Barnicle: What was he thinking?

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Barnicle Timeline
Elisabeth Anne Riba's overview of Barnicle's controversial past.
New: Addendum that answers questions raised by the timeline.

"PLAGIARIZE, v. To take the thought or style of another writer whom one has never, never read."
-- Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary"

"Although the facts are not all the same, the story is real"
-- Mike Barnicle, on the column that got him fired

FLASH: Barnicle's gone for good. He resigned today (8/19) after new allegations that he made stuff up, rather than just stealing bad jokes.

More details from
Mike takes a hike - The Herald's version.
Barnicle...the final day - A Globe staffer describes the newsroom's reaction.

Striking Similarities: Mike Barnicle, this is A.J. Liebling. Have you met?
8/19 Boston Phoenix article on Barnicle lifting from Liebling (also see their analysis of how Barnicle kept recycling the same lame jokes).

8/21: Barnicle Granted Leave of Absence From 'Chronicle' - from WCVB.

It started innocently enough - Mike Barnicle, far too busy to do any real work, churned out one of his patented, inane "I was just thinking" pieces, probably in about 15 minutes.

Only it turned out that eight to ten of the oh-so-witty comments bore a striking resemblance to similar comments in George Carlin's book BrainDroppings (the exact number depends on whether you believe the Globe or the Herald). A Howie Carr fan dropped a dime to the Herald, which, naturally, promptly wrote about it [See How the story broke for more details].

When confronted by Globe Editor Matt Storin (in a phone call from his vacation hideway in Europe), Barnicle said he had never read Carlin's book. But then somebody found a pesky videotape of him on "Chronicle" promoting the book as "a yuk on every page." Oh, yeah, that, Barnicle said. He then explained that even though he was on videotape recommending the book, he hadn't actually read it. And he refused Storin's request that he do a Patricia Smith and resign.

On 8/11, Storin announced he had changed his mind - he would suspend Barnicle for two months but let him come back to work on Oct. 4.

Now that he's gone, And what's the problem with the Globe Metro section in the first place?

More Barnicle links

The suspension - Globe coverage, includes RealVideo of the Storin/Barnicle press conference. Or read the Herald's take.

Barnicle's Game: Why he should have been fired -- and why he wasn't
The Phoenix's media critic, Dan Kennedy, explores the whole issue.

Boston Globe Columnist Refuses To Resign
Washington Post.

Sorry, Mike doesn't work here anymore
And neither does Patricia Smith

Barnicle's interview with Natalie Jacobson
Requires RealVideo. From WCVB - before he quit the Globe.

Get me rewrite
Dan Kennedy's prescient pre-resignation Phoenix analysis of what's wrong with the Globe Metro section.

Scores more comments on Barnicle
Usenet threads via DejaNews.

This Just In: Spell check; Barnicle goes 0 for 3
Spelling problems, too, as reported by the Phoenix.

What's Mike Barnicle's excuse?
And so does Herald op-ed writer.

Barnicle's big lie makes suspects of us all
And so does another Herald op-ed writer.

Barnicle-encrusted paper rides it out
Oh, look! It's another Herald columnist! You don't think they're enjoying this, do you?

The guy's down, so let's stop kicking him
Well, Joe Fitzgerald says he's not enjoying it, so there!

Confabulation crisis: It's the battle of the Boston Blowhards as a scandal at the Globe raises questions about standards for columnists.
A two-part Salon piece that starts with the Patricia Smith affair and ends with an analysis of the Barnicle column in which he compares himself to assassinated Irish nationalist Michael Collins.

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Copyright 1998 Adam Gaffin.