Monday, July 30, 2012

Romney in Roxbury

Romney in Roxbury
By Arthur Stadnik

With less than 100 days left until the Presidential Election we can be sure of many more headlines and articles that overwhelm us with imbalance and rhetoric.  No surprise there! The newspapers, the television ads and everywhere in-between will be bombarding the public with their rationale of why your guy won’t do.  If you’re looking for fair and balanced reporting, good luck!

To prove my point, in a random sort of way, I’ll blindly grab a newspaper from the recycling container here at home.  Rummaging… rummaging… ahhh, and the winner is: The Boston Globe, Friday, July 20, 2012. And look at that headline!  “In Roxbury, Romney hits Obama’s business message” by Callum Borchers.  The article is accompanied with a large photo of Romney in blue jeans standing next to a tool box.  There is also a group of workers who seem to be a standoff-ish 20 feet away. 

The article is about Romney’s visit to the Roxbury business Middlesex Truck & Coach, owned by Brian Maloney.  Romney is there to add fuel to the fire started by what is being dubbed as Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech.  Romney and Maloney are clearly upset with Obama.  Romney says, “Come here and talk to Brian, and you’ll learn that in fact he did build this business, someone else isn’t responsible for what he did here.  He’s the one that took the risk.  He’s the one that built this enterprise.”  Maloney adds, “I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don’t start and build businesses.  We don’t need any of government’s help, we haven’t had any.” 

You’re only a third of the way through the article at this point and the tables are about to be turned.  Borchers digs into Maloney’s business history and here is what he reveals: “a preferential bank loan from the City of Boston if the business moved to Crosstown Industrial Park,” and “a $560,000 federal government contract.”  This is followed with a reference to Romney’s lack of visibility in the Roxbury community as Governor.  He mentions the protestors outside the Middlesex Truck & Coach.  They are demonstrating Romney’s past business practices as head of Bain Capital and his not releasing all of his tax information. The article goes back to Maloney and mentions how he works in Roxbury but lives in a 1.3 million dollar home in Brookline.

All right already, Callum. I get the point!  These rich, out of touch business owners and politicians just don’t get us blue jeaned, blue collared Globe readers.  But your attack on Romney and Maloney are just as unfair and biased.  Just as they took the President’s words out of context to offend current and aspiring business owners, you have countered with an unfair attack on Maloney and his business.  You haven’t said anything we already don’t know or haven’t heard about Romney and for this you have a page one story?  Where’s the balance?

I want to read about the workers at Middlesex Truck & Coach.  What does Brian Maloney think about all the notoriety he has gained from The Globe article?  Borchers reported “neither Romney nor Maloney answered reporters’ questions after the event” but when I called Middlesex Truck & Coach, Brian was more than willing to answer a few of my questions.

I asked Brian first what he thought of the Globe piece.  He seemed defensive and explained, “That loan in 1980 was an Industrial Revenue Bond created to keep jobs in the community… if we didn’t succeed I would have lost everything!”  I sensed his defensiveness and to ease the conversation I told him I did not appreciate the way he was portrayed in the Globe.  He talked about the house he bought 30-plus years ago for $60,000.  Does the Globe want him to apologize for the equity gained since?  Did he cause the market value during that time frame to go crazy?

Realizing I just wanted him to have the opportunity to express his opinion of this event, he seemed much more relaxed.  He told me with pride how his business had won the 1987 Small Business of the Year Award.  He didn’t know how or why Romney picked his business for this media event, but why would he say no?  He had never met Romney before, but did say, “What a nice guy.  I mean that and in an unbiased way!  At one point I apologized to him because there were protestors outside.  He told me ‘don’t worry about it.  There’s always two teams’!”  Brian was very sincere during our brief conversation.  I thanked him for his time and he wished me well. 

The political season is in high gear.  Take no prisoners; no one is to be spared.  They will fight fire with fire!  Beware of what you read, the impression you receive is sent from a narrow perspective.  Romney’s propaganda surrounding “you didn’t build that” takes advantage of a small portion of what Obama said in a speech.  Borchers’ distortion of businessman Brian Maloney gives the reader no glimpse at all into the character or hard work that has made him successful. 

The value of this story has been compromised!  Articles like Borchers’ will not influence my vote. 

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