The massacre of journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris is a reminder that protecting the right to offend must trump fears about causing offense.
Eileen McNamara teaches journalism at Brandeis University. A Pulitzer Prize-winning former columnist for The Boston Globe, she is working on a biography of Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Latest by Eileen McNamara
Some are conflating the alleged murderous act of one violent man with the peaceful protests of thousands calling for an end to the proliferation of fatal police shootings of unarmed black men.
The 1,603-page spending bill, crafted behind closed doors and passed on December 11, 2014, will reverse what little progress Democrats have made regulating avaricious bankers and reining in billionaire political contributors.
Why should a rape victim’s access to the courthouse depend on when the crime was committed?
A pragmatic electorate in an independent-minded state rejected the peripatetic Republican candidate’s corporate-funded attempt to nationalize the race.
In this week’s gubernatorial debate, the Republican candidate tearfully re-recounted the story of a struggling — and, apparently, impossible to find — fisherman.
By what measure of rational thought is a draft document that asks about homosexuals — and only asks — whether the Catholic Church is “capable of welcoming these people” a cause for celebration?
It takes no small measure of nerve for a public official with a record of callous indifference to the plight of abused and neglected children to impugn the commitment of a woman who has spent her career championing their cause.
All that foreign policy work has left the former secretary of state a tad tone deaf about the real economic troubles of real American families.
Sec. of State John Kerry seems to have forgotten how he used to feel about dissenters being called traitors.
Getting to the misogyny at the core of their rage.
Does the buck never stop at Pinch’s desk?
Following the deaths of three children, the embattled head of Massachusetts’ child welfare agency resigned this week under mounting pressure. But Eileen McNamara says this simplistic move isn’t the solution.
Soon after this latest tragedy, the community will be called upon to calculate the cost of sacrifice.
The former Massachusetts senator sets his sights on the Granite State. But beyond his reflexive renunciation of “Obamacare,” what exactly does he stand for?
A new report faults Lowell Police in the death of a 31-year-old woman being held in custody. The officers responsible might get “disciplined” — but Eileen McNamara says they should be prosecuted.
No one in the commentariat knows what, if anything, happened in a Connecticut attic 21 years ago between Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow. Here’s what we do know.
Instead of engaging with an obstructionist Congress two miles down the road, Barack Obama is traveling across the country to trumpet ideas his audiences already support.
The media shouldn’t be reporting allegations that Edward Snowden is a Russian spy just because some congressman says so.
John F. Kennedy was the first American president to put what was then called “mental retardation” on the national agenda.
U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper was wrong to allow relatives of murder victims whom James “Whitey” Bulger was not convicted of killing to address his sentencing hearing.
And, predictably, lace curtains become a campaign issue. O’Really?
If one of the ideological twins running for mayor of Boston wants to distinguish himself, he could start here.
Hold power for 20 years and it is easy to forget that Boston is not your city alone but the people’s.
Massachusetts hands out $2 billion a year in corporate tax incentives. But when companies move jobs out of state, slash employee benefits, or otherwise fail to live up to their end of the bargain, officials have little recourse.
The impulse to fire someone or to pass a law in the wake of the horrific stabbing death of a 27-year-old mother in Waltham is understandable, but it won’t stop the next such slaying.
The decision by prosecutors to offer generous plea deals to serial killers in this case was as troubling as the FBI’s abuse of the informant system during Bulger’s reign of terror in Boston.
The royal baby watch this week reminds us that the British monarchy is something of a relic. But, says columnist Eileen McNamara, don’t be so smug. America has its own titled class.
Eliminating race from the prosecution’s case stunted our ability to understand what really happened on the night of February 26, 2012.
Is America really ready to embrace a “race neutral” approach to equality? The majority of the U.S. Supreme Court apparently thinks so.
The more notorious the criminal case, the more tempting it is to disparage the legal protections afforded defendants, making these the very cases in which those protections matter most.
Insisting his recent troubles have nothing to do with his decision, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray secures a new job in Worcester and a quiet exit from Beacon Hill.
Three men were murdered last month in Boston’s lower-profile neighborhoods. They are just as deceased as the bombing victims. Read anything about them?
Babson College is defending its selection of Kerry Healey as its next president. So is Eileen McNamara, who says objections to the former lieutenant governor “ring hollow.”
In the competing narratives of cowardice and courage emerging from the Boston Marathon bombings, perhaps none is as powerful as the story of Carlos Arredondo.
Once a staunch opponent of gay marriage, the Ohio Republican says he now supports same-sex nuptials after his son told him he was gay.
The Boston-New York pontifical pennant race is over. Can we go back to bickering about baseball now?
This is a classic case of selective outrage, says Eileen McNamara.
One of the potential bidders for the Globe just adopted a policy of screening political ads for ‘negativity’ at one of his other papers. If the move reflects his journalistic philosophy, Aaron Kushner is not our man.
Sexual assault on campus should be treated not as an infraction of the college handbook, but as a criminal act.
The Boy Scouts of America announced it is considering a retreat from its controversial policy of excluding gays as leaders and youth members. But not so fast, says Eileen McNamara. It’s not the bold move they want you to think it is.
Reject her legal rationale. Question her prosecutorial discretion. But let’s stop the slander that U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz has blood on her hands for the suicide of Aaron Swartz.
President Obama promised to run the most transparent White House in history. But we know as little now about targeted killings by drone strikes as we did about torture under George W. Bush.
We value the president’s heartfelt tears for those slaughtered in Newtown. But his compassion will do nothing to stop the next massacre that is surely coming if we continue to skirt serious gun control in this country.
Fresh off his move back to Boston, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has wasted no time wading into the political fray. Eileen McNamara takes issue with several comments he made this week to the Boston Herald.
Forget re-election plans. It is time for Mayor Tom Menino to retire. He and Boston will both survive.
If Paula Broadwell is a punch line, the tawdry joke is of her own making. Women should be as furious at her careless folly as they are at Petraeus’ preening arrogance.
It wasn’t the first post-factual presidential campaign, after all. The outcome of election 2012 confirmed that voters still know a lie when they hear one.
The former Democratic presidential nominee and U.S. senator spoke truth to power, unafraid to prescribe bold action in the face of seemingly overwhelming social problems. Who has the guts to do that now?
Eileen McNamara wonders why anyone is shocked by Mitt Romney’s latest private comments when he has been saying the same thing in public all along.
Reality is in short order at conventions. But Eileen McNamara says even the casual viewer could see obvious parallels between Patrick’s governorship and that of the Republican predecessor he was so keen to mock.
It’s nice that Ann Romney loves her husband – but, asks commentator Eileen McNamara, what’s that got to do with his ability to govern?
After graduation, a new place will, and should, beckon. Eileen McNamara says it’s not until the final return to college, that our children really leave home.
Sen. Scott Brown calls foul after voter registration forms are mailed to thousands of welfare recipients. Commentator Eileen McNamara calls it a “manufactured controversy.”