Update: Michael Meehan has apologized for shoving McCormack. See the story here.
It's not too hard to imagine the media firestorm that would ensue if a New York Times or Newsweek reporter alleges that a PR aide affiliated with a Republican senatorial candidate shoved him while he was trying to do his job, particularly if the alleged assailant has been nominated by the president for a post requiring Senate confirmation.
But given that the incident in question is a Weekly Standard writer alleging an assault by an aide for Democratic Senate candidate Martha Coakley (Mass.), it's understandable, but not excusable, if you don't hear much about this from the broadcast or cable news networks.
For its part, the Associated Press -- in a story run on Boston.com -- all but dismissed the incident for the Coakley camp with a five-paragraph article blandly titled "Reporter takes stumble chasing Mass. candidate," wherein John McCormack of the Weekly Standard was said to have been "involved in a scuffle with one of [Coakley's] aides," a man by the name of Michael Meehan.
To its credit, however, the Boston Herald newspaper invested its own resources in covering the story. [See McCormack's account at the Standard here.]
Here's how the Herald's Laura Crimaldi opened her January 13 story, "Reporter roughed up outside Coakley fund-raiser":
How panicked are top Dems at the prospect that Republican Scott Brown will do the unthinkable and win the special election for the open Senate seat in Massachusetts? Enough that Harry Reid, despite his desperate fight to save his own skin in Nevada, has returned to DC to do what he can to help the hapless Dem candidate, the charisma-deprived Martha Coakley, hang on.
Enough that NBC political director Chuck Todd describes top Dems as having a "huge concern" over the Mass. race.
Todd gave his dismal-for-Dems assessment on this evening's Ed Show . . .
Goodnough's hook was a Rasmussen Reports poll showing Brown within nine points of Coakley. But she emphasized that "many news organizations dispute its methodology." Yet Rasmussen called the 2008 election with far greater accuracy than did the Times.
(Goodnough also authored an admiring December 10 profile of Coakley after her win in the Democratic primary.)
From her Friday story:
Martha M. Coakley, the Democrat running for Senator Edward M. Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts, had seemed so certain of winning the special election on Jan. 19 that she barely campaigned last month.
But the dynamic has changed in recent days. The news that two senior Democratic senators will retire this year in the face of bleak re-election prospects has created anxiety and, even in this bluest of states, a sense that the balance of power has shifted dramatically from just a year ago.
With the holidays over and public attention refocused on the race, Ms. Coakley's insistence on debating her Republican opponent, Scott P. Brown, only with a third-party candidate present has drawn mounting criticism.
And a new poll that showed a competitive race between Ms. Coakley and Mr. Brown has generated buzz on conservative blogs and energized the Brown campaign -- though many news organizations dispute its methodology.
It seems that the flat out health care flip-flop performed recently by Massachusetts Democrat candidate for the U.S. Senate, Martha Coakley, was too hypocritically self serving for even the very liberal Boston Globe to spin in a way to make her look good. Either it was that or the fact that that they aren't worried about how such a story would affect Coakley's chances in the special election on January 19 since it is widely assumed that a win in the Democrat primary leads automatically to a coronation in the general election in that liberal state. Whatever the case, Boston Globe writer Lisa Wangsness shines a light on Coakley's blatant political hypocrisy:
State Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democratic nominee for US Senate, reluctantly threw her support yesterday behind the Senate health care bill, even though it contains restrictions on abortion coverage that abortion rights groups are calling unacceptable.
During the primary campaign, Coakley said she would not have supported the House health care bill because of provisions designed to prevent federal funding of abortions that abortion rights advocates said went too far. Her stand was a major point of debate during the campaign; several of her opponents criticized her for being willing to sink the health care bill over a single issue, but she insisted that there were some things on which she would not compromise.
But there was no mention of another notorious case. As Middlesex district attorney in the summer of 2001, The “perpetually articulate and composed” Coakley took part in keeping Gerard Amirault in jail on fabricated sex abuse charges.
Amirault was one of the victims of the witch-hunt known as the 1986 Fells Acres Day School ritual sex abuse case, now universally recognized as an abuse of power by Massachusetts prosecutors. Children who attended the day care center were prodded by prosecutors to make increasingly bizarre allegations of robots and evil clowns against the Amiraults, the family that ran the day care center. Amirault was convicted in 1986, his wife and sister in 1987. Amirault was finally released after 18 years; it could have been 15 if not for the work of Coakley.
You have just chosen the person last night who will succeed the late Ted Kennedy in his Senate seat. The Boston Globe's Derrick Z. Jackson declared the winner a week ago on December 3 in this story, Coakley gets the keys to the Senate:
MARTHA COAKLEY will be the state’s next US senator. Michael Capuano handed her the keys to the late Ted Kennedy’s office by getting caught up in one last dumb shouting match with the sure loser in the race, Stephen Pagliuca. One can only imagine the smile inside Coakley’s head as Capuano and Pagliuca descended into a banter so banal that Pagliuca tried to nail Capuano as the Sarah Palin of the Democratic Party.
There is only one "little" problem with this story; the winner of the Senate seat from Massachusetts doesn't actually get chosen until January 19. What Martha Coakley won last night was the right to run in that general election as the Democrat nominee. However, that hasn't stopped the Boston Globe's Jackson from declaring her the winner of that Senate seat.
Where is Tina Fey now that we need her?
Martha Coakley is the front-runner for the Dem nomination for Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat. In a recent debate, asked about her lack of foreign policy experience, the first credential Coakley offered in response was that "I have a sister who lives overseas, and she's been in England and now lives in the Middle East."