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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, October 25, 2010

Didn't you get the memo?

Does a political bombshell explode if the Globe doesn't hear it? We'll certainly find out in the next few hours as the Associated Press story on Charlie Baker's cynical 1998 Big Dig memo moves around the political world.

The AP's Glen Johnson offers up the October Surprise in this race, a three-page memo from the outgoing Administration and Finance Secretary that calls Big Dig spending "simply amazing," foresees "draconian" cuts in other highway and transit spending and suggests the bad news be delayed until after the election in which Paul Cellucci beat Scott Harshbarger.

Under a section labeled "Remedies," Baker writes, "At some point, someone is going to have to take draconian measures to deal with the transportation spending plan."

Writing Aug. 26, 1998, more than two months before his boss, then-Gov. Paul Cellucci, was up for re-election, Baker lists four remedial steps for the governor to propose "after Nov. 5th" -- Election Day in 1998.

Among those remedies is a dip into the state's rainy day fund, a step Baker has blasted Deval Patrick for doing "before it started raining."

But the immediate impact of the story will be hard to gauge -- at least in the hours leading up to tonight's debate. The story appears only in the Globe's online version and its placement in the Herald is hard to tell without a hard copy (though much easier to find than on boston.com)

And Globe columnist Tom Keane certainly missed the memo, writing today in sympathy of the headaches the Big Dig Dig financing mess has caused Baker.

It's a given the newspapers shy away from powerful stories they did not break -- the Herald's failure to deal with the Jeff Perry story the most obvious recent example.

But with a week to go, ignoring a potential momentum-changing story by a highly credible reporter seems to be some pretty awful journalism.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, does Tom Keane write a retraction or what?

October 25, 2010 7:38 AM  

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