Politico’s Jack Shafer Cheap-Shots Globe Writers

June 28, 2016

The hardreading staff generally admires media criticism from the peripatetic Jack Shafer, but his latest Politico piece is a little low-hanging-fruitish.

Uh-Oh. Here Come the Brexperts.

Reporters: Don’t know much about Brexit? Don’t let that stop you.

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Who could have predicted that the press harbored so many experts on the repercussions of Brexit? Following Thursday’s vote by the British electorate to leave the European Union, these whizzes crowded the airwaves, clogged the newspapers and swamped their websites with assessments of the breakup’s meaning.

Obviously, some outlets that specialize in finance and cover the Eurozone—like the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and CNBC—have a handle on the subject; they’d been covering it long before Thursday. But as you stray from these specialists for the generalists, whose job it is to report on whatever Topic A might be that day (weather, politics, infectious disease, baseball), the more the Brexit coverage begins to resemble one long amateur hour.

 

Yeah, except most of journalism is amateur hour: generalists interviewing specialists to cobble together something that sounds vaguely reasonable. And, very often, reasonably vague.

Regardless, here’s Shafer’s Boston Globe nuts-to-you graf:

At the Boston Globe, for example, reporter James Pindell dug deeply into his bag of journalistic clichés last week to deduced that the Brexit vote was “about the economy, stupid” and that if Brexit caused a recession it would “dramatically change the conversation of the presidential race.” No kidding! Michael A. Cohen, a regular on the Globe op-ed page, concluded that it was not David Cameron’s fault Brexit passed, nor was it Jeremy Corbyn’s, nor could it be blamed on the EU elites who pushed immigration. It was “actual voters.” Another astonishing finding.

 

C’mon, Jack – you can do better than to beat up on what’s essentially beat reporting (in every sense of that phrase). Besides, you’re always a lot more interesting when you go after the high-hanging fruit.


Boston.comedy: Boehnheaded Post Is Double Trouble for Globe Media Website

January 15, 2015

Boston Globe Media Partners should launch a new vertical – maybe Clux.com? – to house all their apologies for the Globe’s kissing’ cousin, Boston.com.

You’d think – after the t-shirt hit the fan the other week – there’d be some kind of moratorium on Boston.commentary down at Morrissey Boulevard. No such luck. Yesterday one of the Boston.comics posted a piece with the headline “Would Anyone Have Noticed if Bartender Succeeded in Poisoning John Boehner?”

It included this piece of sparkling wit (via Politico’s Hadas Gold):

The question is: Would anyone have noticed? Stories about Boehner’s drinking have circulated for years. His drinking inspired a blog called DrunkBoehner, and in 2010 he brought booze back to Washington. Had he been poisoned as planned, perhaps his pickled liver could have filtered out the toxins.

 

That led to this media culpa at Boston.com:

Last night, an opinion piece was published on Boston.com that has since been adjusted to what you’ll see below. The original column made references to Speaker Boehner that were off-color and completely inappropriate. It reflected the opinions of one of our writers; what it did not reflect, by any standards, were the site’s collective values. Rather than remove any reference to it or pretend it didn’t happen, we are handling with transparency and self-awareness. We are sorry, and we will do better. –Corey Gottlieb, General Manager, Boston.com

 

Right – “adjusted.” There’s also this: “Editor’s note: A previous version of this article made an unsubstantiated reference to the health of Speaker Boehner.”

Geez – any way they could have been a little vaguer?

Regardless, it was mother’s milk to the frisky local tabloid, which piled on with this high-priced spread (special bonus Inexplicable Green Numbers!):

 

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The Globe, for its part, featured this blandish piece in today’s Metro section.

Look for Boston GlobeSox owner John Henry to lob a neutron bomb at Boston.com. When the dust settles, he might want to consider these recommendations from the redoubtable Dan Kennedy. Just for starters.


What Can Shaheen Do for Brown?

May 6, 2014

From our Late to the Political Party desk

The New Hampshire Senate rumpus is taking on an air war v. ground war theme, as Joshua Miller reported in yesterday’s Boston Globe.

In N.H., candidate Brown laces up shoes to connect with voters

BEDFORD, N.H. — Beer in hand and sweat-soaked T-shirt sticking to his chest, Scott Brown made his way through the crowd of hundreds of fellow runners, many sporting fake mustaches or oversized sombreros.photo4-1

After finishing a Cinco de Mayo-themed 5 kilometer road race Sunday morning, he drank Dos Equis, posed for cellphone pictures, and engaged scores of people in short, upbeat conversations. They began with Brown inquiring how they did in the race and ended with the same refrain: “Can I count on your vote?”

In his bid to unseat US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Brown has placed an outsize emphasis on retail political events. From pouring drinks for customers at a restaurant in Lebanon, to meeting voters at a Market Basket in Epping, Brown has worked to exude an accessible image in New Hampshire, where meeting politicians is particularly prized by voters.

 

Incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen seems to be going the other way, despite her campaign’s weak protestations in the Globe piece.

Shaheen had one public event on Sunday, joining the rest of the state’s congressional delegation and the governor at a ceremony honoring soldiers who returned from a deployment in Afghanistan this year.

Shaheen aides said she has been focused more on helping Granite Staters through her Senate work than on campaign-style events.

But, in a statement, campaign manager Mike Vlacich noted Shaheen had hosted the first in a series of “grass-roots summits” on Saturday, meeting with volunteers and supporters.

“Our campaign is proud of the broad support for Jeanne Shaheen across New Hampshire, and regardless of who the Republicans nominate, we are building the grass-roots network we will need to win in a midterm election year,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, there’s this from Politico’s Morning Score:

NEW IN THE AIR WAR — SHAHEEN LAUNCHES FIRST AD: Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is out with her first TV ad of the cycle, featuring Dwight Clark, a Vietnam vet, talking about her efforts on behalf of veterans. “We’d been promised a vets center in Keene for 30 years and got nothing,” he says in the ad. “Then Jeanne Shaheen grabbed the bull by the horns and cut through the red tape and got things going. She pushed it right through right from start to finish.” Shaheen’s campaign declined to share the size of the buy, but said the ad began running Sunday night and will go at least through this week on cable and WMUR. It was made by Grunwald Communications.

 

The spot:

 

 

Jeanne Shaheen gets the job done for New Hampshire?

Better right now she should get the job done for herself.

Which could mean giving TV commercials the air and coming back to earth, retail-style.

 


Thanksgrubbing at the Boston Globe?

November 28, 2013

New trend in newspapers (via Politico):

WE LOVE THAT THE THANKSGIVING PAPERS remain pleasantly plump. The (Portland) Oregonian in our driveway had 46 inserts, including a 60-page Macy’s monster with inserts within the insert.

WHAT WE DON’T LOVE: The new, Scrooge-like practice of charging home-delivery subscribers MORE for the paper BECAUSE it’s fat with ads (“added value”), and therefore more lucrative for the publisher. Jim Romenesko posted the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s note to its EZ Pay subscribers: “Because of its large size (last year’s was 5 pounds), the Thanksgiving Day newspaper is the most expensive to produce and difficult to distribute. … Effective this year, we will charge a premium rate of $2.35 for the Thanksgiving Day newspaper. This charge will be debited to your newspaper account … Our Christmas Day holiday edition will be packed with after-holiday savings from your favorite retailers. … [W]e will charge a premium rate of $1.50.”

 

Here’s the Romenesko post (from November 7).

Some newspapers, though, are only going halfway with the gambit.

WE’RE FINE WITH charging more for today’s fat issue at the newsstand, which a bunch of papers are doing: The WashPost imposed Sunday rates ($2.50 instead of $1.25); The Boston Globe is the Sunday price of $3.50, up from the daily $1.25. L.A. Times is $2, up from the usual $1.50. Regular prices: Chicago Tribune at $1.50; Newsday (Long Island) at $1.25.

 

From today’s Globe:

 

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What about Newsstand Nation – you fine with that?