WEEI – “I can smell Patriots Day, 2013. I can hear it. God, can I hear it, whenever multiple fire engines or ambulances are racing to a scene.”
That was part of the lede from longtime Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen’s piece this past Saturday on the fifth anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, titled “Five years later, we feel the grief like a sixth sense.” …
As confirmed by WEEI morning host Kirk Minihane Thursday on Kirk & Callahan, Cullen was not at the scene when the bombs went off, which his piece two days after the bombings would appear to indicate. When asked to elaborate, he did not have comment.
Cullen was interviewed via phone days after the bombings by the BBC, detailing a story that is wildly inaccurate.
He says Bill Richard, the father of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who tragically lost his life in the bombings, ran the Marathon in 2013. According to Cullen, Martin Richard greeted Bill Richard at the finish line and returned to the barriers behind the sidewalk while his father registered his time.
Only that Bill Richard did not run the Marathon that day, and you don’t have to register your time at the finish line.
Worse, Cullen details that his friend, a firefighter “Sean,” was the one who saved Bill’s daughter Jane, who lost her leg during the bombings. That was in fact Matt Patterson, an off-duty firefighter from Lynn who carried Jane Richard to an ambulance. Patterson says he has never spoken to Kevin Cullen in his life.
Cullen told the BBC “Sean” was crawling on the ground in the midst of the chaos in an attempt to find Jane Richard’s leg, because he did not know whether she had lost it. Patterson said the first thing you realize when saving someone in that situation is if they lost an extremity.
And so the once-proud institution of American capital-J Journalism continues to swirl the bowl in ever faster circles.
What is it with contemporary journos that they feel they have to put themselves into the stories they cover? I mean, it’s human nature to be the hero of your own stories, but why do the Kevin Cullens and Brian Williamses feel compelled to be the heroes of someone else’s story?
Listen to that clip for one minute and just count the first person singular pronouns. How much of a narcissistic fuck do you have to be to inject yourself into the center of a story that has literally hundreds of heroes, victims, people affected and lives changed when you yourself weren’t even at the scene?
Let me give you my account of that terrible day five years ago. I will never forget where I was when I first heard about the bombs going off. I was at the Target in Hanover, MA. I had been texting with a friend about nonsense all day. She told me her husband, who worked at an office on Boylston St. heard two explosions near the finish line. I can still remember the feel of the shopping bags filled with groceries in my hand as I got in the car and heard the first reports. Then I went home and watched it on the news in shock and horror.
See? Was that so hard? And every word of it was true. There’s no need to inject yourself into the narrative like your the Officer Tommy Saunders character Mark Wahlberg played in Patriots Day. We Barstool guys wrote about the actual victims and the real heroes and sold shirts to raise money for the One Fund and didn’t make any of it about us. And to the Kevin Cullens and Boston Globes of the world, we’re a bunch of amateur hacks. Which is probably accurate. But we are amateur hacks with the apparently rare trait of integrity.
And get a load of this, from Cullens’ Saturday article, talking about a cop named Danny Keeler:
A few hours after that, I sat down with Danny and his young cops, at a table in the back room at JJ Foley’s, the venerable South End watering hole. Jerry Foley brought the young cops beers and Danny Keeler, the sophisticate Marine, a glass of red wine.
“To Sean,” Danny said, lifting his glass, and the cops toasted the memory of Sean Collier, the MIT cop assassinated by the bombers.
I think about Sean whenever I see the MIT buildings across the Charles, when I’m driving on Storrow Drive.
What would Sean be doing? Would he be married? Would he have kids?
He’d probably be a cop in Somerville, where I first met him, when he worked there as a civilian, waiting to get called by any police department that would have him. …
I stay in contact with Sean’s police academy classmate, Dic Donohue, the transit cop who almost died by friendly fire in the firefight that killed the first bomber. …
There are all these little connections, friendships made.
A few things about this. I can’t confirm or deny that Kevin Cullen actually toasted Sean Collier with Keeler and his buddies at the single most cliched pub in the city. Though the idea of a bunch of Boston cops hoisting a pint with a columnist from a dying newspaper sounds like the stuff from a Robert Parker novel and not the way actual life happens.
What I do know – because (injecting myself into the story now) emceed a Sean Collier Foundation fundraiser hosted by Dic Donohue and his wife Kim just last week – that Sean and Dic did know each other from the academy. And that before he became a cop, Collier was working computer work for the Somerville PD. How the hell a Globe columnist would ever meet a guy working on IT in the back room of a suburban police station is beyond all comprehension. But if you’re going to lie about being at the scene of the bombings, why stop there? You might as well just pretend you were best friends in the world with a murdered police officer while you’re on a roll.
But that is the failing Globe for you. A generation ago, it was well documented that Mike Barnacle was writing fake columns about people that never existed. But it wasn’t until he got caught lifting jokes from a George Carlin books that he got fired. They also had a columnist named Patricia Smith who made up stories about cancer patients that didn’t exist. Because apparently she couldn’t be bothered to find actual cancer patients and tell their real stories. And this is also the same paper that employed Ron Ctrl+C Borges when he was plagiarizing Seattle sportswriters. So it’s a proud tradition over there. A tradition that will continue for as long as they’re still in business. Which shouldn’t be too much longer.