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 Globe Still Won’t Disclose Total Wine Intere$t

June 1, 2017

As the hardreading staff noted earlier this week, the Boston Globe is raking in ad revenue from Total Wine & More while also reporting on the disruptive liquor retailer’s attempts to change state alcohol rules nationwide.

But the Globe has at the same time failed to acknowledge its financial relationship with Total Wine, which has spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertising in the $tately local broadsheet.

Latest example: Yesterday’s Page One piece on the pushback to relaxing alcohol regulations. Buried in the final grafs was this:

Businesses, meanwhile, are prepared to spend handsomely to push measures that benefit them. The Total Wine & More chain, for example, just launched a large public relations campaign urging the task force and the Legislature to allow alcohol retailers to issue coupons and loyalty cards.

 

At that point you’d think the Globe might mention this ad that ran three pages later.

 

 

But no.

Then again, not everyone finds the Globe’s non-disclosure problematic. After our initial post, the redoubtable Dan Kennedy sent us this message.

 

 

We yield to no man in our respect for Mr. Media Nation, but . . .

 

 

One final note: Before you pooh-pooh the hardtsking staff, consider the Globe’s totally egregious pom-pom reporting of the recent Citgo sign rumpus, during which the paper raked in easily a hundred thousand dollars in feel-good ads for the Kenmore Square icon without disclosing its financial interest in the matter.

But no matter?

Respectfully, we think not.


Boston Herald Still the Thirsty Local Tabloid for Ads

May 4, 2016

From our Local Dailies DisADvantage desk

The Boston Herald has long been the venue of last resort for full-page ads of the advocacy/corporate image/memorial sort.

As it was yesterday, when the Herald was bypassed by two ads that ran in the Boston Globe.

First, this Boston suck-up ad from GE (which in this town stands for Got Everything.)

 

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Then, this Boston Ad Club full-page backpat honoring diversity in a town that has long hampered diversity.

 

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(To be fair graf goes here)

To be fair, yesterday’s Herald did feature this full-page bank ad.

 

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As well as this half-page Massachusetts tax amnesty ad.

 

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Neither of which ran in yesterday’s Globe.

Still, there’s no question that the Herald is an afterthought in the eyes of local advertisers.

Which makes it all the more interesting that the feisty local tabloid seems to enjoy better fiscal fitness than the stately local broadsheet, which is now desperately downsizing (tip o’ the pixel to the redoubtable Dan Kennedy at Media Nation) as it moves from its sprawling Morrissey Boulevard home to cramped quarters in Boston’s financial district.

So who’s really at a disadvantage, eh?


Fraidy Local Tabloid Won’t Cover the Boston Globe

April 10, 2016

What’s with the Boston Herald?

As the hardreading staff noted last month, the Herald resolutely refused to cover the Boston Globe’s Chernobylesque home delivery meltdown earlier this year. The Globe itself labeled it a “delivery debacle,” which we wrote “should be mother’s milk to the thirsty local tabloid but . . . nothing.”

Now comes the juicy memo from Globe editor Brian McGrory (first reported on Thursday in the redoubtable Dan Kennedy’s Media Nation) announcing a “no-sacred-cows analysis of our newsroom and what the Globe should look like in the future.”

McGrory framed it this way: “If a wealthy individual [who, presumably, is not John Henry] was to give us funding to launch a news organization designed to take on The Boston Globe, what would it look like?”

Regardless, don’t you want to hear the flamey local tabloid’s answer to that question? But over the past few days the Heraldniks have given us . . . bupkis.

Some speculate that the Herald has been laying off the Globe because the Globe prints the Herald. But that deal’s been in effect for three years and didn’t keep Herald columnist Howie Carr from lambasting the Globe for its Tsarnaev brothers coverage.

So why is the feisty local tabloid AWOL now?

All suggestions gladly accepted.


Ernie’s Bochanalia for Trump Drives Carr

August 19, 2015

The hardreading staff normally likes to ignore Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr(toon), but every now and again we just can’t help ourselves.

Herald Track Gal Gayle Fee has this update today on that fundraiser the autoheirotic Ernie Boch Jr. is throwing at his $30 million Norwood manse for Donald Trump.

Boch Trump-ets upcoming fundraiser

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Car czar Ernie Boch Jr. said the guest list for his Aug. 28 private fundraiser for Donald Trump now tops 700 and his office has fielded hundreds of calls from fans of the White House wannabe who want in.

“People are calling me who I haven’t talked to in 30 years!” Boch told the Track. “This thing is more popular than I ever imagined — and it’s pretty bipartisan. This is not a Republican gathering by any stretch of the imagination.”

Boch said he’s even heard from a handful of Democratic officials who want to come to the event but who can’t, for obvious reasons, write a check to the GOP presidential hopeful.

“That’s why were doing cash or check at the door,” he said.

 

Ha!

For your money you’ll get “cocktails, live music by rock cover band Fortune, a live broadcast by Herald columnist/radio yakker Howie Carr and food by chef Tony Ambrose.”

Carr’s presence in helping raise money for the bloated billionaire makes perfect sense since he’s a total Trump groupie, with today’s column Exhibit Umpteen.  Of course, Carr long ago surrendered his press credentials in favor of GOP fundraising, as the redoubtable Dan Kennedy has noted several times.

File under: Keep on spinnin’.


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.


The Fix Is In? No Love for Boston Herald in WashPost Top Political Reporters List

January 28, 2015

Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza posted this on his political blog The Fix today.  (Tip o’ the pixel to Dan Kennedy at Media Nation.)

The Fix’s 2015 list of best state political reporters

imrs.php

The most under-appreciated reporters in the political world are the scribes covering state and local politics. They rarely get the attention of their colleagues at the national level but are often covering the very politicians and national trends that come to impact the broad political landscape.

Every two years (or so), I like to honor these reporters with a look at the best of the best from each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The list below was built almost entirely on recommendations from the Fix community — here on the blog, on Twitter at #fixreporters and on Facebook. A few of my personal favorites are included as well.

 

Skim down about halfway and here’s what you find:

 

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Conspicuous by its absence? That’s right – the Herald. Granted, this was a beauty pageant judged by political junkies who gravitate toward the Washington Post, but it’s unlikely ideology was the driving force here. It just might be that people fail to take the flighty local tabloid seriously anymore.

As for us, we don’t know Jim Hand’s work, but there’s no one here we’d pull to plug a Heraldnik into the mix. They just don’t really belong. Then again, that’s pretty much how they like it.