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.

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Boston Herald: Boston.com Credibility Went Southie in St. Pat’s Coverage

March 18, 2015

No question: Boston.com has had its troubles lately.

And here comes more. From Boston Herald scribe Jessica Heslam’s column in today’s edition of the failly local tabloid:

Boston.com lowers the bar

Another kerfuffle after Southie 
post: ‘Every day is a drunk day’

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One day after a new editor took charge to impose standards at the Boston Globe’s beleaguered Boston.com, the website is drawing fire again — this time for posting a story that stated, “Every day is a drunk day in Southie.”

Headlined “True Life: I Was a Bartender In Southie During the St. Paddy’s Day Parade,” the post was written by Boston.com wire staff writer Jamie Loftus, who wrote about her experience at a South Boston restaurant during Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“Every day is a drunk day in Southie, but St. Paddy’s Day runs by a completely separate set of laws,” wrote Loftus, whose website bio says she is also a “standup and sketch performer.” “Sure, the tips are good, but servers earn every cent when it comes to dealing with the drunk masses first thing in the morning.”

 

Money quote: “I’m surprised such bigoted views are still tolerated at Boston.com,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston).

There’s also a tsk-tsk from former Boston mayor/current Herald contributor Ray Flynn, but it’s not worth repeating.

What is worth repeating: Boston.com needs some serious adult supervision.

Either that, or the Boston Globe should tear the sheets with Buston.com.


Boston Dailies Outsourced Mario Cuomo Obits

January 3, 2015

From our Late to the Late Mario Cuomo desk

Mario Cuomo spoke in poetry, but lived in prose.

Exhibit A: His Hamlet on the Hudson forever fluttering.

Maybe that’s why the local dailies didn’t bother to compose their own obituaries of the former New York governor, but cherry-picked them from other news outlets.

The Boston Globe, on the one hand, plunked the New York Times obit on its front page.

 

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The Boston Herald, on the other hand, plucked the Associated Press.

 

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Hey – that’s show biz.

(To be fair, today’s Globe has this laudatory editorial and this less-so column by Michael A. Cohen. The Herald has this  farewell from Ray Flynn.)


In Like Flynn at the Boston Herald

November 14, 2014

Score one for the Boston Herald: Today’s feisty local tabloid beats its crosstown rival to a juicy local story.

Start at the top of Page One:

 

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The story inside:

 

New Flap in Bid to Honor Flynn

A panel headed by City Council President Bill Linehan is floating the controversial idea of naming the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center — a key landmark closely linked to the recently deceased Mayor Thomas M. Menino — after former Mayor Raymond L. Flynn.

The proposal, included in a press release yesterday by the Raymond L. Flynn Commission headed by the STON1922.JPGSouth Boston councilor, met with immediate resistance from longtime city observers who worked with both mayors.

“Ray Flynn and Tom Menino were both old friends and they both deserve recognition, but I was in the trenches when I represented the City Council in the late 1990s, and Tom Menino was the person who drove the construction of the convention center, there’s no doubt about that,” said Larry DiCara, a former council president.

 

Along with that piece the Herald includes the obligatory reader reaction and also – awkward!this column by the paper’s occasional chinstroker, Ray Flynn himself.

It was always about serving Hub’s people

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At the outset, let me say I never wanted my name on any city building or billboard — not even a sign at a baseball field.

But I am humbled by the kind gesture of Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan and his committee in recognizing my service to the people of Boston over the years.

The honor of serving the city I love was always enough for me. Working hard every day and doing the best I could for the needy and those without a political voice was all I ever wanted to do.

 

And etc.

Linehan – as he so often does – started moonwalking as soon as his trial balloon drew the least bit of heat. Right now, we know something will be named after Flynn and something after Menino – details TBA.

Details also TBA in the Boston Globe, which at post time had nothing on the naming rumpus.

 

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Maybe the stately local broadsheet should give Ray Flynn a column, eh?


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 Dailies Are Papal Tigers

April 27, 2014

From our Santo Subito! desk

The local dailies both play the home-away game in their coverage of this weekend’s Saintorama in the Eternal City.

Start, naturally enough, with Page One of the Boston Herald.

 

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The faithy local tabloid follows up with four pages of Pope-O-Scope coverage, most notably former Boston Mayor/Vatican Ambassador Ray Flynn’s filing from Rome.

World’s Catholics celebrate the faith

O’Malley, Boston represented well

Vatican Popes Saints

VATICAN CITY — The great and the good have gathered in this lovely city, flocking from all corners of the world — ambassadors and cardinals, presidents, prime ministers and royalty.

They are meeting in hotels and embassies and gorgeous residences in the Eternal City, and many gathered together for joyous reunions last night on the eve of today’s double canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

It is a tribute to the remarkable occasion, the convergence of so many diverse and powerful leaders for the first time two popes will be canonized in a celebration presided over by two living popes — Pope Francis and the retired Pope Benedict XVI.

 

But there’s an even more important constituency in town, Flynn writes.

Yet there is a far greater tribute, below the glittering halls, past the motorcades and speeding police escorts and throngs of media.

Down in the streets of St. Peter’s Square, thousands of humble pilgrims gathered to sleep last night. They lay on the cobblestones in the spring chill, the clouds and stars above them, waiting for the dawn, waiting for one of the great moments in our faith.

 

There’s also Margery Eagan on John XXIII, Marty Walsh reminiscing about JP II’s 1979 Hub visit, journalist-turned deacon Greg Piatt on his vocational switch, and Peter Gelzinis on local-boy-mage-seminarian Kevin Leaver, who’ll be at the hoedown in St. Peter’s Square.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the front page features this:

 

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The lordly local broadsheet has Cathoholic Czar John L. Allen Jr. in Rome, while Lisa Wangsness and Jeremy C. Fox patrol the local parishes.

From Allen’s piece (website version):

Francis accents unity with halos for superstar popes

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ROME — Oct. 11, 1962, brought a beautiful moonlit night to Rome. Pope John XXIII was in an ebullient mood because of that morning’s launch of the Second Vatican Council, a gathering conceived by the pontiff in which bishops from around the world would throw open the windows of the Catholic Church to the modern world.

The first pope of television’s Golden Age, “Good Pope John” had a roly-poly, grandfatherly persona and seemingly inexhaustible cheer that won fans everywhere, though the changes he set in motion also stirred up critics, then and now. That night, the pope looked out over St. Peter’s Square at the vast crowd praying for the council, and made some off-the-cuff remarks that passed into history as his “Sermon on the Moon” . . .

“Tonight, when you get home, you’re going to find your kids,” Pope John said. “I want you to give your kids a caress . . . and tell them that this caress comes from the pope!”

No one could recall hearing a pope address the faithful in quite that way.

 

Today’s papal twofer is unique as well.

 


Pope or Dope on Boston Front Pages

January 18, 2014

A nifty little criss-cross has religion and politics switching places in the local dailies today.

Boston Herald front page:

 

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Inside the story gets two pages: a news report that seems to be mostly AP material, and his ‘n’ her columns from Ray Flynn and Margery Eagan.

On page 3 of the feisty local broadsheet, there’s this piece:

Mitt aide rues blocking doc

Right off the top, the documentary “Mitt” shows a defeated Mitt Romney teary-eyed and searching for help in crafting a concession 011614mitt001speech — and the personal number for President Obama.

“By the way, someone have a number for the president?” a dejected Romney asks on election night Nov. 6, 2012, in his hotel suite in Boston.

“What do you say in a concession speech?” he adds.

 

Seriously? Anyway, the point of the piece is this: “[A] top Romney adviser and friend admitted the campaign blew it by repeatedly opposing the release of the documentary, which could have helped Romney shed his stiff, robotic image.”

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, Romney moves up to the front page.

 

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This “Mitt” piece has Romney’s son Tagg doing the lamenting:

“I was frustrated that we were not able to get an accurate portrayal of who my dad was out there,” Tagg said in an interview Friday, as he discussed the film. “The campaign team wanted to present a very controlled image. . . . The movie shows a very real human being: a flawed person with weaknesses but someone who is much more real and understandable.”

 

Meanwhile, it’s the Pope who gets page 3 in the stately local broadsheet, also via the AP.

Pope said to defrock 400 priests in 2 years

VATICAN CITY — A document shows Pope Benedict XVI defrocked nearly 400 priests over two years for sexually molesting children.

The statistics for 2011 and 2012 show a dramatic increase over the 171 priests removed in 2008 and 2009, when the Vatican first provided details on the number of priests who have been defrocked. Before that, it had only revealed the number of alleged cases of abuse it had received and the number of trials it had authorized.

While it’s not clear why the numbers spiked in 2011, it could be because 2010 saw a explosion in the number of cases reported in the media in Europe and beyond.

 

Here endeth the criss-cross.