By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Two things

I should be grading papers, so just two quick observations.

— Is Kerry Healey’s gubernatorial campaign now the dirtiest in state history? Oh, I suppose those orange-jumpsuit-clad demonstrators have nothing to do with her campaign. (Globe coverage here; Herald coverage here.) I’m especially impressed with a new wrinkle: terrorizing the 12-year-old son of Deval Patrick’s campaign manager.

— Former Globe reporter Mitchell Zuckoff, now a Boston University professor, is right on the mark in his letter to Romenesko, in which he says that the Boston Newspaper Guild’s request that politicians write to the New York Times Co. on its behalf is “a textbook case of seeking favors from sources and subjects.”

The Globe reports on Zuckoff’s letter here, and quotes Guild president Dan Totten as saying that Zuckoff’s scenario is “an extreme stretch.” The article also quotes my colleague Steve Burgard, director of Northeastern’s School of Journalism.

Question: Is it relevant that Totten has an advertising background rather than one in news? Perhaps the potential conflict of interest never occurred to him. Granted, he doesn’t govern alone. But still.

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This just in


  1. mike_b1

    If campaign workers are being physically assaulted, as they allege in the Herald story, wouldn’t there be proof in the form of bruises, cuts, etc.? And if so, shouldn’t the damn reporter say as much?

  2. Anonymous

    ok, so maybe former globie zuckoff has a point. it’s good to see he’s getting over his bitternes toward his old employer. but two things here are important. 1. many members of the guild union are not reporters; they are advertising and classified employees; and, 2. the nytimes company’s proposed contract ties revenues to salary increases. doesn’t that present an inherent and structural conflict for reporters? reporters are supposed to be immune from the pressures that their subjects could bring on the paper. if a reporter covers any large boston corporation, will that reporter have to worry whether her coverage will offend corporate leaders lest they reduce their ad dollars and affect revenues? this one-off request for support of a union zuckoff criticizes seems much less an issue than the structural conflict the times’contract offers.further, i don find it curious the globe has not covered its own contract negotiations and the guild’s rejection of the offer, but does find space to pick up a blog post from a former employee. selective coverage? i say, yes.

  3. bostonph

    I think Adam Reilly first asked this, but why is Kerry Healey aiming her campaign at AM talk radio listeners? You’d think she’d already have the WRKO creeps fully in her camp. In the meantime, she keeps shoving people like me further and further away. That ad in the garage is blatantly racist. Why on earth is she increasing the budget for it?HubPolitics is right behind her in “huh?” factor:‘Sloppy Thirds’: Patrick Was Clinton’s Third Pick For Asst. AG for Civil RightsWhy do I care?

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 10:31 — The Globe did cover the no vote on the contract. Click here.

  5. Anonymous

    fair enough. globe covered. i missed it.what about conflict of tying a reporter’s salary to revenue (hich doesn’t even get to the issue)?

  6. Anonymous

    overall tone and presentation of globe coverage of internal unions probs has been slanted, no question, but what else is new? as for conflcts stemming from salary tied to revenue, pls dont be so naive. those conflicts have ALWAYS been there — yu’ll never see investigations at globe into say price-fixing at auto dealerships because auto dealers keep globe in business. reporters/editors have always struggled with this reality. think about the stock options globe insiders get, where they can make a hefty profit based on revenues going up and increasing co.’s market value. same forces at work — online or not. zuckoff is 100 percent correct – you NEVER publicly seek favors from pols, activists etc. just blatantly and obviously wrong at every level. crazy thing to do. what you DO do is encourage the pols/unionistas to do this “on their own” while lurking in the shadows puppeteering the intervention. this is big leagues. no time for amateur hour.

  7. Anonymous

    unfortunately, the guild has been ‘amateur hour’ for years. zuckoff was one of them and hasn’t progressed much since blowing the zantop story. didn’t you write about that, dan?

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 1:07 — Yes. And unlike Mitch, I have never made a mistake. Oh, wait …

  9. Anonymous

    bostonph: so the “WRKO creeps” constitute preaching to the converted but you don’t? “People like (you)” might not be “further and further away” absent the advertising? Please. Garage ad is racist (you say) but Obama as campaign savior is not playing the race card. At some point, common sense has to rear its head here. Do you think people are really that stupid?

  10. Anonymous

    anonymous 2 has a point when it comes to newspapers’ coverage of auto delaers and the like, but it’s the reporters’ job to push the editors, and the editors’ job to push the business side. by asking the reporters to explicitly agree to tie salary to revenue wouldn’t that be akin to making what is now a fuzzy line bright? just because newspapers avoiding assigning reporters to cover auto dealers’ price fixing is wrong, doesn’t make the ny times co’s offer right.does anonymous know of spiked stories about auto dealers at the globe? i’d be all ears.

  11. Anonymous

    not that it matters, but: what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks in anon 1:13 PM talking about? dan, do you have a translator button?

  12. Anonymous

    I’ll lose sleep over this as soon as the Times Co. gives up its 17 percent ownership of a team it covers.

  13. Anonymous

    3:02,scroll back up to bostonph. (Using your translator button). S(he)expressed an opinion. I differed. (It would appear my last sentence was wishful thinking).1:13

  14. bostonph

    anon302,Anon113 appears to have been replying to me, but I’ve no idea what he’s talking about. He seems to be arguing with a generic liberal strawman, but the talking points are lost on me. 1) I’m a voter, not a candidate for governor.2) I’m an indepedent who voted for all of the previous Republican governors.3) I don’t understand how appearing with Barrack Obama is “playing the race card.” I can’t even recall hearing him described as “campaign savior.”4) Who besides anon113 said anything about people being stupid? I still don’t get how having people in orange jumpsuits appear at your opponent’s house broadens your appeal.

  15. Mitch

    Deval Patrick would have to kill and eat someone on live TV for me not to vote for him at this point, but I have to say that I’m a fan of “Inmates for Deval.” It doesn’t seem terribly different to me from “Billionaires for Bush,” except for the possible law breaking.Ah, politics.

  16. Anonymous

    Just to hammer home the point on “the ad” being racist: GOP is famous for micro-targeting. I’d love t see the study showing alienating minority voters is a good thing to do.Speaking of which – why did they choose white skinheads to wear the jumpsuits? The photos made my skin crawl.

  17. Rick in Duxbury

    Because they had a pretty good idea what would happen if any of the jumpsuit-wearers were African American. Is this not the definition of “political correctness”? So the fact that they were against Deval automatically makes them “skinheads”? Remember that crack the next time a white guy crosses the street for no other reason other than that a couple of African American kids are walking in the other direction. Same level of BS. Hypocrisy by BOTH sides is getting hip-deep here.

  18. Dan Kennedy

    Yes, when you’re doing subliminal advertising, you want to keep the subtext at least partially hidden.

  19. Peter Porcupine

    Any angst for the young lady carrying a Healey sign who got stomped by the pinkie-ring union types, out of work early and drunk (gee, what a flashback to the LAST big debate at Faneiul Hall between Weld and Kerry, where the cops had to walk me back to my car)?Or did she just get what she deserved for behaving so proviocatively?

  20. mike_b1

    rick, who cares what race the “inmates” were? The whole attack was beyond the pale (get it?). It did nothing but pull attention away from any real discussion of how Mass should deal with its convicts. This is the best a criminologist can do!?And it apparently has backfired on Healey (as I said it would).

  21. bostonph

    Interesting hypothesis Rick, but the people in the photos I saw were actually skinheads, as in guys with their heads shaven.

  22. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    Rick:I’m taking the guys in prison suits at their word and believe that they are in fact recently released inmates from the prison system. Given the white supremacist and skinhead cultures that can be found in almost every prison, I believe it is a safe bet that the men were in fact skinheads.Peter:As to the young lady who got “stomped” by “the pinkie-ring union types”, I notice that she hasn’t filed charges and that arrests haven’t been made. So maybe a little less hyperbole is in order? I’ve seen people “stomped” and their next trip was to a hospital, not talking to the press.But I keep forgetting Healey’s supporters are pure as the driven snow when it comes to assaulting people. The only way they can hurl their accusations is to be blameless themselves. Did I just say pure as the driven snow? Oh no, snow is white….

  23. Camper

    **Oh, I suppose those orange-jumpsuit-clad demonstrators have nothing to do with her campaign.*Oh give it a rest Dan!It’s was funny! Part of a spirited campain!Doesn’t matter who you are for/against…I just give the guy who thought it up credit!;-)

  24. Anonymous

    The point is probably moot, but those were Healey campaign workers. also apologized for the actions of some of her campaign volunteers who picketed outside of the homes of Deval Patrick and his campaign manager dressed in orange prison jumpsuits and waiving signs that said “Inmates for Deval.””When I found out that they had gone to Deval Patrick’s home and the home of his campaign manager, I let it be known that that’s not what I want to have happen in the future and I do think it crossed the line,” she said.

  25. Anonymous

    You know, I think this happenned with you two years ago as well.You go from being an astute observer and analyst of the media…..into a left wing shill.You have such a talent for media observations and writing….that I wish you wouldn’t wander into political bias.Make this election year different for Dan Kennedy….different than 2004Thanks for listening!

  26. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 10:40 — I am a liberal media critic. I think nonideological media criticism tends to be pretty boring. I’m not aligned with any party, and if there’s a liberal who I think is being a jerk, or a liberal media outlet that I think is being unfair, I’ll say so. But I’m not going to pretend to be without any bias whatsoever.That said, I woke up the day after the primary genuinely undecided between Healey and Patrick. Healey had always struck me as a moderate, a return to the Republican Party of Bill Weld and a move away from Mitt Romney. I was concerned — and continue to be concerned — about Patrick’s squishy stand on taxes (I don’t think we can afford a cut, but I know we can’t afford an increase), as well as the prospect of no Republican check on the Democratic legislature.But Healey has run a bizarrely right-wing campaign that I think is completely out of step with what she really believes (maybe it isn’t; who knows?), and that has been remarkably dirty and suffused with subliminal racism. And you know what? That’s not even an opinion. That’s just the facts.Camper thinks it’s funny that jumpsuit-clad goons terrorized a 12-year-old at his home just because his father works for Patrick. That’s what we’ve come to.

  27. Anonymous

    Rick,Are you the same rick from Duxbury who got a letter to the editor published in the Globe over the weekend? If not, there’s another Rick in Duxbury you should meet since you have the exact same writing style and political leanings.Just asking because THAT Rick from Duxbury signed a petition to pardon Debra Lafave. Seems that Rick is capable of understanding that not all inmates deserve to be there.

  28. Anonymous

    Dan,If you think a couple of volunteers who wandered off the reservation into Abington constitutes “terrorizing”, you’re going to just LOVE Deval’s plans for work-release programs in Danvers. Camper,remember, only liberals are allowed to use humor to make their points. Didn’t you get the memo?

  29. bostonph

    The LA Times has an interesting article on John Hodgman (aka the PC in Apple’s commercials).,0,1585345.story?coll=la-home-headlinesThis quote seems particularly appropriate:“Even though he’s a lovely person, when he’s on stage or in print he can flip on this switch and turn into a slightly hostile, insecure, boastful dunderhead,” noted his friend Sarah Vowell, the author and radio commentator, in an e-mail. “As hostile, insecure, boastful dunderheads more or less run the world these days, it’s cathartic to see such figures skewered…. The character he often plays is that of a pompous windbag.”Funnily enough, I’ve always pictured “Peter Porcupine” as sounding exactly like him. Maybe it’s power of suggestion from the portrait of the dead guy Peter borrowed his identity from.

  30. metallicaMobes

    Ok, anyone who’s ever been on a college campus knows that the whole “Inmates for Patrick” thing is not a huge deal. We’ve got all sorts of humorous (and yes, that was humorous- try not to see the (D) and (R) here) “protests” and events- i.e. affirmative action bake sales, straight pride week, billionaires for bush, pedophiles for the GOP, conservative coming out day- there’s FAR worse things than “Inmates for Patrick.” Ya’ll need to either get a backbone, a sense of humor, or both.And please, I’m willing to bet that the 12 year old was not “terrorized.” Perhaps some of that hyperbole we’ve been hearing so much about?

  31. mike_b1

    Well, metallic, let’s do this. Let’s send a bunch of skinheads to raise a ruckus outside your boyfriend’s door while he’s home alone. And we’ll see how long he waits before he calls the police.

  32. Anonymous

    Metallica:Guess I’m less web-literate than I thought. Can’t find anything on your blog discussing your sexuality. Whatever it is, good luck to you. Only you have the right to “out” yourself, last time I checked.(Unless the homophobia I’ve heard of in some communities is not just urban legend).

  33. Rick in Duxbury

    9:25If the best use of your time is to Google the authors of letters to the editor with whom you disagree, you have issues unresolvable in this forum.

  34. metallicaMobes

    Say it loud, I’m straight and I’m proud!

  35. Anonymous

    Metallica:Mikeb1 made the crack about your “boyfriend”. He’d apologize but he’s busy having an argument with Dan about the meaning of the phrase “in play”. God almighty, Dan has the patience of a saint.

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