Carr Maintenance

( – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Does Howie Carr play by his own rules?

The legendary Boston Herald columnist and WRKO-AM radio host has found himself in the media-ethics crosshairs over his appearances at fundraisers for Republican candidates in New England. Carr was quite defiant in his July 18 Herald column, declaring, “What this sudden concern by the moonbats about my ethics really proves is how frightened they are about Nov. 2. In 2004, I had a fund-raiser at my house for then-Rep. Scott Brown during his first state Senate race. I even wrote about it, and nobody harrumphed. There was zero outcry from the moonbats…Here’s the problem–if you have only 15 Republicans in the 160-member House, it’s one-party rule, and one-party rule means the absolute most crooked hacks will rise to the top–think Felon Finneran, or future WRKO host Sal DiMasi.”

However, former Boston Phoenix media columnist Dan Kennedy noted: “There are certain ethical rules that journalists–even rabidly opinionated columnists–try to follow. You don’t donate money to candidates. You don’t put signs on your lawn. You don’t put bumper stickers on your car…[Appearances at fundraisers], unfortunately, have long since become acceptable for radio talk-show hosts, and that is Carr’s main job. But he’s still a columnist for the Boston Herald.”

Obviously, Carr’s hardcore fans will disagree with the contention that he has committed an ethical breach by appearing at GOP fundraisers. Even if Carr’s appearances constitute an undisputed violation of journalistic principles, one must ask: Should these events constitute a breach of said principles?  

It may be time to rethink the notion that opinion writers should avoid the explicit embrace of political parties. Why shouldn’t obviously partisan columnists and commentators make clear where they stand in terms of support for, or opposition to, certain political parties?

I’ve long felt that major media entities should be open about which political organizations they prefer, and not pretend to be, for lack of a better phrase, fair and balanced: it’s not like anyone would really be bothered if, for example, the New York Post openly declared its allegiance to the GOP. Why not move towards this model, starting with partisan columnists and commentators?

Let’s say Frank Rich of the New York Times wanted to raise money to help Democrats win the 2012 presidential election. Should that be considered a breach of journalistic integrity? After all, Rich is in the opinion business, and he clearly believes that the Republican Party panders to the most retrograde elements of American society. If his strong feelings compel him to work to keep the Democratic Party strong, is he really harming anybody, or any principle?

Can it not be argued that the folks who are most irritated by Carr’s actions want to maintain the ideal of a non-partisan media, an ideal that cannot possibly exist in our hyper-partisan age? America is an ideologically segregated society engaged in an uncivil war over the country’s future–why shouldn’t the country’s most prominent opinion leaders openly partake in this war effort?

Yes, there’s a compelling argument to be made that the Fourth Estate should at least attempt to unify Americans, and that having columnists and commentators blatantly wave the flag for Democrats or Republicans frustrates that goal. However, if such a goal cannot actually be achieved, then there’s no real harm in allowing partisan columnists and commentators to pursue partisanship to its logical end, is there?

Of course, there is a downside to having columnists and commentators openly support political parties–if the parties do things that are explicitly harmful to the country, these opinion leaders will be scorned by serious-minded Americans. Other than that, no harm, no foul.

If Carr wants to promote the GOP, fine–but what if the party screws up down the line?  

About D. R. Tucker


  1. We already know what Howie would do because he’s doing it with Baker: silence.

  2. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    over something another opinion writer was about to do earlier this year. Her name is Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnessota Here was her response via email.

    The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics  admonishes journalists to “act independently.”  It goes on to say that journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, and should “shun . . . political involvement . . . if [it compromises] journalistic integrity.”

    Many news organizations prohibit their reporters from taking part in partisan political activities or political campaigns.   They believe that this compromises the appearance of independence.  Reporters are not supposed to allow their personal biases to influence their news reporting.  If a conflict of interest is unavoidable, it should be disclosed.

    I don’t know exactly how this panel will be run.  I note it is moderated by a professor, not a journalist.  I am not familiar with all of the journalists appearing on this panel.  They seem to come from a variety of publications that many people think represent a variety of viewpoints.   If they are all columnists (commentators), as opposed to news reporters, many news organizations would say that the policy is different for them.  They are, in effect, paid to have opinions and a point of view.  

    The rules of ethics are pretty clear.  

  3. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    Joan Vennocchi appeared at a fundraiser for the Massachusetts Women’s POlitical Action Committee earlier this year. Here is the press release.


    Join the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus PAC tomorrow evening for one of the first in-depth discussions about the outcome of yesterday’s race for the United States Senate, featuring insider analysis by some of Boston’s leading journalists and political commentators.

    The event, “An Inside Look at the 2009 and 2010 Elections: from Capitol Hill to Beacon Hill,” is a panel discussion that will be moderated by Elaine Kamarck of the Harvard Kennedy School. Participants include David Bernstein and Adam Reilly from the Boston Phoenix, Julie Mehegan from the Boston Herald, and Joan Vennochi from the Boston Globe.

    A question and answer period will follow what is sure to be a spirited panel discussion.

    The event, which runs from 6-8 p.m., will be held at O’Neill and Associates, located at 31 New Chardon Street in Boston.

    Tickets to the event are $50 for the general public, $25 for members of the MWPC Young Professionals group.

    For further information, please contact Priti Rao at (617) 451-9294 or

  4. For the last four years, I have written a weekly opinion column for the Cape Cod Times

    My column tag line, which appears at the end of every column is – “Cynthia E. Stead serves as the Republican state committeewoman for the Cape & Islands. She can be reached at”  I refer to it as my ‘Surgeon General warning’.

    Now obviously, I break ALL of Dan Kennedy’s rules .  I not only have signs, I put them up on other people’s lawns as well. But I regard myself as an advocacy columnist, not a professional reporter – I do not write news stories, only commentary and analysis.

    But I disclose my bias up front, and people are free to take that into consideration when they read my thoughts.  And I regard that as more honest than many ‘unbiased reporters’ who claim to tell all sides.  

  5. not a journalist or reporter…he’s a columnist, radio entertainer, and author.  He doesn’t report the news, he talks about reported news.

    As such, I hold him to no non-partisan standard just like I wouldn’t hold Marjorie Egan to such an ethical standard……or any of the loons on NPR of the alphabets.

  6. The First Amendment is very clear that we have the freedom of speech.  That extends to all people, even reporters.

  7. Barbara Anderson

    at the North Shore Music Theatre last night. Am writing about it in my column this week.

    Glad most everyone seems to agree that there is a different between columnists and reporters. Howie is just like me, except his paper has statewide circulation, and he’s an opinionated talk show host instead of an organizational political activist.

    Now if we could just get all reporters to report the facts about candidates they adore, like Deval Patrick and Barack Obama.  Really missed the objective journalism I was accustomed to before the 2006 governor’s race and the 2008 presidential campaign.

  8. please read above post.

  9. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    yet one of their columnists did the exact same thing. Yet not a word from them.

    That is not the definition of hypocrisy?

  10. 1) It’s a PAC not a political party or partisan candidate.

    2) It’s a panel discussion with various journalists.

    3) It’s post election.

    Versus Howie Carr where it was a fundraiser for a partisan political candidate prior to an election.

  11. Tim Cahill’s DJ keeps hackerama spinning

    Long arm of probation may reach Tim Cahill

  12. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    but pro-infanticide unfortunately.  Doesn’t matter it’s a political organization.  Same thing.

  13. His campaign is on fire! Literally. Like burning down on fire…

  14. Howie is essentially a member of the Baker campaign team.  

    Nothing about Big Dig Baker.  Nothing about Bailout Charlie.  Not even a mention about the beautiful person from Swampscott marching in the gay moonbat parade.  Howie’s just another Baker bum kisser.

  15. that Howie doesn’t support Charlie and that’s why he hasn’t written anything supportive of his campaign. I misunderstood your point. Sorry for what must have seemed like a gratuitous shot at Cahill (I try to make sure all my shots at Cahill have some relevance to the topic of discussion :))!

  16. As Howie has aged, he has become more and more of a lapdog for certain politicians that pay their dues with him, namely Senator Brown and Baker. It makes them immune from criticism, and gives them constant free air time to say whatever they would like and fundraise over the airwaves.

  17. Cynthia —

    You’re no rule-breaker in my book. Many newspapers have columnists who are asked to write because they are political activists, and they are identified as such. There’s nothing wrong with filling that role, as you are doing. Such folks are generally paid zero or a nominal amount. (You don’t have to tell us what you’re making!)

    Howie, on the other hand, is a career journalist making six figures from the Herald. He is a political columnist who does reporting. When he calls a state legislator’s office, be she Republican or Democrat, he expects to have that call returned. Knowing what we know now, why should any Democrat return his call? The idea that columnists aren’t journalists is absurd. Carr is an opinion journalist, period.

    I’m glad Rob was set straight on the Women’s Political Caucus, and I’m sure he knows he was set straight, whether he’ll admit it or not.

    As for D.R.’s main point, I think his error is in dwelling too much on the opinions expressed by various columnists, and not at all on the importance of those opinions’ being independently arrived at. I’m sure my readers can guess whom I vote for 95 percent of the time. But I don’t tell them, I don’t put signs on my lawn and I don’t donate to candidates. Among other things, diving into the tank makes it harder to write things like this.

  18. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    I see no difference between the women’s political caucus and a campaign or political party account. They are all political organizations.  

    I don’t think ANYBODY thinks that Howie Carr is not a conservative.  

    I don’t see a problem in the least.  Nor does a professor of ethics in journalism whom I quoted in this thread.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.  

  19. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    To suggest that the Massachusetts Women’s POlitical Caucus PAC (not the organziation but the PAC, which is what the fundraiser was for) is not issue based and skewed heavily democratic is absurd.  

    You could take out Howie Carr’s name and put in Joan Vennochi, and or David Bernstein and everything you said about Howie being an opinion journalist would be true in their case.  Yet they chose to headline an event for a political action committee, that’s number one stated focus is the hot button topic of abortion.

    Our primary issues are:

       * Reproductive freedoms and the right to choice

       * Equal and civil rights for all citizens regardless of sexual orientation, religion, race

       * Support for the Equal Rights Amendment

       * Accessible and affordable child care

    Furthermore in their entire list of 2010 candidates I find one Republican, Shauna O’Connell.


    2010 MWPC PAC Current Endorsements

    Congresswoman Niki Tsongas – Re-election, U.S. Congress (Endorsed by NWPC)

    Suzanne Bump – State Auditor

    Councilor Gailanne Cariddi – State Representative, 1st Berkshire District

    Rep. Katherine Clark – State Senate, Middlesex & Essex District

    Denise Garlick – State Representative, 13th Norfolk District

    Patricia Lawton – State Representative, 8th Plymoth District

    Jane Morriss – State Representative, 1st Middlesex District

    Shaunna O’Connell – State Representative, 3rd Bristol District

    Debra Silberstein – State Senate, 2nd Essex & Middlesex District

    Kelly Tynan – State Representative, 10th Suffolk District

    Councilor Eileen Donoghue – State Senate, 1st Middlesex District

    Rep. Cory Atkins – Re-election, State Representative, 14th Middlesex District

    Rep. Ruth Balser – Re-election, State Representative, 12th Middlesex District

    Rep. Jen Benson – Re-election, State Representative, 37th Middlesex District

    Rep. Jennifer Callahan – Re-election, State Representative, 18th Worcester District

    Senator Harriette Chandler – Re-relection, State Senate, 1st Worcester District

    Senator Cynthia Creem – Re-election, State Senate, 1st Middlesex & Norfolk District

    Rep. Carolyn Dykema – Re-election, State Representative, 8th Middlesex District

    Rep. Lori Ehrlich – Re-election, State Representative, 8th Essex District

    Senator Susan Fargo – Re-election, State Senate, 3rd Middlesex District

    Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante – Re-election, State Representative, 5th Essex District

    Rep. Danielle Gregoire – Re-election, State Representative, 4th Middlesex

    Rep. Kate Hogan – Re-election, State Representative, 3rd Middlesex District

    Senator Patricia Jehlen – Re-election, State Representative, 2nd Middlesex District

    Rep. Kay Khan – Re-election, State Representative, 11th Middlesex District

    Senate President Therese Murray – Re-election, State Senate President

    Rep. Alice Peisch – Re-election, State Representative, 14th Norfolk District

    Rep. Pam Richardson – Re-election, State Representative, 6th Middlesex District

    Rep. Rosemary Sandlin – Re-election, State Representative, 3rd Hampden District

    Rep. Harriett Stanley – Re-election, State Representative, 2nd Essex District

    Rep. Ellen Story – Re-relection, State Representative, 3rd Hampshire District

    Rep. Marty Walz – Re-election, State Representative, 8th Suffolk District

    Cynthia or Dan would you care to expand on how endorsing one Republican makes you “bipartisan”?  For instance there is only one woman running for Treasurer, where is that endorsement?  There is one woman running for Governor, where is Dr. Stein’s endorsement?

  20. He was an extremely readable liberal Globe columnist who died a couple years ago – he died too young and that’s sad. However, I recall reports that Nyhan used to sit in on Mike Dukakis’s political strategy sessions. I think that’s more nefarious than Howie being up front about his activism.  

  21. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    women’s committee’s.  Look at Friday’s love letter to EMILY’s list. The rabidly pro-abortion at any time up to and including the end of the third trimester organzation that supports predominately progressive women candidates.

    Palin “represents a set of values that are way out of the mainstream and arguably out of the mainstream of the Republican Party,” said Schriock during a recent visit to Boston. The movement Palin represents is “anti-government. Government can do nothing right. They are turning up the anger and it’s very dangerous.”

    The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus is the Masaschusetts equivalent of EMILY’s list.

  22. In the past, the Caucus endorsed women like Shirley Gomes and Joanne Sprague, who were pro-choice legislators, as well as Kerry Healey for statewide office.  Stein is pro-choice, and deserves that endorsement.

    Is Rep. Polito pro-choice?  I don’t know, but if she is, she also deserves endorsement.

  23. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    is you really need to be progressive on other issues as well.  Did they endorse Kerry Healey over Deval Patrick?

    They are just another cog in the Secular Socialist Machine in my book.

  24. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    Great there are two pro-choice women’s organizations pumping money and resources into Democratic campaigns.

    I stand by my previous statements.  

  25. …the WISH LIST supports REPUBLICAN women.

  26. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    republican women.

  27. I can forgive the overstepping on the Brown Endorsement in January, but it surfaced all the garbage about “Obama Bin Laden” pictures in his front yard. (Much of it chronicled by Dan Kennedy).  Even if Hudak, is not the raving loon that Dan would have us believe, Hudak has provided enough ammunition to raise serious doubts.

  28. Barbara Anderson

    before more information was in, that you are basing your entire decision on some Halloween lawn signs that were hardly offensive to a real political activist. Too bad you didn’t attend the wonderfully inspiring event Sunday. Too bad you don’t have a perfect, “more” viable candidate.

    And OMG, too bad you actually take Dan Kennedy seriously. Hard to be Dan Kennedy when someone else is Howie Carr.

    And too bad you force me to say what I’ve been thinking all weekend, which is, soooo glad that Scott Brown didn’t endorse Bill Hudak. Who needs THAT now?

    But it does bring me back to the event. I had watched Bill with Scott during the campaign, when Bill let him use his campaign headquarters, when Bill was working to elect him and we saw them together in various photos. I figured Scott was endorsing him too. Bill’s staff jumped the gun by putting it out in a release without making sure, and shouldn’t have used a quote: but

    honestly, now, folks, is it so hard to believe today that Scott Brown gave Bill Hudak a distinct impression that he was on his side, and then, once he won, denied it? Who ya gonna believe?  

  29. I understand that Dan is a partisan for the left and use that filter when I read his stuff.  That being said, Dan lays out the blueprint for how Hudak is going to be portrayed in a general election, and there is enough there for Hudak to be labeled fringe.

    Your right, I wrote him off months ago, and who knows he may have seen the errors of his early “pranks” and may have moderated his rhetoric.  And those pranks may not discourage true conservatives, but will discourage independents.  Without independent voters in MA, he loses.  Hence my conclusion that he is damaged.  

    As for Brown, he was State Senator for my Town, so we knew him a bit better down here.  I knew that Scott was not as conservative as I was, and that it would not take too long before he upset the hardcore conservatives.  He did not hide this during the election (sometimes #41 sometimes #60 independent Republican), and while he is getting bashed by the hardcore currently, his overall approval numbers are good – So yes I think serious candidates still want Brown’s nod of approval.

  30. You’re someone I’ve always respected, Barbara. But as one of your heroes once said, facts are stupid things. I won’t even link to what I wrote. I’ll just link to source material.



    Another picture:


  31. Republican Ram Rod Radio
  32. Barbara Anderson

    who is your candidate to defeat John Tierney?

    If you have no one, then why do you want to argue whenever you get a chance that the candidate we have is damaged and unelectable.  What is the point?

    I really want to understand someday why people would rather be right in their first stated opinion about something or somebody than be focused on achieving the goal — which this year is saving America.


    I think Rob would be a better representative of the conservative cause.

  34. Barbara Anderson

    What odds Mike gives Rob McCarthy when he analyzed the 6th, after doing a comparison of speaking ability, size of grassroots support, fundraising so far, in-depth knowledge of the issues, etc.

    Someone is always a better fantasy representative until he actually gets out there and appears to be a threat. Then let Rob McCarthy make one little mistake and he won’t be perfect either, so you will have to go find someone else.

    I was asked myself if I would run when Bill has his small problem.  I asked these people if they knew what signs I had on MY lawn and truck at Halloween; of course they had no idea. But go ahead, find that perfect candidate, especially among real people who make beginner mistakes when they first get involved. People like you are the reason more good people don’t run.

  35. Well, at least the organisation did. Can’t say the same for the PAC.

    That’s why the Hill-bots were fired up in 2008.  They were upset that the MWPC endorses female candidates regardless of party affiliation, so they wanted to create an organisation that supported women that were Democrats. Just sayin’. 😉

  36. WilburWood: If you don’t have anything to back up that claim about Nyhan, then why would you say such a thing?

  37. Barbara Anderson

    to see how silly the attacks on Bill Hudak were.  In one Halloween lawn sign he plays on the similarity between the names Osama and Obama, using Osama’s image; or maybe he was making fun of Ted Kennedy getting the two names confused.  In the other, he again uses Obama’s name on his truck: One Big-Assed Mistake America. Which is true.

    I’ve seen the video and there was nothing I recall as offensive. Don’t have time to wait through the pizza commercial and other ads to see it on your site, Dan.  Geez, I don’t have to watch endless commercials to get Howie Carr’s stuff.

    Who said facts are stupid things?  That doesn’t sound right.  

  38. was PRICELESS– that made me laugh hysterically. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Hudak, for having the chutzpah to broadcast what we’re all feeling about O.B.A.M.A.!

  39. Barbara –

    Hey, if you all think Hudak is a great candidate, all I can say is that I’m sure John Tierney agrees. Have fun.

  40. Barbara Anderson

    who said “facts are stubborn things”. I think Ronald Reagan was playing with that.

    I actually was talking with Mr. Adams, in period costume, at the Hudak event on Sunday night; it was part of the fun of a great evening. He’s supporting Bill against Tierney too, of course. Something about the national debt…

  41. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    What is your take?  Are you a member of the list and therefore can’t comment due to the terms and conditions of being on the list?

    Just wondering, you were so quick to denounce Howie where its now been proven that Bernstein and Vennocchi have done the same thing.  Yet I don’t hear you denouncing this clearly unethical behaviour.

  42. Just because you keep saying something doesn’t make it accurate.

    Partisan – adj. – of, pertaining to, or characteristic of partisans; partial to a specific party, person, etc.: partisan politics.

    Political – adj. – of, pertaining to, or concerned with politics: political writers.

    The League of Women Voters is a political group.  The Mass. Republican Women is a partisan group.

    Vennochi was political – I have seen her speak at a Women in Politics forum, paired with a representative of Mass. GOP and Common Cause, for example.

    Carr was partisan – speaking at events like the Mass. Association of REPUBLICAN Town Committees – not only political but specifically partisan.  Compare that with Jon Keller speaking at a CLT lunch – that was political, but not partisan.

    Whether it was ethical or not is a different matter, but partisan and political are not synonyms.

    BTW – ‘Partisan’ has a second meaning as a noun instead of adjective – “an adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance”.  

  43. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    whole argument is that it is unethical for Carr to be doing this.  On an ethical standpoint they are both the same.  

    This goes back to our longstanding argument about all politics being partisan, even local elections.

    If you appear as a headliner for a group that takes donations to then give those donations to candidates, which the Mass Womens Political Caucus PAC does, then it doesn’t matter if they wrap themselves up in a non-partisan label.

    It just doesn’t from an ethical standpoint. The funds raised by your appearance are going to fund candidates. It’s plain and simple.  In the case of the MWPAC those candidates are going to be over 95% democratic.

  44. Barbara Anderson

    It always interested me that the Plague of Women Vultures  described itself as “non-partisan”, giving the impression that, were they able to support a candidate or issue, there was an actual chance they would ever support anyone who wasn’t a big-government Democrat or any ballot question that limited taxes.  

  45. Rob "EaBo Clipper" Eno

    All politics is partisan.

  46. Peter Porcupine has nailed it, and you should pay attention. I couldn’t say it any better if I tried.

  47. Howie is not a reporter. He professes no objectivity. so his pieces arent in the op-ed cloumn, but they are still opinion pieces. This is such a non-story.

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