Sunday, August 20, 2006

Slamming Deval Slammers

Basta! The Boston Banner editorial writers are tired of the disproportionate attacks on gubernatorial candidate Deval Patrick. The lead opinion in the August 17th issue is pretty strong for such a softly worded newspaper.

Note on Banner Links: This link is to the current issue. After a week, if I forget to update, you can find it in the Banner archives for the August 17th issue.

Accidental Blog Swarm: Nobody orchestrated it, but a scrum of bloggers similarly noticed the repeated media muggings. At Ryan's Take, the question is Does the Boston Globe Just Hate Deval Patrick? At Left in Lowell, it's Let's Stop Distorting the Record. At Blue Mass Group, David notes that the Globe went out of its way to twist the UAL background. Even we asked what was up from the UAL coverage. There are others responding to this obvious mob.

The Banner has a predominately Black readership, but does not say this is purely racially movitated. On the other hand, the editorial notes that Patrick came from the projects and did well, damned well. It concludes:
The real reason for these attacks is that Patrick has run an excellent campaign and is well positioned to win. The nature of these attacks shows that the attackers are not at all sensitive to the rigors of life in this country for an African American.
The editorial list the major attacks and comments on each. The criticisms of him as owning two fancy houses, belonging to a male-only Harvard final club in 1965, and having been on three large corporation boards "show profound ignorance of the black perspective," writes the Banner. Specifically:
  • It "is not uncommon for affluent blacks to build large vacation homes so that they can accommodate siblings and other relatives who cannot afford their own."
  • "Secondly, racial discrimination was a significant problem at Harvard several decades ago, when blacks were not even permitted to live in the dorms. Patrick was duty bound to advance racial integration by accepting an invitation to join a final club. Similarly, Patrick was expected by blacks to take advantage of opportunities in corporate America to bring reform and pave the way for others."
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts and mind of some TV and newspaper reporters? Deval is Black, he's not a native New Englander, he is a political outsider, he offers (threatens?) real change...

We may not be able to understand the motivation of attacks, but many of us from a variety of starting points have noticed that Patrick is the one of the bottom of the heap, getting the knees and elbows.

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Aaron said...

Here's a crazy idea: maybe it has something to do with the fact that politics is a tough business, and he's running for office. Hide behind the race factor all you want, that has ZERO to do with it. It's just the nature of the business, and he knew that getting into it. Bloggers are the only ones who are complaining about it. Seriously, some of you guys act like someone has insulted your son or something. I'm sure Deval himself doesn't cry his out at night screaming "Why are they so mean to me? Why do they have to say nasty things about me?" He's a big boy, he can handle it!!

massmarrier said...

I wish I could agree that race has nothing to do with it. Of course, were that the case, Massachusetts would have statewide elected officials that more closely represented the racial and ethnic makeup. I have even heard people use the absurd argument that Blacks just don't run for office. That's what corporate officers used to say before their systemic racism was revealed.

Don't forget that we have also had folk observing this contest saying Deval gets a pass because of his race.

Of course race is a factor, as ethnic and religious background has always been in Boston and Massachusetts. The Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans haven't even gotten over their culturally based political issues. Call it pride, call it bigotry, but acknowledge it.

As we posted last month, a bigger concern is whether some or many voters think that we are not ready to elect a Black governor. Those might then vote for another candidate just to hope to defeat Healey. I have no doubt there will be some of that. I just hope it is a small amount and that people recall that was an argument against voting for Roman Catholic John Kennedy for President.

Editorial writers at the Banner think that criticism of Deval's being able to afford a fat mortgage on a vacation mansion is unfair and singles him out. From what I've seen, he has received a disproportionate share of roughing up, regardless of whether he can take it. If these are cheap shots, than the Banner should call them for what they are.

Ryan said...

I absolutely agree - where have all the articles on Gabrieli's Beacon Hill home been? I'm sure Gabs has a million dollar vacation home (or two?) and - ifnot - there's no way the guy hasn't taken hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of vacations over the past few years.

In any event, I don't really think the media attacks have been racially motivated. While I haven't directly shared my thoughts, here they are:

1. This could just be the Globe attempting to take the frontrunner down a notch - he is in first place and it probably sells more newspapers to say the guy in first is contreversial.

2. I don't think #1 is the case because they (especially Frank Phillips) was running anti-Deval ads as early as April, when Deval visited my college. Therefore, I think they have targeted him because he's "anti-establishment," and if there's anything the Globe is a part of, it's our establishment.

3. They favor a different candidate and have let that bias get into the newsroom. I certainly think that's the case with at least Frank Phillips.

4. They've fallen in the trap of reporting dirt opponents give them. Think Judy Miller and Scooter Libby, with Judy Miller reporting 'secrets' that were actually usually falsehoods. If Tom Reilly is sending them all sorts of dirt, they may just have taken the bait. However, that wouldn't explain why Bay Windows had the story first, so at least in the UAL story I don't think it was Tom Reilly sending out a fax lol.

Why they'd be worried about him being an anti-establishment candidate, I don't know. It's not as if he'd create laws that would hurt the Globe or newspapers (that I know of). But that's my biggest thought.

Regardless of what the reason is, there is DEFINATELY a pattern here - and not only a pattern of shoddy reporting, but one of bias in the newsroom.

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