What the Boston Globe's "Defile Food" Piece Says About the Media

The media likes to pretend that it's conservatives who are lowering the standards and poisonous our discourse in deranged echo chambers. 

And then the Boston Globe helpfully reminded everyone that it's the media doing that by running a piece suggesting that waiters defile the food of Trump administration officials. The fact that the piece ran and why it ran tells us quite a bit about the media today.

Writer Luke O’Neil’s controversial opinion piece, published in the Boston Globe Apr. 10, was edited several times and ultimately removed from the newspaper's website after review from Globe ownership, according to Interim Editorial Editor Shirley Leung.

“In the end, this piece did not meet Globe standards and we regret that it got posted,” Leung, who is also a WGBH News contributor, said Friday in an interview with Boston Public Radio.

In the piece, originally titled “Keep Kirstjen Nielsen unemployed and eating Grubhub over her kitchen sink,” O’Neil wrote that one of his “biggest regrets” was “not pissing in Bill Kristol’s salmon” when he had the chance while working as a waiter. He also suggested that former Trump administration officials like former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen should be made uncomfortable in public.

“As for the waiters out there, I’m not saying you should tamper with anyone’s food, as that could get you into trouble,” O’Neil continued. “You might lose your serving job. But you’d be serving America. And you won’t have any regrets years later.”

Except it seems to have met the "standards" of Globe employees. The firewall didn't come from Leung or anyone on the inside.

The Globe’s decision to ultimately pull the story came after John and Linda Pizzuti Henry read the story, according to Leung.

Henry owns the Boston Globe and the Red Sox. 

“When the Henrys read the column, they felt that even after changing the column — and I ultimately agree with them on this — this is a kind of piece that should never been published on our website to begin with,” Leung said.

The editorial note now posted on the opinion page claims the article “did not receive sufficient editorial oversight and did not meet Globe standards. The Globe regrets its lack of vigilance on the matter. O’Neil is not on staff.”

Leung, who tweeted a link to the story when it was first published, said she originally edited the piece and removed a few lines, re-publishing with a note notifying readers of the changes. “The Globe regrets the previous tone of the piece,” the note read.

“I did what I'm trained to do with a problematic story, I fix them and I flag to the reader why something was changed,” Leung.

No, you don't publish a story that calls for illegal acts against political opponents in the first place. When you do, and tweet links to it, you support it. The problem came when the owners realized what kind of crazy stuff was running in their paper. And the statement blamed the editorial team. 

That would suggest Leung.

Leung was a "provocative" columnist promoted to editorial. She has an obnoxious Twitter presence that leaves you with no doubt about her politics. This should end her tenure at the Boston Globe. But it won't.