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

Nameless mom whacks nameless paper

How much anonymity can you load into one column? The Boston Herald’s Joe Fitzgerald tried for a Guinness record yesterday, attacking a newspaper he can’t bring himself to name (if you haven’t guessed, it’s my esteemed former employer, the Boston Phoenix) with the words of an alleged hard-nosed reporter-turned-mother whom he won’t identify. Pretty gripping stuff, eh?

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Warning: Bumps ahead


  1. Tony

    Eh, so who is the mom who is the former journalist? BTW, template is looking good, including that cool rail.

  2. Adam Gaffin

    Jesus. Plus, this whole story was news like SIX MONTHS AGO. I wonder if they’re still picketing Gary’s Liquors?

  3. O-FISH-L

    The fact that Fitzgerald has again ruffled your feathers, and made your blog means that he has succeeded, Dan. Good for Joe, and the tens of thousands of us who share his views but can only find them a few times a week in the Herald. The Phoenix is little more than free porn / ultra-liberal propoganda disguised as a newspaper. When I was a student, the Phoenix realized nobody our age would pay for the rag, so they gave it away free on campus. Now, they have to give it away everywhere. Go figure.

  4. Rick

    If you are in your 20’s and looking for a review of a band or a nightclub,check out the Phoenix. And if you want to hire a whore afterwards, that’s your paper too. Esteemed indeed.As for Joe’s story,it is old news,maybe the letter got lost in the mailroom.

  5. Dan Kennedy

    Fish and Rick: Does it strike either of you as, uh, odd that Joe Fitz portrayed his offended mother as a combination of Brenda Starr and Ernie Pyle, yet not only does he not name her, he doesn’t even tell us that she asked not to be named?

  6. Rick

    I don’t find it odd. Maybe he should have said she wants to remain anonymous.But I don’t think it’s a big deal in such a trivial story.

  7. Dan Kennedy

    But why would someone he portrays as so courageous in reality be so gutless?

  8. O-FISH-L

    There was a time 30-40 years ago when our courageous US veterans of the Vietnam war wouldn’t identify themselves either Dan, for fear of being spat upon, or worse, by the liberals. They weren’t gutless, they just couldn’t be bothered with the heckling and saliva [or worse] of the “progressives” who opposed what they stood for. With the liberals fleeing the peace rallies for the newsrooms, who can blame this courageous newswoman for also wanting to avoid the ridicule and filthy liberal spit, not to mention maintaining her employment opportunities in a field where something like 90% identify as Democrat?Self-praise is no praise, Dan. The voters rejected John Kerry as a phony, but might have elected him if they felt he truly believed in what he was fighting for in Viet Nam. Old videotape, not the SBVFT, did him in. The courageous woman in Fitzgerald’s piece needn’t identify herself or tumpet her own heroism in the culture war, for it’s the unknown soldiers who often display the most valor.

  9. meamoeba

    she was an award-winning investigative journalist who is just now discovering the phoenix has adult ads? helllllooooo? who gave out the awards?

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Do you have any proof that a Vietnam veteran was ever spat on? Have you ever seen this?

  11. mike_b1

    Why would a former reporter choose anonymity? Especially in something so straightforward as this?And why would Fitz write Joyce gave Walsh a scare? He runs all the time. She did what all the incumbents have done: She ignored him. And crushed him.

  12. endangered coffee

    Ahhh…Joe Fitz. Keeping the torch burning for the Eisenhower years.

  13. Neil

    …a barechested young man with hardly any pants on. I made sure we left before my son saw it.We never take our dear Fauntleroy to the beach or the pool, for the same reason. Barechested young men everywhere! With those droopy drawers. And we’ve applied for an exemption for him from gym class due to the presence of vile young bodies. They are disgusting.

  14. O-FISH-L

    How shameful of certain academics to attempt to rewrite history and further degrade our Vietnam vets. Yes Dan, I have direct evidence of a Vietnam vet being spat upon, from a named source no less. by Johnathan L. Abbinett, Feb 14, 2007 18:21I returned to the United States from Vietnam in 1972. We were warned not to wear our uniforms and put on civilian clothes when going through the airport – but, it was not required. I chose to wear my uniform proudly and I did get spit on and verbally abused. The words “baby killer” tore my heart out, especially knowing I had risked my own life on a couple of occasions trying to protect innocent children, women and elderly Vietnamese civilians.I, too, kept my military service a secret for years to avoid being stigmatized. Now, some 35 years later when I speak of my military service, or openly discuss PTSD, I can still see the stigmatic affect on the faces of the listeners, and it’s corroberated when I hear them whispering about “the crazy vets” – it’s the cruelest form of ignorance.I would have preferred “sticks and stones” or “spit” because words can wound forever!The American people should take their fair share of responsibility for where THEY send US to fight on their behalf – instead, too many do ignorantly and unjustly, blame our soldiers for simply going where they are ordered to and trying to fight the good fight with some degree of honor and compassion.Therein, is the problem, too many civilians still do not know how to render due honor – fully funding the VA would be a good start to healing our wounds – and civilians exercising their right to remain silent, especially when they do not know what they’re talking about, or what to say is also a good idea!

  15. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: I will not dispute what you found, and I give you credit for coming up with it.

  16. Neil

    Yes, an amazing find! Lembcke’s point, which Fish has just demonstrated, is that claims to the effect abound. A few seconds with Google will return other examples. All of which is a long way from the question of whether Fitz’s Brenda Starr-like mom, fearful of exposing her son to posters of young men in their underpants, is a crock. Serving forth colorful characters who coincidentally represent the writer’s point of view but who do not necessarily, you know, exist, exactly–wasn’t that part of what Barnicle got busted for? Guess it’s okay now.

  17. Faybio

    I’m surprised that no one has pointed out that Joe’s source has provided incorrect information. She wrote: “Joyce is simply saying it shouldn’t be placed in areas where kids can easily obtain a copy, like across the street from a school.” Not true. If it were, so many people wouldn’t have voiced opposition to his efforts. Bob wanted the Phoenix removed from the whole neighborhood of West Roxbury. He publicly battled with a local liquor store owner who refused to stop distributing the Phoenix. There was little chance of a child picking up a Phoenix from Gary’s Liquors, yet Joyce called for a boycott. (For those who didn’t follow the story back when it was current, Bob claimed that he had been receiving overwhelming support from the WR community, yet only 10 elderly picketers showed up to join him when he picketed Gary’s on March 29, 2008. Gary, however, reported excellent sales that day, much higher than normal, even for a weekend.)Bob went about this business in an arrogant manner, and he pissed a lot of people off. He claimed to know what was best for the residents of a neighbor where he didn’t even live. He visited vendors, and threatened to organize boycotts those vendors if they didn’t agree with his plan. (Until Gary stood up to Bob, a few vendors had given in, believing that Bob represented many voices. After the publicized embarrassment of Bob’s failed “boycott” of Gary’s, the Phoenix quickly returned to most locations.)Everything I write about is easy to find on the web. Search Bob Joyce, Phoenix on, or, to read about it yourself.

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