Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Petty, Pointless, and Partisan

Here is a pure non-news item in the Globe.

Yet it was run (with a huge photo on page 1B of the August 31 Boston Globe) simply to give a gratuitous slap to the Governor of Massachusetts. Entitled “Watching Romney’s Suitcase”, it would better be called “Dumping the Globe’s Baggage”.

The piece is really a complaint about a politician who is skillfully caching political IOUs that might come in handy someday, but the story swerves back to thumping at the old “Massachusetts politician away from the office” theme, including a whole paragraph about the relaxed work habits of past (Republican) Governors. The story comes complete with a graphic (below) displaying the Governor’s activities calendar during August. The graphic belies the whole premise of the article. It shows that the Governor’s “out of state” August days consisted of:

2 ½ days signing his new book in Salt Lake City, New York, and Washington DC.
1 day campaigning with the President of the United States
1 day at the Republican National Convention
2 (count ‘em, 2!) whole days in Athens at the Olympics where he received an award for his service to the 1992 Winter Games
8 days vacationing in New Hampshire with his family

None of these were at taxpayer expense, the article reports, and it also notes that the state legislature is out of session this entire month, meaning that very few legislators spent a single August day on Beacon Hill.

So who is complaining? The only person actually quoted with complaints is (!) Jane Lane, the Communications Director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. No doubt she proved very helpful to the Globe’s intrepid reporters and highly professional and objective editors by explaining why this story was not only newsworthy, but should receive 4 columns, a photo, and a graphic on the first page of the City section during the same week when this Governor will speak on national TV at the Republican Convention.

No good deed goes unpunished. Less than 2 months ago, it was this same Republican Governor who replaced a couple of bureaucrats to move arbitration and avoid labor unrest and embarrassing picket lines at the Democratic convention in Boston; and did so without help from the Democratic nominee, who feared offending the unions.

So why is this non-story, this piece of utter trash, so played up in a responsible journal like the Globe? Perhaps we should ask old Oliphant. He is the one who recently informed the masses that the charges made by the Swift-Boat veterans didn’t “pass the smell test” of the news professionals on Morrissey Boulevard, and so were consigned to perdition.

But this story – this petty, pointless, and partisan piece of junk – did pass their smell test with flying colors.

No wonder Glenn Reynolds refers to organs like the Globe as the “legacy media”.



Image by The New York Times Company

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