Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Pressing Issues: Political 'Boss' Rocks the Vote

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Pressing Issues: Political 'Boss' Rocks the Vote

Article excerpt

Thirty-two years ago, when I spent time in Sing Sing Prison with Bruce Springsteen, just about the last thing I expected was that Bruce would one day become a famous political activist and media critic. Then again, I couldn't imagine antiwar vet John Kerry running against a son of George H.W. Bush for president, either.

Springsteen has been a true force in the press lately: penning Op- Ed pieces, critiquing the media in Rolling Stone, revealing that he gets "sustenance" from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd, and leading a concert tour that sparked controversy in newsrooms when editors asked staffers to stay away from these partisan fund-raisers. That didn't stop the same newspapers from covering the shows when Bruce came to town.

Maybe Bruce should be invited to the next ASNE and NAA national conventions, even if he doesn't offer to play "The Star-Spangled Banner," as he did while stumping for Kerry in October.

Naturally, all of this activity has made Springsteen a target for those who have long disliked him, and even for some of his fans who wish he'd just shut up and strum. Last month, when we ran a piece on E&P Online quoting from his comments about the press in Rolling Stone, we got a rousing e-mail response.

Scott W. Smith wrote: "A freaking rock 'n' roller with a political bent: the two are fire and water. Tell Springsteen to stuff his political opinions up his snare drum."

Wayne Schei asked: "Who on earth made Springsteen an expert on the media? He's a musician, for crying out loud. I know a lot of them, and while very talented at what they do, they don't have time for much other than their music and recreation."

Frank Brown added: "Now that we know that Springsteen feels Mo Dowd and Krugman are the truth tellers, we really understand where Bruce's truths come from." But Karen Becker had a solution: "Springsteen says the press has let the country down? He needs to be informed ... he needs to watch Fox News. Fox Rox!"

And this from Allen O'Donnell: "Do tell the fellow with the guitar that HE is letting the nation down. Some call him the Boss -- not unlike Bossie the Cow, I suppose."

When I met the fellow with the guitar almost 32 years ago, he wasn't anyone's boss, except to members of the just-assembled E Street Band. …

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