelley Murphy.

Both have covered Bulger for decades and earlier this year published a book detailing his rise to power in Boston’s underworld and his capture in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., ­after 16 years on the run as one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives . . .

Other journalists on the ­potential witness list include former Globe reporters Gerard O’Neill and Dick Lehr, as well as Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr.


Damn – the Herald forgot to mention that part in its full-page promo, although it did have this online (tip o’the pixel to Mike Deehan at Massterlist).

Then again, there’s always tomorrow.


The Tamerlan Tsarnaev Diaries (Boxing Edition)

April 21, 2013

From our Compare and Contrast in Clear Idiomatic English desk

Interesting columns in Saturday’s local dailies about Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s short-lived boxing career.

Ron Borges in the Boston Herald:

Boston Marathon SuspectsPro boxer threw punches with ‘evil’ Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2010

If Edwin Rodriguez knew back in late 2010 what he knows now, his boxing encounter in Worcester with Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev would have had a different ending, that’s for sure.

Reached yesterday afternoon, Rodriguez, the No. 2-ranked super middleweight in the world, pulled no punches when discussing his only encounter with Tsarnaev.

“I wasn’t trying to kill him; we were just sparring,” Rodriguez said, “but I would have if I knew he was that evil and a coward.”


Money quote:

“It told you everything that he showed up at my gym with nobody,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve never been to a gym by myself. When you go to someone else’s gym, you always want someone to have your back.”


Crosstown at the Boston Globe, columnist Kevin Cullen filed this:

22045677Nothing tough about this boxer’s character

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a pretty good boxer, and he fashioned himself a tough guy. He was so tough he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend.

Last Monday, tough guy Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother left bombs on the sidewalk on Boylston Street and killed an 8-year-old boy, a 29-year-old woman who grew up in Medford, and a 23-year-old Chinese graduate student at Boston University.


Money quote:

It takes a tough guy to pack a bomb with ball bearings and nails and purposely put it in a crowd so that it will kill and maim men, women, and children. The Tsarnaevs were so tough that when they decided to kill a fine police officer named Sean Collier on Thursday night, they approached him from behind and shot Collier in the head even before Collier could get out of his cruiser.


Boston journalists are fighting mad about the Marathon mayhem, no doubt about it.