NYT Gives Mike Barnicle A Free Pass

Big takeout in Sunday’s New York Times Business section on Bank of America bigfoot Anne Finucane.

The Image Officer With a Lot to Fix

IT’S show time for Anne M. Finucane.

Her co-star on this day, Bill Clinton, is waiting offstage. The audience shifts in its seats. The spotlight goes up and …action!

It’s a Thursday in early December, at a conference center near Orlando, and Ms. Finucane is busy shaping an image. Or, rather, trying to reshape one. This choreographed interview with the former president before a select group of businesspeople is, in fact, part of a much larger effort to rehabilitate one of the most demonized corporations in America.

That company is Ms. Finucane’s employer, Bank of America. Until recently, this colossus, assembled through a heady run of acquisitions, was the nation’s largest bank. But since the 2008-9 financial crisis, no big bank has lost more of its luster.

Today, Bank of America is often held up as a symbol of all that’s wrong with banking, from stick-it-to-’em fees to dubious home foreclosures. Investors have given it a black eye, too. Last year, its share price plummeted 55 percent, making it the biggest loser among the Dow industrials. The bank remains under unusually close scrutiny by regulators.

But the same can’t be said for the Times’ scrutiny of Finucane’s husband, Mike Barnicle.

Relevant excerpts:

[D]espite deep ties to Washington, as well as to Boston, where she and her husband, Mike Barnicle, are an A-list power couple, she isn’t having much fun these days . . .

Ms. Finucane got a job in Mayor [Kevin] White’s arts office, fresh out of the University of New Hampshire. [Massachusetts state treasurer Robert] Crane’s daughter, Mary Lou, later introduced Ms. Finucane to Mike Barnicle, then a columnist at The Boston Globe. Mr. Barnicle, nine years her senior, had three children from a previous marriage. He was also famous in political and media circles, having worked for Robert F. Kennedy and Sargent Shriver. Before long, the couple married . . .

Ms. Finucane . . . supported her husband in the late 1990s, when he was accused of plagiarizing George Carlin jokes. He resigned from The Globe in 1998 and is now a contributor at MSNBC.

Really? The Times highlights Barnicle’s misdemeanor and ignores his felonies?

Anne Finucane’s got some serious juice, yes?

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