DeLeo rips Globe for ‘painful’ analogy

Speaker calls for an apology for comparing House to a plantation

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

HOUSE SPEAKER ROBERT DELEO lashed out at the Boston Globe Friday afternoon, asking for an apology after the broadsheet likened the House to a plantation.

The article by Globe State House Bureau Chief Frank Phillips reviewed 2015 and forecast the year ahead for DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg and Gov. Charlie Baker.

“If it could be said that Rosenberg, with his shared leadership system, runs a commune, DeLeo, as he enters his eighth year as the House leader, runs a plantation where he calls the shots,” the article said.

In a statement that he released to media late Friday and posted on Facebook and Twitter, DeLeo said the story likened the 160-seat House to the system of slavery that prevailed in the American South more than 150 years ago.

“Today’s Boston Globe included an incredibly hurtful and painful analogy to describe my leadership of the House of Representatives. To liken the Speaker of the House of Representatives to a plantation owner trivializes our country’s most shameful and egregious moral failure, slavery,” DeLeo said. “I take intense pride in the role our state, and, indeed, the Massachusetts House of Representatives, took in leading the fight for abolition and civil rights. It is a privilege to work with such capable and qualified colleagues in the House, each of whom works tirelessly to advance that proud legacy.”

DeLeo asked for an apology for the “unforgiveable analogy” and in a statement to the News Service, the Globe expressed contrition.

“On behalf of the House, I call upon the Globe to publicly apologize for this insensitive, offensive and unforgivable analogy,” DeLeo said in his statement Friday.

“The Globe quite obviously did not intend to trivialize slavery or the work of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. We are certainly sorry that we wrote that line in a way that conveyed that to the speaker,” the Globe said in its statement.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

DeLeo sparred with the region’s largest newspaper last year over its coverage of an investigation into probation department patronage. While never charged in a case that led to criminal convictions of former probation employees, DeLeo was labeled an “unindicted co-conspirator” by federal prosecutors. Last October, DeLeo asked the Supreme Judicial Court to investigate how the Globe obtained a transcript of an interview he gave five years earlier about patronage in the probation department. DeLeo’s powerful role in the House was cemented last year when the House repealed a limit on his term as speaker.