Our ‘Beat the Press Party’ Bakeoff (Hardpartying Staff’s Triumphant Return Edition)

Well the hardworking staff has been on hiatus lately, but we’re back now to chronicle the latest installment of the Great Boston Media Watchdog Fight.

Start, as usual, with Underdog Boston Herald’s Wayne’s World webcast:

Rolling Stone’s cover shot makeover of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev drew heavy fire from the Boston Herald’s “Press Party” panel in the latest episode of the media criticism web show.

The panel blasted the magazine for being insensitive to victims of the bombing by showing Tsarnaev in rock star pose on the cover. The panel also took on the media’s handling of the aftermath of the George Zimmerman trial. Cashman criticized MSNBC for allowing host Al Sharpton to push his protest against the verdict. Plus, the show spotlighted a San Francisco TV station broadcasting bogus racist names of the pilots involved in Asiana Airlines crash, as well as a Providence TV reporter’s humorous attempt to show viewers how to ward off bear attacks.

(The Press Partyniks still refuse to upload their festivities to YouTube, so you’ll have to click around for yourselves.)

But . . . sample quotes from the Rolling Stone cover rumpus:

You’ve probably seen or heard about it – and no doubt have a strong reaction to it – The rock ‘n’ roll institution gives the Marathon Bomber a glam makeover. Unbelievable, but true.

Disgusting journalism.

Terrible terrible example of human excrement.

Rolling Stone should hang their head in shame.

Crosstown at WGBH’s Big Dog Beat the Press, it was, not surprisingly, a different story.


Sample quotes:

I thought it was a pretty effective cover. The reason I thought it was effective was because it created a sense of cognitive dissonance. You see kind of the teen idol look of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev but then you see forthrightly the bomber and the monster.

There was no mention of the victims, no input from the community who were especially outraged.

I do think there’s some concern about putting this in front of a lot of other alienated kids who are having violent fantasies and who see this and think, gee, maybe I ought to turn this fantasy into reality. And I think that’s a legitimate concern.

So who had the more interesting – and substantive – discussion?

You tell us.


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10 Responses to Our ‘Beat the Press Party’ Bakeoff (Hardpartying Staff’s Triumphant Return Edition)

  1. Bob Gardner says:

    This is as pure a case of political correctness as I’ve seen in a long time. Nobody questions the accuracy of the story. Nobody claims the picture is a fake. But critics want the facts and pictures changed for the sake of sensitivity.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      Not to get technical about it, Bob, but I questioned the accuracy of the story on WBUR’s Radio Boston last Friday. I said it was far too sympathetic to Tsarnaev, in that it blamed everyone but him for his reprehensible actions.


      • Bob Gardner says:

        I did hear some of your commentary Friday afternoon, but I’m generally not inclined to lump you in with Beat the Press or that Herald thing. I haven’t read the article and probably won’t.
        If you insist that the sympathies of the Rolling Stone are so misplaced that they have written an inaccurate article I’ll take your word for it. Maybe it’s enough just to label Tsarnaev as a bad guy, since fighting “bad guys” seems to be primary strategic objective of our armed forces and police.
        I’m so old I remember when we used to fight “commies” and if anyone suggested that what we really needed was more cooperation between our police and the KGB (or the KGB’s successors, as is being suggested today) no one would take them seriously, if they were lucky.

      • Campaign Outsider says:

        You’re right, Bob – I didn’t say it was inaccurate, just misguided in blaming everyone but Tsarnaev for his actions.


  2. Do kids, alienated or otherwise, read Rolling Stone?

  3. Dan Kennedy says:

    I read the Rolling Stone story and didn’t come away with that impression at all. To explain is not to excuse, but whenever someone tries to explain, they’re accused of pointing the finger at everyone except the wrongdoer. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is entirely responsible for his actions. But he probably never would have gone down that road if he hadn’t been abandoned by his family and lured into radical notions of religion by his brother.

    • Campaign Outsider says:

      Just to be clear: The Rolling Stone story is a terrific piece of investigative journalism, and despite what Peter Canellos alleged on Radio Boston last Friday, I do think it’s important to pursue the motives behind heinous actions like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s.

      But . . . the one thing the piece lacked was an EXPLICIT assignment of blame. It let the sympathetic statements about Tsarnaev stand on their own. To me, it needed a harder edge.


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