Bulger Mania - Has the Boston Globe Gone Overboard?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


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On June 22 Whitey Bulger was arrested. The reputed Mob boss had been on the run for 16 years. His story is so rich - he manipulated the FBI, he ran organized crime in South Boston, he was an alleged murderer, brother of a famous pol, and went on the lamb. But in less than a week, the Boston Globe has written more than 50 articles on Bulger, produced ten videos and posted on Boston.com more than 100 photos, interactive maps and a virtual tour of mob hangouts.

The total number of stories are staggering. While Bulger is a colorful mobster, to put it mildly, is literally over 30,000 words through June 27 too many? Add the archive stories the Globe has reported and the total is in excess of 50,000 words - nearly the length of a full book.

The Globe has covered in full articles such aspects as:

"The Mob Guide to Boston" - a picture guide.

15 columns and editorials - four pieces alone by Globe columnist Kevin Cullen.

Four previous special sections about Bulger have been republished going back to 1988 with more than 12 segments.

There are another 30 plus articles on from the Bulger archives.

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While Bulger may have been the impetus for the the movie, "The Departed" and he and his brother seem awfully similar to the characters in the Providence-based Showtime series, "The Brotherhood" it still seems that in just four short days that the 81-year-old 700 plus paragraphs of coverage in one newspaper just might be a bit of overkill.

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Joe Mollicone

"The is like Joe Mollicone surrender on steroids. It has been 16 years in the making," said Jeff Derderian, GoLocalProv's media critic and former investigative reporter for WHDH 7 in Boston.

(RI Banker,Joe Mollicone was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to 30 years and required to pay nearly $13 million in penalties and restitution.)

Bulger and the Globe

Bulger, who is alleged to be responsible for 18 murders and his disappearance was riveting.  He was rumored to be in Italy, London and New Orleans. Wonder where he was suppose to be hiding, then just check the Globe's graphic of the 14 different location Bulger was rumored to be hiding. But, is the Globe's motivation one of desperation? It has plummeting circulation, a proposed sale a couple years ago generated virtually no offers, and Time Magazine identified the Globe as one of the "10 Most Endangered Newspapers." Time wrote,"losing $1 million a week. One investment bank recently said the paper is worth only $20 million...Last year (2008), ad revenue for the New England properties was down 18%. That is likely to continue or get worse this year."

"Whitey's story of being on the run has captivated Boston for those who thought he would never be caught...and those who hoped he never talks," said Derderian.

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The Globe's obsession with Bulger will end either with his incarceration, death or escape (the Globe can only hope).


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