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

Howie Carr steps over the line — again

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WRKO Radio talk-show host and Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr is back at it. On Saturday morning he served as the host of the Plymouth County GOP and Cape Cod Republican Club Unity Breakfast at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth.

I obtained the e-mail (at left) announcing the event from a trusted, non-partisan source.

As I’ve argued before, Carr is not an outside contributor who happens to write for the Herald op-ed page. He is a news columnist. Though the Herald pays him to be opinionated, he is also a longtime working reporter who has no business offering his assistance to the Republican Party or any other partisan political organization. And I don’t care if Carr is a freelancer these days — the same rules apply.

By forfeiting his independence, Carr has made himself less valuable to the Herald and especially to its readers. Here’s Howie trashing Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick. And here he is urging independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill to quit the race and make life easier for Republican Charlie Baker. No doubt those are his actual beliefs. But now he’s writing as a Republican operative, not as a snarky political columnist.

Earlier coverage here and here.

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12 Comments

  1. Steve Stein

    Line? Howie has lines? Who draws these lines? Who enforces them? Certainly no one at the Herald.

  2. Jerry Ackerman

    What would (could) Joe Sciacca do?

  3. Ken Gornstein

    In an era when an entire news network is devoted to whoring for the Republican party, I think it’s going to be tough shaming Howie into toeing some journalistic ethical line.

  4. Steve Stein

    The irony is thick – I remember when Jerry Williams, along with Howie and Barbara Anderson, was mercilessly critical of David Nyhan’s closeness to Mike Dukakis in the 80s.

    And @Jerry – that *is* the question now, isn’t it. Too bad Joe had to resign his “Beat the Press” seat.

  5. Nial Lynch

    Touching to see your concern with Howie devaluing himself. Here are some very public photos of the event. No surreptitious invite needed.

  6. Brad Deltan

    Carr has made himself less valuable to the Herald and especially to its readers.

    HAH! That implies that the Herald, or its readers, had any value to begin with!

  7. Aaron Read

    (with apologies to Paul Hogan)

    “But he’s got a conflict of interest!”

    (chuckles)
    “That’s not a conflict of interest. THIS is a conflict of interest.”

  8. Howie gave up the pretense of detached objectivity long ago, Dan. Now he’s just being more open about it.

    I don’t think his advocacy is any less transparent than fellow columnists Jeff Jacoby or Michael Graham – no one has to guess where they stand, so keeping the mention of specific names out of their work doesn’t serve much purpose.

  9. wilson tisdale

    It would be a problem only if anybody took Howie seriously.

  10. John Murphy

    I believe the fact that Howie is on the OpEd page exempts him from challenges to his bias. He is making an opinion, not reporting. Whatever happened to freedom of the press.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @John: Much to respond to, but I’ll leave it at this — Howie does not write for the op-ed page.

  11. M.J.Stevenson

    an era when an entire news network is devoted to whoring

    I would make “network” plural. Watch how the networks weave a narrative around the new Woodward book.

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