So, to recap for the umpteenth- hell, just see here.
The question is this: How did Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools wind up as a full-page ad in last Wednesday’s Boston Globe?
On Friday, CommonWealth Magazine (which came late – but smart – to the party) reported the issue thusly:
THE BOSTON GLOBE FOUNDATION donated a full-page ad in Wednesday’s newspaper to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh so he could thank the staff of the Boston Public Schools at the close of the school year.
Ellen Clegg, who heads the foundation, said the mayor personally asked Globe CEO Mike Sheehan for the ad space and the foundation provided it because the message was in keeping with the organization’s focus on education and literacy.
But Ms. Clegg had previously told the hardreading staff this:
The Globe Foundation donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono, as a public service. When we get a request for support from organizations that fit the Foundation’s mission, we work with the Globe’s advertising department to donate pro bono print ads in space that would normally go to unpaid “house ads.” It’s a great way to engage with the community. Other recent examples of pro bono ads include the One Fund and the MLK Summer Scholars Program, which the Foundation co-sponsors with John Hancock.
C’mon – “[donating] an ad to the Boston Public Schools pro bono” and kowtowing to the mayor of Boston aren’t even in the same zip code.
Regardless, Ms. Clegg perpetuated the split decision yesterday in these post-CommonWealth answers to our pre-CommonWealth questions, which took her initial explanation at face value:
• When you donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools, did you know it would take the form of a letter from Mayor Walsh?
• Who did the creative/production of the ad?
The Globe’s advertising department.
• Given the ad’s content, did you have any concerns that it would appear you donated the ad to Mayor Walsh, raising questions about the appearance of compromising the Globe’s arm’s-length relationship with him?
The Globe’s newsroom is independent from the business side of the organization, and from the Globe Foundation, and had no involvement here.
I’m sure you’ve seen the newsroom’s recent scrub of Mayor Walsh’s hiring record (link below). I have confidence that our journalists will continue to scrutinize public officials and powerful institutions, including City Hall.
Frankly, we’re more interested in scrubbing Ms. Clegg’s record of telling the hardreading staff one thing and CommonWealth another.
From the start of John Henry’s dual ownership of the Boston GlobeSox, the paper pretty consistently ignored conflicts of interest in his business dealings with the Menino administration (see here and here). If Henry is now dancing to Marty Walsh’s tune, he should own up to that, too.