The quick Fox Brown-out

In business, and in general, when a contract expires, that means a person and a company are no longer tethered to each other. They can choose to continue the relationship by renewing the contract, sign another, or have an arrangement at-will.

Then there’s the reality that belongs to Fox News and Scott Brown.

Like just about every political junkie north of the Mason-Dixon Line, the Boston Globe is trying to read the tea leaves for a potential Brown run for Senate in New Hampshire, a ghost candidacy that Brown is parlaying into a game without end.

The latest hint that he is mounting a challenge to the incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen came Tuesday when the Globe inquired about Brown’s contract with Fox News, the place where defeated Republican candidates go to salve their wounds and collect a paycheck. An unnamed spokeswoman told the Globe that Brown was “out of contract,” which expired Feb. 11. Fox has said in the past should Brown launch a run for office, they’d be forced to cut ties with him. Brown is slated to speak at the state’s upcoming GOP conclave so it was realistic for the Globe to ask does this mean he’ll use the forum to launch his long-awaited run?

The Fox spokeswoman would say no more and repeated calls and emails to Brown from the Globe went unanswered, which, if you have followed Brown’s public life isn’t all that unusual. Brown responds to whom he wants to respond, when he wants to respond, so everyone looked at the ever-so-friendly Herald to see what he had to say. And he didn’t disappoint.

Within hours of the Globe story, a Fox executive said Brown’s contract had been renewed and “was never terminated.” But the Globe never said it was.

Brown told the Washington Post the Globe story was “incorrect” but never said what was wrong. He shot off a text to Herald political reporter Hillary Chabot, saying, “Globe should have checked with someone who had authority to speak for Fox and/or me. They did not.” But, according to the Globe, they did, multiple times.

As Dan Kennedy points out, it’s not the first time Fox has said one thing then created its own reality. And it’s becoming a habit for Brown as well to keep his silence then attack someone for not contacting him for comment. Especially the Globe.

This is the latest in a series of coy actions Brown has taken that could be read as a step back to Washington, but which he’s denied means anything more than what it is. He sold his Wrentham home and put down stakes in the Granite State hamlet of Rye but, he says, don’t read anything into it; he and his wife have had a vacation home here for years. His PAC has lavished tens of thousands of dollars on the New Hampshire GOP state committee as well as local committees and candidates but, says the Cheap Trick ax man, that’s just being a good Republican. He has singled out Shaheen for withering criticisms and commentary on Fox and in print but that’s his job, he says.

As long as he remains undeclared, Brown will continue to get his prime-time access on Fox and, now that he lives in New Hampshire, will likely court the conservative-leaning Manchester Union-Leader in much the same way he has the Herald. In the meantime, the constant parry and thrust between Brown and what he perceives as unfriendly media will just prompt observers to simply say, “Bqhatevwr.”

–JACK SULLIVAN    

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick said “I’m looking for some answers there myself” when questioned about a 2009 homicide of a psychiatric patient who was put in restraints at Bridgewater State Hospital by seven guards with no training in dealing with such patients. Joan Vennochi says Patrick has a troubling practice of ducking controversies and minimizing a string of problems that have occurred on his watch.

State officials want to expand the fish pier in Gloucester, the Gloucester Times reports.

Shocking news: Yet another story about a shady character involved in the state’s new medical marijuana industry.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston Federal Reserve president Eric Rosengren meets with officials in Lawrence to discuss how they plan to use the $700,000 from the bank’s Working Families Initiative, the Eagle-Tribune reports. Meanwhile, Mayor Daniel Rivera means business in Lawrence, CommonWealth reports. The mayor sets up an internship program for college students interested in government work, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Dartmouth health officials have approved an extensive list of health and safety regulations for hotels and motels that have extended stay clients such as homeless families housed by the state.

CASINOS

Mohegan Sun pumps $400,000 into its Revere referendum campaign.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Sen. Edward Markey calls for a law requiring all guns to be personalized so only their owners can fire them, the Associated Press reports.

Wal-Mart says it may support legislation to boost the federal minimum wage, Bloomberg reports.

ELECTIONS

Democratic caucuses taking place this month are not delivering big for primary frontrunner Martha Coakley, renewing questions about her campaign ground game.

All of the candidates in the gubernatorial race are talking about income inequality, WBUR reports. Independent gubernatorial candidate Jeff McCormick touts his job-creating skills and dismisses a Globe story on his residency at a Suffolk University forum, the State House News reports.

US Rep. John Tierney tells the editorial board of the Lynn Item that he’s delivered for the district.

It looks like Rep. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen will be facing challengers as she seeks to return to the House for a second term, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

The Bay State Banner looks at the candidates for 5th Suffolk House race to replace Carlos Henriquez.

The midterm election ad wars are heating up early.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The FCC is looking to rewrite net neutrality regulations after the Supreme Court ruled the agency overreached.

You can now buy bitcoins at South Station, and if you’re still wondering what they are, Hiawatha Bray explains.

Facebook buys a messaging startup for $19 billion — a sum that could have bought the Washington Post 76 times over. Matt Yglesias warns that the problem with the deal isn’t the astronomical price — it’s that phone carriers could easily crush Facebook’s newest acquisition. (In a little unintended humor over the deal, BBC tweeted out that Facebook bought a “massaging service,” before correcting the typo a few minutes later.)

EDUCATION

Gloucester school officials are trying to collect $78,000 students owe in lunch bills, the Gloucester Times reports.

Clark University in Worcester says it will consider the financial need of a student during admissions, a shift that is drawing protests on campus, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The world’s wealthiest university just got a little wealthier.

HEALTH CARE

The state’s Health Policy Commission gives a thumbs down to Partners HealthCare’s proposed acquisition of South Shore Hospital and a 65-member physician group, CommonWealth reports. Health care expert John McDonough says it was the right call, and offers a good deconstruction of the case on his Health Stew blog.

MassHealth restores full dental coverage for adults.

TRANSPORTATION

A former engineer for Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad is leading an effort to restore weekend and holiday service on the Old Colony and Greenbush lines.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A Nebraska judge strikes down a law allowing the Keystone XL pipeline to traverse the state, Time reports.

Natural gas prices spike amid a national cold snap.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Meet the Author

Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is now retired. A veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

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