The value of a two-paper city, Part Whatever

There is a tremendous value to having two competing media outlets in a city. Living in Manchester, New Hampshire, every day I mourn a little that we have ONE statewide newspaper (which is also Manchester’s local paper) and ONE statewide TV station (that is also our only network affiliate). I envy Boston, which has two major newspapers and at least five television stations that all compete to deliver the news.

That value was proven again today.

Yesterday, the Boston Globe ran a sob story about a push to “reform” the criminal background check process employers use to screen applicants. They rounded up a bunch of convicted felons who have had trouble finding honest work since their release from prison, and they all complain how much of a black mark their convictions leave.

One fellow in particular is Bobby Delello, who’s attending classes to become a paralegal. Mr. Delello provided the “money quote” for the Globe’s article:

“I can’t get a home. I can’t get a job. I know how to rob banks. I know how to hotwire armored cars. I did it. What do you think I should do?”

Well, the Globe’s crosstown rival, the Boston Herald, decided to do what the Globe couldn’t be bothered to do and look into Mr. Delello’s background. This confessed bank robber was convicted in 1963 of felony murder when his accomplice gunned down a Boston police officer during a jewelry store robbery. He was given a sentence of “life and a day,” but managed to get his sentence reduced in 2003 and has been free since.

Now, according to the Herald, the Globe had mentioned Delello’s murder conviction as recently as 2004, but for some strange reason they failed to mention it in this most recent piece, when there is a movement to allow felons to seal portions of their criminal records from public scrutiny. It could be carelessness, but the Globe’s record of such mistakes tend to line up quite nicely with their own political biases and agendas — I don’t recall any incidents when they erred on the other side of an issue.

And let’s never forget that the Boston Globe is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the New York Times.

There’s an old saying that “it takes two thieves to make an honest bargain.” Likewise, it takes at least two newspapers to cover all the news.

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  1. Semanticleo April 21, 2006
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