Boston Globe ‘Reports’ on HUBweek (Sponsor: Globe)

September 20, 2016

From our Walt Whitman desk

The hardreading staff has long whacked around the Boston Herald for celebrating itself and singing itself in so-called news reports. Now it’s time to give the Boston Globe a dope slap.

For starters, here’s what headlined the Globe’s homepage at 12:45 this morning:

 

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That’s the residue of this Michael Levenson piece at the top of yesterday’s Globe front page:

HUBweek aims for wider appeal

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There will be a party in the South End with music, art installations, and an unusual tasting competition featuring six beers brewed with water from the Charles River that’s been purified (they promise) by a local company.

There will be intimate seven-person lunches in Kendall Square where anyone can ask a Broad Institute geneticist why science hasn’t cured cancer or delve into the dangers of artificial intelligence with a director of the Harvard Innovation Lab.

And just before the first presidential debate, a prominent philosopher will lead an even more high-minded debate at Faneuil Hall, asking: Is it fair to tax the rich to help the poor? And should rich countries have the right to restrict immigration?

Such are the events — both playful and provocative — that organizers are planning for the slightly revamped second year of HUBweek, a festival devoted to the arts, science, and technology that is aiming to become Boston’s answer to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

 

Reality check: Those four paragraphs feature roughly the same number of plugs as Joe Biden’s head.

It’s not until the sixth graf (on the jump page) that readers learn this:

[O]rganizers are . . .  grappling with how to ensure that the annual festival — which is sponsored by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — does not cater solely to the business and academic elite in downtown Boston, the Seaport, and Cambridge, where most of the events are held.

 

Maybe the Globe should grapple with how to ensure that promotional material is not presented as news. The hardreading staff would be happy to participate in that high-minded debate.

Meanwhile . . . Free the Michael Levenson One! 


Boston Dailies Engage in Olympic Gamesmanship

March 21, 2015

From our One Town, Two Different Worlds desk

In the wake of the new WBUR poll that registers a knee-buckling 52% opposition to Boston’s 2024 Summer Olympics bid, the major players have decided it’s time to buckle down. And to pick a local daily to get the word out.

Not surprisingly, Mayor Marty Walsh has drifted toward the Boston Herald, while Boston 2024 gets a front-page boost from the Boston Globe.

Start with the latter:

Boston 2024 goes campaign-style

Bid committee uses political tactics and operatives

It was the ideal place to launch a grassroots movement: a Roxbury basketball tournament that drew a who’s who of political players, from the governor and mayor to city councilors and ward committee activists.

And right inside the entrance were three young people handing out Boston 2024 wristbands and urging anyone 1200_olympics_tlumackiwithin earshot to volunteer for the city’s Olympic bid.

“Whether you’re for or against, we want to hear your voice,” Willie Bodrick II proclaimed as he pitched the Games to a local lawyer and nonprofit executive.

Bodrick, a 27-year-old pastor who worked on Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial bid, is part of a sophisticated campaign-style operation that the local Olympic organizing group has built to persuade skeptical Bostonians to embrace efforts to land the 2024 Summer Games.

 

Michael Levenson’s piece continues, “the organization now looks much like a well-funded candidate’s operation, with digital media strategists, field teams, fund-raisers, liaisons to clergy and to ethnic media, and consultants who have worked on the biggest races in Massachusetts politics.”

And they all get trotted out here, from uber-consultants Doug Rubin and Will Keyser to “voter-mobilization guru” John Walsh to the ubiquitous Rev. Jeffrey Brown.

Crosstown, the Boston Herald channels Marty Walsh in Richard Weir’s piece.

Walsh hits reset button in quest for Olympic gold

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh, amid nosediving public support for Boston’s Olympics bid, is looking to hit the “reset button” in hopes of restoring confidence in the push to host the 2024 Summer Games and cutting his own political losses, according to City Hall insiders and observers.

Walsh called out former Gov. Deval Patrick Thursday over his controversial $7,500-a-day lobbying fee for the group behind the bid, Boston 2024, just hours before Patrick finally relented and said he would forgo pay for his work.

“Mayor Walsh has hit the reset button on the Olympic effort given that this is his city and he has the most to lose politically,” said one insider close to the Walsh administration.

 

Yeah – especially since he told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio last month that he’d consider 70% support for the Boston Olympics “satisfactory.” We’re a long way from that, Mistah Mayah, and headed in the wrong direction.

(Cheek by jowl with Weir’s piece is a Joe Battenfeld column calling for Mitt Romney to take over the whole mess, and a Joe Fitzgerald rumination on Deval Patrick’s $7500-a-day hubris.)

This could get interesting if the Globe becomes the preferred conduit for the Boston 2024 machers, and the Herald generally serves as the unofficial newsletter of the Walsh administration.

We shall see, eh?


The Two Faces of Deval

January 5, 2015

The Boston Sunday Globe featured Michael Levenson’s swan song for two-term Gov. Deval Patrick.

The Patrick legacy: history and headwinds

Governor made good on much he’d promised, but fractious ties with legislators, and economy’s plunge, held him back

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Deval Patrick looked out on Boston Common, presiding not only as the incoming governor but as the leader of a movement that had upended politics. Thousands from across the state cheered and held up cellphone cameras — people of every kind and color, young and old, jubilant multitudes never before seen at the State House.

At his first inauguration under uncommonly fair skies in January 2007, the man who a year earlier had been dismissed as a hopeless romantic with no chance of victory carried with him limitless hope for the future — for better schools, fairer housing, racial healing.

 

And etc.

Nice sendoff, except . . .

 

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Exhibit Umpteen, from Saturday’s Boston Herald report about Patrick “denying [chairwoman of the Sex Offender Registry Board Saundra Edwards’] claims he had a personal ax to grind in firing her after he said she ‘inappropriately’ tried pressuring an official to classify the governor’s brother-in-law as a sex offender.”

“Your paper has done a whole lot to make a mess of his life,” he said, turning to a Herald reporter yesterday. “That’s certainly been on my mind. I didn’t want to stir all that up again. But we cannot have officials inappropriately interfering with the independence of hearing officers.”

 

But he doesn’t want to stir all that up again.

Ave atque vale, Deval.

Ye harldy knew us.


Baker’s ‘Doesn’t’ in U.S. Senate Speculation

January 26, 2013

Lots of political prognostication in the local dailies today about who might do what in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat about to be vacated by John Kerry (D-Am I Secretary of State Now?).

Start with the the Boston Herald, which turns half of Page One over to the prospects of Rep. Stephen (Peek-a-Boo) Lynch (via the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages).

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Lynch earns a split decision inside: Hillary Chabot’s piece has the headline, “Menino Shaping Up As Ace in Hole for Lynch,” while Joe Battenfeld’s column presents a less-optimistic slant:

MATT0018.JPGBotched report spells trouble for pol

Even by Massachusetts political standards, this was one of the worst non-campaign announcements ever.

U.S. Rep. Stephen F. Lynch’s bungled will-he-or-won’t-he drama over his possible entrance into the U.S. Senate fight left voters confused and Democratic leaders shaking their heads — not a great start for a campaign.

If Lynch does announce he’s getting in the Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey — and many Democrats and Lynch supporters are still convinced he will — the first question will be: “When did you decide to run — before or after your advisers prematurely leaked word you were running and you denied it?”

 

Ouch.

Crosstown-rival Boston Globe gives its conjecturing the power position: Page One (via ditto) upper right above the fold:

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The Frank Phillips/Michael Levenson piece indicates that Scott Brown (R-Show Me the Money) might be leaning toward skipping a third Senate bakeoff in three years and running instead for governor in 2014. Enter the Great Mentioner, starting with former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld:

Weld did not return calls seeking comment. But his associates said it is highly unlikely the former governor, who returned to Boston this fall after living in New York for a dozen years, would plunge back into politics.

“He has no interest,’’ said Stephen Tocco, a partner with Weld at ML Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm. “He is too busy growing his practice and settling into Massachusetts.’’

 

Not to mention Weld has said (as noted by the hardreading staff) that not running for office is a condition of his employment at ML Strategies. Although – yes, yes – contracts are made to be broken.

Regardless, next?

Another high-profile Republican — Kerry Healey, the former lieutenant governor — did not rule out a Senate candidacy, saying only that it is “premature to say’’ if she would be interested in the seat if Brown does not run.

 

Conspicuous by his absence was Charlie Baker, who ran a credible if largely uninspired campaign for governor in 2010. It will be interesting to see if in the next round of chinstroking, Baker is part of the mix.