Was It Something We Said, BFD?

1209491664We’ve got to give it up to the Boston Fire Department. It’s been raining so hard that we almost decided to eat a lunch comprised of whatever is available in the vending machine at Boston Daily HQ, rather than braving the elements. But the firefighters didn’t let the drizzle stop them from turning out in force to protest the media at the State House.

We certainly respect them for that. Although the firefighters aren’t feeling the love.

Firefighters’ Union president Ed Kelly called out the Globe, Herald, CommonWealth magazine, and even Boston Daily for our stories about “unprofessional” firefighters.

“We do what needs to be done,” Kelly said into a microphone. “We ask one thing in return: respect.”

The crowd of firefighters chanted: “What do we want? Respect! When do we want it? Now!”

Let’s be clear about one thing—we respect the work firefighters do. It’s dangerous stuff, and the men and women who do it deserve to be well-paid and appreciated.

But shouldn’t it bother the firefighters who play by the rules to hear endless stories about their colleagues giving them a bad name? On Boston Daily, Michele McPhee wrote about Tony “Machine Gun” Gaston, who was allegedly fishbowling in a BFD vehicle.

The Globe has reported on firefighters abusing the city’s generous disability package and just this weekend both daily papers had the story about a firefighter who allegedly bought OxyContin from a known drug dealer.

The negative media coverage is not a vast conspiracy. As McPhee said here, the Local 718 brought this on itself.

Now, it’s officially open season. . . . And it’s hard to say this is a bad thing. The bottom line is, rooting out corruption and dirty dealings is the ultimate way to honor the dedicated, hardworking firefighters who are getting frustrated at the bad rap Local 718 is getting on the front pages—a rap it brought on itself.