The Coverage, It Is A-Changin’

1219953732The local media is going through a tumultuous phase, and it shows in unexpected ways. As longtime staffers head abroad or to a different medium, the institutional memory of our favorite publications fades a little.

But that doesn’t explain the drastic shift in viewpoints that we’ve noticed from the local papers recently.

Today’s Globe features a story about the physically and intellectually diminished New England mafia that sounds almost wistful.

The New England Mafia just is not what it used to be. . . . The local Mafia, which traditionally denounced drugs, now tolerates addicts in its ranks. And some members of the old guard have turned down promotions or become inactive because they fear going back to prison or have lost faith after seeing Mafiosi around the country break omerta, the code of silence, and turn informant or government witness[.]

The paper doesn’t mention that the mob is still dangerous until the seventh paragraph. And this story comes less than two months after the paper seemed more upset that Carmen “the Cheeseman” DiNunzio’s cheese shop sold them an expired container of mozzarella, than by the allegations that he was offering bribes to Big Dig officials and reportedly threatening to throw an “[expletive] kid off a roof.”

There’s a reason James “Whitey” Bulger’s face is on display at the post office—he’s accused of killing 18 people. If the culture that bred Bulger and his ilk is dying out, consider us delighted.

But the Globe isn’t the only paper with a changing attitude. Earlier this week, Adam Reilly talked to Herald editor Kevin Convey about the tabloid’s glowing praise of Ted Kennedy after he appeared at the Democratic National Convention.

“We haven’t sat down and said, Now that the guy is hurting, let’s covering him in a different way,” Convey tells DQM. “I think our natural inclination, as a tabloid, is to pull for the underdog–and certainly in his fight with cancer, the senator is that.”

“My sense is that if you went back over our Kennedy coverage over the last 10 years, you’d see that within the last 4 or 5 years, there’s been a general warming toward Kennedy as old grudges were basically forgotten.”

Does this mean our papers will someday forget the way Roger Clemens scorned us by going to the Yankees? Because that’s a world we don’t want to live in.

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