Image by Tak Toyoshima
It’s much easier to talk shit than it is to actually perform. That’s not the only reason we’re abstaining from daily courtroom coverage of the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial, but it’s a damn good one. Truth is also that between the favoring of those contributing to dreadful pool reporting and the paperwork involved, the price of entry for a rag like the Dig is to bend over and surrender our alternative cred at the courthouse metal detector.
That said, while we may show up on a day pass occasionally, we have a role to play in calling out the rancid bullshit that will pass for journalism in the next few months. We’ll be morphing into Media Farm bitch mode every time an out-of-town reporter refers to Cambridge as Boston, when local hacks applaud the response of authorities without also noting interagency ineptitude, and … you get the picture. It might not be quite as horrid of a circus as the week after the bombing of the Boston Marathon, but you can expect the media to serve a mountain of manure.
We’ll be there with a shovel. And a slingshot.
–First and least interesting is the tedious procrastinatory litigiousness Tsarnaev’s legal crew has demonstrated thus far. Long story short: Due to everything from the nonstop media tsunami to the Dzhokhar fan club gathering outside of the federal courthouse, the alleged bomber’s lawyers don’t think he can get a fair trial on the South Boston waterfront. Everybody else, from Presiding Judge George O’Toole to the civil servant plunging the toilet in his private chambers, either disagrees or simply wishes to commence with proceedings. This is fairly easy stuff to cover, and the rare instance in which we trust everyone from Boston.com to WBZ not to fuck up.
–To catch up on the past few months for those who slept through so much stoner sensationalism, the press warmed up for the Tsarnaev spectacle by sleeping through the prosecution of his dumbass buddies. How clumsy were they? Most reporters lacked the sack to call out the trial of Robel Phillipos, for one, as the tangential distraction it was—even after former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis vouched for the kid, who happened to be a family friend. Mainstream stooges pick sides when they feel like it; just look at the hostile coverage of peaceful protesters and medical marijuana dispensaries. Ten ’oclock news hairdos could have injected some ’tude into their packages, but they chose to play it straight instead, and to ignore the epidemic of prosecutorial overreach.
–Hub writer Luke O’Neil rang in the new year with a bold feature on Boston.com that is more or less the only thing worth reading about the trial so far. Sure, we’re relying on Garrett Quinn at MassLive and a few others for reliable day-to-day courtroom updates, but in terms of thinking beyond the prosecutor’s narrative, O’Neil raises a number of important questions (as well as some that are not so important) through the lens of the fringe community posing them. In the city where FBI agents famously worked with notorious murderer-mobsters, this is a healthy activity.
–You bet we partook in the Boston Globe’s clever online wizard tooled to parse a theoretical jury for the bombing trial. We made it through a few inquiries—we’re over 18-years-old and under 70, and have no problem executing Jizz if he keeps showing up looking like a Bop Magazine centerfold. In the end though, we were denied a chance to serve; turns out they’ve had difficulties before when allowing semi-anonymous inanimate columns to determine the fate of mortals.
Fortunately, there’s no rule that prevents us from masquerading as the judge and jury of jurist journalism. Stay tuned …
[Media Farm is wrangled by DigBoston News + Features Editor Chris Faraone]