In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle pays tribute to legendary New York City columnist Jimmy Breslin, who died Friday at the age of 88. “He stood for the vulnerable and used the voice contained in his talent to call out the political people and anyone else who abused or ignored the poor, the disenfranchised, anyone living on life’s margins and judged by their zip code, their needs or their lack of income.” Read the column in its entirety here.
The latest episode of How I Got Here features award-winning journalist and Morning Joe regular Mike Barnicle talking to the show’s creators, his son Tim Barnicle and Harry Hill, sharing stories from his youth in Fitchburg to his days in Washington D.C., his years as a celebrated newspaper columnist for The Boston Globe and much more. Hear Mike’s inspiring interview, as well as fascinating interviews with Tom Brokaw, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ken Burns and Maria Shriver on PodcastOne.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle paints a haunting picture of the harsh, cold reality of war for fallen soldiers and their families – buried in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery — to heed a message to President Donald Trump about the significance and responsibility that now rests upon his shoulders as he fulfills the role of Commander-in-Chief. “Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States. Then, for the first time, he might well realize that his most important obligation is to be aware of the fact that only he can add to the names carved on war memorials and cemetery headstones because he now carries the burden, the weight and responsibility of being commander in chief. That is his duty, to honor the dead by never forgetting their sacrifice or the failed politics that sent them to die.” Read the entire column here.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Morning Joe veteran columnist Mike Barnicle writes about his experience as he accompanied Vice President Joe Biden to a rally in Biden’s home state of Pennsylvania. “He is a joyful, hands-on, shoulder-punching, hugging, smiling guy whose idea of a great day is a crowd, an event, a few laughs, and the certitude that his day will end at evening with his family by his side,” writes Barnicle of Biden. Using the analogy of baseball, he describes Biden’s profound speech to the Pennsylvania crowd at the rally. “On the stage, needing no notes, the thoughts filling the hall with a sense of optimism about the future and a ton of scorn for the scorched-earth landscape of the present political campaign, Joe Biden was the closer, coming out of the bullpen throwing fastballs at a time when the public has turned in disgust from spitballs or curves.” Read the whole column here.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, MSNBC senior columnist Mike Barnicle asks readers to take a look at the attributes they would want to see in the next president — before they cast their vote. “I don’t want anyone rushing into the polling booth without thinking about the choice,” writes Barnicle. He provides a list of characteristics to contemplate in selecting our next president: competence, courage, an ability to listen and take advice, humility, honesty, patience, and empathy. “Donald J. Trump is without empathy. He proves it over and over each and every day. He has no understanding, no grasp of something that binds almost all of us together: a sense of what it’s like to suffer a loss.” Read the whole column here.
With all the press and social media coverage that followed Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson not being able to answer Mike Barnicle’s question on Morning Joe about Aleppo, Mike weighs in on the deeper meaning of the question, putting it into context, and explaining its overarching significance for all the presidential candidates as well as for each and every one of us. Read his latest column for The Daily Beast here.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes about the extraordinary life of his friend and top cop John Timoney, an Irish immigrant who curbed crime as Chief of the New York Police Department, Philadelphia Police Commissioner and most recently Miami Police Department Chief. Barnicle juxtaposes Timoney’s life and life’s work with that of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, writing: “John Timoney was a sentinel of the city. And his life, his accomplishments and his very demeanor stand as a vivid antidote to the toxic behavior of another man from New York City who manages to incite a fear of the future by constantly hinting or even claiming that America is being stolen by some who do not belong here or rigged by some others in political power.” Read the rest of the column here on Timoney, who passed away earlier this month in Miami.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike writes about Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s attack on the family of Army Captain Humayun Khan, killed in Iraq in 2004 at the age of 27. Mike writes: “Here in the middle of an American summer one of the candidates to become Commander in Chief has proven with words and tweets that he is without the grace, the humility, the compassion or the simple comprehension of what it’s like for a mother and a father to lose a child in service of the nation. Donald J. Trump often speaks and tweets without thought but this week he spoke and tweeted without a heart.”
Does Donald Trump Have a Heart? Find out here.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump: “He is a Hall of Fame salesman, always pushing the perfect product, the only item that exists in his mind: himself. He views himself as the answer to everything that ails or angers us. Any ill at all, he tells us, will be dealt with and taken care of by mid-afternoon on January 20, 2017 if only we will be smart enough to make him president.”
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike highlights President Obama’s moving speech in Dallas “because of gunshots in the night, gunshots fired by a racist, gunshots that killed five police officers and broke another piece of a nation’s troubled heart.
“If you heard him, watched him, listened – really listened – you heard a man, the President of the United States, who spoke to what is best in us and what will save us from the calamity of racial and class division. He is the only president we have and on one American afternoon in July 2016 he was the one we so badly need,” writes Mike.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle weighs in on the amazing life of the late, great Muhammad Ali and fondly recalls one day 36 years ago, when he spent a day with The Greatest Of All Time. “Muhammad Ali is dead. Who he was and is, a complete man in full, complicated, courageous, charming, multi-dimensional, remains quite alive.” Read the entire column here: “The Real Reason We Will Miss Muhammad Ali”
THE BOSTON GLOBE
BY MIKE BARNICLE
THROUGH HISTORY WITH STYLE
Jun 9, 1980
Ali had a cold. It had kept him up most of the night and now, just past 7 on Saturday morning, he was sitting in the kitchen of his friend, George Butler, in Marblehead, holding a bottle of pills in the palm of his hand. “One every 12 hours,” he mumbled. “Think I can remember that?” “Want some orange juice, Muhammad?” Butler asked.
“Yeah, orange juice,” Ali answered. “And some ice. Got some ice?”
Ali poured the orange juice over the ice cubes. He placed the pill in his mouth and swallowed after the first sip of the drink. Time and things like common colds are now his enemy.
He is 38, this phenomenon of our age. He is, perhaps, the most famous, the most easily recognizable figure in the world. His name – Ali – summons a hundred different emotions whenever and wherever it is mentioned. Three different times he has been heavyweight champion of the world. But he has been much more.
“I don’t have no boss,” Ali was saying. “I don’t have to call no one. I’m a free agent. I do what I wanna do. And my purpose is to teach; to be the first black man that got big. And I’m the biggest thing on earth. I know that. And I’m free.
“When I went to Russia, I went in to see Brezhnev and he got up from his desk and came over and put his arms around me. He says, I been waitin’ to meet you for a long time. All the Russian people know you. And the next day, when I went back to see him, he had his grandchildren there and he says, They know you too.”‘
Ali has marched through history with a grace that knows no time and a style that has conceded nothing to the events around him. He threw away his Olympic gold medal. He changed his name when he found religion. He refused to be drafted during the war in Vietnam. And he kept on fighting and talking; talking and fighting. He has spent 187 nights ducking quick lefts and right hands full of thunder to either defend or get the championship of heavyweights. Now, there are some who say that all of this has taken its toll and Ali suffers from brain damage.
“Could be,” he said, when asked about a doctor’s theory. “Anytime you get knocked out, even for a few seconds, there’s probably brain damage.
“But all that talk’s just people tryin’ to discredit me. Tryin’ to make people think I’m off so they don’t listen to me. But I know that God has got me here for something special. When I was in Russia, I realized there was something divine about my life. A black man in Russia. Imagine that.”
He checked his watch and saw it was almost eight in the morning. Later in the day, Harvard was going to honor him by making Ali an honorary member of the Class of l975. The school had only done that once before, in l930, for Walter Lippmann. “Make sure they mention that,” Ali said.
“Who’s the greatest man you ever met?” Ali was asked as he played with a cup of tea.
“Elijah Muhammad,” he said right away. “He took a whole nation and made them people. People who used to call themselves Negroes, he changed them to callin’ themselves black.
“Why were we called negroes? Is there a country called negro? Chinese, they come from China. Cubans called Cubans cause they come from Cuba. Germans from Germany. French from France. What country’s called Negro. He made us proud. He taught us.
“A black cup of coffee is a strong cup. Black earth is rich earth. Allah made me a world wonder. Allah made me millions. I gave up a lot too. I gave up my title. I fought against the white man’s war in Vietnam. I did this by myself and I was right.
“You say, Anything scare you, Ali?’ What could scare me? I had my jaw broken in a ring. Look at this,” he said, holding up his fist. “You know what would happen to your head if I hit you with this? Vietnam. Gettin’ drafted. Scared of what? What could scare me after all the things I done. Only thing I’m scared of is Allah and his punishment. I’m a spiritual man.
“Superstar don’t mean shit to me. I don’t care about discos. No stuff like that. God made this planet and he created a fighter for God. That’s me.
“And I do what I wanna do. No one could talk like this. That’s my purpose, to talk and to teach. Sure, I played the fool sometimes and they paid me millions to do it.”
Over in the corner of Butler’s kitchen, Howard Bingham, a close friend of Ali and Abdul Rahman, who travels with the champion, had gotten up from the table. Ali’s wife, Veronica, had come downstairs just as three students from Harvard arrived at the house to escort the man into Cambridge.
One of the students was named George Jackson. Jackson grew up in Harlem around Lenox Avenue. His father changes tires and his mother works at the Amsterdam News and the son, being smart and very good at football, just graduated from Harvard on Thursday.
“What’s your name?” Ali asked George Jackson. “George Jackson,” the champion was told.
“Why don’t you use your real name,” Ali wanted to know. “Get a book of history and pick out your pretty name, your name that means something. Now I’m not talkin’ racism. I’m talkin’ truth.”
“Maybe I will,” Jackson said.
“You went to Harvard huh?” Ali wanted to know. “That’s right,” Jackson answered.
“Well you not as dumb as you look then. That’s real good. You gonna make something of yourself. But you oughta use your real name. I bet all your life people was tellin’ you you’d never be nothing.”
“My whole life,” George Jackson said. “Until Thursday.”
“That’s good brother,” said Muhammad Ali. “That’s real good.”
On this Memorial Day, Mike Barnicle’s latest column for The Daily Beast suggests cutting through the toxicity clogging our collective culture to remember those who died giving back to our country, including his own uncle – the one he never knew – Lt. Gerald J. Barnicle: “Killed in action… Battle of Midway… Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.” Barnicle writes: “When you look away from the daily dump of false promises, fake empathy and foolish rhetoric of Trump and Clinton, when you put your phone down and stop staring at the screen, when you pause—actually take the time—to stop, think and remember who we are, still, and have been, always, you cannot help feel a slight sense of optimism as well as an obligation to those who flew off over the Pacific, landed on Okinawa or Omaha Beach, walked out of the Chosin Reservoir, hunkered down at Khe Sanh and Hue City, went door to door in Fallujah or encountered life and death in Helmand Province. We remain the greatest beacon of hope and freedom of expression the world has ever known.”
In his latest column for the Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle celebrates Major League Baseball’s opening day and reflects upon the enduring allure of the sport. “That’s one of the great gifts of this, the greatest of all games, baseball: it allows you, still, to lose yourself in a dream, to feel and remember a season of life when summer never seemed to die and the assault of cynicism hadn’t begun to batter optimism. Baseball is a game that shouts ‘Slow Down’ to America. Stop tweeting, texting, blogging, watching cable news, and obsessing about polls, lost planes, and focus group-driven politicians. Baseball is the perfect antidote to one of the particular cultural poisons of the age,” writes Mike. Read Mike’s column on the parallels between the game of baseball and life itself—and then go find your glove! You can also read and watch Mike’s baseball commentary over the years at www.mikebarnicleonbaseball.com.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle resurrects a prescient message delivered by Bobby Kennedy to an angry America in 1968 — one that serves as a much needed distinction and reminder of what true leadership and greatness really mean in a time of increasing violent tensions, currently at campaign rallies for Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump.
“The weekend’s eruptions were nothing new,” writes Mike. “The flame has been simmering for months, the low fire burning beneath the surface as the candidate arrives with an arsonist’s vocabulary… He focuses on the weakest elements of human nature: envy, anxiety and apprehension of what might happen.”
In contrast, then candidate Robert Kennedy, just hours after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, reminded America that “too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force and too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.” Read Mike’s column here and find meaning in the words of RFK.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes about the not-so-surprising success of presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders, who are appealing to the prevailing mood of people living in small towns, medium size cities and rural enclaves across America, who have been abandoned or marginalized by the system. Read Mike’s entire column on why and how the two candidates, as contrary as they are, are reaching folks whose “voices are not heard, where dreams are now nearly dead, where a generation of hard work and solid wages have been hollowed out or stolen as the establishment sat on its hands unwilling to fight an economic system geared to satisfying shareholders before addressing the real needs of families that once thought they were on a level playing field, the future is now filled with dread instead of a dream.”
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle writes about his first-hand experience during South Carolina’s Republican primary and the rage and despair being fed to voters by most presidential candidates. “Listening to some of the Republican candidates for President is like eavesdropping on men trying to earn their letter sweater with worthless phrases—carpet bombing, crushing ISIS—as if words alone will accomplish the mission and the lives of those sent into the fight are merely an anonymous squadron of props used to advance a political agenda,” writes Mike of the disconnect between political ambitions and the realities of war. Read Mike’s full column here and learn why he says Ohio Governor John Kasich is one candidate who stands apart from the rest peddling doom and gloom this election year.
In his latest column for The Daily Beast, Mike Barnicle boils down his recent experiences in New Hampshire and highlights the palpable similarities between the supporters of last night’s primary winners, Donald J. Trump and Bernie Sanders. “Both, in their own way, speak to the volatility rumbling beneath the surface of daily life in America, 2016; to the anxiety, the simmering anger, the feeling that nothing works and hard work is no longer valued as much as it once was…,” writes Mike of presidential candidates Trump and Senator Sanders. Read Mike’s column on how Americans’ resentment toward do-nothing-politicians, ongoing war and economic instability since 2008 contributed to yesterday’s election results, for both the Republicans and the Democrats.
Ahead of the presidential primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Mike Barnicle’s latest column for The Daily Beast takes a look at the Republican governors on the ballot—Ohio Governor John Kasich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush—and how their office may help them respond better to voter concerns. “None of the senators running have to make decisions about getting a curb cut for a company relocating in their state. In Washington, the plague of drug abuse, the reality of death by overdose, the cheapness and availability of fentanyl and heroin is an abstract talking point. A governor is on the line every day, all day.” Read Mike’s first-hand accounts from Nashua, New Hampshire here.
You can bump into a lot of people in the lobby at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, New Hampshire at the height of a frenzied primary season. Jim Braude and Margery Eagan would know. They’ve set up shop there to broadcast live primary coverage through Tuesday evening, and today, none other than famed Boston-based broadcaster Mike Barnicle—former Boston Globe columnist and contributor to “Morning Joe” on MSNBC—joined them on set to give his perspective on this year’s colorful presidential race.