Keeping Up Your Vocabulary: Globeyman

DSC_0696Etymology: Globeyman is derived from the word bogeyman.The etymology of bogeyman although uncertain perhaps comes from theMiddle English word bugge which means frightening spectre. There are, however, words such as the German variation bogge, the Welsh word bwg, the Scottish/Gaelic word bocon and other such variations as boggart, boggy, and bubbear all of which refer to some sort of goblin or other horrifying monsters”.

Because of the frequent use by the Boston Globe of setting up these bogeymen to frighten its readership, when done by a newspaper the word is changed to globeyman.


Being derived from bogeyman we first turn to that definition which is that “it is an imaginary monster that is used to frighten children; or a person who is hated or feared by a group of people.”

Globeyman then is an imaginary or made-up event or an unverified connection between a person and an event used to frighten readers or watchers of news media. It is usually attributed to anonymous sources or to some other vague entity such as “some people” or “high officials.”

These sources or people will then suggest something that is occurring at that time. There will be no evidence of it other than from these entities. Once that has been done, the statement is accepted as true and the media will thereafter write of it as if it is a proven fact and spell out all the dangerous consequences that will follow.

An example would be a newspaper writing about a candidate for office saying “some people say that Miss Candidate is deeply in debt the members of the Mafia.” Without more the newspaper will write: “if that is true then there is a great danger that Miss Candidate will be under the control of mob figures.” It then goes on to explain how bad that is: “It is impossible for society to be effectively represented by someone who is indebted to the mob. This will jeopardize all the good programs that are now in existence.”

The idea is to leave the casual reader with the impression that there must be something to it – under  the “where there’s smoke there must be fire” idea. It is a corrupt and underhanded method used by some media to destroy the reputation of public figures and others. This is often called the “some-people-if-true hit.”

Another method is to make connections between a person and certain things without any showing the person was aware of those things. Real life examples of this are from the Boston Globe.

Here is the set up: “Bunker Veterans Social Club, a locked-door facility with a shady past. . .  Prosecutors charged that gangster Gerald Sarro — part of a massive drug-dealing, loan-sharking and bookmaking gang — used the Bunker to take illegal bets until he went to prison in 2010. Last August, Boston police cited the club for selling alcohol without a license.”

Then the link.

“[Patty] would sometimes run her campaign operation out of the [club] . . . But the club’s reputation did not deter Campatelli.  Patty had a laptop on a table and one on the pool table . . . “

The globeyman is that there is this horrible place and without the slightest bit of evidence suggesting the person knew about it. It is based on sources who are identified as “two people with direct knowledge” or “someone who frequents the club.”

Another example is where an attorney general was said by “some” to be giving corrupt politicians a pass.  The paper went on to say: “If true, then . . . has abused the public trust for his narrow political advantage. The real losers are the people that the laws, when unenforced, fail to protect.”

5 thoughts on “Keeping Up Your Vocabulary: Globeyman

  1. “Highly reliable sources within the Probation Department said . . . ”
    “It is generally conceded that (mr X’s Candy Shop serves stale bread) . . .”
    When he was arrested, the police/FBI said they found “pornography” on his computer. N.B. It’s not a crime to view pornography; it’s legal for an adult to view naked adults running down the street; it may be pornographic, but why mention it? To sell more newspapers.
    Here’s another one: “FRank Salemme told us in confidence .. . ” or “John Martorano confided in us that Frank Salemme was never there, instead it was Joe Palloocka who stole the plans for the bank.” “Unimpeachable eye witness says he saw Palloocka with the bank plans in his hands.”

  2. Here’s a whopper written by Margarie Egan which found itself on the front page of the Herald the day after 35,000 people resoundlingly welcomed and gave five standing ovations to Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice: The HERAlD’s headline: RICE BOOED: I was in the audience that day she was the keynote speaker at BC’s gradutation; Were there any boos? Barely audibly, there were a smattering of boos probably by 20 people out of a crowd of 35,000, any booing was immediately drowned out. Inside the football stadium, when Rice first began to talk, 20 radical professors and 150 brainwashed stooges among the student body, stood up and turned their backs on Rice. They stood for about a minute. Scattered boos from the crowd were directed at them, not at Rice; when they sat down, humiliated, the only boos for the rest of the day, maybe two or three boos, came from their vicinity and most likely was a handful of the radicals booing. Contrast that with 35,0000 cheering for RICE, and 35,000 giving her an additional FIVE standing ovations, understanding these facts, you can see how sleezy Egan and the Herald can be. The headline should have been RICE CHEERED by Tens of thousands, or RICE receives and overwhelming warm welcome. But no! Not from a Boston newspaper like the GLOBE or HERALD whose stock in trade is duplicity, deceit and outright lying; the Globe in fact being worse than the Herald. You should have been there when the Globe portrayed the 12,000 Veterans from South Boston, Dorcheser and vicinity (Quincy, etc.) were labeled as backward, neanderthalic, retrograde dunces by the GLOBE. I’ve mentioned Peter Gelzinis calling the VETERANS attorney Chester DArling an incompetent dunce, way in over his head. Within three years Gelzinis, everyone at the Globe, most politicians in Massachusetts, and all the law professors (but two) who sided with the GAY GROUP and all the lawyers and major law firms and pro-bono groups (who sided with the GAY GROUP and its lawyers GLAD in their attempt to alter the Speech of the VETERANS and shut down their parade…within 3 years all these enemies of free speech and enemies of the Constitution were forced to eat their words. Faced with a 9-0 unanimous victory from SCOTUS affirming the VETERANS right to run their own parade and to include or exclude any group they want “A parade is a pristine form of free speech”, FACED WITH EVEN THAT, THE BOSTON GLOBE CALLED FOR A BOYCOTT OF THE ST. PAT’S PARADE AND WROTE “ALL DECENT PEOPLE AND PEOPLE OF GOOD WILL SHOULD SHUN NEXT YEAR’S PARADE.” THAT YEAR OVER ONE MILLION SPECTATORS CAME OUT TO SEE THE VETERANS’ VERSION OF A ST, PAT’S PARADE, NOT THE GLOBE’S VERSION AND NOT THE STATE JUDGES AND STATE MCAD ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGES VERSION!

  3. Matt, love your sharp wit. I think a lot of people in this day and age still DO trust everything they read in the papers and form their general opinion from that alone. Never questioning anything or trying to read between the lines. Newspapers are supposed to report “news,” right? not try to sway public perception or opinion with borderline libelous and slanderous statements of opinion, not fact. That type of column or commentary is fine in America, as long as it doesn’t slander or libel, and importantly as well, that it is not tried to be surreptitiously slipped in with real news, and is labelled and presented accordingly.
    Example: Howard “the Coward” Carr ( A lying, soulless buffoon at best, but legal and necessary in a democracy.)
    I have noticed that the Herald has paid out big on one or two of these type lawsuits recently… come the Globe gets away with it?

  4. It is interesting to read the Wikipedia entry for “yellow journalism”:

    “Joseph Campbell [American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion] defines yellow press newspapers as having daily multi-column front-page headlines covering a variety of topics, such as sports and scandal, using bold layouts (with large illustrations and perhaps color), heavy reliance on unnamed sources, and unabashed self-promotion. The term was extensively used to describe certain major New York City newspapers about 1900 as they battled for circulation.”

    Look familiar? What is old is new again as newspapers and other media struggle to remain in existence.

  5. Here’s a couple recent examples . . .

    “It is said that Daher made a deal . . . ”
    “It was common belief among many that Daher had . . . ”

    Surprisingly, not from the Globe.

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