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The Present Controversy: Main Points

by Ken Sanes

Globe editors covered up the existence of a large number of fabrications in 1996 on the part of columnist Patricia Smith. The Globe knew at the time that Smith was alleged to have previously falsified information at another newspaper.

When Globe editors discovered the existence of new fabrications by Smith in 1998, it failed to reveal that fact for about a month.

The Globe then allowed Smith to publish a farewell column in which she claimed that the use of fabrications didn't happen often. It now appears that may have been untrue, as well.

Meanwhile, Globe news coverage has given readers a selective and highly manipulated version of events, intended to make the decisions of Editor Matthew Storin and other top editors appear fair and reasonable. Globe news coverage would lead readers to believe this is about a bad columnist, when it is really about the editorial management of the newspaper.

The Globe says that in 1996 it didn't take action against Smith, who is black, because it had failed to deal with older allegations of fabrications on the part of another columnist, Mike Barnicle, who is white. In effect, it claims to have been acting in the service of racial fairness. When it fired and investigated Smith in 1998 for new fabrications it then launched into an investigation of Barnicle, apparently once again to be fair. In effect, the Globe has tied these two columnists together in a way that doesn't make sense. By covering up what Smith did, it offered Boston's black community a fabricator as a voice on the paper and a public spokesperson.

The Globe needs to appoint an independent investigator with a reputation for integrity and independence, to provide the public with a complete accounting of what has taken place.


Go to the next article: What's Wrong With The Boston Globe And How to Fix It or to the main page: Cover-Up at the Boston Globe or to the Homepage for the Transparency website.