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

Sliming Jill Carroll

Earlier this fall I spotted Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll at a reception at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, where she’s a fellow. I don’t want to read too much into my observations from across a room, but she struck me as shy and fragile, sticking close to her little group. I assumed she was still coming to terms with the ordeal she went through as a hostage in Iraq last winter.

Then, a few weeks ago, Karla Vallance, managing editor of the Monitor’s Web site, spoke to my Journalism of the Web class. Vallance was in charge of putting together this online presentation about what happened to Carroll. Among other things, Vallance told us that Carroll was initially reluctant to cooperate because she feared retribution against herself and her family.

Why am I telling you this? Because today, in the Boston Herald’s Inside Track, we learn that Carroll recently declined to be interviewed by WFXT-TV (Channel 25) when she was approached in a Harvard Square bar — and that, therefore, Carroll’s stint at Harvard had obviously made her “rather full of oneself,” as she “rather snootily” dismissed the Fox 25 reporter.

For good measure, the Tracksters describe Carroll as a “former reporter.” In fact, she’s on staff at the Monitor.

A pointless, wrongheaded, nasty little item.

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  1. Anonymous

    EB3Jill should learn from real journalists, like the ones at Herald, paticularly the Inside Track gals.

  2. Anonymous

    Isn’t the “pedestrian UMASS pedigree comment” a little snooty, or am I missing something?

  3. Anonymous

    Amen, Dan. I’ve never met Jill, and I no longer live in New England — and that item is a distillation of one reason why: vicious, petty, pointless attack by smug posuers. It’s like a sport ’round those parts. And such a lovely city otherwise….

  4. Anonymous

    Funny, I would use the term “former reporter” to describe Fee and Raposa. I don’t think gossip reporting is legitimate journalism but if you do, the Inside Track’s carelessness and general sloppiness should disqualify them from the classification of “reporter.”

  5. Anonymous

    Well said Dan, Thanks!

  6. man who was a monitor radio fan

    Pointless? Yes.Wrongheaded? Yes.Nasty? Most definitely.But par for the course from a desparate little tabloid trying anything and everything it can just to stay afloat? Yup.Not to mention, it’s also a well-known aspect of media in Boston. This is a nasty town…we see it most prominently in sports, but it’s everywhere. There’s only one way to avoid it and that’s to get out of the game.Or, in the Herald’s case, sue the crap out of them for libel and hope that Ernest Murphy is your judge. 😉

  7. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    This isn’t the first time people have tried to attack Jill Carroll. While the Herald’s little hit piece is pathetic, it pales in comparison to the ones perpetrated by commentators like Hub Politics, who tried to smear Jill Carroll as soon as she was released. Hub Politics wrote on March 31, 2006:”Why did recently released reporter Jill Carroll go out of her way to say she was not harmed by the terrorists who held her hostage? Why did she go into detail about how “pleasant” her ordeal was? She was able to take showers and go to the bathroom seemingly at her leisure, and spend time with Iraqi women and children.Something seems very odd.And to top it off, she has also set herself up to be a new hero for the liberal left with her criticism of the Bush Administration.”Unfortunately for Jill Carroll, the details of her captivity and release will always provide fodder for those critical of her. Those who called into question her statements after being released have never been held accountable.

  8. Anonymous

    I just left a 1-star rating on the piece.Gossip is one thing, and celebrities know that’s what they sign up for, but Jill isn’t a celebrity. She’s the victim of a crime. To pour your own vicious interpretation into hearsay about the victim of a crime is low and mean.Good for you, Dan, in posting this.

  9. Anonymous

    Perhaps Jill Carroll declined her interview with Fox 25 simply because she wanted to spare Maria Stephanos the inevitable embarrassment of tricky pronunciations. You know, like pronouncing St. Tropez as “San Tropeeez,” as she did last night. Well, at least Maria still has dynamite legs.

  10. Anonymous

    I love this town and state and have endles optimism for its potential and success but I have to agree a bit with “man who was a monitor radio fan “This nastiness bubbles up a bit around these parts, embodied by the bitter and hypocritical Howie Carrs of the area. The intersecton of a cluelessly desperate Herald and a horrible WFXT.I have found more respect for Jill AFTER she came back and stayed humble and out of the stage lights.Everyone here and beyond including I prayed hard for her safety and sure enough, the world is better served with a humble and hardnosed young reporter. The country is. The Monitor and the area are for sure.Her character and hesitation to cash in are obviously drawing in jeaoulsy.I remember when on RKO she was being slimed as a traitor when she was seen saying positive things and “she must have converted” and ” she must have had sex with them and fathered a child” and other nasty things. No one gave her the benefit of the doubt that she may have sying those things under duress and for self-preservation.Notice that NO ONE said ANY thing negative about Centanni and the other gentleman when they “converted” and complimented under duress. They still were heroes and NEVER criticized by the usual suspects who were quick to pile on “liberal” Jill.What a joke.Was that Mike Baucrapet chasing her again???Do they have any anchor who is NOT a lightwieght over there? They have NO serious people there. No heft. Kim is reduced to fluff there. Maria’s annoying ditzy smile is no credibility score there. Wade is featherwieght. VB..pass on that one no wasting time. Who else?How ‘s my hair look Bianca??Or Mike Baudet? Did anyone see his last hit piece on Judges? (Funny how the Herald and Fox HATE judges. talk about an obssession)As usual, overboard and alarmist. Now I agree with the noxious nature of the loopholes allowing state employees to pad their pention with working another calendar year day. Adding another 10-20k to a pention for working Jan 2nd and then retiring is something that needs to be closed.But what Baucrapet does not tell tell the viewers is – he lets a judge representative say that so he looks like a hack to people- that judges are a cornerstone of our success and law and order and have atremendous responsibility and deserve to be paid well.Why not come to the sotry from this corner: why not reduce pensions for judges who are worth a lot of money who may have come from high powered lucrative private law practice and award the ones who have had a less richer pay history, having been prosecutors or other civil servants?Mike Baudet does not tell the public that paying judges very very well is essential to keep corruption at bay from very powerful civil servants like judges who hold the fate of people and companies’ fate in their hands with a simple gavel strike.Apart from nicest guy on their payroll, Kevin Lemanowicz, WFXT is a waste of time and without American Idol around the corner, they’d be in deeper doodoo. Their whole prime time line up crashed and have NOTHING else to draw people with. Only sensation.N.

  11. o-fish-l

    What a gross overreaction to a relatively tame piece in a gossip column. In a city of C & D list celebrities, the internationally known Jill Carroll is certainly fair game. In a gossip column that routinely “outs” drunks, drug addicts, adulterers and worse, this piece was extra mild. Is it now “sliming” a reporter to mention that she declined to be interviewed by another reporter? Actually I found Carroll’s decline of the offer ironic and quite interesting. Same for the “snooty” attitude, especially if it’s conveyed by a state school grad who may only be at Harvard because of the notoriety of her own risky behavior. What raised my eyebrows most was Dan’s observations (from across the room, no less) that Carroll appeared shy, fragile and still coming to terms with her ordeal. Really now? One can only wonder what more Dan could have observed if he actually managed to get near her. The hypersensitivity here to any criticism of Carroll is misplaced. She is no longer in captivity and is free to speak for herself. My guess is that she is far less concerned about the Inside Track than her unsolicited defenders at Media Nation are.

  12. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    o-fish-l:The Herald ladies don’t even have the guts to name the names of the “drunks, drug addicts, adulterers and worse”. They’re hardly outing anyone.

  13. Brian Maloney

    If there’s one expectation I have regarding the Herald, it’s that it should truly serve as an antidote to the snooty and sometimes just plain dull Globe.This column, however, plays into the worst kind of New England class warfare. There’s nothing wrong with a UMass degree and a Harvard background (particularly coming from certain undergrad programs) can sometimes be quite overrated.

  14. Anonymous

    Pointless? Wrongheaded? Nasty?…in the Inside Track?Goodness! I’m shocked! Shocked I say! 😉

  15. o-fish-l

    Citizen Kane:In fact, just this month in the Inside Track, three folks associated with the New England Patriots alone have indeed been “outed” by name: 11/01/06 (DRUGS) Stephen B. Belichick (coach’s son) was arrested over the weekend after Weston cops caught him with a pocketful of pot in the car of an alleged dealer that reeked of marijuana smoke.11/08/06 (DRUNK) Back-up QB Matt Cassell shut-off by bartenders at annual “Larry-oke” charity event.11/17/06 (ADULTERY) Bill Belichick wants timeout in divorce mess.I’m sure any of the above would have preferred the “nasty” Jill Carroll blurb instead of what they got from the Track. The item on Carroll was a puff piece. The overprotection of Carroll here is telling, bordering on bizarre.

  16. amusedbutinformedobserver

    Carroll “‘”rather snootily’ dismissed the Fox 25 reporter.”Would a Fox 25 reporter be expected to take it any other way?Is is possible to dismiss a Fox 25 reporter any other way?

  17. Anonymous

    o-fish-l:Wow, so the Inside Track reports on (1) something that is a public record; (2) a quarterback who was cut off by bartenders; and (3) a divorce situation that has been public knowledge for months.Yup, that’s some pretty tough digging they’re doing over the Herald, and a real profile in reportorial courage.

  18. Anonymous

    An open letter to whoever those people are… Ladies, Let me get this straight: Some random sleaze comes upto Jill Carroll in a bar and asks “when she’s going togive him an interview?” It turns out, he’s a producerfor Fox 25. She tells him what she told the previous3,000 people who asked. She’s not doing interviews,which is the truth. Then he asks her what she’s doing and she says she’sgot a fellowship at Harvard, which is in fact what sheis doing. Then said jilted sleaze tells this oh-so-sordid taleto you, though of course he doesn’t have the guts tobe identified as the sleaze in question. Then, with the help of a thesaurus for the big words(“snootily;” oh how you must have chortled when youcame across that one), you write a slandererous littlepiece about Jill.And you want to question her character? He’s like the guy who can’t get a date with the hotchick, and then spreads the rumor that it’s “becauseshe’s a lesbian.” And you’re like the jealous, frumpylooking girls in front of the bathroom mirror helpinghim to spread the rumor while they pop zits in thevain hope it will make them better looking. Look in the mirror, pally! It’s not because she’s gay.It’s because your repulsive. And ladies? You’re sovicious and petty because you have so few prospects. Oh and about your “assumption” that there wassomething about Jill’s “snooty” character that led herto miss your email over Thanksgiving weekend? Theevidence of your column to the contrary, not even Ibelieve you’re that stupid.

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