Howie Carr Accidentally Argues for Keeping the Boston Globe Around

But wait, doesn't he want them to go out of business?


Local Bowser-impersonator Howie Carr probably didn’t mean to pay the Boston Globe a compliment while celebrating his own Boston Herald this morning, and yet, he seems to have inadvertently made the case for his favorite punching bag’s continued existence. If you hate-read Howie on the regular, you’ve likely learned never to think too deeply about logical inconsistencies between columns or to take bigger sips of coffee than you’d mind spitting out at your computer screen. And yet, we just cannot resist pointing out that his declaration that “every city needs two newspapers, with each one keeping the other honest” is a bit inconsistent.

The statement came in a column celebrating the fact that the Boston Herald is still standing even as its old headquarters gets torn down, and it’s a good point. (BU communications professor John Carroll has a whole blog devoted to the thesis.) But why, then, has Howie been doing his gleeful little Bowser dance on the imagined grave of the Globe ever since the New York Times Co. announced that it had put the paper up for sale? Yes, who could forget the classic February column titled “Clueless Fops Wonder Why They’re Tanking“? Written with an enormous amount of chutzpah for someone himself appearing in the pages of a print newspaper with its own revenue problems, Carr trilled, “I’ve got news for them. Uncle Pinch [of the NYT Co.] has left the building, $1.1 billion lighter than when he walked in. And the blue-blooded rumpswabs who are still there, cringing under their desks, will soon be following him out the door, once and for all.” Jeez, try not to sound so happy about the prospect of journalists geting laid off en masse! It’s the same song and dance Carr gave when the Times tried to sell the Globe back in 2009, and it’s pretty tasteless.

After all, if there weren’t two papers offering two takes on the day’s events, how would we know that Herald-sponsored Senate debates weren’t actually very exciting? Or that Rupert Murdoch wasn’t very likely to buy the Globe? Or that the “liberal media complex” wasn’t covering up the fact that Mitt Romney won the first presidential debate? Or, for that matter, that Mitt Romney wasn’t at all favored to win the election, no matter what Michael Graham’s crystal ball told him that day? Or that the Herald‘s circulation numbers aren’t nearly as sunny as they’d like us to think? The argument goes both ways. The Herald gets in an occasional hit on the Globe, too, as when they asked some solid questions about whether the reporter who worked as a cab driver in the course of reporting a Globe series really needed to go undercover.

We suspect that when you peel back the crusty layers of hackery in which Carr has ensconced himself over the years, you’d find that he was being more honest today than is typical. He doesn’t actually want the Globe to die. After all, his relationship with it is entirely parasitic. If the Globe didn’t keep producing a paper everyday, Howie might actually have to stop phoning it in and write a new column, one that isn’t rearrangement of the anti-Globe Magnetic Poetry set that provides him some version of the same point day after day. (It’s the one with magnet tiles like “moonbat,” “silver spoon,” “Park Ave.” “throne sniffers,” and, the most important of them all, “You can purchase my book at this website.”) Carr notes today that “the Herald has its hands full” keeping the Globe honest. What would it do if it were to suddenly find itself empty-handed?