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

Patrick’s unfortunate NYT close-up

If you’re the governor of Massachusetts, this is not how you want to be featured on the front page of the New York Times.

“Early Dazzle, Then Tough Path for Governor” is the headline. The story, by Abby Goodnough, portrays Gov. Deval Patrick as becalmed, going nowhere because of his defeat on casino gambling and a general sense of malaise stemming from early missteps over his Cadillac and office drapes.

Patrick sounds as though he’s going to keep pushing casinos, and he criticizes House Speaker Sal DiMasi for killing his proposal. “We’re going to keep working on it until we get a Democratic [sic on the uppercase “D”; I do believe Patrick was referring to governance, not the party] process that’s functioning,” Patrick is quoted as saying. Well, now. If Patrick hasn’t learned that there is overwhelming consensus against casinos and the social ills they bring, then he’s learned very little. This doesn’t bode well for the rest of his term.

Discussion of the Times story has already begun at Blue Mass. Group. And though BMGers are generally pro-Patrick, the first few commenters seem to be relishing the governor’s troubles.

The Outraged Liberal today offers some sharp analysis, noting that the Boston Herald’s ongoing coverage of DiMasi’s predeliction for golfing with well-connected friends, backing state contracts for political allies and supporting more revenue-losing tax breaks for the film industry may prove more important than the Times’ one-day embarrassment of Patrick. The O.L. writes that “the net effect is a steady drip of stories no politician can relish.”

Jon Keller, whose otherwise fine blog still lacks permalinks, offers some withering thoughts on the realities now facing Patrick and on the Times’ reliance on Steve Crosby — chief of staff to what Keller calls the “Titanic”-like administration of Jane Swift — to make the best case for Patrick. Keller writes:

Patrick tells the Times: “I have a better idea this year about who to trust and who not to, and you better believe that’s helped.” Really? Of whom does he speak? The key cabinet member who’s being allowed to run wild with inside power-plays and other clumsy blundering that threatens to make hash of years of progress in a crucial policy area? The aides he’s becoming notorious for not listening to? Sal? Maybe Patrick can’t trust him, but he should have known that going in. The real question is: can he beat him at his game?

Overall, not a good media day for Patrick or DiMasi.

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  1. Anonymous

    Dan, could you give your good friend Jon a call and ask him who is “The key cabinet member who’s being allowed to run wild with inside power-plays and other clumsy blundering that threatens to make hash of years of progress in a crucial policy area?” Inquiring minds want to know!

  2. Anonymous

    I don’t know, Dan. I think the outraged lib is overstating the case on DiMasi. So far, the Herald stories on him don’t have the whiff of something big, even if all the drips coalesce into one drop. The Herald and the Globe are both losers in Patrick’s casino defeat. It’s not surprising to see the Globe sucking their thumbs like in the day-after-the-vote editorial they ran about how unfair the process was. And it won’t be surprising if the Herald and eventually the Globe make more out of the DiMasi stories than they merit.

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Not worth a separate post, since this is old information, but I thought it was worth mentioning that a Media Nation reader at the Globe who shall remain nameless saw fit to poke fun at my calling the consensus against casino gambling in Massachusetts “overwhelming.”Is there really that much doubt? I offer two telling numbers, both of the “overwhelming” variety:- The House voted 108-46 against Gov. Patrick’s three-casino proposal. Wow. Maybe it would have been a little closer if Speaker DiMasi hadn’t pressured his members to vote “no.” (Or maybe not if Patrick and union leader Bobby Haynes hadn’t also pressured members to vote “yes.”) But that’s a blowout, folks.- As the Cape Cod Times recently reported, a poll by Western New England College shows that 57 percent of Massachusetts residents are “strongly opposed” to having a casino being built in their community, and another 10 percent are “somewhat opposed.” And when it comes time to build a casino, two-thirds local opposition is the only poll number that matters.The person I heard from has nothing to do with the Globe’s casino coverage. But I find it interesting that such an attitude would prevail at 135 Morrissey Blvd. The Globe has done some excellent reporting on the casino issue. But its dismissive attitude toward opponents, starting with its failure to report the Middleborough town meeting vote against a casino last summer, has done much to shape the public discourse.

  4. Outraged Liberal

    Anon 11:29, I’d be first to say the two stories in today’s Herald aren’t anything big. In fact, they aren’t much of anything standing alone.But they aren’t standing alone. They are now at least the third and fourth hits on DiMasi in the matter of a month. It’s the cumulative effect, the constant dripping, that turns into a big drip that causes people to keep digging… You get the idea. The man has a 20-plus year legislative career after all… lots to be found and/or taken out of context.

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