Turner blames the media

Sarah Palin and Boston city councilor Chuck Turner probably don't agree on much, but they're definitely united in their low regard for the Fourth Estate.

At a press conference this afternoon on City Hall Plaza, Turner--who was recently arrested on a federal bribery charge--seemed angrier at the press than at law enforcement or City Council president Maureen Feeney, who stripped Turner of his committee chairmanships last week and then scheduled a meeting today at which Turner's fate on the council was going to be decided. (The meeting was ultimately canceled.)

By way of example, here's the heart of a press statement Turner distributed this afternoon and read aloud (with frequent embellishments) at his press conference:

My main concern is that I am not being tried by a jury of my peers, I am being tried by the Globe, the Herald, Fox News, Channel 7, Channel 5, etc., etc. etc. News outlets that would not cover my work as a City Councilor are now knocking at my door almost every hour demanding that I speak to them as if I have some responsibility to serve their bosses.... 

Obviously, the press is working to publicly destroy my reputation before I even have an opportunity to have a day in court. Since I am being tried by the media and my fellow Councilors, I have made the decision to publicly defend myself. That is I will act as my own lawyer in this media trial in which I find myself.

There are a couple points worth noting here. First, it's not just Turner's work that the local media don't cover; it's pretty much every city councilor's work, and city poltics in general. Turner's statement makes me wonder if he gets this.

Second, Turner seems to think that the press actively wants to bring him down--when in fact, those of us who are covering Turner's situation are responding to a federal charge. Unlike House Speaker Sal DiMasi's ongoing travails, for example, which have become news thanks to the Globe's investigative reporting, this is a reactive media situation.

Turner should bear this stuff in mind--especially because he clearly hopes, a la Palin, that the press will now stop misbehaving and do its job. (Among other things, he urged the media to press Feeney on why she'd concluded Turner was guilty before he'd been given his day in court, and suggested that we drop by his Roxbury district office on Wednesday for his next press conference.) I may be wrong, but I think Turner will get a more sympathetic hearing from the press as a whole if he doesn't overreach with the media criticism.

P.S.--I forgot to include Turner's most extreme bit of media-crit hyperbole, but Universal Hub's Adam Gaffin didn't. Here it is:

I will not sit back silently and allow my reputation that I struggled to build for 45 years to be ripped to shreds by employees of rich media corporation owners who have one desire and that is to silence anybody who is willing to speak up about oppression in this city, in this state, in this country.

Again: probably not the best tack to take if you're trying to win over the press. 

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