First, we have the picture on top, featuring a more-than-content Governor and Lt. Governor, linked together in happy embrace.
Then, continuing with that meme, the Globe wrote about how the administration was raising money from sources that supporters wouldn't exactly approve of, keeping the link well established.
Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray have raised more than $1.4 million in combined campaign contributions since taking office, much of it by aggressively soliciting the same special interest groups that, as candidates last year, the Democrats denounced as wielding too much influence on Beacon Hill.However, the Globe quickly went from questioning the entire administration into delving into how Lt. Governor Murray tapped Robert Platt, traditionally a Republican fundraiser, as one of his main fundraising gurus. Link severed:
Murray, Patrick's fellow Democrat, has been just as aggressive, raising $650,000 in the same span, an uncommonly large haul for a lieutenant governor. His fund-raising has come with an added twist: He has turned to Robert M. Platt, a State House lobbyist and Republican fund-raiser, for help building a campaign finance network. Platt worked against Patrick last year and supported his opponent, Republican Kerry Healey. And this year he is supporting Republican former governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.That, in effect, was the story. This article wasn't really about the Patrick-Murray administration at all; it was
No. Murray engaged in what Frank Phillips viewed as sleazy fundraising, but it was perfectly legal and legitimate. That's just not front-page news. Thus, we hear about how Patrick raised over a million dollars since taking office, "much of it" (a number never defined by the Globe) from "the same special interest groups that, as candidates last year, the Democrats denounced as wielding too much influence on Beacon Hill." Riiiight.
Uncareful readers may read how Governor Patrick raised 1.4 million since taking office and think it all from unsavory sources, but that's just not the case. The only number the Globe really does define is $60,000 - from a Murray fundraiser, some of which (though, again, the Globe doesn't give readers any answers) coming from Clear Channel. That's helpful. /sarcasm off
Maybe if Murray was somehow breaking the law, that story would sell. However, what he is doing is legal and, honestly, not exactly unexpected. There just isn't much of a story there. Hence, the Globe linked it to Patrick and turned it into an entire-administration thing, even though the bulk of their story - at least the bulk which readers would, you know, read - had almost nothing to do with Patrick.
In other words, this is pretty much a nothing story that the Globe went to great lengths to turn into something. It's not exactly awe-inspiring journalism. One of the biggest problems with today's journalism is if the story isn't there, papers and stations will do anything they can to package whatever scandal exists into front page news. Obviously, papers like scandals, but they also don't like to waste time and resources. However, in the long run, the costs against credibility with Frank-Phillips style journalism will hurt profit margins far more than some extra staff, or giving reporters either the time to craft their stories or the leeway to decide against printing something when there's nothing there.
In the end, today's report on the Patrick Administration was likely worthy of two back-page stories. The first being the Patrick Administration's take: of course, the Globe should examine who gave what and when and report it, even if there isn't much there. However, unless there's something glaring out at readers in the piece (such as breaking the law), that kind of article is never going to be an above-the-fold, front-page piece when it isn't campaign season. The second story was Platt's relationship with Murray, but since Murray hasn't actually done anything wrong, it's a tough sell to put it on the front page. Linking the two stories together and selling it as a front-page scandal, however, not only is an example of bad journalism, it also merits the Ryan's Take's "fake news" tag.