Friday, June 27, 2008

The Times isn't a-changing

In this week's East Boston Times there is a piece under the heading "Mr. Boston" that says city councilor-at-large Michael Flaherty took offense to a piece published on the Times' opinion page last week and came into the paper's offices "hot" and "serious as a heart attack." The column describes the inaccuracies that Flaherty pointed out in the previous story, published under the "Eastie Watch" heading, which said that the "word on the street" is that there are connections between the councilor and the Barletta Engineering Co., which has worked on the construction of East Boston Memorial Park.

The "Mr. Boston" piece laughs off Flaherty's objections, tossing out the old cliche that newspapers "never let the facts get in the way of a good story." In this instance, where the paper's credibility is being questioned, such a comment comes off as flip and foolish. Why, then, should we believe anything in the Times? The information that Flaherty says is not true is listed, but there is no attempt made to determine whether the councilor was being honest or whether the paper had the correct facts.

Shockingly, "Mr. Boston" goes on, according to the column, to tell Flaherty "not to get bent out of shape" because last week's piece was not in "a news column or editorial" and "he would never be treated in such a speculative way in an editorial or a news column." Huh? Every bit of a newspaper needs to be based on truth. Of course, editorials and columns contain opinion, while news stories are supposed to be objective accountings of fact. There is no place in any of those for untruths, and either the Times had the facts correct or it didn't.

Further, toward the end of the piece, it says that Flaherty would be treated differently if and when he announced his run for the mayor's office and that if he is elected "he would be treated with the deference the way (sic) Mayor Menino is treated." Why would a newspaper treat anyone differently? From top elected officials down to homeless panhandlers, what matters is publishing stories that are important, interesting and true. There is no other standard.

The whole tone of the piece is one prevalent in the unsigned "Mr Boston" columns: "Hey look ... I'm pals with all the politicians and the other big shots in this area" -- as in last week's adulation of outgoing EBSB chief Bob Verdonck. Meanwhile, we see photo spreads of those same few people every week. If someone who'd never visited Eastie looked through the Times each week he'd think that 15 people lived here.

Michael Flaherty is a top contender to be the next mayor of this city, and the residents of East Boston deserve to know about his connections to Barletta. If there are none, then the Times should apologize to him. Which is it?


Anonymous said...

The Times had some of its facts wrong but there was something there. Flaherty's uncle works for the MBTA or a subcontractor for the T that may have done work down at the Stadium beacuse there are city and state contractors there. So he worked alongside Barletta. Barletta did not have a fundraiser for Flaherty but there were plenty of Barletta people at his last fundraiser including Barletta owner Vinny.
The article was based on word on the street and while they should have contacted Flaherty there seems to have been enough truth there to send Flaherty into a hissy fit.

Anonymous said...

That was a nice article, considering the general bias and self-righteousness of the writer.
The truth is a terrible weapon of aggression and the truth is that this blog is as biased in its beliefs and dogma as any newspaper I've ever read, which would include the Times.
For all its faults and omissions, the Times values itself, and I value it, as the true voice of this community.
Any re-reading of the past year's times will show that more than the same 15 people have been included in the pages of our newspaper.
In addition, the Times is open to the community. In fact, it is the community's newspaper.
There are always those who will feel disinfranchised by the newspaper wherever they live.
That's why they blog - in order to have their own say.
And if that isn't the truth, then I don't know what is.

Josh Resnek

Anonymous said...

Blogs by their nature are "biased" because they are the opinions of the authors. They are not newspapers and don't have to be objective.

There is an issue that arises when blogs "break" news stories like Obama's comment at the fundraiser in San Fran. In those cases should they thus hold themselves to a higher journalistic standard?

But in this case, Jimbo is free to state his opinion and "dogma" as he wishes. It is our decision whether we read it or not.

Jimbo said...

This blog has never claimed to speak for the community or anyone else. It is, plainly and simply, my opinion of whatever strikes me as interesting or noteworthy.

I am as biased as any other individual, but I would hope that newspapers -- trusted community institutions of objectivity and truth -- aspire to much higher levels than this rinky-dink web site.

My criticism of the Times comes not from a desire to see it crash and burn, but rather a wish to see it become an honest, open forum of ideas for this neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

I think the Times raised a good question that should be explored. Is Flaherty in bed with Barletta? And are his coherts in the neighborhood working against the mayor and the city councilor to make them look bad and make Flaherty look good. Right or wrong there's was talk on the street and that's what I beleive the Eastie Watch reported--political gossip happens and sometimes its right and sometimes it off base but for Flaherty to go to the Times office personally I think they struck a nerve which a newspaper is suppose to do. They also gave Flaherty his say and Jimbo took much of it out of context but if you read the whole thing you'll see that although Flaherty denied the things raised in the article, he never called the Times liars. That to me shows that Flaherty has an agenda over here and wants to make sure Ward I doesn't think he's a fraud.
It seems to me Flaherty was satisfied with what was said beacuse I think we would have seen a letter to the editor at some point.

Anonymous said...

I think Flaherty was right, if the Times reported something offbase he should have had his say. With that said he should of wrote a ltter to the editor and not allowed the Times to speak for him. That just made him look like there was some truth to the rumors!

Anonymous said...

Pat Capogreco has brought Flahery around and I was at the 303 roundtable they had for him. He seems like a good guy and knowledgable. However, Pat works for the city's ISD so I was a little confused why he's so public with his support of a guy that would be taking on his boss. In the past I was convinced that Pat, while a political operative in Eastie, was on the mayor's side but I guess not. So much for not biting the hand that feeds you.

Anonymous said...

C'mon leave Pat alone--he single handedly brought the World Italian Sausage Eating Contest to East Boston. Try to top that next time you think you alone can improve the image of the Italian-American in the U.S.

-A concerned Italian

Anonymous said...

Why are you picking on Pat C...he is the best thing that happened to the italian community since sliced sclali bread. Don't you know he is the head of the largest italian festival on the east coast...just ask him - he will tell you!

TheEastBostonian said...

Hi Jimbo,and everyone else.
Its nice to be back,and up on my feet,my surgery went very good,and I have a second chance at life.
Thanks for all the kind words.
Now to respond to accusations of not advertising our Financial Tuition Grant program.Its simply not true. We tried,and were DENIED.
So !
If the East Boston Times is a "Community Paper",then why Mr.Resnick have you blackballed the East Boston Land Use Council from advertising its new Tuition Program for East Boston children?

I have been refused on numerous occassions ,even when offering to pay for the ad.

Its interesting about the so called editorial treatment.
Three weeks after our ad was supposed to be in the paper,it was butchered into a so called Editorial,that left out numerous key facts about the program,thee rules to apply,the deadline to file,and the correct mailing address,and Mr. Resnick had personally sent me an e-mail saying "dont worry Joe it is important for the community",it will get in.
Ya Right!

The East Boston Times has done significant damage to a great Charitable donation fund left to the good people of East Boston,Mr.Leonard Florence.

We have offered to pay 11 times in the past year for ads not only for that ,but for our Important Community meetings for things like Alcoholic Licenses,etc..

Easties children are being punished,and its as unfair as it gets,not to mention out right discrimination,and abuse of the
Anti Trust laws,aka A monopoly.

So for all its worth,Mr.Resnick has decided to take revenge against me,by hurting innocent East Boston children,and groups.

Imagine REFUSING the ads,even when offered cash money !!!!

We need a new paper,a new Mayor etc..
Bring on Mike F.
Ill vote for him,as will thousands of others who know we are suffering from being smothered by the sick machine thats treating Eastie as a second class city.

God Bless,and Paece,and Love.

Joe Mason
& Life long
Lover of Eastie !