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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Monday, March 09, 2009

Class warfare

Times are tough all over -- including in the battle for that ever-shrinking commodity known as newspaper readers. The lead stories in today's Boston newspapers show show just how tough -- as well as the underlying editorial mindset of the Globe and the Herald.

Pick up the broadsheet and you get a look at how municipal employee contracts "put a strain" on local budgets through longevity pay the Globe says is a rare commodity in the private sector.

Pick up the tabloid and you read about business leaders who "self serve" by backing a 25-cent a gallon gasoline tax even though they "won't feel pump pain."

The Globe story is bound to raises the hackles of union members -- assuming they even read what the Herald loves to call The Boring Broadsheet. The attention of those folks will be squarely focused on the fat cat suburbanites (such as Globe editors?) intent on yanking away a collectively bargained perk.

The business leaders who are the target of the Herald story will barely notice -- they probably stopped buying the paper years ago. They know they were interviewed and someone will probably toss a clip on their desks.

Class warfare is nothing new in the news business -- it's been practiced for as long as printing presses have been around. The Herald's brand is more common -- and the newspaper has long had Howie Carr as its (very highly paid) voice of the underclass.

The Globe has also had its moments -- even though Mike Barnicle was often forced to create some of his more "poignant" stories of the little guy getting screwed.

But the Globe has never really made public employees salaries a focus, certainly compared to the Herald's online postings. The editors would likely declare today's story a fair examination of the problems faced by government in attempting to rein in costs.

Herald editors, on the other hand, would suggest it is attacking the men and women at the bottom of the ladder and failing to hold those with real power accountable for the "solutions' they propose. Forgot about the fact they probably include many of those salaries in the databases.

All in all, a very good day to show why newspapers are still relevant -- and why Boston is blessed to still have two of them, no matter how precarious their own finances are.

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