For the past two weeks, listeners of WEEI’s morning show, Kirk and Callahan, have heard a barrage of criticism leveled at Boston Globe Columnist Kevin Cullen. The two have called out Cullen for suggesting he was present at 2013 Boston Marathon bombings when he was nowhere near at the time.
They also accuse him of making up details about first responders, and exaggerating other details in columns and interviews about the bombings. Last Friday, Boston Globe Editor Brian McGrory posted an editor’s note saying Cullen had been placed on paid administrative leave until an investigation is complete.
That note did not mention the source of the allegations, Kirk and Callahan, and was also vague about the scope of the investigation. However, Beat the Press has obtained an internal Globe memo that explains that the paper has enlisted the services of Boston University College of Communication Dean Tom Fiedler, former AP Executive Kathleen Carroll and former New York Times Public Editor Dan Okrent to review Cullen’s work. (Fiedler also appears occasionally on Beat The Press. He was not the source of the memo.)
The probe will be two parts: the first focusing on Cullen’s writings and interviews about the Boston Marathon; the second will include a broader look into his entire body of work. The initial probe could be complete within a week or two but the broader one will take longer.
Still, the Globe has yet to publish anything about the probe and apparently has put a moratorium on any news stories or columns about Cullen and WEEI until the probe is complete. Even though Kirk and Callahan have raised credible questions about Cullen’s work, it’s hard to get past the mean-spirited way in which they’ve gone after Cullen. Earlier this year, Globe columnist Shirley Leung took on WEEI’s advertisers over the tone of WEEI programming, asking if they want to be associated with programming that is racist, sexist and vulgar. The Globe’s silence this time around is conspicuous.
This post has been updated.