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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Just curious

Some words buried deep in a Brian McGrory column about the emergence of a kinder, gentler Kerry Healey continue to gnaw away:

A little more than two weeks ago, I made some points privately to her that I made a couple of days later in print -- that she was too negative in person, that her ads were too harsh, that she wasn't giving people a reason to vote for her even as she was berating them to vote against Patrick. (Emphasis added)

Columnists are not reporters and are not bound to be fair and balanced, although the good ones are. So McGrory is free to offer advice publicly and then write about it.

He is also free to throw his weight behind a particularly candidate, something you might think he is doing when you compare the tone of the columns lamenting Healey's loss of gentility with these two columns about Deval Patrick.

Or in the cheapshot crack that followed in this column, quoting the Healey talking points about the Democrat's resume and cracking wise about Patrick spending more time on the tennis court than in a criminal courtroom.

But I'd be curious about the process that led him to have private conversations with candidates. I'm struck by the choice of words -- not off-the-record but private. Private raises the potential that the conversation was of other business -- consulting perhaps? Has he had them with Patrick? Why did he choose to write about this particular conversation? Because she apparently heeded the advice?

Maybe I'm making too much of an innocent choice of words that didn't attract an editor's eye. I generally like McGrory in tone and substance (even if I go to Steve Bailey or Joan Vennochi if I want news).

But I can't shake the words "private conversation." Neither journalist nor political candidate do anything "private" during election campaigns. At least they shouldn't.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, that is inappropriate. many of the Globe's columnists have clear points of view, but if there was a suggestion by Ellen Goodman that she was having private chats with Deval Patrick and giving him advice, there would be a huge uproar.

However, at least McGrory's advice is terrible. It's frightening when Kerry Healey tries to come off as personable, especially because she can't go ten seconds without launching some baseless attack.

October 29, 2006 1:09 AM  

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