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

Mike Barnicle, Pulitzer winner

MSNBC commentator Michael Barnicle, who left his perch as a Boston Globe columnist in 1998 after he was confronted with evidence that he was a serial fabricator and plagiarist, sat there and said nothing during a Jan. 30 appearance in which he was described as “a Pulitzer Prize winner for his Boston Globe reporting.”

Barnicle was appearing with sports commentator Stephen A. Smith. The fictional accolades from host Ari Melber come at about 1:05 of the above video. I watched the segment to the end, and Barnicle makes no attempt to correct the record. He does, though, mock U.S. Rep. Anthony Devolder or George Santos or whatever his name is for — you guessed it — fabricating his biography.

Update: Some of Barnicle’s work may have been included in the Globe’s 1975 Pulitzer for Public Service, which recognized its coverage of the city’s school-desegregation crisis.

According to our friends at Wikipedia, J. Anthony Lukas, author “Common Ground,” the best book about Boston ever written, told an interviewer that a 1974 Barnicle column headlined “Busing Puts Burden on Working Class, Black and White” was a defining moment in the Globe’s coverage. There is no citation for that interview. There’s also nothing in “Common Ground,” at the Pulitzer Prize website or in the Globe’s own story about winning the Pulitzer that reveals whether any Barnicle columns were submitted or not. But it’s possible there were one or more Barnicle columns in the Globe’s entry.

That does not make Barnicle a Pulitzer-winner, and it would have been easy enough for him to correct Melber. But if Barnicle really was part of the team that won the Pulitzer, his failure to speak up strikes me as less of a big deal.

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  1. Lex

    I’m surprised neither by Smith’s error nor by Barnicle’s failure to set the record straight.

  2. I’m proud of my Pulitzer ro

  3. “Barnicle has won local and national awards for both his print and broadcast work, in addition to contributing to the Boston Globe’s submission and award of the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for public service, he received recognition for his individual contributions.”

    I guess someone needs to correct Wikipedia. Or is this true?

    • Dan Kennedy

      Shava, see the update that I posted. It might be true. I can’t find any evidence one way or the other, but it would make sense. The Globe looked to Barnicle during those years to placate their white Irish American readers.

  4. John

    I enjoy Mike Barnicle’s commentary on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. He paid for the mistakes he made at the Globe. He was a member of the Pulitzer winning team. Mr Kennedy has a long memory . He has 20/20 rear vision and does not believe in second chances like I do .

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