In today's Globe, we get to hear all about the largest shareholder of Suffolk Downs (it's a 6 page story!), how bad the horse racing industry is doing and why it would be such a great location for a gigantic resort casino. I mean, come on, it's only making $141 million dollars a year! Instead of hearing about whether or not counting license plates in Connecticut - I'm sorry, "patron origin analysis" - is really an accurate way to measure the money Massachusetts is "losing" to its New England neighbor, we get to hear about Hot Dog stands and how the largest shareholder of Suffolk Downs used to be a pal with the Trump (but they had a falling out). Whew, I bet Matt Viser had to work really hard coming up with the facts for that story!
When the only investigative journalism surrounding this casino issue has come out of Boston's EDGE newspaper, a real alternative's alternative paper, it's disgrace for the supposed Paper of Record to publish anything that isn't a serious look at the issue at hand. Does the Paper of Record even know how to do journalism anymore, or is it going to print whatever is emailed their way in the form of a press release? The shocking lack of any serious journalism on this issue almost makes me believe either the Globe is afraid of hitting on serious journalism, wants to validate its editorial page or its reporters can't wait for the slots and an open bar. I think I'm getting woozy here.
Sadly, if anyone was willing to read between the lines, Viser's story wasn't completely useless fluff. There was a bit toward the end that could have made for an excellent story, had the Globe been worth its weight in ink.
Part 1 of Connecting the Dots that the Globe missed:
If Fields is the engine behind Suffolk Downs, O'Donnell has provided the roadmap for navigating Boston's clubby political culture. O'Donnell, who has been one of the top shareholders at Suffolk Downs for 18 years, now is the second-largest shareholder behind Fields. He is also one of Menino's closest friends and advisers, particularly on development deals. "Joe O'Donnell is probably the most well-respected guy in the state," said state Representative Brian Wallace, a South Boston Democrat who is helping lead the effort in the House to legalize casinos. "Having him at Suffolk Downs helps them a whole bunch."Part 2:
He met with state senators, city officials, and the chief of staff for House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran. But all the meetings scheduled with Menino were canceled. The mayor says now that he doesn't remember even hearing Fields's name. "I'm not going to spend time on casinos for the city of Boston," Menino told the Globe at the time.But now that Menino's Best Bud is connected with Fields, it's a rush to the slots. There's a story there, the Globe just decided not to pursue it.
Here's another interesting blurb from the paper, one that could have been a story too. Menino's newest Casino spin is exactly like Barrow's spinmeistering.
"Look at what they're doing down in Connecticut, and how many of those cars are Massachusetts cars," Menino said in an interview last week. "Why can't we do something at Suffolk Downs?"EDGE has been the only paper to have yet called the license-plate "methodology" of counting how much money Massachusetts residents are spending in Connecticut into question. So far, that's the only way people have come up with a number, any kind of a number. There hasn't been a single story on that in the Globe yet, analyzing whether its accurate or if there are even other ways to come up with numbers. They haven't investigated Barrow or anyone who's influential surrounding this subject.
But why bother investigating such trivial matters? Casinos are obviously cash cows that save states and make it so no one ever has to pay taxes again. That's why Las Vegas, Reno and Atlanta are so well known for being safe cities, with no real problems and great public school systems. Clearly, casinos will single-handidly save Massachusetts (quite possibly by drying up even more revenue for cities and towns). Wishful thinking, again - but this time on the front page of the Boston Globe. If anyone's still getting the Globe's dead trees, it's time to cancel the subscription.