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Conflict of Interest

After posting a blog about the European Super League controversy, and John Henry’s involvement yesterday, I decided to reach out to a few local media folks and see why they haven’t covered it.

I did discover that there were a few stories and columns written on the topic. The Boston Herald wrote several pieces, including interviewing Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts about the situation. I’m sure he gave his true and honest opinions about it. Seeing how the main figure signs his checks. I don’t blame him. He has to do what he has to do.

What did shock me was when I reached out to prominent Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy about the situation.

The first thing that pleasantly surprised me was the fact that Shaughnessy did indeed write a piece about Henry. Calling him “greedy” and said he was attacking the “traditions” of soccer in England.

After pointing me to his column, I followed up with Shaughnessy asking if he thought it was a conflict of interest if the Globe continues to cover Henry and all of his entities.

In an incredibly honest answer Shaughnessy said, “Everything we write about John Henry's entities represents a conflict of interest. There is no getting around it. It is the absolute definition of conflict of interest.”

For those who don’t know, John Henry is a member of the ownership of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox, Liverpool FC and even NESN (among other things).

As we’ve written in the past, we all know that the media is biased. But it isn’t too often that a reporter for a news organization openly admits it. Not only did Shaughnessy admit it, he did so after writing a piece about Henry.

What a logical person takes from Dan’s comments, is that anything the Globe writes about any of Henry’s entities is to be taken with a grain of salt. Also, due to being paid by the same person, it is safe to assume that any piece written about Henry, had to be approved by him. Thus making it pure journalistic dishonesty.

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if it wasn’t for the fact that the Globe routinely covers the Red Sox. No news that they break, or stories they print should be considered news. It is influenced by ownership directly. These pieces should otherwise be considered press releases. It is in no way unbiased journalism.

We all knew this, but it is quite revealing that the writers at the Globe recognize the conflict, yet continue to write about Henry entities. To those who think there isn’t a problem with it, take the words of Shaughnessy himself as proof, “There is no getting around it. It is the absolute definition of conflict of interest.”

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