What a delightful treat it was to read (from the cover of the paper in the stand while in line buying bagels) yesterday that our region is confronting “the possibility that The Boston Globe might cease to exist, after publishing daily for 137 years.”
I’ll remind readers that the paper essentially ceased to exist over ten years ago when, upon entering the digital information age, its editors weren’t merely satisfied with getting their content online but rather deliberately transformed this once respected news source into a propaganda machine for advertisers of real estate and banking, autos, jobs and entertainment.
Sure, they still picked up a few national and international wire stories (from AP and the like) and retained a cadre of third rate op-ed writers and columnists that were willing to interpret, one way or another, current affairs but any authentic content and genuinely important news reporting died years ago.
What I believe will become more obvious after the Boston Globe perishes and with the continued deterioration in our local economy, is the role that the paper played in stoking the speculative animal spirits that, together with virtually frictionless access to debt, fueled the epic and now collapsing housing and consumption bubble era.
Under the direction of editor Martin Baron, the Boston Globe became a stand out amongst its peers for its ability to facilitate social aggrandizement.
During the housing-consumption boom the Boston Globe participated and even led the fluffing of every aspect of the mania… supporting Boston’s Realtor-termed faux arts and cultural “districts” and their numerous phony soho-style luxury condos… creating an atmosphere of competition and urgency for home buyers by routinely spotlighting “up and coming” areas where, if you were smart, you could “get in on the ground floor”… reinforcing and even leading unhealthy perceptions of good and bad school districts, the MCAS results and “top shelf” versus “typical” towns… the list goes on and on… all this and embedded advertisements and online tools to “help” you navigate such a bounty of important decisions.
Don’t get me wrong… I’m not blaming the whole of the housing-consumption bubble on the Boston Globe… MA residents are certainly the most culpable and will get theirs in due time but the Globe more than simply reflected that irrational and speculative era… it put forth and supported many of the key “groupthink” concepts all for the benefit of advertisers and their bottom line… for that they are a disgrace.
I say Good Riddance!!