Thursday, March 26, 2009

"All the news that we see fit"

The local weekly seems to have morphed into an incarnation of Pravda. This week's edition is gushing with praise for all of our elected officials -- and even a former elected official. Are they even capable of reporting on any issue from a critical, evenhanded viewpoint rather than a cozy one?

I don't have any particular critique of my elected officials at this moment, and in fact it seems that their efforts have saved the residential exemption (I'd link to the weekly's story on the matter, but their site seems stuck on February) and that is welcome news for the people of East Boston.

But how will I ever know if there are reasons to be critical of those representing me if all I ever read about in the local news is their heroics and all I ever see is photos of them surrounded by smiling supporters?

31 comments:

Mary B. said...

Jim, at times you do make me chuckle. Imagine, our elected officials as quasi-Communists. Of course, they are all supporting the Czar of record, Mr. Menino, so I guess the analogy fits. Anyway, I have to agree with your basic premise. Having written on a topic of great interest to me (the Blast Fence Mitigation Fund) and having sent the information to the EB Times/Free Press, without having it printed, I can only agree with you on this topic. They are loathe to print anything close to scathing about past or current elected officials. They are so in the tank with Mr. Menino, that one can only presume that we will never be treated to journalism that is unbiased and representative of fact vs. political bias. Of course, it is telling that one can now get a copy of the weekly on Thursday and on Friday, when past realities dictated that the paper was scoffed up by avid readers by late Wednesday afternoons....Are you paying attention, Mr. Resnek et al, to the changing climate or are you going to continue with your feel-good style of journalsim? Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

You only have to look at the "special" ads that are in the newspaper for every holiday and special event. It's full of greetings from your local politicians. I'm sure they account for most of the "news"paper's revenue. Check book journalism at it's best.

Anonymous said...

I think we were very critical of ALL our elected officials on the 18Neptune Rd. issue. Guess you missed that one Jimbo.
Seems like you can't even agree with the Times when its a topic you agree with.
Keep up the good work of cherry picking articles to fit your agenda here.

-John Lynds

Anonymous said...

And by the way Mary we print more copies, drop them off at less places and deliver a little later on Wednesdays so that's why there are more left by Fridays.
Yes, before we were doing Lou's old routes and then after seeing places where more were left over and places where more were needed we tweaked the routes a bit.
So if you get your paper at say Lanzilli's--sure there are more becuase we drop off close to 800 a week there!

-John Lynds

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate Jimbo's critique of the Times, I gotta agree with John Lynds on this one. Seems that Jimbo's point has gone from justified criticism to perhaps selective "bashing". I too read the Times editorial coverage on the 18 Neptune Road issue and understood the writer's tone as quite critical of our electeds. Did you just miss that one Jimbo or chose not to inlcude that in your commentary? Would seem to me that in order to maintain your credibility when it comes to the much deserved knocks on the Times, you have some explaining to do on this one!

Jimbo said...

In journalism school I was taught that, in the words of an often-repeated quote, "The job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." The Times mission seems to be to comfort the comfortable.

I can't remember the Neptune Road story, but I'll take your word for it. However, you must admit that, on the whole, your newspaper is more often a cheerleader for those in office rather than an unaligned source of information and critique.

I'm not sure what "agenda" you assume I have, so you might want to let me in on it.

Jimbo said...

In response to the comments of 9:24 a.m.:

I'm not trying to "bash" anyone. I occasionally make a point about the Times -- without attacking anyone personally -- because I'd like to have the best newspaper possible in my neighborhood. I think you'd agree that no organ of the media should be above criticism or reproach, and I'd like my comments to be taken in the spirit of a healthy dialogue about what is best for the community, rather than viewed as a person sniping at others for some kind of personal gain.

I'm not interested in doing a week-by-week critique of the paper, nor am I looking for a public dust-up. However, I have a hard time sitting on my hands when I see an instrument of the public good, like the press, falling short of its mission.

Anonymous said...

See Jim,

That's why you have no credibility in my opinion. You can't possibly be a critic of something you read occassionally and then act like the authority--it would be like me saying I'm a Civil War expert but only know about the Battle of Fredricksburg.
And I too went to Journalism school and I don't remember any lesson saying we as a newspaper should 'bash' our elected officials every chance we get. When they do something good we praise--when they do something we don't agree with we are critical.
Being critical for the sake of being critical is not, in my humble opinion, good journalism.

-John Lynds

Jimbo said...

So then, to follow that logic, the citizenry needs to shut up about their government and their media because none of us can possibly know everything there is to know about all the issues.

I wasn't aware -- as a citizen who writes whimsically on a rinky-dink blog -- that I had much credibility. A newspaper, however, should always be mindful of its reputation for truth, evenhandedness and enterprise.

The press is an important part of a democracy, and when we lower the bar we weaken the entire system. Hence, in the absence of a real organ of journalism, my neighbors and my neighborhood suffer.

Anonymous said...

See Jim,

You can't have it both ways--on one hand acting as a quasi journalist and critic with a blog and on the other a blogger who thinks the rules or standards of journalism do not apply, yet can critque the jobs or shortcomings of others and say 'oh, but these are the rules of journalism and it should do this and that'.
Pick one or the other--are you a journalist or blogger--stop wearing one hat or the other as you see fit.

-John Lynds

Jimbo said...

Though I have been a professional journalist in the past, I am not now employed as such. This is a blog that expresses my personal opinions, random as they may be, on whatever I feel like writing about.

I make no money from this; I do not seek political office; I gain nothing except the opportunity to express myself.

Clear enough?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, but I challenge you to provide one instance where you praised the paper.
If you can't it seems to me you have an ax to grind for some reason becuase a responsible critic would not paint the newspaper with broad strokes but focus thier criticism or praise based on an individual article they may or may not agree with.
It seems to me Jimbo you take one story you may not agree with and then say it reflects the entire newspaper. I take that as an insult seeing as I write a majority of the articles.
I would have more respect for you and this blog if you had a real dialogue about a specific article and not just simply trying to slam our paper every chance you get.
I disagree with people often and often people disagree with me and I respect that. What I do not respect is an attack on the entire newspaper that is unfounded.
I think we do a pretty good job and there're plenty of weekly readers that would agree.

-John Lynds

Jimbo said...

Honestly, I'm not out to earn anyone's respect or to grind an ax. The Hubster started as a response to a friend who tired of my group emails on politics and current events and told me to start a blog. I gave it a try, and no one beyond a few friends would have noticed it if it wasn't for the special state rep election in the summer of 2007, when local residents were looking for somewhere to discuss the campaign.

My criticism of the Times began in its original incarnation when I was a kid becoming interested in newspapers. Its parochialism back then, with the ignorant and incendiary George Murphy column, annoyed me and as a teenager I wrote a number of letters to the editor expressing outrage. Needless to say, they were never printed.

When the current ownership came to town I offered to write a column and they were gracious enough to print what I wrote and to pay me to do it. I stopped doing it because I moved away for a few years. The parting was amicable, and -- as I said before -- I have no animosity stemming from that stint. Everyone was quite friendly to me, and I enjoyed the experience.

My criticism has never been personal, but purely fact-based. I don't drag anyone at the Times through the mud and, to be fair, I post all of the comments from Times employees (as far as I can tell). Those comments in response have bordered on the personal, attacking me (especially the diatribe from one of the senior employees back in 2007) rather than responding to my specific criticisms.

There are good things in the Times. I don't think anyone there needs my praises to validate what they do.

Anonymous said...

The hubster is guilty of bad journalism or lack there of.

How come MIT police officer never made the blog?

Prob because he is a well liked Eastie resident who everyone knows and likes.

I'm not complaining but the coin is two sided

Anonymous said...

Hey Jimbo
How are you?

Has anyone noticed the shift to a one section E.B.Times with only half the pages say a month a go?

It is HIS HONORS paper ,and everyone knows it.

Its controlled from the front to the back.

John Lynds brother of Atty Richard Lynds is so biased its a joke.

What is really sad for those who advertise in it,is they have no idea how little bang for thier buck they are getting.

38-40 thousand people in Eastie ,and Ill bet the Times prints no more than 5000 copies each week.

About 5% of the poulation.So even if everyone wanted a copy ,they would not be able to get one.

Therefore:No one hardly sees these expensive ads.

Now to break it down further if you cross out the Eastie Based advertised its only about 20% of all the ads in the entire paper.
The rest are from the package deals they sell you because they own so many surrounding cities locals.

The Times due to its insatiable appetite for our elected officials ,and the Mayor has many people in town talking negativly about the paper,and do not have much respect for it any more.

If the Times wants to survive they need to hire better reporters,and FOR GODS SAKE "BUILD A DECENT WEBSITE",its deplorable what they have,and stop pandering to the politicians.

Hey John Lynds !Just how many papers are actually printed each week,and would the owners be willing to print the actual order form copy in the paper?

A TRUE COPY.

Bet Not.

Oh by the way ran into Lou Torrone yesterday at lunch,I begged him to come back,but alas he has retired to the horses.

Talk about being bummed.
Nuff Said

Anonymous said...

I'll respond to Joe Mason's attacks becuase I can tell from the writing, capitalization and misspelling of certain words that I've seen at my office over the years that 10:15 p.m. is indeed Joe. I feel I can be called an expert. Hopefully Joe never kidnaps anyone and sends out a ransom letter becuase the entire neighborhood would know who it was.
First Joe, we print close to 8000 and weekly newspapers print less than the population becuase there is formula to figuring out readership so I'll educate you.
A newspaper printed once a week tends to be read by 2 to 3 people in a household. So if you grab the paper and bring it home we figure 1 to 2 other people in the home will also read the paper. So take 8000 Joe and times it by 2 or 3 and that equals a readership of 16,000 to 24,000 people a week. (And that would be mostly adults Joe we figure with a population of 40,000 they are not all 10 to 60+ years old).
On the one section in a broadsheet question Joe that was done so we could do 14 pages. See Joe in a broadsheet you have an option, 2 section of 6, 8, 10, 12, etc.
To be able to drop down from 16 to 14, and not have to drop down to 12, we have been printing 14 pages which is one section.
And Joe, when did you become a percentage expert on our advertising?
I wouldn't expect you to know these things becuase you are not in the industry so stick to what you know Joe.
And by the way what is that exactly?

-John Lynds

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance -- it is the illusion of knowledge."--Daniel Boorstin

Anonymous said...

The illusion of knowledge is the best quote i have heard on describing Joe Mason. Mr. Lynds, you really nailed that one.

JohnW said...

Jeez Jimbo...couldn't you talk about something a little less controversial? Like gun control for abortionist-atheist members of the Westboro Baptist Church?

Question not the integrity of Eastie's 4th Estate! You might as well start talkin' smack about Santarpio's...

Anonymous said...

John Lynds just produce an article critical of either Menino,Petruccelli, or Lamattina in the last ten years.The Neptune Rd story was hardly critical at all,you call that hard hitting?Prove your point John, produce some articles and let Jimbo print it on the blog,end of story-- there are plenty of readers for both of you.
Bill Deveau

Anonymous said...

Bill Deveau,
I heard you were running against Sal Lamattina. Good luck, I can see you topping the ticket. When are you gonna start your campaign? I hope soon becuase time is a wasting...

Anonymous said...

Late to the party here, but it is no coincidence that the largest advertisers, are our local officials.
Hey Lynds,what journalism school did you attend? Petrucelli/Basile School of Journalism, I didn't think a paper could be less objective than the Globe, then I moved to Eastie, and was proven wrong.
Lynds and his paper aren't worthy to wrap fish.
Jim Keep up the good work!!

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the amount of criticism and cry babying going on over here. One thing seems to be prety obvious to me; YOU ALL MUST BE READING the Times to know about all its "terrible" coverage issues - and then come on here and complain about it. I have a gret idea that will be sure to solve everyone's obvious misery and grief over the East Boston Times - dont read it. Oh, but then you won't have anything to complain about. Please get a life people.

Anonymous said...

Hey John Lynds
It was nice to see you in Cafe 155 Meridian the other morning.

How come you didn't attack me then.

I have to get an e-mail today with your accusations that the posting was from me about the paper.

My God you had time to ask me about the recent scabies things at the day care center,and shake my hand.
Wow !

Folks
As John knows I was hospitalized from 11-28-08,to 1-25-09 for a severe stroke that led to 6 operations to try and save my leg,thats still in a cast,and needs at least 2 more operations.
As the blood clot burst in it,and stopped all blood flow to it.
I have not blogged in so long,I forgot my password to Google,so this one is under Anon.

John its a tired argument that every posting here is mine,and that all of Easties problems are mine.

You also dont mention the praise I gave the paper that day for doing a great job with this years Leonard Florence grant ads for two weeks for free.

So John as I fight to save my leg,Please do me a favor,Please.

Next time you see me in public act like you do here.

Your boss Josh Resnick spoke to me while in the hospital,and knows how I feel.

Without the paper the L.U.C. could never be able to advertise,and be able to alert many Eastie people you know very well apply for free money grants.

I guess I will just leave it at that,because I know your hatred for me will never end.

Joseph J.Mason
Life Long Eastie Resident

p.s.
As Jimbo knows I stayed away because of postings like yours.

Anonymous said...

hello
This is to Joe Mason

Joe I may not agree with you on many things,but don't worry about John Lynds,he is what he is.

I was wondering why I have not seen you. I feel very bad for what you are going through. My father died of it. Isnt it called Deep Vein Trombosis.

He lost his leg first,but it didn't help,as time went by he also had to go to a kidney doctor,and treatments.He died of Kidney failure.

As I said I do not always agree with you but I know it comes from the heart.

On behalf of me,and my wife we wish you the very best.

I to have had the unfortunate pleasure of dealing with John. Hes not a nice guy at all.

You have my number ,if I can help in any way call me.

I will use our e-mail code to be sure you know who this is from.

God Bless!

Bob-212-K12

P.S
To the blog owner,I understand from talking to Joe that you knew how bad his health is,and yet you let people make such comments .Its a negative against your blog.I know that only the blog owner can approve any posting. I used to post here last year,and its still the same,"all kinds of "unprovable,and hurtful "comments are allowed for the betterment of hurting people for pure enjoyment.

Its the same all over your blog.
Its a terrible thing to let happen,no matter who is attacked.

Joe is right ,eliminate the anon link to post,and call these people out.Are they afraid of thier own identity.I closed my Google account because of it,so I have to post this one this way.

Anonymous said...

hey Jimbo did John Lynds ever produce any articles that were critical of Menino,Petruccelli or Lamattina since he has been working there?
IF ANYONE EVER WROTE ANY,WOULDNT HE HAVE BEEN DELIGHTED TO PROVE YOU WRONG?
Guess none exist--so your criticism is valid--as George Murphy used to say-nufsed.

Observer said...

If Mr. Boston (A.K.A. Josh Resnek) is traveling from, perhaps, Ocean Avenue in Lynn, every day to East Boston, here is the question: does that give him some unique perspective for pontificating on how Boston should be governed? Just wondering. Of course, his roots could be found in Chelsea, but does that qualify him for a king-maker to Mayor Menino? Listen, everyone: make up your own minds about who should be our next mayor. Don't take the local paper's word on it alone. Expand your horizons beyond the Times.

Anonymous said...

Jimbo
I guess not.
Donna D
K-12

Hey only one section in this weeks Times,DownSizing?

Anonymous said...

Jimbo

Glad to see you are giving the 5 Flaherty supporters (who hate John Lynds) a forum to continue the crusade against the Times. In the interest of full disclosure, isn't it true that the Post Gazzette has opened an office in East Boston? Anyone want to guess where their EB Headquarters is located? How about in the Capogreco owned Bennington Street property that is the home of Italia Unita. The comments on here should be taken with a grain of salt - especially when they are so critical of the Times. Its obvious who the likely suspects are for the source.

Jim said...

Anonymous at 12:37:
I'm not sure how you know who the five "Flaherty supporters" are who are posting comments here. Even if I did, why wouldn't I want to hear their opinions?

Anonymous said...

so 12:37 are you saying that because the Times wont run a story that isnt flattering to our local pols and the Mayor,that the Post Gazette and Flaherty supporters are in some sort of conspiracy together? John Lynds was given the opportunity to present any and all articles that were ever critical and couldnt,so because of that the people that write into this blog have no credibility? You are on some city payroll.

Anonymous said...

To the Anon who thinks there are only 5 Mike F. supporters .

You are about to get a wake up call very soon,there are thousands of us in Eastie.

I have zero affiliation with Pat C.,and do so for a very good reason.

However I Love Eastie,and Hate what the Mayor,and his cronies have done to us.

I say it is you who must be on the pay roll,because you want to make it about who might be supporting Mike,Instead of who is hurting Eastie.

As with the Carlo Basile (disapointing,turned out to be the same) win over when the Mayor thought he could shove Jeff Drago down our throats.

We will rise up,as we do not need to boast about who we support,just meet in private,and plan.

Because as Jimbo knows when you go in the booth to vote,no one can tell who you voted for.

I support Mike for Mayor,am Italian,Lived here all my life,but Ill take the Irishman This time around.
After all I don't think anyone can make Eastie any worst than it is right now.

My personal opinion is his honor will not run,and Deval aka the tax man will call the Socialist at the White House,and get Manino the vatican job.

If ever there was a time to pray its now.

Go get em Mike.

John 3:12