Deflategate reporting bias everywhere
In all the reporting on Deflategate, the stories too often seem to reflect the bias of the writers. Federal judge Richard Berman ruled on Thursday that the NFL had overstepped its legal authority in handling the arbitration of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tossed his four-game suspension.
The decision was hailed by the Telegram & Gazette, the Boston Herald , and a host of other local papers as a vindication for Brady, who has always professed his innocence. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin gave a much fuller picture of Berman’s decision, but he couldn’t resist a pro-Brady lead. “In a twist of irony,” he wrote, “it turns out that it was the National Football League that didn’t follow the rules, not Tom Brady.”
The fact is that Berman didn’t base his ruling on Brady’s innocence, but on the quarterback’s inability to get a fair hearing from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Berman said Goodell gave Brady no notice of the potential penalties he would face, denied him the opportunity to interview a relevant witness, and failed to turn over evidence. The judge said Goodell was unfair and dispensed “his own brand of industrial justice.”
Michael Powell, in the New York Times, devoted most of his column to trashing Goodell, but he wasn’t about to let the Patriots off. “Brady and his forever scheming coach, Bill Belichick, will not serve as poster boys for a League Innocence Project. The Patriots are a too-clever-by-half franchise, expert at the semi-dirty trick,” he wrote.
Globe columnist Dan Shaugnessy is one writer who has changed his tune. Back in May, Shaughnessy wrote that Deflategate had done universal and eternal damage to the Patriot brand. “Patriot toadies no doubt will line up to say that the league did not prove anything that would hold up in a court of law,” he wrote back then. “It’s all circumstantial, they’ll say…Good luck with that one, folks. Bend yourself into a pretzel if you must, but Brady and the Patriots are insulting your intelligence if they want you to believe that they were not aware of what was happening to the footballs on game days.”
Contrast that statement with Friday’s column, in which Shaugnessy said Berman had “validated and vindicated Brady.” He even urged the Patriots to seek complete vindication in court by asking a judge to throw out the penalties the team accepted, including the $1 million fine and the loss of draft picks. Patriots President Jonathan Kraft said the team has no plans to do that.
Gov. Charlie Baker supports having voters decide the fate of recreational marijuana legalization. (The Republican)
A national children’s advocacy group FOIAs the Department of Children and Families for documents about caseloads. (MassLive) A Globe editorial urges the Baker administration to prioritize the speedy hiring of a replacement for Gail Garinger, head of the state Office of the Child Advocate, who is leaving her position on September 11.
Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, who transferred city planner Dennis Harrington after he reduced his hours because of a medical condition, placed Harrington on paid leave amid allegations of bullying some of his employees. (Patriot Ledger)
Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter met with Attorney General Maura Healey and one of the subjects he said they talked about was a controversy over 22 new windows installed in the city’s Government Center by a local businessman who owed the city $800,000 in back taxes. (Herald News)
An investigatory arm of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which is being sued by Boston for using a corrupt process to award a casino license to Wynn Resorts, reports to the commissioners that allegations in the case are little more than a “children’s game of telephone.” (CommonWealth)
A federal judge has ordered Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses because of her opposition to same-sex marriage. She rejected a deal that would have set her free if her deputies began issuing the licenses. (New York Times) Renee Graham says Davis is a modern-day George Wallace. (Boston Globe)
Governing profiles six governors who pursue pragmatism over ideology. Gov. Charlie Baker is not among them.
Donald Trump stumbled on foreign policy questions from a conservative radio host and then bristled at the host for asking him about terrorist leader’s names. (New York Times)
A bodyguard for Trump ripped up a protester’s sign and then punched the man in the face in front of cameras and reporters outside of Trump Tower. (New York Times)
Jeb Bush ripped Trump for criticizing him for speaking in Spanish at some campaign events and said the bloviating business mogul was using “dog whistle tactics” to peddle a divisive message that will only hurt Republican chances. (Boston Herald)
The Economist ponders why Trump is dangerous.
Four of the five candidates running for mayor in Gloucester debate for 90 minutes. (Gloucester Times)
Just how quiet is the political landscape on this last week before Labor Day? The Globe‘s Capital section lead item is a primer on the Boston City Council race that has barely any contenders besides incumbents and little in the way of burning issues animating it.
Employment growth in the state’s biotech industry last year was the strongest it’s been since 2008, with the sector reporting a 4.9 percent bump in hiring, to 60,459 positions. (Boston Herald)
The high-end rental market in Boston is cooling, with owners offering deals to those who can sink several thousand dollars a month into an apartment. (Boston Globe)
The Globe has a primer on the state of American unions. Short version: Other than in the public sector, they’ve been in freefall. Happy Labor Day, everyone!
MetroWest schools review safety protocols after the Millis police incident. Meanwhile, Pittsfield schools consider uniforms for students. (Berkshire Eagle)
Mergers are the way of the health care world, writes the Globe‘s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey.
A medical marijuana dispensary is set to open in Brockton today after the operators received a temporary waiver from state officials to sell the pot without fully testing for contaminants and pesticides. (The Enterprise)
CommonWealth runs an explainer on the north-south rail link being pushed by the political odd couple of former governors Michael Dukakis and William Weld.
Gov. Charlie Baker urged the owner of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant to take immediate action to upgrade the aging facility after federal officials placed it at the bottom of the list of the nation’s reactors for safety performance. (Patriot Ledger) Here’s the Cape Cod Times story on his switched stance.
Peabody is close to a deal with a developer to install solar panels on four separate parcels of land. (Salem News)
A rookie police officer in Millis, whose account of being shot at and crashing his cruiser launched a manhunt, has been fired after an investigation determined he fabricated the incident and fired the shots into the cruiser himself. (Milford Daily News)
Bars with a history of over-serving patrons who end up being charged with drunken driving will be the targets of increased scrutiny and enforcement by state alcohol inspectors this Labor Day weekend. (State House News Service)
The FBI raids a home in Methuen but refuses to say what its investigation is focusing on. (Eagle-Tribune)
California takes a different road on solitary confinement. (Christian Science Monitor)
MEDIAFormer Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who was suspended at ESPN for a tweet he sent out comparing extremist Muslims to Nazis, has been removed from the network’s baseball broadcasts for the remainder of the season and postseason for getting into it with the editor of an obscure blog over the tweet.
WBUR’s David Boeri goes to Venice to see Spotlight. The lead story in today’s Globe Metro section tells readers that the movie, which chronicles the paper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandal, had a “glittering debut” and was loved by critics. The Boston Herald runs a review of Black Mass, the Whitey Bulger movie based on a book by two former Globe reporters, also screened in Venice.