The Rest of the Kevin Cullen Story: The Irish Disease

The experts note Kevin said he “spoke emotionally of a phone call with “my pal, Sean O’Brien” who was distraught over his inability to find Jane Richard’s severed limb in the hope that it could be reattached. While Mr. Cullen may have known who Sean O’Brien was on the day of bombing, and vice versa, Lieutenant O’Brien told Globe editors in two 2018 interviews that he did not meet Mr. Cullen until the night after the bombing.”

There is little doubt O’Brien was not Kevin’s pal or friend the night of the bombing. They had never met. Kevin’s discussion on CSPAN panel made it appear that he spoke to him because of the friendship. As the experts noted that most likely never happened.

Kevin had put himself in the position of doing things that others had done. He pretty much put himself in the place of Deputy Finn who spoke to him about the happenings that day at the Erie Pub. Did he deliberately lie at the panel talk or did he believe what he said. Did the trauma of the day and the drink of the night affect his memory? What he said happened most likely did; the only thing is he was not a participant in it.

I have personal experience in this area. I have two Irish friends. Good guys who have done well in their professions. One, I’ll call his Mike, I’ve known since my old neighborhood Savin Hill. On more than one occasion I listened to Mike tell stories about his exploits. I knew these stories. I was there and Mike wasn’t. I had told them to him months earlier. He just made a little difference in them by excluding me from the story and putting himself into it in my place. I had to figure he believed what happened to me happened to him. If he thought he was putting himself in my place he wouldn’t be telling me the story I told him.

Another friend, I’ll call Harry, has an impressive graduate degree. I’ve known him a long time but not as long as Mike.  I told him of an unusual experience I had when I was in the DA’s office. A couple of years later he was talking to me. He told me the same story back. He changed the location of the story to his office and the identities of the people. Harry too had to believe it happened to him.

I have to believe neither Mike nor Harry think they are making up a false story. They have put themselves in my place and believe it happened to them. I’m not saying Kevin did that but it sure looks like he became Deputy Finn in his mind.

Then again Kevin may have been engaged in a bit of hyperbole. Let him who hasn’t throw the first stone. It was mindless banter or embellishment. It is just he inserted himself in the place of others so that he could look a little better. No one was hurt by it. It was close the truth as he recalled from a night of despair and fright. Then again keep in mind Kevin could have used as a defense that he could not help it because he’s Irish.

Perhaps the experts were aware of this. They did note that “Mr. Cullen’s writing style tends to be sentimental, particularly in his columns about firefighters, military veterans and Irish or Irish-American characters around the city.” If that is said of his writing style imagine how much more it would occur when he is playing to a live audience. The temptation to inflate must be overwhelming.

Kevin’s sins are venial, if that. He did nothing for profit. He showed no bias to any particular group. He enlivened his columns with his skillful writing and his talks with a bit of blarney. No one was damaged or hurt by any of his alleged sins. He may not have told the whole truth but then again who does despite the Globe’s belief that it does. This whole affair was really a clear example of a tempest in a tea pot.

In these days of declining newspaper coverage (reportedly the Herald circulation is less than 45,000 papers a day) we need more Kevins working the streets. If the Globe  really believed, as its report said, in “fairness at the Globe, hour by hour, day by day” it would not have called Kevin’s actions “serious violations.” They were minor. To find them the experts and the Globe publisher and editor ignored the pressures on an everyday working columnist caught up in a terrorist bombing  where three were murdered and hundreds maimed had to be ignored. Kevin was on the street digging up the facts the best he could, those others were ensconced in their comfy homes.

Cullen should be praised rather than whacked. I’m sure he felt like telling them to take the job and shove it. I’m glad he didn’t. It would have been a big loss to Boston.

8 thoughts on “The Rest of the Kevin Cullen Story: The Irish Disease

  1. msfreeh

    radio,television and the print media have done
    to our minds what industry has done to the land
    we now think like New York City looks
    Mason Williams 1970

    That is why you can find me reading Russ Baker
    at WhoWhatWhy

    JUNE 20, 2018 | PETER JANNEY
    An Excerpt from Mary’s Mosaic

    also see

    Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?: The Case Against Lyndon B Johnson
    and J Edgar Hoover
    By Phillip F. Nelson

    April 2018

  2. DanC

    Hi Matt,
    I’m not crazy about Cullen (a Jimmy Breslin wannabe), but I like the fact that you’ve gone against the grain by coming to his defense. If Cullen survives the humiliation of spending a couple of months as a general assignment reporter, maybe the Globe will bring him back as a columnist. I see his return as a columnist as a good way of aggravating Howie Carr — always a noble pursuit.

    I didn’t want to let the moment pass without a few words on the Father of Lies, Steve Flemmi. Does anybody seriously believe that Flemmi actually happened to stroll in on a murder in progress? Please. It’s depressingly clear that after a lifetime of murder, Flemmi is as free as a bird. Why on Earth would he agree to testify in this trial if he’s already locked up for life?

    1. hutch

      Kudos on the Carr bon mots. (Not sure of that French thing, but you get the idea. Savin Hill kids didn’t chat like that much.)

    2. mtc9393 Post author


      That is a true description of Flemmi, “the father of lies.” One person believes him that is Freddie Wyshak because Flemmi tells Wyshak what he wants to hear. I have written before the Flemmi thrives on murdering people. I thought he was like Martorano and only murdered twenty to thirty but now says he murdered up to fifty. How in the world can the United States use such a man for a witness. Worse, it is letting him lead the good life in some secure place at our expense.

      As for Cullen, I have my problems with him but I think overall he has done creditable work and at times writes excellent columns. After going through his record with a fine tooth comb looking for something and coming up with nothing but then punishing him makes no sense.

  3. John King McDonald

    Who knew that Kevin Cullen could so seamlessly interweave fact and fiction and leave his … Audience ….on hands and knees searching for a poor child’s blasted limb ? This is a real artistic service to the horrendous events of that day by Matt’s lights ; Oh, that bard of Erin, Kevin Cullen. The real disease is the feeling you are left with after reading his nonsense. Matt’s golf outing with a pal where his low par that day becomes his friend’s is not at all the same stuff as the Boston Marathon Bombing. Serious shit !!!

  4. tadzio

    It is possible that the management of the Globe is more interested in Cullen quitting and thereby foregoing some financial benefit than they are in journalistic integrity which has never been and is not today a hallmark of that paper. Follow the money. Cullen’s long service, has likely accumulated a substantial severance cost A voluntary departure may reduce or eliminate a Globe obligation The management’s actions indicate that the Globe wants Cullen to go away on the cheap. Just a thought.

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