Gareth Cook has Ideas

A big week for former PhoeniciansGareth Cook has been named editor of the Globe’s Ideas section, replacing Wen Stephenson, who’s moving to WBUR Radio’s “On Point.” The announcement follows news that Yvonne Abraham will be one of the Globe’s two metro columnists.

Under Stephenson, Ideas has become somewhat more accessible and newsy than it had been in its original incarnation, edited by Alexander Star. I’d like to see Gareth push it more in that direction. In any case, Ideas will certainly be in capable hands.


Megadittos on Leibovich II

Jay Garrity, the Mitt Romney aide who New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich says pulled him over and claimed to have run his license plate, is now under investigation in both Massachusetts (for allegedly impersonating a state trooper) and New Hampshire (for the Leibovich incident). Nice people you have working for you, Mitt.

Group interview

Adam Gaffin is going to try a crowdsourced interview. To participate, click here.

YouTube and the iPhone

I thought Jesse Noyes might have fallen into Steve Jobs’ famed reality-distortion zone when he reported in today’s Herald that the Apple iPhone will be able to play YouTube videos. After all, the iPhone is already supposed to come equipped with a full-featured version of the Web browser Safari. How could this be news?

Turns out that Noyes is on to something. Here’s what Apple says:

iPhone has a special YouTube player that you can launch right from the home screen. So now you can access and browse YouTube videos wherever you go. And when you find a video you want to send your friends, iPhone can even create an email with the link in it for you.

But what does this mean? Is Apple saying that YouTube will work better with the “special YouTube player”? Or is it saying that YouTube won’t work at all without it? If the latter, how can Safari for the iPhone be billed as a fully functional browser? Again, here’s what Apple says:

With its advanced Safari browser, iPhone lets you see any web page the way it was designed to be seen, then easily zoom in by simply tapping on the multi-touch display with your finger.

I’m scratching my head.

Update: Geoff gets to the bottom of this. Safari for the iPhone won’t support Adobe Flash, at least not in its first incarnation. (So much for its being a full-featured Web browser.) YouTube and a slew of other sites — including, featured in iPhone ads — use Flash video. So there you go.

Megadittos on Leibovich

Just a brief note on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s denial that one of his goons — uh, aides — tried to intimidate New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich as Leibovich trailed the Mittmobile in his car.

Like Jon Keller, who provides the relevant links, I worked with Leibovich at the Boston Phoenix in the early 1990s. And I endorse this Keller observation: “If Mark Leibovich says it happened that way, it happened exactly that way.”

This isn’t a big deal. Why can’t Romney tell the truth?

Bush, Hitler and political contributions’s Bill Dedman, a former Globe reporter and the creator of this gift to journalism, has weighed in with a piece identifying 144 journalists who’ve made political contributions since 2004. Here’s the most amazing paragraph:

“Probably there should be a rule against it,” said New Yorker writer Mark Singer, who wrote the magazine’s profile of Howard Dean during the 2004 campaign, then gave $250 to America Coming Together and its get-out-the-vote campaign to defeat President Bush. “But there’s a rule against murder. If someone had murdered Hitler — a journalist interviewing him had murdered him — the world would be a better place. I only feel good, as a citizen, about getting rid of George Bush, who has been the most destructive president in my lifetime. I certainly don’t regret it.”


In case you’re wondering, there’s not much exciting to report locally. The biggest name is Liz Walker, a former anchor for WBZ-TV (Channel 4), who donated to Hillary Clinton and a couple of other Democratic women.

Though most observers will probably focus on the fact that the vast majority of the contributions tilted liberal/ Democratic (or, in Singer’s imagination, anti-Nazi), what amazes me is that journalists would make political contributions to anyone. There are two reasons not to do this: (1) you shouldn’t; (2) therefore you can always tell people that you can’t.

For my, uh, money, Rule #2 is one of the few perks we enjoy.

Best wishes to Paul Sullivan

WBZ Radio (AM 1030) program director Peter Casey has sent along this letter from talk-show host Paul Sullivan:

To my friends and colleagues at WBZ News Radio 1030:

After a two and one half year personal battle against cancer, including four brain surgeries, it’s become clear to me that it’s unfair of me to ask my support group, my wife Mary-Jo, my family, my friends, my WBZ colleagues, to continue to bear this burden. The toll my surgeries and treatments have taken on me makes it unlikely that I will ever have the energy to return to a four-hour daily talk radio program. This decision is not based on any one medical fact or the latest update of my condition. The fact is that WBZ deserves the best team on the field and as of this moment with my condition I would not be the best teammate to take the field. However, I’d like to contribute to WBZ in some fashion with either commentaries, or writing for the station’s web site, or take part in the station’s political coverage.

I will always remain a part of the WBZ family and am honored to have followed David Brudnoy doing a night time talk show on WBZ. But for the time being my health is going to be my focus, my full time job. I will still be keeping any eye on politics, on Beacon Hill, the fifth congressional district in Lowell, and elsewhere.

On a day to day basis I feel fine. I am up and alert and going out for lunches and walks when I can. I don’t need constant care but what my illness and treatments have taken from me is the energy needed to do my show five nights a week. I’m not sure if I can let local or national events pass by without some commentary from me. So with that in mind I look forward to doing one last regular show on WBZ next week to get a chance to remark on the world that has been uncommented on by me during the last seven weeks.

My best regards,
Paul H. Sullivan

Casey adds that Sullivan’s final program will be broadcast on Thursday, June 28, at 8 p.m., and that the station is not ready to announce its plans for Sullivan’s 8 p.m.-to-midnight time slot.

Sullivan’s other professional home, the Lowell Sun, reports on his departure here. You can also listen to Sullivan talking about his decision here.

The 50-year-old Sullivan is a class act and a rare voice of civility in Boston talk radio. It would be wonderful if he recovers to the point where he can resume a regular shift. But, regardless, Media Nation sends along its best wishes.