The Boston Phoenix
August 10 - 17, 2000

[Don't Quote Me]

Saint Joseph, continued

by Dan Kennedy

JACOBY doesn't know if he'll return to the Globe.

Boston Globe transportation reporter Tom Palmer wrote a sharp commentary for the Sunday Focus section on the conservatism of African-American comedian Chris Rock. Palmer's point -- that Rock's scatalogical mouth obscures some Republican-sounding ideas about welfare and taxes, among other issues -- was a smart bit of cultural criticism that the Globe's opinion pages could use more of. Also on the money was Palmer's observation that Rock is working within a tradition that ranges from truth-telling comics such as Lenny Bruce and George Carlin to today's rap groups. Given that Palmer, a conservative, has twice sought to move to the op-ed page, this raises a natural question: is he bucking for suspended columnist Jeff Jacoby's slot?

"I love what I'm doing now and am absolutely not looking for Jeff's job," Palmer responds. "I hope he comes back and continues the excellent work he's done so far at the Globe."

Jacoby is serving a four-month suspension for writing a July 3 tribute to the signers of the Declaration of Independence without making it clear that his was similar to pieces by Paul Harvey and by Rush Limbaugh's father, as well as to various Internet incarnations. Weirdly enough, he is working as a fill-in host this week on WTKK, in the time slot preceding Barnicle's.

As to whether he will return to the Globe or move on, Jacoby says, "I honestly don't have a definitive answer to that."

Trying to predict the future can be hazardous for a headline writer's health. VEEPSTAKES FEVER: GORE EYES KERRY AND EDWARDS FOR TICKET proclaimed the Boston Herald on Monday. Underneath was a big photo of Massachusetts senator John Kerry, the local favorite. The story, citing "sources close to the search," reported that Gore had narrowed his list to Kerry and North Carolina senator John Edwards.

Of course, at 7 a.m., just as readers were picking up the Herald from their front doorstep or from the local newsstand, the news broke that the choice was Joe Lieberman.

Well, uh, never mind.

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