but let’s look at today’s Globe’s coverage of the race for Mayor of Boston.
- Front page below the fold: a soft piece on John Connolly’s teaching jobs, in which he specifically gets to rebut “grumbling backlash, spread through blogs and social media, that he was never a ‘real teacher.’” Connolly’s response: it’s “a ‘birther movement’ by disgruntled hard-liners in the Boston Teachers Union who oppose his candidacy.”
- First page of Metro: a report that Connolly “has reaped more than $600,000 in campaign donations during the first two weeks of October, more than double the amount raised by his opponent during the period, as the race enters the pivotal weeks before the Nov. 5 election.”
- Also on the first page of Metro: a column by Yvonne Abraham asking “[w]ho is connecting the best” with communities of color, written entirely through the lens of Connolly’s post-debate event. All the direct quotes in the column are from Connolly or Connolly supporters, though Abraham herself doesn’t venture a clear opinion on the question of who, in fact, is “connecting the best.”
- Inside Metro (p. B4), a brief “Campaign Notebook” item on the day’s most significant endorsement: State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry’s decision to endorse Marty Walsh. But the lead photo (which does not appear shown online) in that item is a big photo of – wait for it – John Connolly! Here’s how page B4 looks in the print edition (click for larger):
Also, oddly, the photo of Walsh is not of him with Senator Dorcena Forry (did no Globe photographers show up at her announcement? even the Herald managed a pic), but with a pastor who, probably, most readers won’t recognize.
- Finally, on the op-ed page, Joan Vennochi’s column is called “Why the union-bashing?” Aha – here, maybe, we have a different take. The title could easily portend a piece challenging, among other things, the relentlessly anti-union sentiments on the Globe’s editorial page and from some of her op-ed colleagues. And, to some extent, it does do that.
Add up all the corporate tax breaks and Boston walks away from truckloads of revenue in the name of jobs and economic development. It’s money that could be used to pay police, firefighters, and teachers. But there’s no outrage over those giveaways and so far they’re not an issue in the race to become Boston’s next mayor.
No, the outrage is all about the police contract, the school bus driver strike, and candidate Martin J. Walsh’s ties to organized labor….
When labor stands with [Elizabeth] Warren or [Ed] Markey, its representatives are viewed as working people fighting for their rights. But in the context of this mayoral election, they are collectively seen as thugs and manipulators trying to grab more than they deserve from city coffers. Little distinction is made between private and public sector unions, and public sector union employees are automatically demonized as lazy, overpaid keepers of the status quo.
Unlike a US senator, the next mayor must negotiate a slew of city contracts and Boston has given away a lot over the years. As the city prepares to elect a new mayor, it’s fair to wonder if less rather than more hostility would help on both sides of the negotiating table.
These are excellent points. Vennochi’s column does note that Walsh “has received at least $917,000 from union contributors” and argues that “[h]e has not fully owned up to the impact of the bill he filed as state representative that would make an arbitrator’s ruling final in a labor dispute,” and concludes that “[v]oters have a right to question his loyalties and only he can put legitimate concerns to rest.” Fair enough. Still, the basic thrust of Vennochi’s column is this, with which I find it hard to disagree:
But given the traditionally strong connection between labor and virtually every Democratic politician in Massachusetts, the great indignation over Walsh’s union ties is a little overdone.
Who was a bigger labor champion than the late Senator Ted Kennedy? And who bailed him out in 1994, when he faced a serious challenge from then newcomer Republican Mitt Romney? Laid-off union workers traveled from Indiana to Massachusetts to tell voters what happened after Romney’s Bain Capital took over the Ampad manufacturing plant. Their story helped turn the tide for Kennedy.
So, the coverage in today’s Globe is not uniformly pro-Connolly. But it’s certainly not pro-Walsh, and I find it difficult to escape the sense that, overall, the tilt is in Connolly’s direction. Maybe today is an anomaly – maybe tomorrow’s Globe will look different. We’ll see. But the clear view of the Globe’s editorial page is that Connolly should be the next mayor (they haven’t endorsed in the final yet, but their endorsement in the preliminary makes it obvious that they much prefer Connolly to Walsh). Now, I know that there’s an absolutely impermeable firewall, reinforced with steel and lead and also some kind of forcefield, between the editorial and reporting sides of the paper that has not been breached in the slightest respect since the beginning of time. Still, it does make ya wonder.