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.


Boston Herald: Suffolk U Schooled in Regan-omics

February 11, 2016

After Suffolk University tore the sheets with local PR poobah George (Orange You Glad to See Me?) Regan, you just knew he would not go gentle into that “good night.”

Exhibit A: Joe Battenfeld’s column in today’s Boston Herald.

More PR Woes for Suffolk

Regan firm mulls fight over termination

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A powerful public relations firm fired by Suffolk University President Margaret McKenna claims it has a contract with the school and may fight the decision, triggering another potentially nasty public war.

Suffolk fired Regan Communications on Tuesday in a curt, unsigned memorandum, saying the school “no longer requires the ongoing services” of the well-known PR firm headed by longtime Boston power broker George Regan, according to a copy of the memo obtained by the Herald.

The memorandum, from “Suffolk University” but not signed by McKenna or the school’s board of trustees, came with a check for $31,623.90 for services through Feb. 9.

 

That, presumably, is on top of the roughly $300,000 the PR firm made from Suffolk in the past year.

Our favorite part: The pillow fight between Suffolk spokesman Greg Gatlin, who says Regan’s contract expired a year and a half ago, and Regan spokesman Scott MacKenzie, who says Regan Communications has a contract with Suffolk through the end of this year.  MacKenzie added, “Greg Gatlin forgets a lot of things like where he got his start in public relations” – namely, Regan Communications.

Meow.

Postscript

Once again, the Herald is out front on the Suffolk rumpus. From today’s piece:

Suffolk’s board of trustees, which had been planning to oust McKenna and replace her with former Attorney General Martha Coakley until the Herald reported on the power struggle, plans to meet tomorrow; Regan’s firing is expected to be discussed.

 

The firsty local tabloid had the original story January 28. The Boston Globe had it January 29.

Check the lately local broadsheet tomorrow for further developments.


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:

 

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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.


Boston Dailies: Charlie Baker Has Sex Change!

October 30, 2014

When Cryin’ Charlie Baker turned on the waterworks during Tuesday night’s gubernatorial debate with Martha Coakley, he gave the local media all kinds of grist for their mills. Both Boston’s dailies,for instance, had the same basic thought: What if Charlie were Charlene?

Boston Globe Metro columnist Yvonne Abraham framed it this way:

Turning the tables

Watching Charlie Baker dissolve in tears in Tuesday night’s debate — a moment that defied Democrats’ attempts to cast him as a heartless technocrat — I couldn’t help wondering: What if he were treated the way women candidates so often are? What would it be like if we focused on his fragility under pressure, his manner, his appearance, as we do on theirs? What if we pinned the same labels on him as we do on them?

The reaction to that debate might look like this:

Do we really want a weepy governor?

Republican Charlie Baker was going along nicely in Tuesday night’s debate, exuding competence, speaking with authority about taxes and paid sick leave.

Then the gubernatorial hopeful came apart, telling of meeting a fisherman ruined by federal catch rules. “I may not make it through this story,” he began, promptly succumbing to tears.

This is why it can be so hard to imagine men as leaders.

 

Hah!

Crosstown, the Boston Herald recruited local business consultant Judith Bowman to put the pump on the other foot.

No crying not a choice for Martha Coakley

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What if it were Martha Coakley who cried?

Charlie Baker broke down 
in tears on the gubernatorial 
debate stage as he told the story of a fisherman’s family plight.

It was received by most, including me, as a genuine, justified show of human emotion. A real moment in the artificial world of politics.

But what if it were Martha?

No such luck. Professional women don’t cry. Not if they want to be leaders.

 

Well, one thing we’re sure of: That Herald headline should make any writer cry.

Sorry – sniff – we have to go now.


Boston Herald Tears Up Over Charlie Baker

October 29, 2014

Republican gubernatorial wannabe (Two-Time) Charlie Baker may have turned on the waterworks in last night’s debate with Democratic gubernatorial wannabe Martha Coakley, but today’s Boston Herald turned the firehose on.

Start, as usual, with Page One.

 

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That’s just an appetizer. Here’s Joe Battenfeld’s piece:

Fluffy debate finale was a crying shame

Martha Coakley, Charlie Baker

Forget about Charlie Baker crying. The ones who should be crying are the voters.

Would you rather win the Lottery or the election?

What’s your signature dish in the kitchen?

What’s the best Halloween costume for your opponent?

Those were actual questions in a debate that will be the last time most voters see Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley in a televised, face-to-face confrontation.

Baker’s cry will get the most attention in this bizarre debate showdown. And that’s not a bad thing for a Republican accused of being a heartless budget cutter. Baker’s cry did not look contrived — he looked like a dad watching the last scene of “Field of Dreams.” And it certainly won’t hurt him among the most important voters in this race — women.

 

Former Boston mayor and current chinstroker Ray Flynn went even further.

Candidates show heart, give hope

The real winners of last night’s final gubernatorial debate were … the voters.

Both Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley gave real insight into their character and heart. It was the best political moment I ever saw.102814debateTA003

They proved that politics is not about hate and division, but about decency and love. Call it naive on my part, but last night’s showdown was the best example of what government should be about. When a teary-eyed Charlie Baker told the story of a beleaguered New Bedford fisherman and his two sons trying to keep the family business from going under because of the burden of federal fishing regulations, I could identify with that hard-working father, and it reminded me of why elections are so important.

 

Yeah, except if the family business couldn’t support the old man, how was it gonna support the three of them? We were confused.

But we did mist up a bit.


Boston Globe Has Come-to-Jesus Moment with Bernard Baran, Louise Woodward

October 20, 2014

Something interesting is happening in the Boston Globe’s editorial pages. The paper is doing a sort of media culpa regarding some high-profile – and highly debated – criminal convictions in the ’80s and ’90s. And it’s been uncharacteristically emphatic in its positions.

Begin with the redoubtable Harvey Silverglate’s Globe op-ed a week ago.

Justice system failed Bernard Baran

There should be consequences

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BERNARD BARAN of Pittsfield died a free man on Sept. 1 at age 49. But for an act of God, he would likely have died in prison, forever deemed guilty of raping children at a day care center where he’d worked.

Convicted amid the national panic over supposed sexual abuse of preschool children, Baran fell victim to homophobia, hysteria, and arguable prosecutorial misconduct. While many now recognize these prosecutions as modern-day witch hunts, those responsible for his incarceration remain unapologetic and unpunished.

 

That was followed by this editorial in yesterday’s Boston Sunday Globe.

When miscarriages of justice occur, prosecutors must answer for actions

TWENTY-NINE YEARS ago, a Berkshire County prosecutor named Daniel A. Ford made at least one awful decision: On the skimpiest baranB-1797249evidence he charged a 19-year-old man with multiple counts of child rape. That may not be the worst of it; there are indications he may have played fast and loose with trial rules in order to get a conviction. Although Ford denies he did anything wrong, trial records suggest the defense attorney was unaware of significant exculpatory evidence held by the prosecution. In an atmosphere of homophobia and hysteria, the defendant, an openly gay teenager named Bernard F. Baran Jr., didn’t stand a chance. Convicted, he spent 21 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit.

 

In his op-ed, Silverglate “raised the possibility of removing Ford from his current job as a Superior Court judge, a position he has held since 1989.” The Globe editorial calls that “premature,” but says “Silverglate and Baran’s other supporters are right to seek a full, public inquiry into both the prosecution’s conduct and its decision to try the case in the first place.”

Further down Memory Lane, yesterday’s Globe also featured this op-ed by Lee Scheier, an investigative reporter working on a book about shaken-baby syndrome.

Martha Coakley, stop lauding bad science for self-promotion

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AFTER COMING under attack in an political ad for not doing enough to protect children, Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate for governor, defended her record. In a large above-the-fold photograph published in the Globe Oct. 3, Coakley is seen standing next to Deborah Eappen, mother of Matthew Eappen, the baby whom Louise Woodward was charged with shaking to death in 1997.

Coakley, the prosecutor in that infamous trial, set up the photo op ostensibly to remind the public of her commitment to protecting children. If so, Coakley must think Massachusetts voters have short memories.

 

Because, Scheier asserts, “[t]he truth is that Martha Coakley’s deft misuse of science actually came very close to sending an innocent caretaker to prison for life.”

Who’s right here? Roll your own.

But one thing’s clear: Ellen Clegg, the Globe’s interim editorial page editor, has certainly added some juice to those pages.


Ads ‘n’ Ends From the Boston Dailies (Remembering Michael Ryan Kennedy Edition)

October 10, 2014

There’s lots of interesting advertising material in today’s local dailies, starting with the Boston Globe’s Capital section. Usually the papers’s weekly political playground capitalizes on its cherce readership with a bundle of full-page ads, but in today’s edition what’s more interesting are the pieces about advertising.

First up: Noah Guiney’s scorecard on some of the latest New England campaign ads. Representative sample:

 

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Charlie Baker, Martha Coakley, Seth Moulton, and Jeanne Shaheen also get the red-pen treatment.

Getting the graphic treatment are Political ads that aired most often (in two parts for legibility – sorry, no link).

 

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Fun for the whole family.

Crosstown at the Boston Herald, it’s today’s ads themselves that are most noteworthy, starting with this one for heavy Lyfters.

 

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That’s appeared before in the Herald, but not (to our knowledge) in the Globe.

Here’s another one that we haven’t seen in the stately local broadsheet.

 

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Actually, we haven’t seen this ad in the Herald either before today. Anyway, here’s the Steppingstone website, and here’s their media page. Roll your own.

By far the most noteworthy ad in today’s Herald is this:

 

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Rest in peace, Firefighter Michael Ryan Kennedy.


Hark! The Herald! (Democratic Guv Debate)

August 25, 2014

From our Walt Whitman desk

So. Is the Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial primary primarily – inexorably – changed now that the candidates have had their debate on Boston Herald Radio?

‘Cause that’s what today’s feisty local tabloid promised.

Start, as  always, with Page On, the top half of which touts the Big Bakeoff.

 

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Inside, the Herald has two pages of new/hype in anticipation of the main event.

 

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Tale of the tape:

 

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And just in case you haven’t grasped the transformative power of a debate on Internet radio, the Herald scribes all strike the same chord in their ledes.

Jaclyn Cashman:

Leave your talking points at the door. Save your stump speeches for the campaign trail. At today’s Boston Herald Radio debate, we’re aiming for a free-flowing conversation where we’ll learn more about the three candidates facing off in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

 

Joe Battenfeld:

It’s a long shot, but there’s still a way for Attorney General Martha Coakley to lose the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and it would have to start at today’s Boston Herald Radio debate.

Coakley’s campaign is showing signs of cracking. Democratic party leaders are getting worried it will be 2010 all over again.

 

John Nucci:

Believe it or not, the primary election is just over two weeks away, and Democrats face a critical choice on who will represent their party in November. The timing of today’s Democratic gubernatorial debate on Boston Herald Radio makes it pivotal, and likely to set the tone for the closing days.

 

As of 1 pm – the debate’s over, the poll numbers are out – here’s the only coverage the hardsearching staff could find: A Boston Globe online recap.

In bitter debate, Democratic gubernatorial candidates take aim at each other, Baker

In the most bitter debate of Democratic gubernatorial race so far, Treasurer Steven Grossman sharply questioned the judgment of frontrunner Martha Coakley, painting her a protector of the Beacon Hill establishment, as former Medicare and Medicaid chief Don Berwick attacked his two rivals for their support of casino gambling in the state and their years-long embrace of “politics as usual.”

Coakley, the attorney general, defended herself, offered a few hits on Grossman, but also aimed some fire at Republican Charlie Baker, who is expected to be his party’s gubernatorial nominee.

Just over two weeks before the Sept. 9 state primary, the three Democratic candidates vying for their party’s nod upped their rhetoric against each other right from the beginning of an hour-long Boston Herald Radio debate at the newspaper’s Seaport headquarters.

 

Oh, wait – here’s the Herald recap:

Coakley, Grossman and Berwick let loose on Herald Radio debate

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The debate between the Democratic candidates for governor kicked off in high gear today as Treasurer Steve Grossman went on the attack over Attorney General Martha Coakley’s $100,000 settlement with a lobbying group.

“It’s the worst form of judgment,” said Grossman, who slammed what he called the go-easy environment on Beacon Hill.

 

Not so easy-going off Beacon Hill though.

The Herald knows it’s not who listened to the web stream of the debate that will determine its impact. It’s the play the debate gets in the rest of the news media that counts.

Stay tuned.

 


Why Boston Globe ‘Capital’ with an A?

August 8, 2014

It’s been a couple of months since the Boston Globe launched its weekly section Capital, and for the most part it seems pretty fat (12 pages) and happy (exuberant layouts). The only thing even vaguely controversial about the sections is the spelling of its name.

Globe editor Brian McGrory has a running gag with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio about why it’s Capital with an a not an o. McGrory keeps wriggling out of revealing the paper’s reasons, but here are three possible ones from today’s edition.

 

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Would those ads likely have run in the A or B section if there were no Capital? Probably. But you have to believe a section geared toward political junkies is a more appealing environment for all three advertisers. For the first two, it’s obvious. For Steward Health Care, it’s a bit more oblique.

From Bruce Mohl’s CommonWealth piece last month on why Steward “is missing from the group of health care competitors that have banded together to fight the consent agreement negotiated by Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley”:

Some think the company decided to sit this one out because of its close ties to Coakley. The attorney general in 2010 approved the acquisition by Cerberus/Steward of six Caritas Christi hospitals owned by the Boston archdiocese. Coakley also retains some regulatory oversight over Steward, including a say in whether the health care system can shut down any of its hospitals.

Steward executives, led by CEO Ralph de la Torre, gave big to Coakley when she ran for the US Senate in 2010 and ponied up again earlier this year as she mounted her run for governor. Campaign finance records indicate de la Torre and his wife Wing led a group of Steward executives and spouses who made $500 donations to Coakley on February 26. More Steward officials contributed to Coakley in late March.

In all, Steward executives have contributed more than $18,000 to Coakley since late last year. No other health care system has taken such an interest in the gubernatorial campaign, which may help explain why Steward is less interested in the legal fight over the Partners expansion plans.

 

Interesting. But back to the original question: Why Capital with an a? Maybe because that’s what it hauls in.

P.S. Needless to say, none of the above ads ran in the Boston Herald.


Shirley the Herald’s Kidding About Grossman’s Mom

August 5, 2014

From our You Never Call, You Never Write desk

There’s been a lot of hoopla about the Super PAC called Mass Forward, which has been ad-whacking gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley (D-The Weeds) on behalf of gubernatorial hopeful Steve Grossman (D-Everywhere Else). State lawmakers passed a law last week forcing independent expenditure groups to disclose their donors, and the latest ad from Mass Forward does.

 

 

Freeze-frame with disclosure:

 

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Of course the name that jumps right out at you – and the local dailies – is Shirley Grossman. Subsequently this Matt Stout piece appeared in the Boston Herald delivered to the hardreading staff this morning.

A woman with the same name as the mother of state treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Steve Grossman is among the top donors to a Super PAC backing his candidacy.

But the Grossman campaign is refusing to confirm whether the Shirley Grossman listed as a leading contributor to the Mass Forward Super PAC is Grossman’s mother, whose name is also Shirley Grossman . . .

Grossman’s campaign acknowledged that the candidate’s mother has the same name, but otherwise declined comment.

 

But here’s what’s on the Herald website (and in later editions of the paper) now, complete with That’s Just So Mean! photo:

Steve Grossman’s mom a top donor for Super PAC

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State Treasurer Steve Grossman’s 92-year-old mom is a leading donor to a super PAC backing his gubernatorial campaign, the candidate confirmed last night.

“I can tell you, having had the first and only conversation I’ll have with my mother about her contribution this afternoon, she said, ‘Yeah, it was me. I do what I believe is appropriate with my money.’ I said you’re entitled to do what you want, I don’t want to know anything else.”

Grossman said he made the call after donor names were released in a PAC ad, and news broke on Bostonherald.com that his mother was a donor. He said neither he nor his campaign aides were previously aware of her donation, which prompted their cryptic response yesterday, when they would only confirm that Shirley Grossman is his mother’s name. He said he didn’t ask how much she donated.

 

Crosstown, the Boston Globe had the bright idea of going straight to the source from the start, resulting in this Akilah Johnson piece:

New law identifies Super PAC donors

A new state campaign finance law forced the release of the top five donors to a political action committee supporting state Treasurer Steve Grossman’s gubernatorial bid. Among them: his mother.

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“I’m not young. I’m old, and I haven’t been able to do anything for the campaign, and I believe in Steve,” Shirley Grossman said in an interview. “I thought it over. I’m 92 years old. What could I do? I can’t go house to house.”

So, she decided to write a check to the Mass Forward political action committee.

On Monday, she wouldn’t say how much she had contributed, describing it only as “a lot of money.”

 

The moral of this story: Call your (or someone else’s) mother.