Tactical considerations aside, though, is there any substantive merit to Patrick’s gripe? When I was covering the governor’s race, I talked to Patrick supporters who thought the Globe had it in for him and supporters of other candidates who thought the Globe was determined to put Patrick in the Corner Office. Partisans of Chris Gabrieli, who sought the Democratic nomination, are still outraged at the Globe for slamming Gabrieli’s stance on in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants on September 15, four days before the primary (“An honest difference of opinion is one thing. Exploiting a hot-button issue for short-term gain is another.”), as well as featuring a poll that showed Patrick with a seemingly insurmountable 21-point lead on the front page two days later. And while Attorney General Tom Reilly may have been the early choice of the Democratic establishment, both Morrissey Boulevard and Herald Square provided brutally tough coverage of the mistakes (the Conte Call, the St. Fleur Fiasco) that tormented his campaign early this year.
Of course, Patrick took his lumps, too, in both the Globe and the Herald: we read all about his Berkshires manse, his mortgage debt, his stint on the board of sketchy lender Ameriquest’s parent company, his advocacy for Ben LaGuer, etc. But that’s what happens when the press covers a candidate in a major race. It can’t be pleasant — but then again, nobody forced Patrick to run. Essentially, Patrick is scolding the press for scrutinizing him the way it scrutinized his rivals, or for failing to universally celebrate the special spark that drove his campaign. If he keeps kvetching, he’ll make his audience more hostile, not less.
The wages of victory
Blue Mass Group (BMG) was one of the great Massachusetts success stories of 2006. During the governor’s race, the liberal blog (bluemassgroup.com) became a must-read for media and political types across the state; with rare exceptions, the posts and responses were smart, passionate, and extremely well-informed.
But can BMG remain relevant in 2007? More to the point, how will the blog make the transition from covering a campaign to covering a new administration — especially given its cozy history with Patrick? After all, the blog endorsed him in the Democratic primary, to the consternation of some of its users. And David Kravitz, one of BMG’s three lead bloggers, is now serving as co-chair of the Patrick transition team’s civic-engagement working group.
According to Kravitz, when Patrick asked for his assistance, acceptance was a no-brainer. “Civic engagement is why we started this blog in the first place,” Kravitz explains. “This just seemed like an obvious extension of what I’ve been doing for the last two years, which is working on this blog and trying to create netroots-slash-grassroots-level engagement in the political process.”
Fair enough. But now that Kravitz has a stake in the administration’s success, will he be able to criticize Patrick pointedly in the future? And what about his fellow bloggers? “I certainly hope so, and I expect that we can,” he says. “For one thing, even back in August, we were still critical of his stands on issues that we didn’t agree with. Also, we don’t speak with one voice: Bob [Neer] and Charley [Blandy] and I disagree on a wide variety of issues, and we’re fairly free about airing those.” Also, Kravitz notes, “I’m not working for the administration, and I’m certainly not being paid.”
Here’s hoping Kravitz is right. BMG is a valuable part of the state’s media landscape; it would be major loss if it came to be seen as a shill for the Patrick administration.
On the Web
Adam Reilly's Media Log: http://www.thephoenix.com/medialog