by Frank Schroth
In the past month the Boston Globe has published two stories about Milton politicians, one about Governor Patrick and another about Sentor Joyce. Consistent with our policy of “all things Milton,” we linked to those articles. That was an error in judgment.
To date, MyTownMatters (MTM) has aggregated articles about issues, events, and people related to Milton that appear in other news outlets. This provides broader coverage than we are resourced to cover. In doing this we make two assumptions 1) that established news outlets maintain journalistic integrity and 2) readers understand that the inclusion of these links does not reflect an MTM point of view or endorsement.
The Boston Globe has been a long-trusted source of news, but we find the stories referenced above factually deficient and stylistically vacuous.
Ms. Leung’s article on the Governor opens with the following headline and lede:
“Say Guv, About That Bumpy Road in Town . . .”
“Having the Chief nearby is not cure-all, but it certainly helps”
But the bumpy road referred to, Central Avenue, did not receive help from the Governor. As the reporter states, the work was bonded by the town. The article goes on “. . .many will tell you that they don’t feel the town got any special treatment from the Governor.” The reporter, Shirley Leung, who lives in Milton, admits, “I’m not sure if we in Milton got more than our fair share. . . “
“I’m not sure if we in Milton got more than our fair share. . . ”
– Shirley Leung, reporter
Andrea Estes’s front page article, which appeared above the fold last Friday, had the headline,”Senator’s gifts raise ethical concerns.” It fails to specifically identify anyone for whom a concern was raised. Presumably it is the reporter. The lede on this story is, “Some question propriety of deep discount for high-end sunglasses.” Who is questioning the propriety is unclear. The reporter writes, “None (of the senators contacted) said they were concerned they might have violated ethical standards by accepting such a gift from Joyce, though some said privately they thought the gift was too lavish.” One senator contacted didn’t know he’d received the sunglases (an aide took them) and another didn’t understand the value.
Estes writes that elected officials cannot receive gifts over $50. However, she goes on to explain that, “the Ethics Commission in 2010 created an exemption from the $50 limit for gifts given between public officials.” The article calculates that Joyce paid $74.50 a pair.
Estes doesn’t discuss if any other senators may have given gifts in that amount or more. The article closes with a statement from Senator Humason, the Republican whip, saying, “There’s no ethical consideration . . . because these are my friends and people I work with.”
“There’s no ethical consideration . . . because these are my friends and people I work with.”
– Senator Humason
Both stories ran with headlines that made claims they failed to substantiate. This is not what we expect from the Globe.
These stories were flawed because they do not support the claims they make. The facts do not substantiate that the Governor gave Milton special treatment or whether Senator Joyce violated any rules. We regret linking to those stories and will exercise better editorial discretion going forward.
The goal remains the same: to avail Milton of news, information, and commentary that matters to to the town and try be a little better tomorrow than we were today.