I should probably begin with some kind of apology to the more puritanical DigBoston readers, some of whom expressed a little disappointment about my insanely tactless and excessive gloating at the expense of one Kevin Cullen, the Boston Globe writer and columnist who was put out to pasture last week.
I should probably do that. But I won’t. Because people shutting up and being nice when they should have been critical and vigilant is probably what led to the apparent lack of oversight inside the Globe that would allow for Cullen’s seemingly nonstop dramatic symphony of first responder fondling to promulgate.
For those who missed the story, it turns out Cullen played elusive loosey-goosey with the truth in a hacktacular account of the day that the Boston Marathon was bombed. As was dumped on front street by the morning crew at WEEI, in a recent piss-soaked pillow of a love note titled “Five years later, we feel the grief like a sixth sense,” the longtime Globie wrote the following, despite not having actually been downtown when the bombs exploded by the finish line in 2013:
I happened upon a house fire recently, in Mattapan, and the smell reminded me of Boylston Street five years ago, when so many lost their lives and their limbs and their sense of security.
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.
I can taste it, when I’m around a campfire and embers create a certain sensation.
Those indefensible offenses and a million others in this latest spooge caboose aside, I cannot emphasize enough that banishment from the Globe masthead alone is hardly an adequate slap for the claptrap he’s shat across so many graphs. Cullen isn’t just an insult to reporters who are genuinely tough and question authority; he’s an insult to the movie knockoff version of the tired barfly hack against the world trope, a city desk nostalgia monger who reminds us that no matter how diverse this city gets, there are still more white reporters who applaud cops with some regularity than journalists of color who impugn the Man.
The Globe is looking into Cullen’s columns, an effort that could take forever. But despite what happens on that front, the plague of columnists who pass off lazy, sentimental schlock endures. For a fraud like Cullen, whose pieces are Rockwellian minus the milkshakes, it’s fiction whether it is truly fabricated or if it’s a romanticized account of a thing that really happened. I am reluctant to give credit to WEEI, whose ignorant coverage of other topics is revolting. But in the name of watching someone from the Globe, our newspaper of record that rarely concedes or gives credit where it is due, get thrown from the ivory tower, it only seemed appropriate to offer props.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.