You might be surprised to know how much journalists crave intelligent criticism. Listening to it and, when warranted, incorporating it into our work is a crucial part of the job.

Unfortunately, thoughtful feedback is increasingly rare. Instead, we get garbage like the email we received the other day from a local troll who, incredibly, was once the failed nominee of her party for a major federal office.

We offer excerpts here – all quotes in italics – along with polite but firm annotation as a historical document of our troubled times and a primer for how not to communicate effectively:


No, it’s Jon, as you can see in the byline. If the misspelling was inadvertent, it’s lazy and off-putting. If intentional, it’s stupid.

Every piece that I read that you write [sic] attacks Republicans without lifting a finger towards the disastrous records of corrupt Democrats in our state or nationwide.

You “read” our column awfully selectively; we rarely write about Republicans, and when we do it’s usually to bemoan how their impotence leaves our government without crucial balance.

Democrats for years are unable to get their act together on Beacon Hill if their lives depended on it.

Yes, as we repeatedly note in this column, including last week when we described the new state budget as “bloated.” Again, your reading comprehension is sub-par to say the least.

You are silent on the Durham report, the Department of Injustice, and all of the whistleblower testimony.  It’s irresponsible reporting, plain and simple.

This column deals almost exclusively with local and regional issues. There is no reason why we would take up the Durham report, which found problems with the FBI’s probe of the 2016 Trump campaign’s Russian connections. (It led to one minor conviction, two acquittals, and no finding that the Bureau shouldn’t have investigated.) Meanwhile, you smear the entire Department of Justice without evidence. That’s “irresponsible,” not the routine decisions made by editors and reporters every day about what they’re going to devote their time and forum to.

I read the piece that you wrote about Seth Moulton advocating for abortion for military members but I’ve read nothing about the arrest of Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s son for assaulting a Boston police officer.

This sentence is aggressively fact-free. Moulton doesn’t “advocate for abortion for military members;” he supports a Pentagon policy now under fire from right-wingers that funds travel for female troops who need to seek abortion services in another state due to recent anti-choice legislation. Riley Dowell, the adult daughter of Rep. Clark, received a year of probation in May after apologizing to the officer she struck. What that has to do with Moulton or us is a mystery.

It is selective and heavily biased political reporting.

It’s an opinion column. Your comments are projection, the transference of qualities you hate about yourself onto someone else.

Turn off the computer and seek help.

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Jon Keller has been reporting and commenting on local politics since 1978. A graduate of Brandeis University, he worked in radio as a producer and talk-show host before moving into print journalism at The Tab newspapers and the Boston Phoenix. Freelance credits include the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Boston Magazine, the New Republic and the Washington Post. Since 1991 his "Keller At Large" commentaries and interviews have been a fixture on Boston TV, first on WLVI-TV and, since 2005, on WBZ-TV. He is a 12-time Emmy Award winner for political reporting and commentary. He began his Massterlist column in March 2020.