Hiawatha Bray

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Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe.

Biography

Bray was born in Chicago and completed a bachelor's degree in economics from Knox College, Galesburg, IL in 1976, worked with the U.S. Postal Service for seven year. On completing a master's degree in communications from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois (IL) in 1985 he started as a "reporter and managing editor for Computerpeople Monthly, a Chicago computer magazine".

"He then became a reporter and columnist for the Wheaton, IL Daily Journal, where he won numerous awards from the Associated Press, the Inland Daily Press Association, and the Suburban Newspapers of America. From 1989 to 1991, Mr. Bray worked at the Lexington, Ky. Herald-Leader as a business reporter. During this period, he received a Davenport Fellowship in business journalism at the University of Missouri. He then went to the Detroit Free Press, where he covered banking and technology. His work with a team of journalists on the NBC Dateline pickup-truck scandal won the John Hancock Award for Business Journalism. In addition, he was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists for his work on a series of stories about supermarkets in Detroit. In addition, Mr. Bray received a Jefferson Fellowship for the study of Asian business and politics at the East-West Center in Honolulu. Mr. Bray joined the staff of the Boston Globe in 1995. He was recently named as one of the 10 most influential newspaper journalists covering technology by the editors of Marketing Computers magazine.," a biogrpahical note states.[1] [emphasis added].

The Issue

A journalist, particularly one whose column is widely read, as stated above, and one whose opinions are frequently cited, has a responsibility to not exploit that status, to be accurate and truthful in all that he/she says, and to take responsibility for his/her statements and actions. In particular, as stated by Bray's employer below, "Journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics."

Ethical Violation

  • Mouthy of Mouthy.com posted "Cheer up, guys" November 8, 2004: An interesting post I came across from a Bush supporter who works at the Boston Globe:
From: Hiawatha Bray
Date: November 4, 2004 3:57:30 PM EST
To: dave farber's listserv
Subject: Cheer up, guys
As a Bush supporter, I'm feeling pretty good right now, so maybe I can't quite appreciate some of the bitter commentary I'm reading here. ... But I say this sincerely as a fellow American--cut it out. ... So suck it up, you guys. You lost, and that means that you and your friends did something wrong. You didn't get your message across or you need to change your position on some issues. Whatever. In any case, it's about YOU. Not the 59 million who didn't agree with you. You've got to do something different. Focus on that and you've got a chance. ..."
It is apparent that Hiawatha Bray, a technology reporter for the Boston Globe which is owned by The Times Company, "wrote posts for several weblogs in which he declared his support for President Bush, attacked Sen. John Kerry, and bolstered discredited allegations by the anti-Kerry group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth)."
Bray is guilty, at the very least, of violating his company's "specific guidelines for the political behavior of its journalists, ...
"Journalists have no place on the playing fields of politics. Staff members are entitled to vote, but they must do nothing that might raise questions about their professional neutrality or that of The Times. In particular, they may not campaign for, demonstrate for, or endorse candidates, ballot causes or efforts to enact legislation." [emphasis added].
Bray's posts went beyond expressing his personal opinion on the blogs and slipped well into the realm of false "reporting":
"In fact, only one Swift Boat Vet member actually served on a boat that Kerry commanded; none were present for the incidents in which Kerry's earned any of his medals or his three Purple Hearts; Kerry did release his medical records; and Kerry did not accuse soldiers of committing atrocities. In his 1971 Senate testimony as a representative of Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), Kerry related the stories of other Vietnam veterans who came home and participated in the 1971 Winter Soldier Investigation, in which they described incidents they had said they personally witnessed."
  • Dan Kennedy reports March 2, 2005, in his The Boston Phoenix "Media Log" that "It looks like Bray won't be posting political comments in the future. When I asked him to respond to the Media Matters article, he referred me to Globe spokesman Al Larkin, who e-mailed to me the following statement:
Mr. Bray is a technology reporter and did not cover the presidential campaign, other than a minor technology-related story on very rare occasions. That said, his blog postings were inappropriate and in violation of our standards, and he was informed of that when we learned of them last Fall. Mr. Bray was instructed to discontinue any such postings, and to our knowledge he complied.
Mr. Bray was not a Globe reporter on the Swift Boat Veterans matter, the presidential primaries, or the general election campaign. Our coverage of those subjects should be judged on its own merits, and we are confident the coverage meets the standards of fairness, accuracy, and honesty.
Kennedy adds "Bray, as it happens, has his own blog, MonitorTan.com. It appears to be devoted entirely to tech issues. If you search for either 'Kerry' or 'Bush' for instance, you will get technology stories about the campaign, not political rants."
  • Please note, however, the only available archived postings on the website date to January, February, and March 2005.

Related Articles


Other Questionable Bray Postings

Michael Howard Quote: "Whatever its military justification, the bombing of Afghanistan, with the inevitable 'collateral damage' it causes, will gradually whittle away the immense moral ascendancy that we enjoyed as a result of the bombing of the World Trade Center."
Bray: "I don't want moral ascendancy. I want victory over the people who just murdered 5,000 Americans. Find them. Kill them. If they become martyrs, that's fine with me. I don't care if a billion Muslims put pictures of Osama over their beds at night, as long as they stay in their beds. If they come and mess with my country, then find them and kill them."
Gillmor: "Unlike this case, Bush has only just begun to answer the serious questions, and not convincingly."
Bray: "Dan, there's nothing to answer. Nothing. Zero. Zip. All the records of Bush's Guard service have been published. There's nothing there. The guy who once said he never saw Bush on duty now admits he has Alzheimers and may simply have forgotten. Another guy has declared that he does remember seeing him. ... There is Simply No Story Here. None. Same goes with l'affaire Kerry. And that goes even if the story was true. This is all pointless drivel. Hang it up. Sheesh."
Gillmor: "Hiawatha, I disagree. There's clearly a story -- the question is how bad it is for Bush. Maybe everything is out now, but I strongly doubt it."
Bray: "Dan, if there's a story here, what is it? The fact that Bush cannot precisely document his actions every minute of every day he was in the NG is not a story. There's no credible evidence he failed to do his duty--zero. So what's there to write about?"
"First, the claim that 'the (Fox) news channel and the administration violated a reporter-source agreement' is false. The agreement was between the White House and the assembled reporters. Clarke had nothing to say about it. It was up to the White House to insist upon the restriction, or to rescind it. Fox contacted the White House, and got their eager permission to let it rip. No ethical violation here.
"But then we turn to the claim that Clarke easily handled the attack. Well, I didn't see the hearings, but I've read newspaper accounts. I've also read the Fox background briefing. Have you? Because it is utterly impossible to reconcile what Clarke said in 2002 with what he's saying now. In 2002, he makes some specific claims about specific acts undertaken by the Bushies. For example, he said that in the spring of 2001, the administration authorized a fivefold increase in anti-al Qaeda funding. That's impossible to square with his 60 Minutes assertion that the administration did 'nothing' about al Qaeda--a claim he backed away from yesterday, by the way.
"I've interviewed Clarke on a couple of occasions and have always considered him a serious, intelligent and trustworthy guy. But after reading the Fox transcript, we're stuck with two options. He was lying then, or he's lying now."
  • "More Scare Tactics from Bush/Cheney," Silicon Valley, September 7, 2004: "AP: Cheney Warns Against Vote for Kerry. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday warned Americans about voting for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, saying that if the nation makes the wrong choice on Election Day it faces the threat of another terrorist attack."
Bray: "Er...what's wrong with what Cheney said? The argument between the two candidates is precisely about which of them can best protect us from terrorism. Obviously implicit in each candidate's argument is the belief that a vote for the other imperils the nation's security. So Cheney just said so. What's the big deal?"
Bray (February 1): "I guess I don't get it. Some right-wing guy sets himself up as a journalist. My reply: A hearty So What? If the era of the Internet has taught us anything, it is that anybody who wants to be a journalist is a journalist. There are no 'bona fides.' Does the guy have links to right-wing organizations. Maybe. Again, so what? Either what he reports is true or it's false. That's the only meaningful criterion left. And that's as it should be."
Bray (February 15): "By the way, I still don't buy the 'CIA sold drugs' claims, but the other examples you cite are proven facts. They serve as a reminder that in the US, it's darn near impossible to keep anything secret for long.
"If soldiers were ordered to kill reporters, don't you think a few of them would object, refuse, and then blow the whistle? I have no doubt of it. Which is why I don't believe it happened.
"If Eason Jordan knows better, he has an obligation to provide evidence. Otherwise, he should shut up about it. Which, I suppose, he will now do."

Contact details

Hiawatha Bray
Technology Reporter
Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
135 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02107 USA
617-929-3119 voice
617-929-3183 fax
Email: bray@globe.com
Email: watha@monitortan.com
Weblog Monitortan.com: "The mental meanderings of Hiawatha Bray, technology reporter for the Boston Globe."

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Hiawatha Bray

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