Magazine article The New Yorker

BOSTON TERRIER; THE WAYWARD PRESS Series: 3/4

Magazine article The New Yorker

BOSTON TERRIER; THE WAYWARD PRESS Series: 3/4

Article excerpt

As many of their friends and neighbors fled to the Cape last week, the editors and columnists of the Boston Herald stayed in their locked-down and semi-deserted city to man the peanut gallery. All week, the conservative tabloid heaped derision, abuse, and questionable scoops on the heads of the Democrats.

Hardly had the delegates arrived when the Herald reported that one of the prospective platform speakers, Christie Vilsack, the First Lady of Iowa, had criticized the way blacks, Southerners, and Easterners speak. The next day, the Herald splashed the "news" that Teresa Heinz Kerry had referred to the Democratic Party as "putrid" and to Ted Kennedy as a "perfect bastard." And on Thursday, the day of John Kerry's speech, the Herald served up the front-page headline "kerry girls gone wild." According to the paper's gossip columnists, Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry were vying for the attention of the Boston-bred heartthrob Ben Affleck, who was turning up at every party in town.

To be sure, none of these stories will be troubling the Pulitzer judges. Vilsack, a literacy advocate, made her comments about language, which the Herald quoted selectively, in a series of newspaper columns she wrote ten years ago. Heinz Kerry's remarks were even mustier; she made them in 1975, when she was married to the Republican John Heinz.

The Boston Globe, a liberal broadsheet that is part of the New York Times Company, didn't pick up on any of its rival's newsbreaks. In an editorial, it opined that the citizens of Boston were fortunate to witness "this incomparable show in all its sprawling, controversial, and inspiring magnificence"--an assertion that made Ken Chandler, the top editor at the Herald, laugh.

"The Globe is a Times wannabe, but it can't quite pull it off," Chandler said last week, as he sat in his office. "We are just trying to extract some news from an event where there isn't any. We knew that the Globe was going to give it a big blow job. If I produced a newspaper as boring as the Globe, I'd kill myself."

Chandler, a tall, unflappable Englishman, is in his second stint at the Herald, which he also edited in the eighties. Between 1993 and 2002, he edited the New York Post. For many years, Rupert Murdoch owned both the Herald and the Post. In 1994, Murdoch sold the Herald to one of his executives, Patrick J. …

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