The Boston branch of the NAACP is accusing The Boston Globe of practicing a double standard for suspending white columnist Mike Barnicle just weeks after forcing out a black female columnist.
The newspaper also came under criticism by members of its staff and in an essay Thursday by the editorial page editor of The New York Times, which is owned by the same company.The Globe first suspended Barnicle, then asked for his resignation after it was revealed that one of his columns contained unattributed jokes from a comedian's book. Barnicle refused to resign, and the paper agreed Tuesday to let him stay after he serves a two-month suspension.
The controversy came less than two months after the Globe asked for - and received - the resignation of columnist Patricia Smith, who admitted to fabricating characters and quotations.
"It is clearly a double standard that has both racial and gender implications," said Wednesday's statement from the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
A statement signed by about 50 Globe staffers and given to newspaper executives criticized the paper on other grounds.
"We believe that for Mike Barnicle to remain on the staff compromises the integrity and credibility of the paper," said reporter Tatiana With Ribadeneira. "We believe that Mr. Barnicle is held to a different standard than the rest of us."
In refusing to resign, Barnicle said his offenses were perhaps "lazy and stupid," but bore no resemblance to Smith's fabrications.
The New York Times essay, written by editorial page editor Howell Raines, said Barnicle "has been the beneficiary of a vigorous public-relations campaign among the profession's old-boy network."
"Long after Mr. Barnicle settles back into his column, the historical bottom line of this event will be that a white guy with the right connections got pardoned for offenses that would have taken down a minority or female journalist," he wrote.