After Peter Lucas, then a columnist for the Boston Herald, erroneously reported in 1983 that Mayor Kevin White would seek a fifth term — "WHITE WILL RUN" was the front-page headline — his unnamed source turned out to be none other than Kevin White.
Lucas offered to resign anyway, but the editors were not about to let him be punished for falling victim to a dirty trick.
This morning it looks as though the Herald is trying to close the books as quickly as possible on its erroneous Feb. 2 report about the Patriots' having videotaped a St. Louis Rams walk-through before the 2002 Super Bowl, running an apology that's teased in huge type across the front and back covers.
In a perverse twist, the Globe runs the covers online, while, at least at the moment, they are not available on the Herald's Web site.
The theme of the day seems to be whether the Herald reporter who wrote the walk-through story, John Tomase, should be fired. That's what they're talking about on WEEI Radio (AM 850).
But Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media remains struck by the specificity of Tomase's story. "The situation isn’t as cut-and-dry as it might appear at a casual glance," Allen writes.
Let's get a grip. It's not like Tomase wrote false, anonymously sourced stories that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But I would like to know more. I keep thinking about what happened to Peter Lucas, and wonder if the reason Tomase got it so wrong was because his source was so good.
If Herald editors have reason to believe that Tomase's source was not acting in good faith, will they out him? Today's apology would seem to preclude that. But, like Paul Flannery of Boston Magazine, I hope we haven't heard the last of this.