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Battle Over Theo

An interesting sidebar to the snagged negotiations over a new contract for Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is the growing debate over the coverage in the Boston dailies. The Herald's Tony Massarotti is accusing the Globe of carrying water for team president Larry Lucchino and citing its parent company's ownership stake in the ballclub as part of the evidence. Here are the nut graphs:

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That said, some things need to be made clear. The first is that the media is a very dirty business; on some level, we are all compromised. The second, as one longtime observer once pointed out, is that Lucchino is a political animal. The Globe owns the Red Sox which means the Red Sox own the Globe, which is not a criticism as much as it is a statement of fact. The same is true of WEEI, or at least parts of it, which is currently in negotiations for Red Sox broadcast rights and compensates Lucchino for a weekly radio segment.

So, for an assortment of reasons, the two most powerful media outlets in New England are not about to challenge the words or methods of Lucchino and the Red Sox. (Not really.) And that is OK so long as we recognize there are conflicts of interest everywhere now and the truth will be distorted as a result of it.

That is why, as much as ever, we should hope this remains a two-newspaper town.
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This also triggered a pretty heated debate on WEEI between Dale Arnold and Michael Holley with Arnold raising suspicions about the Globe/Sox ties and Holley defending his former newspaper.

Massarotti is right about wanting Boston to remain a two newspaper town, but his very serious insinuation that the Globe is in bed with Lucchino because of its business relationship with the team seems pretty thin. Every reporter has his or her sources who cooperate on stories for a variety of reasons. Reporting accurate information that someone else might not have isn't necessarily evidence of a deep dark conspiracy.
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