Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Media Criticism #5

The Boston Globe ran the following story last week -

US Marshals Service joins international hunt for Bulger
By Shelley Murphy
Globe Staff / October 8, 2010

For the first time since South Boston crime boss James “Whitey’’ Bulger fled 15 years ago, the US Marshals Service has joined the international manhunt.

The agency, perhaps best known for tracking fugitives, recently assigned a deputy US marshal to work full time on the Bulger Task Force, an FBI-led team of State Police investigators, FBI agents, and state Department of Correction officers that has been searching full time for the 81-year-old gangster.

US Marshal John Gibbons said in a statement yesterday that the agency “has a long-standing reputation as being expert fugitive investigators, and we look forward to providing the FBI with our assistance in this matter. It is our hope that this joint initiative will ultimately lead to the arrest of Bulger so he can face justice.’’

FBI agent Gregory Comcowich, a spokesman for the FBI’s Boston office, said marshals have exceptional expertise in hunting fugitives and “they will bring local, state, and international contacts that we hope will assist us in catching Bulger.’’

Bulger, one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted, fled just before his January 1995 federal racketeering indictment in Boston and was later charged with 19 murders in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a longtime FBI informant, and the bureau has said his capture remains a top priority. The FBI is offering a $2 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

The last confirmed sighting of the aging fugitive was in London in 2002.

He is believed to be traveling with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, 59, a certified dental hygienist.

In the last year, the FBI has launched creative initiatives in an effort to capture Bulger, including posting an ad in Plastic Surgery News in May, asking plastic surgeons worldwide to be on the lookout for Greig.

According to the bureau, Greig had breast implants, a face lift, liposuction, and eyelid surgery before she went on the run with Bulger, creating speculation that she might look for additional surgery.
© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

I was extremely disappointed in The Globe and wrote an email to Ms. Murphy.

Ms. Murphy,

I think you have entirely missed the story in your piece on the US Marshals and Whitey Bulger in today's (October 8, 2010) Boston Globe. You report that the Service recently assigned a deputy Marshal to the Bulger task force. You quote federal officials as to the Service's "reputation as being expert fugitive investigators" with "local, state and international contacts." This would have been a story 15 years ago.

The story today is that a wanted fugitive, charged with 19 murders, one of the "FBI's Ten Most Wanted", has NOT been the target of the federal agency "best known for tracking fugitives" since his flight in 1995.

Did you ASK the FBI or the Marshals Service what took so long? Did you wonder who stood to gain by the delay or omission? If you did, the Globe did not print it. I can get all the press releases I want for free. I PAY for journalism.

I felt even worse when I did a web search on the story. Your piece in the Globe has been picked up by all the local media, the AP, and outlets as far away as India and Ireland. 

Ned  Daly

After several days of silence from Ms. Murphy of The Globe, I thought, Well you are a journalist (of sorts) and you have a media outlet (this blog), why don’t you just ask the Marshals what gives? 

So, I e-mailed the “Wanted” address of the USMS as follows on October 11.
Subject Line: Bulger Task Force
To Whom it May Concern

I am a freelance writer and I am following up on last Friday's (October 8, 2010) story in the Boston Globe. 

My questions are:

Why did it take fifteen years for the US Marshals to get brought in?

Why is now the right time for the Marshals to be involved?

Why only one deputy Marshal on the Task force?

I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Ned  Daly

I have not heard from the Marshals and don’t expect to.

So, the public can either believe (along with The Globe) that it is newsworthy that the Marshals have joined the hunt for Bulger, or they can continue to wonder (along with me) why the Marshals are unwilling to explain their long-overdue and tepid involvement.

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