Boston had seven daily newspapers when I started out as a newspaper reporter in the early sixties. Now there are two.
Those papers were the old Boston Herald, the p.m. Boston Traveler, The Boston Globe, Boston Evening Globe, Boston American, Boston Record and Christian Science Monitor.
In between then and now, five failing newspapers folded or were merged. And President Trump had nothing to do with killing any of them.
The same thing happened during the same period in New York, which lost the New York Mirror, The Herald Tribune, The World-Telegram & Sun and Journal-American. Now New York is down to three newspapers. And there is still no evidence that Trump had anything to do with the demise of the other four.
Neither Boston nor New York has seen a single newspaper fold since Trump became president and launched his “dirty war” (a Boston Globe phrase) against the press.
As a matter of fact, the media seems to be thriving under Trump’s unorthodox presidency.
His attacks have awakened a press that was asleep during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Obsequious Washington reporters, out to protect Obama, buried so many Obama administration scandals that they could have found work as morticians.
Recall Obama’s first appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2009. The new president looked over some 3,000 loving reporters and celebrity guests and said, “Some of you covered me.” Then he added, “And all of you voted for me.”
Obama’s lines brought down the house, the crowd clapping and cheering like the toadies that they are.
Obama was right, they all had voted for him.
It is too bad President Trump spurned his invitation to the same dinner. He could have said, “Some of you covered me. And all of you voted against me.”
He would have been right, too. They all voted against him. They hate him. He hates them back.
All of which led to the Globe’s whining campaign to get newspapers across the country to editorially fight back against Trump’s mocking attacks on the press as the “enemy” and “fake news.” Talk about pack journalism.
“This dirty war on the free press must end,” the Globe said.
The dictionary definition of “dirty war” is: “A war conducted by the military or secret police of a regime against revolutionary and terrorist insurgents and marked by the regime’s use of kidnapping, torture and murder, with the civilian population often the victims.”
If the Globe believes this, it has become as unhinged as CNN.
This recalls a real “dirty war” against a free press that was conducted by the Globe in Boston a generation ago.
This took place when the Boston Herald Traveler (the papers merged in 1967) sought to renew its license to continue operation of the original WHDH-TV.
Back in the 1960s the conservative Herald Traveler and the liberal Globe were locked in serious competition for circulation and advertising, while the merged Hearst-owned Record American looked on.
It was no secret that revenue from the television station kept the Herald Traveler alive, which the Globe resented.
Working behind the scenes, the Globe supported a group of liberal investors who formed Boston Broadcasters Inc. to compete for the license before the Federal Communications Commission. It promised more public interest broadcasting, which never materialized.
So confident were they that they would strip the Herald Traveler of its license, Boston Broadcasters began building a television facility in Needham even before the issue was adjudicated. The fix was in.
The Globe went to work in Washington to defeat the Herald Traveler.
The back story was that the Globe covertly used its political columnists and reporters to pressure future House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill of Cambridge and other Massachusetts political figures to persuade the FCC to deny the Herald Traveler the license.
On March 19, 1972, the FCC ordered the Herald Traveler to surrender its license to Boston Broadcasters and the new WCVB-TV.
Two weeks later the Herald Traveler folded. The Globe destroyed a competitor. A free press voice was lost, hundreds were thrown out of work, and the new TV owners got rich.
The paper’s remains were bought by the Record American which, after more changes, morphed into today’s tabloid Boston Herald.
Boston journalism was never the same.
The Globe has shut down more newspapers in Boston than Donald Trump.
Now the Globe is campaigning for a free press.
Free for thee, but not for me.
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