Boston Globe Still Won’t Note Nancy Gertner Conflict

June 7, 2018

One week ago the hardreading staff noted that the Boston Globe allowed former federal judge Nancy Gertner to sandblast Gov. Charlie Baker in an op-ed for opposing “Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley’s [sentencing] of [Manuel] Soto-Vittini to probation for possession with intent to distribute 15 grams of heroin and a small amount of cocaine.”

As we wrote then:

But wait – isn’t Nancy Gertner a supporter of Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Jay Gonzalez? It sure appears that way from this item in Lauren Dezenski’s Politico Massachusetts Playbook last fall.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Former US Federal Judge Nancy Gertner hosted a fundraiser for Dem gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez at her Brookline home last night, the Gonzalez campaign tells me.

Globe readers might have wanted to know that in considering Gertner’s takedown of Charlie Baker, don’t you think?

 

Well, Globe readers still don’t know that, even as the Judge Feeley rumpus hits 11. Memo to Globe editorial page editor Ellen Clegg: Time to fess up, yeah?

Then again, the Globe isn’t alone in giving Gertner a free pass.

CommonWealth Magazine’s Michael Jonas also failed to note her conflict of interest (“[Baker’s] remarks appear to have been the last straw for former federal judge Nancy Gertner, who pens an op-ed in today’s Globe ripping Baker’s comments as a “Trump lite” echo of the president’s habit of “trashing judges with whom he disagrees.”), and MassLive’s Gintautas Dumcius also links to Gertner’s op-ed with no disclaimer.

In the end, it’s absolutely Gertner’s responsibility to disclose her vested interest in attacking Charlie Baker. But news outlets should be exercising due diligence as well.

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For Once Boston Globe Says ‘Suffolk U’ to the Herald

April 14, 2016

Ever since the Margaret McKenna/George Regan rumpus at Suffolk University began several months ago, the Boston Herald – especially columnist Joe Battenfeld – has been out front on virtually every development in the serial dustup. But today’s Boston Globe beats the firsty local tabloid – twice – on the latest mishegoss at Day Hop U.

Start off with this Metro Page One report from Laura Krantz.

Suffolk beset by renewed tension

Storms swirl on accreditation, board of trustees, McKenna

Two months after Suffolk University trustees and president Margaret McKenna reached a truce that seemed to smooth their splintered relationship, a cloud of discord is still looming over the downtown college.Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 4.29.18 PM

A series of recent events raises new questions about the future of the besieged school, and about how long McKenna will lead it.

The college’s board of trustees has hired two attorneys to address personal and professional allegations against McKenna by public relations executive George Regan, who has threatened to sue Suffolk after it canceled his firm’s contract.

In addition, the school faces renewed scrutiny from accreditors, and professors say morale has plummeted.

 

In other words, it’s a mess.

But Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham does her best to stick a smiley face on “the besieged school.”

A plea from Suffolk

You’ve been admitted to Suffolk University, in the heart of beautiful downtown Boston. You’re going to love it here, should you choose to join the class of 2020. And we sure hope you do, since we need your tuition payments to keep us alive.

We have super courses in psychology, political science, marketing, and law, to name a few. There are three libraries and a campus in Madrid. And sparkling new buildings, all steps from the famous Frog Pond.

Please, choose us! And please, pay no mind to the grown-ups acting like vindictive children here on Tremont Street. They just run the place. Nothing to worry about.

 

It just gets snarkier from there, especially about George Regan.

Oh, and here Regan is . . . this week in Commonwealth Magazine, pictured with his adorable dog, making the spurious claim that the board didn’t really want to hire McKenna, saying “that woman” — don’t worry, female freshmen, we’re so enlightened — “has no right being the leader.”

 

Ouch.

Crosstown at the Herald, meanwhile, all’s quiet on the Suffolk front today. We’re assuming that changes tomorrow.


Why Boston Globe ‘Capital’ with an A?

August 8, 2014

It’s been a couple of months since the Boston Globe launched its weekly section Capital, and for the most part it seems pretty fat (12 pages) and happy (exuberant layouts). The only thing even vaguely controversial about the sections is the spelling of its name.

Globe editor Brian McGrory has a running gag with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on WGBH radio about why it’s Capital with an a not an o. McGrory keeps wriggling out of revealing the paper’s reasons, but here are three possible ones from today’s edition.

 

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Would those ads likely have run in the A or B section if there were no Capital? Probably. But you have to believe a section geared toward political junkies is a more appealing environment for all three advertisers. For the first two, it’s obvious. For Steward Health Care, it’s a bit more oblique.

From Bruce Mohl’s CommonWealth piece last month on why Steward “is missing from the group of health care competitors that have banded together to fight the consent agreement negotiated by Partners HealthCare and Attorney General Martha Coakley”:

Some think the company decided to sit this one out because of its close ties to Coakley. The attorney general in 2010 approved the acquisition by Cerberus/Steward of six Caritas Christi hospitals owned by the Boston archdiocese. Coakley also retains some regulatory oversight over Steward, including a say in whether the health care system can shut down any of its hospitals.

Steward executives, led by CEO Ralph de la Torre, gave big to Coakley when she ran for the US Senate in 2010 and ponied up again earlier this year as she mounted her run for governor. Campaign finance records indicate de la Torre and his wife Wing led a group of Steward executives and spouses who made $500 donations to Coakley on February 26. More Steward officials contributed to Coakley in late March.

In all, Steward executives have contributed more than $18,000 to Coakley since late last year. No other health care system has taken such an interest in the gubernatorial campaign, which may help explain why Steward is less interested in the legal fight over the Partners expansion plans.

 

Interesting. But back to the original question: Why Capital with an a? Maybe because that’s what it hauls in.

P.S. Needless to say, none of the above ads ran in the Boston Herald.


More Slop on the John Henry/Marty Walsh Hand-Holding in the Boston Globe

June 30, 2014

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?

 

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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?

Yes.

• 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.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/09/mayor-martin-walsh-full-time-hires-are-predominantly-male-and-most-are-white/iJMJu3tzDjsXUCrpBgvOVO/story.html

 

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.


Wait! Boston GlobeSox Owner John Henry IS Gettin’ Cozier with Marty Walsh

June 29, 2014

To recap one more time again:

Last Wednesday, this full-page ad appeared in the Boston Globe:

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 1.10.20 PM

 

That got the headscratching staff to wondering who paid for Marty’s Mash Note to the Boston Public Schools. So we sent a note to the Boston Globe Foundation (see lower left in the ad) asking just that: Did Mayor Walsh (read: Boston taxpayers) foot the bill? Did the Globe Foundation? Did no one?

And here’s what Globe lifer Ellen Clegg replied:

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.

 

(The hardquizzing staff followed up with an email that asked Ms. Clegg these questions: 1) When you donated the ad to the Boston Public Schools, did you know it would take the form of a letter from Mayor Walsh? 2) Who did the creative/production of the ad? 3) Given the ad’s content, did you have any concerns that it would look like you donated the ad not to the BPS but to Mayor Walsh, appearing to compromise the Globe’s arm’s-length relationship with him?

(We have yet to hear back.)

Meanwhile, as the redoubtable Dan Kennedy pointed out to us, the redoubtable Dan Kennedy pointed us to this piece in Commonwealth Magazine, where it seems to us Ms. Clegg told a very different story to CommonWealth Magazine (which, frankly, came late to the party):

Globe Foundation gives full-page ad to Walsh

Mayor approached CEO Sheehan for space

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.

 

Yes, well, Ms. Clegg might want to focus on her own message(s). Clearly, she gave us a mere bag of shells.

Wish you hadn’t done that, Ms. Clegg. Makes a fella lose all faith in himself. (See 4:45)

 

 

The hardreading staff will call Ms. Clegg tomorrow and try to clarify all this, because turning your newspaper into a mayoral Make a Wish fund is a lot different from “donating an ad to the Boston Public Schools.”

But don’t hold your breath.


Boston Herald Rips Off CommonWealth Magazine (Part II)

March 3, 2014

As the hardreading staff noted last week, CommonWealth Magazine broke this story about Boston Mayor Marty Walsh reassessing yet another sweetheart deal for the Red Sox and Fenway Park.

Walsh reviewing Red Sox deal

Agreement makes permanent Van Ness Street arrangement

THE ADMINISTRATION OF Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said it is reviewing an agreement the city struck with the Boston Red Sox in October that formalized a long-standing arrangement allowing the club to close off Van Ness Street during Fenway Park events.

The agreement, signed by Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and Mayor Thomas Menino’s police and transportation commissioners, makes permanent what appears to have been an informal arrangement between the club and the city allowing the team to close off the section of Van Ness next to Fenway during games. The Red Sox typically used part of the street for employee parking, paying no fee to the city to do so.

 

We also noted that the story was Xerox-reported by numerous other news outlets – including the Boston Herald and the Associated Press – without crediting CommonWealth.

What we failed to note was this further rip-off by the Herald.

Reporter Colman Herman wrote this in his piece: “No other single private entity is allowed to close off a street in Boston on a regular basis.”

In Richard Weir’s Herald report, that sentence is placed in the mouth of Gregory Sullivan, “the former state former [sic] inspector general  . . . [who] dismisses the Sox’ arguments as ‘irrelevant and a smokescreen.'”

“This is another precious gem dropped into the Red Sox basket at the expense of the taxpayers,” Sullivan, the research director of the Pioneer Institute, said of the Van Ness Street contract. “It’s a public street owned by the city of Boston. And no private party should have exclusive rights to use it in this way without compensating the city. Period. … No other single private entity is allowed to close off a street in Boston on a regular basis.” [Emphasis added]

 

We have it on good authority that Sullivan contends he never said that last part.

Back to you, Boston Herald and Richard Weir.

 


Poor CommonWealth Magazine: No Credit for Its Scoop

February 28, 2014

Yesterday, CommonWealth Magazine broke this story on its website:

Walsh reviewing Red Sox deal

Agreement makes permanent Van Ness Street arrangement

THE ADMINISTRATION OF Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said it is reviewing an agreement the city struck with the Boston Red Sox in October that formalized a long-standing arrangement allowing the club to close off Van Ness Street during Fenway Park events.

The agreement, signed by Red Sox president Larry Lucchino and Mayor Thomas Menino’s police and transportation commissioners, makes permanent what appears to have been an informal arrangement between the club and the city allowing the team to close off the section of Van Ness next to Fenway during games. The Red Sox typically used part of the street for employee parking, paying no fee to the city to do so.

“We are currently reviewing the agreement, and compensation is one of the issues that we will consider during this review,” said Walsh spokeswoman Kate Norton.

 

As day follows the night, today’s Boston Herald featured this piece of xerox journalism:

Marty Walsh digs into Fenway’s deals

The Walsh administration said yesterday it is examining two 2013 contracts the city inked with the Red Sox granting the team exclusive rights to public BI1E6414.JPGstreets — arrangements made in the final months of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s tenure.

“We are currently reviewing the agreement, and compensation is one of the issues that we will consider during this review,” Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, said of a little-known “public safety order” city officials signed in October giving the Red Sox permission to seal off Van Ness Street during game days and other major events at Fenway.

 

Nowhere in the piece is CommonWealth given credit.

Ditto for these other news organizations, which picked up the story from the Associated Press. (Before anyone gets all shirty about it, news outlets add info to AP reports all the time. Just not in this case.)

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The Boston Globe, meanwhile, played catch-up, posting a piece to its website at 6 am.

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But at least the Globe gave credit where credit’s due.

The Walsh review was first reported by Commonwealth Magazine online Thursday.

 

Cold comfort, but better than the nothingburgers CommonWealth got from everyone else, yeah?