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

Menino’s and/or the Globe’s faux pas

Sharp-eyed Media Nation reader R.S. passes this along, from Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker’s piece on the fire in West Roxbury that claimed the lives of two firefighters:

“They always put their needs before our own,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said at a press conference. “But it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the tragedy.”

R.S.’s take: “I wouldn’t be surprised if Menino said it, but Walker and the Globe copy editors thought it was OK???”

Not OK.

Saturday afternoon update: Given the amount of interest sparked by this item, I went searching for video of Menino speaking. No luck so far. For what it’s worth, the city’s official Web site has Menino saying that “they always put our needs before their own.”

Discover more from Media Nation

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.


Update: Kenneth Foster is spared


Frank talk about Larry Craig


  1. Anonymous

    One would think that a Menino statement would prompt scrutiny just because working journos want to give him a chance to revise or retract. I’m told Da Mayah has a thin skin and a long memory….

  2. Anonymous

    The quote in Maria Cramer and Donovan Slack’s A1 story about the fire reads, “They always put our needs before their own.” Interesting.

  3. Peter Porcupine

    After years of hearing ‘Mumbles Cuts’, there IS a possibility it was a direct quote.If that is the case it shouldn’t have been used, of course.

  4. adamg

    Aw, you know what he meant.But yes, having said that, this is a case for paraphrasing.

  5. Anonymous

    I have re-read this and I don’t understand the issue. What is wrong with the statement? What am I missing??

  6. Anonymous

    Should read: “they put our needs before their own”, silly.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 5:26: I know, it can take a minute. Walker wrote that Menino said, “They always put their needs before our own.” Now try, “They always put our needs before their own.” Which is obviously what Menino meant to say … or perhaps he did, and Walker accidentally flipped it. Not sure which.

  8. Rick

    Mayor Menino is famous for mixing thing up when he speaks.”Boston is a different city than it was 20 years ago It’s much more diversity.””If you all make it through High school and go on to College it’s doubtful about your future.”I think he probably said it the way it was printed. But I could be wrong.Dan What it the role of a journalist when someone says something and it’s obvious what he or she meant to say but it comes out wrong? Do you have to quote verbatim or can you “clean it up” Have a great Labor Day everyone!!

  9. Dan Kennedy

    Rick: You can clean up little things — “um,” “uh” and the like. But when someone botches it the way Menino may have done here, you just don’t use it.Look at what Anon 4:07 found. Either Cramer and Slack cleaned it up, or it’s Walker who botched it. Or possibly Menino said it wrong but Cramer and/or Slack heard it right. That happens.

  10. Rick in Duxbury

    Whatever it was, Saturday’s “Quotes of Note” magically detransmogrified (?) it into a politically correct phrase. Don’t worry, the Globe will protect us from things we need not know.

  11. mike_b1

    Why wouldn’t you, as a journalist, simply ask the speaker for a clarification?

  12. Dan Kennedy

    Mike: Walker may not have been able to get a clarification by deadline. (In which he case he shouldn’t have used the quote, since it obviously didn’t make sense.) Or maybe he heard Menino correctly, and it didn’t register, as with Anon 5:26. Or Walker had his own dyslexic moment, and the copy desk didn’t catch it. I guess I just can’t get worked up about this because it’s exactly the kind of mistake I’ve made on a few occasions.

  13. mike_b1

    Would be interesting if Menino meant what was reported he said. In other words, if he were taking a shot at the firefighters for past labor transgressions, but adding that just because they annoy him doesn’t make it easier to stomach their deaths.I doubt that’s what he was saying, but who knows.

  14. Neil

    Correction printed by Globe today. Reporting error they say–is Walker a reporter? The correction is that Menino said, “They always put our needs before their own.” There’s definitely something confusing about the structure of that sentence.With it Menino is safely back on the side of the angels. Public statements that fall short of full praise about firefighters these days are about as politically viable as speaking out in favor of taxes.So far it’s only in the print edition. Also no correction about Marshall’s age yet from yesterday’s article by Jacobs.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén