NYT Also Excels at Boston Marathon Bombings Coverage

As you all undoubtedly know by now, the Boston Globe has won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for its Breaking News Reporting of last year’s Marathon bombings.

Less noticed locally is the New York Times Feature Photography Pulitzer for Josh Haner’s “moving essay on a Boston Marathon bomb blast victim who lost most of both legs and now is painfully rebuilding his life.”

No question the Globe owns this story, as witness this week’s David Abel/Jessica Rinaldi two-part series on the Richard family’s struggles in the wake of losing their eight-year-old son Martin and his seven-year-old sister Jane’s losing most of her left leg (which reporting the estimable Dan Kennedy noted at Media Nation could be the next Pulitzer the Globe wins).

But the Times is still nipping at the Globe’s heels. Exhibit A: Katharine Q. Seelye’s front-page piece on the Norden brothers in yesterday’s edition.

A Year After the Boston Marathon Bombings, Injured Brothers Endure

STONEHAM, Mass. — When two bombs transformed last year’s Boston Marathon into a war zone, the Norden family absorbed a double dose of grief. J. P., 34, and his brother Paul, 32, both strapping construction workers in their prime who were there to cheer on a friend, each lost a leg in the carnage.

Since then, they have slowly, achingly, been rebuilding their MARATHON-master675-v2lives. After lengthy hospital stays and more than 50 surgeries between them, they are walking on prosthetic legs. They talk of starting a roofing business together. Both have moved out of their mother’s house in this working-class suburb just north of Boston and are living with their girlfriends. Paul is engaged.

The Nordens do not want to dwell on what happened at the marathon or be defined by it.

Regardless, the Globe and the Times are being defined by it.

(Then there’s today’s front-page piece in the Times about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s daily prison routine, which is not going over well, but that’s another story . . . )

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Our ‘Beat the Press Party’ Bakeoff (Stephen Colbert Edition)

The Thursday Curse struck again in the latest episode of the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight between the local hall monitors.

Start with the Boston Herald’s Press Party, which featured this lineup in its Wayne’s World webcast on Thursday:

On this week’s Press Party, we’re talking about the White House’s embarrassing answers about the gender-pay gap and PressParty_ShowLogothe media coverage of the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings . . .

Don’t miss our media fail of the week. News anchors mourned the passing of Mickey Rooney with fond remembrances of him — only they couldn’t quite remember his name.

Press Party fail of the week: They missed the CBS coronation of Stephen Colbert as David Letterman’s successor on Late Night.

But WGBH’s Beat the Press was on it like Brown on Williamson.



Hey, Herald Partyniks: Ready to move to Friday now?


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What Can Brown Do for New Hampshire? (Pickup Truck Edition)

On Monday former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R-Elsewhere) will launch the first TV spot in his Quixotic Quest to become a Two State Senator (pat. pending) by beating Democratic incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire.

From Politico’s Morning Score:

SCOTT BROWN TO AIR FIRST AD: As was first reported on Campaign Pro Thursday evening, Republican Scott Brown will go on the air with his first ad in the New Hampshire Senate campaign on Monday. The spot, via WMUR, is an introductory one that features footage from Brown’s “listening tour” across the state. “Scott Brown has almost 300,000 miles on this truck,” the ad says. “Over the last few weeks it’s taken him all across New Hampshire, listening, learning — and what he’s learned is pretty simple: people want an America that leads the world again, a health care system that works for new Hampshire and more good jobs.” The news comes the day Brown made his campaign official with an event in Portsmouth. No word yet on the size of the buy.

The spot:



Not surprisingly, some – such as Mediaite – are not buying it.

Scott Brown Takes Famous Truck Ad, Replaces Everything Boston with New Hampshire

Scott Brown, formerly the Senator of Massachusetts, wants to be the Senator of New Hampshire. He wants to be Senator really badly. On Monday, his campaign will air his first ad in sb-truckthe Granite State — and it looks disconcertingly familiar to anyone from New England.

“Scott Brown has nearly 300,000 miles on this truck,” a narrator intones. “Over the last few weeks, it’s taken him all over the state of New Hampshire. Listening. Learning. And what he’s heard is that people want an America that leads the world again. A health plan that works for New Hampshire. More good jobs. Isn’t it time that someone took their side?”

Maybe – just maybe – that pickup truck has run out of gas.


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Big Town v. Bean Town (Guggenheim Fellowship Edition)

Every year the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awards fellowships “to assist research and artistic creation.”

And, as is its wont, the Foundation ran a full-page ad in the New York Times to announce its 2014 recipients.


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Massachusetts artists, scholars, and scientists did pretty well in the Guggenheim Fellowship bake-off, as yesterday’s Boston Globe Names column noted.

Guggenheim announces 2014 fellowships

An image from a video by artist and teacher Patty Chang.

An image from a video by artist and teacher Patty Chang.

The 2014 Guggenheim Fellowships were announced Thursday, and based on our count, 15 of the recipients are from Massachusetts. Within that group, there’s a pack of local artists, musicians, and writers who’ve been honored for their work — including “All This Talk of Love” author Christopher Castellani, composer Elena Ruehr, and artist Patty Chang. Castellani, who is the artistic director at the Boston writing center Grub Street, said the Guggenheim award will help him with his next book, “Leading Men.” Video and performance artist Chang, who teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, told us that the fellowship money will pay for travel to Uzbekistan, Newfoundland, and the Xinjiang region in China for “The Wandering Lake,” a project based on explorer Sven Hedin’s “The Wandering Lake: Into the Heart of Asia.” Brookline’s Ruehr, a lecturer at MIT, said the award will help her write an opera for Roomful of Teeth, an eight-voice a cappella group that visits MIT this fall. Ruehr said that when she discovered she had been awarded a Guggenheim, she “wrote a little song.” “It’s such an honor,” she said. “To get this validation, it really boosts an artist [like myself]. It’s very exciting.”

Undoubtably. But – no promo - the Big Town did kinda better.

The hardcounting staff tallied 26 New York, NY winners, and 22 Brooklyn, NY awardees. (Apparently Brooklyn has seceded from the Five Boroughs.)

There were two notable categories for the Brooklynites.


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Then this Brooklyn Broom:

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That’s some two-step, yeah?


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Quote o’ the Day (Jason Gay Ol’ Time Edition)

Difficulty is part of golf’s mystique; suffering is baked into the experience; exasperation part of the addiction. Humility is why golf is golf. Golf is not supposed to be always fun. If golf was supposed to be always fun, it would be hockey.

- Jason Gay from The Masters Opens, With Tiger Frozen in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal


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Wait – Barack Obama IS Like LBJ After All!

As America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the hot parlor game is to compare ‘n’ contrast Lyndon Baines Johnson’s style of presidenting with Barack Obama’s, largely to the latter’s detriment. As Obama journeyed to the LBJ Library yesterday to speak at its three-day Civil Rights Summit, here were the first nine search results when you plugged “Obama LBJ comparison” into the Googletron.


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Take that last piece, which ran in the Los Angeles Times.

Nut graf:

In the age of partisan gridlock, the master of the Senate, as Johnson became known during his time as majority leader, has become for many Democrats an example of how a president once used government to do big things. By comparison, the current president has become a symbol of how little government can get done.

But, as the hardworking staff noted not long ago, the conventional wisdom about Johnson’s bear-hugging, arm-twisting, steamrolling prowess in pushing the landmark legislation to passage has been challenged by New York Times editor Clay Risen in his new book, The Bill of the Century: The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act.

Witness this from Risen’s recent piece in The New Republic, which contends that “Johnson was at best a supporting player” in the legislative tussle:

Even [Vice President Hubert] Humphrey, a Johnson partisan, conceded in a memo . . .  that the president did not play much of a role on the bill: “We did give him regular reports on the progress of civil rights over at the Tuesday morning breakfasts. But the president was not put on the spot. He was not enlisted in the battle particularly. I understand he did contact some of the senators, but not at our insistence.”

The impact of that senatorial outreach was minimal. Johnson won over just one vote for cloture . . .

Risen’s play-by-play of the Civil Rights Bill is fascinating (eat your heart out, Johnson bio-parrot – according to Risen - Robert Caro), but here’s the bottom line in the Obama/LBJ bakeoff:

When we talk about landmark actions by the federal government, we tend to let the respective president take the credit (or blame). We recall that it was Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves, even though dozens of congressmen wrote and supported the laws that pushed him to sign the Emancipation Proclamation. The Affordable Care Act is labeled “Obamacare” by its detractors and supporters, even though Obama consciously let Congress take the lead on crafting the bill.

So Obama is actually channeling LBJ.

Go figure.


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Correction o’ the Day (At Play in the Fields of the Times Edition)

The prolific author Peter Matthiessen died last week and the obituaries came fast and, in some cases, loose.

From Wednesday’s New York Times Corrections:


An obituary in some editions on Sunday and in early editions on Monday about the author Peter Matthiessen misstated the A1-Mattheissen-obit-master180-v2setting of Mr. Matthiessen’s novel “At Play in the Fields of the Lord.” It is set in Peru, not Brazil. The obituary also referred incorrectly to Mr. Matthiessen’s book “In the Spirit of Crazy Horse.” While Mr. Matthiessen and the book’s publisher, Viking Press, were sued for libel damages, Viking did not “withdraw the book” as a result. And it also misstated the given name of one of his sons. He is Lucas, not Lukas or Luke.

In addition, the Sunday version of the obituary misspelled, in one reference, the surname of Mr. Matthiessen’s first wife, who died in 1998. As the obituary initially noted, she was Patsy Southgate, not Southgage. And the version on Sunday misidentified the school that Mr. Matthiessen and George Plimpton attended together. They went to St. Bernard’s in Manhattan, not the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut.

Yeah – that’s a lot of misstating and misspelling and misidentifying.

And while we’re at it, there’s this from the Times obit:

Mr. Matthiessen’s fifth novel, “Far Tortuga” (1975), was inspired by a New Yorker assignment in which he reported on the vanishing Caribbean tradition of turtle hunting. Highly experimental — it drew on recordings of sometimes cryptic Caribbean dialogue — the novel drew mixed reviews.

Mixed reviews maybe, but not from the Times, in which Roger Stone, author of Dog Soldiers, wrote this in 1975: “Peter Matthiessen’s fifth novel, ‘Far Tortuga,’ is a singular experience, a series of moments captured whole and rendered with a clarity that quickens the blood.”

So what’s needed here is a Campaign Outsider Official Tiebreaker®.

To wit:

Far Tortuga is a tour de force, easily the equal of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which is more over-valued than Bitcoins.

But that’s just us.


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Stop the Presses! Two People Actually Object to Stealth Marketing!

Two people other than the hardtracking staff, that is.

As our kissin’ cousins at Two-Daily Town noted last week, Boston Red Sox huckster – sorry, slugger – David Ortiz used the President of the United States as a prop for a cheap Samsung marketing stunt when the team was feted at the White House.

And we weren’t the only ones who didn’t like it, as the Boston Globe reported a day later.

White House objects to Ortiz-Obama selfie


WASHINGTON — Samsung drew a rebuke from the White House Thursday for use of a widely distributed cellphone photo that Red Sox slugger David Ortiz snapped this week of himself with President Obama.

The president, one of his top aides said, does not wish to be portrayed as an endorser for the electronics firm, which had employed Ortiz as a social media ambassador.

“As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his daily news briefing on Thursday. “And we certainly object in this case.”

As did some Globe readers. From yesterday’s Letters to the Editor . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.


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The Kick-Ash ’70s Concert We DID Catch in Cincinnati

The hardmewling staff has lately been lamenting the Allman Brothers concert we missed at Cincinnati’s Ludlow Garage in 1970.

Which got us to thinking about a concert we did catch in either April, 1973 or November, 1973 at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. (To be honest, 1973 is a bit of a blur for reasons we’d rather not explore right now.)

Regardless, here’s what we saw:



Wishbone Ash’s lyrics were never its strong suit, but those rockoco guitar riffs from Andy Powell and Ted Turner were fabulous.

Representative sample:



For more, go here. And here. Or even here.

We’re just glad we were there. In April. Or November. One.


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Baseball Players Are Not Heroes

The hardlywatching staff had the TV on in the background last night when we heard a local newscast refer to the Red Sox Home Opener “honoring the heroes on and off the field” – that is, commemorating 1) the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox, 2) the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, and 3) the two Boston firefighters who lost their lives battling a Back Bay fire last week.


Baseball players are not heroes.

Soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan are heroes.

People who rushed to help Boston Marathon bombing victims are heroes.

Boston Marathon bombing victims who struggled to regain their lives are heroes.

Medical personnel who helped the bombing victims recover are heroes.

All of them have true claim to the title.

Baseball players need not apply.


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