Tag Archives: Dan Wasserman

Three Globe stalwarts move on

Brian Mooney. I took this photo in late 2007 at a Rudy Giuliani campaign event in New Hampshire. He was covering it for the Globe and I for the The Guardian.

Brian Mooney at a Rudy Giuliani campaign event in New Hampshire in 2007.

One morning in February 2000, I was killing time at a conference center in South Carolina, where I had showed up at a campaign event for George W. Bush. Sitting on the carpeted floor, banging away at his laptop, was Glen Johnson, then with the Associated Press.

I was covering the media campaign. The press that year was in love with the insurgent Republican, John McCain, whose caravan I had connected with earlier in the week. Johnson and I talked.

“The Bush people really feel that McCain has gotten a free ride, or an easier ride than Bush has,” he told me. It was a telling quote, and it made its way into the story I was writing for The Boston Phoenix.

Johnson, who worked two stints each at the AP and The Boston Globe, got his start in Massachusetts at The Sun of Lowell and The Salem News. On Thursday, he announced that he was leaving the Globe, where he was politics editor of Boston.com, in order to take a senior position with incoming Secretary of State John Kerry.

“It is a humbling opportunity, especially in these turbulent times,” Johnson wrote, “but one that I embrace with relish.”

And thus departs another piece of the Globe’s institutional memory.

The big departure during the past year, of course, was that of Globe editor Marty Baron, now executive editor of The Washington Post. But other veterans have continued to trickle out as well, with Johnson being only the latest.

Two more who will be missed:

• Brian Mooney, a longtime political reporter who covered the national, state and local scenes with aplomb. Mooney is as accomplished a writer as he is a reporter.

I still remember a piece he wrote on former Boston mayor Ray Flynn’s frenzied Primary Day sprint in his failed 1998 congressional campaign, and I wish it were freely available online. Mooney was also an outspoken union advocate when, in 2009, the New York Times Co. threatened to shut down the Globe unless it could use Garcinia Cambogia extract for some $20 million in union givebacks. (The Times Co. eventually got its way.) I still consider this to be a legendary moment in Media Nation history.

Mooney stuck around for one last presidential campaign and retired shortly thereafter. Several weeks later we found ourselves sitting next to each other at a Harvard event honoring the late Globe columnist David Nyhan, and Mooney clearly seemed to be enjoying himself.

• Alex Beam, a veteran lifestyle columnist who was among the Globe’s very few writers who could make you laugh. Beam took a book leave last year and decided during a round of downsizing that he’d rather retire than go back.

In 2003 Beam wrote a column about three writers named Dan Kennedy. I’m DK1, and he describes the dilemma I faced launching a book alongside a get-rich-quick artist (DK3) and a humorist with a McSweeney’s connection (DK2).

“I planned to stay on the deck ’til the ship went down, but managers apparently wanted the budget cut more,” he recently told me via Facebook. “We were all ‘targeted’ for ‘voluntary’ buyouts, and many were happy to have them.”

• Finally, the paper’s terrific editorial cartoonist, Dan Wasserman, has sort of left, but not in a way that will affect readers. He has retired from the Globe, but continues to work out of 135 Morrissey Blvd. as a contract contributor.

“More freedom for me, less overhead for the paper,” Wasserman told me, also via Facebook. “I do a Sunday local cartoon and continue to draw syndicated cartoons that the Globe picks up several times a week.”

More: I’m a political junkie, not a movie buff. But I shouldn’t let pass the opportunity to note that Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Wesley Morris departed for Grantland recently.

Photo (cc) by Dan Kennedy. Some rights reserved.

Globe publishes spiked Wasserman cartoon

Though it doesn’t seem to have made its way onto Boston.com yet, Boston Globe cartoonist Dan Wasserman’s poke at Bank of America and the Museum of Fine Arts — spiked last Sunday — is in today’s Globe, as he said it would be. It never should have been held in the first place, but there you have it.

What was missing from today’s Boston Globe

Dan Wasserman (at podium) speaks at JFK Library

How many trees had to die so that the Boston Globe could stop cartoonist Dan Wasserman from raining on the Museum of Fine Arts’ parade?

Earlier this weekend, Media Nation heard that the Globe had killed a cartoon by Wasserman that was scheduled to run on today’s editorial page. Sure enough, you will find a guest op-ed headlined “The tech-politics divide” where Wasserman’s cartoon ought to be.

Then, this morning, I received a PDF of the page — already printed — from an anonymous source. The cartoon is vintage Wasserman, poking vicious good fun at the MFA and at Bank of America. I asked Wasserman to tell me what happened, and here is the full text of his e-mailed response:

The cartoon was held but is scheduled to run next Sunday. The publisher [Christopher Mayer] was concerned that the MFA, on the day it was celebrating the opening of its new wing, was being nicked in a cartoon that was aimed at Bank of America. I was out of the office on Friday, and because of early weekend deadlines, the cartoon was coming off the presses before he could reach me to talk it through. I’m disappointed it was held. It’s a strong, timely cartoon.

Because Wasserman says the cartoon will run next Sunday, I’ve decided to hold off from posting the PDF.

The PDF is clearly a scan of a printed page. How many Ideas sections were printed and discarded after management decided to spike the cartoon? I understand it may have been quite a few, but I don’t have a confirmed number.

I also asked the Globe’s spokesman, vice president Robert Powers, for comment. He sent along the following statement a few minutes ago:

We do not comment on editorial decisions. Unfortunately, due to early printing deadlines, the section had already started to print.  No one outside of the news and editorial process for The Boston Globe is ever consulted about news and editorial decisions.

No question the Globe has invested a lot in its coverage of the MFA’s $500 million expansion. The paper published a 56-page color glossy magazine commemorating the event (we got two, since it was also included in the New York Times), featuring, among other things, a full-page ad from — yes — Bank of America. There’s an interactive special at Boston.com as well.

All good stuff. But there was nothing out of bounds or offensive in Wasserman’s cartoon. It should have run.

Photo (cc) by Tony the Misfit and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

The Globe’s opinion pages beef up

Joshua Green

A year ago, the biggest question at the Boston Globe was whether the New York Times Co. was serious about shutting it down if it couldn’t squeeze out $20 million in union concessions.

These days, the story is considerably more pleasant. Though no one thinks the Globe is entirely out of the woods (there is, after all, a revolution under way), the paper keeps expanding in modest but useful ways.

The latest initiative is coming tomorrow: a weekly column on the op-ed page by the Atlantic’s fine political writer, Joshua Green, who, according to Globe editorial-page editor Peter Canellos, will offer a Washington perspective from a non-ideological perspective.

“He’s a pure reporter and analyst,” Canellos says. “And I think that for somebody looking at the changing landscape of Washington these days, this is a happy meeting of a writer and subject, because it’s a fascinating time.”

This coming Sunday will mark a significant expansion of the opinion pages. For years, the Globe has published a third opinion page, reserved for letters, every other week. Now the paper will publish three and four pages on an alternating schedule.

Newish op-ed columnists Joanna Weiss and Lawrence Harmon will join standbys Joan Vennochi and Jeff Jacoby. Harmon, the Globe’s chief editorial writer on city issues, will continue to write his column once a week. Weiss will now write twice weekly, picking up Harmon’s Tuesday slot.

On weeks when there are four opinion pages, Canellos says, the extra space will be used for features such as “visual op-eds” by cartoonist Dan Wasserman and longer essays by columnist James Carroll and other writers.

Finally, Canellos says that a somewhat nebulous new online feature called “The Angle” will be beefed up with some definition and some original content as the result of a new partnership with “Radio Boston,” which WBUR (90.9 FM) is expanding from a weekly to a daily program next week.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Dan Wasserman’s paean to punditry

We all love Dan Wasserman (and I’m loving his new blog, Out of Line). But this is what happens when you get immersed in the spin. Wasserman’s Boston Globe cartoon today makes sense if you listen to the pundits, who have been salivating over the prospect of open warfare between the Clintons and the Obamas all week. It might even make sense if you talk to disgruntled Clinton delegates.

But what, pray tell, have the Clintons actually done to undermine Barack Obama at the convention? Both Hillary and Bill gave emphatically pro-Obama speeches. Delegates have cheered the Clintons. Delegates have cheered the Obamas. HRC released her delegates to vote for Obama, then moved that Obama’s nomination be made unanimous.

Is it all choreographed? Of course. Or to be more precise: It’s a television show. At least according to some news reports, the two families don’t like each other. But they’re playing their parts. And though the Clintons may not be heartbroken if John McCain wins this November, since that would give HRC another chance to run in 2012, they don’t want to be blamed for Obama’s defeat, either.

Bottom line is that not a single thing has taken place at the podium, or in any of the Clintons’ or the Obamas’ public utterances, to support Wasserman’s take. At best, he’s channeling unhappy Clinton fans. At worst, he’s suffering from pundit overdose.