But Bob Giles, curator of Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism, is more skeptical. "My reaction is one of surprise that Globe management feels a need to seek this kind of support," he says. "The paper's standing with its readers in the Boston community is built on generations of excellence. The Globe doesn't need endorsements from the governor or the mayor to validate its value."

Far-right foes
Even taking the political-endorsement problem into account, though — and even given the dismal standards of anonymous Web commentary — most reader "analysis" of a possible Globe closure was exceptionally obtuse. Scores of readers flocked to boston.com, the Globe's Web site, to crow over what they called the ideologically driven demise of a left-wing rag. As one representative commenter put it: "[D]ay by day, year by year, the Globe has shoved its liberal ideology down the throats of its readers. Now it's the readers who are telling the Globe to shove it."

This criticism raises two questions: who are these people? And where can I buy the Bizarro edition of the Globe that they seem to be reading?

Recollect the big political stories of the past few months. In late March, State Senator Marian Walsh announced, amid much criticism, that she wouldn't take a lucrative job she'd been given by Governor Patrick — whom Walsh had supported in the 2005 governor's race — with the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority (HEFA). Walsh is a liberal Democrat known, among other things, for citing her Catholicism when she backed same-sex marriage in 2005, thereby incurring the wrath of religious conservatives inside and outside her district. And she'd probabbly be working at HEFA now — pulling in $175,000 in a post that's been vacant for a dozen years — if the Globe hadn't reported on an email trail that documented the deep involvement of Patrick's closest aides in the patronage pick.

And let's not forget about former Massachusetts House Speaker Sal DiMasi. He's a liberal, too; a hero to same-sex-marriage backers and a champion of health-care reform, stem-cell research, and emergency contraception. But his resignation this past January was due, in great part, to a series of Globe exposés that detailed troubling connections between some of his associates and commercial entities that had business before the state, including the Canadian software company Cognos (now owned by IBM) and the Massachusetts Association of Ticket Brokers. As of this writing, state and federal investigations prompted by the Globe's reportage continue.

What's that? It's the op-ed pages that make you dyspeptic? This I'll admit: if you're an Iraq War booster who awaits George W. Bush's arrival on Mt. Rushmore and thinks same-sex marriage is a plot to corrode America's soul, you'd probably prefer the Washington Times. But in case you didn't read it — and I'm guessing you didn't — here's a snippet of the tough editorial the Globe ran on (liberal Democratic) Patrick's involvement in the aforementioned Walsh affair: "After more than two years in office, Governor Patrick can still be surprisingly tone-deaf. . . . [Giving] a highly paid patronage plum [to] a gubernatorial ally can't help but raise public hackles — especially when Patrick is talking tax increases amid a major recession." Political columnist Joan Vennochi was even harsher. "As a candidate, [Patrick] reveled in words and symbols," she wrote. "As governor, he often finds them beneath his dignity." Those aren't lefty talking points.

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