At this very moment, liberals all across the country (or at least those who don’t mind being pandered to) are applauding the anti-assault weapon statement on page one of today’s Boston Globe, which is reinforced with a life-size image of a semiautomatic rifle. Headed “MAKE IT STOP,” the corresponding oped inside (“BAN THESE GUNS”) reads like a hysterical wine bar rant of an obnoxious grad student (“Even harder to fathom is the blinkered fanaticism of the National Rifle Association …”), or like the New York Times last December when that Grey Lady blasted guns on its page one, a spectacle which we derided thusly:
Our point isn’t simply that more attention should be paid to suicide and mental health than to banning assault rifles, which would not feasibly have much impact at all on this most dangerous outcome of gun violence, since people aren’t likely blowing their brains out with AK-47s. The point is that with its page one spectacle, the Times implies firearm rights are among the biggest issues facing our country right now, and that such a suggestion is ridiculous enough to match virtually any of the lies or propaganda on this topic coming from the maniac conservative right. Watching publications like the Times ignore the elephant at the gun show—that there are far less firearm deaths in the US now than there were two decades ago—is like watching Fox News cover any number of issues, only worse since we went in with higher expectations.
Easy as it is to criticize the Globe for telling its readers (and intelligent people in general) what they already know—that assault rifles are ridiculous and background checks should be rigorous—its presentation of today’s column is impressive, both online and in print. That especially goes for a sidebar that appeared in the latter titled “WHO PROFITS,” which calls out behemoths like investment management group Vanguard and “TIAA, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, which holds $337 million in ammunition maker Olin Corp,” as well as “Boston index fund manager State Street Global Advisors and Fidelity Investments.”
This struck us as odd, since the Globe is generally busy sucking up to local power. Consider some of the newspaper’s recent coverage of Fidelity: “Thousands of Fidelity workers get help paying off student loans;” “Fidelity becomes broker for employee benefits plans;” “Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson is richest person in Boston area.” Just last week, shameless business tool Dan Adams shouted out the top 25 wealthiest people in Mass, “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” style, a list that included three Fidelity honchos including Johnson. So, was our newspaper of record actually calling out a big finance kahuna for its less than savory investments?
Not exactly, as it turns out. At the time of this writing, the spectacular online version of the page one op-ed omits the aforementioned sidebar. Somehow, the only third-party culprit mentioned in the paper that made it into the online version was Vanguard. There was still plenty of blame to go around though, and so Globe editors, presumably the younger ones, strapped it on the backs of card-carrying AARP members:
Again, we don’t say this stuff because we think guns are great, but rather to remind people that the Globe is merely out for clicks and eyeballs like every other outlet. Even if one chooses not to weave conspiracy theories out of the omission of State Street and Fidelity from the online version, which will linger for a lot longer than newsprint, the hypocrisy still smells worse than a summer drive down Morrissey Boulevard during low tide. With its bold stance on firearms, will the Globe stop covering Fidelity like Robin Leach on molly? Or will they continue to hold companies accountable for roundabout investments in murder and fear? Will they take ad dollars and sponsorships from State Street in the future? Or will they stand their ground?
It’s almost too silly of a question to ask.