It is easy to find historical antecedents. The rise of neoliberal newsmen is an all too common phenomenon in our small city. And what marks each of those dark episodes is a failure to fathom where an outlet’s vision leads, to carry rhetoric to its logical conclusion. This satirical interpolation attempts to do just that, to envision what Boston looks like with the Globe spinning rightward.
It is an exercise in taking reporters at their word. And their vision of Boston promises to be as appalling in real life as it is in black and white on the page. It is a vision that demands an active and engaged opposition. It requires an opposition as focused on denying General Electric the Fort Point Channel as City Hall is flippant and reckless about giving it to them.
That’s not a pretty picture. But then nothing about the billionaire real estate developer’s quest for total Boston dominance has been pretty. They wink and nod at opulence. They shut out an entire class on the sole basis of their paywall.
The toxic mix of violent intimidation, hostility to criticism, and explicit scapegoating of minorities shows a political movement is taking hold in the Hub. If Donald Trump were a politician running such a campaign in a foreign country right now, the Globe would probably be backing him.
Realizing that the paper faces a double bind, a few editors have been clear-eyed enough to see the need for a plausible, honorable alternative that could emerge from the likely contested convention. Names like STAT and Crux have come up. If no property gets any traction, a future might not be theoretically possible.
This would have no modern precedent: Ordinarily, newspapers put aside their differences after primaries and report news about all candidates equally because they share basic common goals and values. In any other election cycle, anti-Trump Massachusetts liberals would just look like sore losers. But the Globe lacks those common values — not just the values of progressives but, it becomes clearer every day, those of every decent thinking human being.
At some point, after the election, Globies will also need to ask themselves some tough questions about how their actions and inactions made Boston vulnerable. Chasing short-term gains, the Globe and other passive pro-business clearinghouses missed a lot of chances to fight the hateful currents that now threaten to overwhelm America.
Journalism doesn’t mean chicanery or subterfuge. It doesn’t mean settling for an equally extreme — and perhaps more dangerous — tactic such as satire. Boston deserves to be hoisted by an honorable and decent newspaper, like DigBoston. It is better to lose with principle than to squeal about a demagogue.