Mooninite media mash-up

By ADAM REILLY  |  February 7, 2007

OLD MEDIA HUSTLE AWARD: WBZ-TV posted a high-quality picture of the Sullivan Square Mooninite on its Web site at 12:27 pm on Wednesday. Granted, no one at WBZ knew what the thing was, but this was the photo that allowed local bloggers to figure out what was going on, which allowed Turner Broadcasting to figure things out, which (finally) allowed the local media, politicians, and law-enforcement personnel to do the same.

LEAST COMFORTING BIT OF TV REPORTAGE: Stay right there, WBZ. Your news spot on the Sullivan Square incident at noon Wednesday featured this kicker on the bottom of the screen: “Bomb squad detonates package found near Sullivan Square.” Co-anchor Scott Wahle quickly explained that the device “didn’t pose any danger,” which raised the question: if it didn’t pose any danger, why did the police “detonate” it, exactly? (If something can be “detonated,” most of us think it’s “explosive.”) A bit later, reporter Dan Rea described the item in question as a “device or suspicious package, whichever term you prefer.” (Thanks, Dan.) Rea also said that, after the item was lowered to the ground, a water cannon “disrupted the suspicious package and rendered it safe.” So it wasn’t safe before?!? You’re giving us a headache here.

MOST INFURIATING EXAMPLE OF GROUPTHINK: Everyone who implied the Mooninites were “public art” is a winner here, starting with Mooninite perpetrator Berdovsky. “It’s pretty commonsensical to look at them and say this is a piece of art and installation,” he told the Globe. Don’t flatter yourself, Peter. You were sticking up a bunch of ads, not creating something with any kind of aesthetic value.

BIGGEST UNANSWERED QUESTION: We know now that two other items that weren’t Mooninites — one at Tufts-New England Medical Center and one under the Longfellow Bridge — exacerbated the situation on January 31. The former was apparently a fake pipe bomb planted by a disgruntled employee. But what about the latter? On January 31, Boston.com said it might have been something a bridge-maintenance crew left behind. On February 1, the Herald reported that it, too, was a fake pipe bomb. That same day, in a post at the Boston Police Department’s blog, Commissioner Ed Davis called it simply “[a]nother type of device” and said it was being investigated by the state police. Then, on February 2, the Globe paraphrased Davis calling it an “unknown cylindrical device.” Some closure here would be nice.

BEST EVIDENCE THAT BOSTON’S ARROGANCE IS CURABLE: At Boston.com’s Brainiac blog, Joshua Glenn suggested Wednesday’s contretemps prove that “Bostonians are far less sophisticated than urbanites in other parts of the country, including what we like to imagine is the backward Midwest.”

MOST EFFICIENT SCREED:Herald columnist Howie Carr (who else?) used Peter Berdovsky’s post-arraignment foolishness to knock artists, Russians, pot smokers, Arlington, state rep Jim Marzilli, the suburbs in general, gentrification, liberals, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Tom Menino, Ted Turner, and illegal immigrants. In less than 650 words.

BEST FODDER FOR HERALD SELF-CONGRATULATION: On Friday — after Berdovsky and co-conspirator Sean Stevens refused to talk about anything except 1970s hairstyles following their Thursday arraignment — the Scrappy Tabloid suggested that the duo’s odd behavior constituted a promotion for Perfect Hair Forever, another show in the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim line-up. The Globe didn’t make the connection. For good measure, Tuesday’s Herald reported that the duo actually videotaped law enforcement’s response.

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  Topics: Media -- Dont Quote Me , Deval Patrick, Sean Stevens, Tufts-New England Medical Center,  More more >
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