There’s some good reporting in this article by Michael Levenson about Gov. Patrick and the JP crime lab scandal.
Unfortunately, we find the reporter speculating on the significance of the story as a lead-in to the story itself:
Drug lab crisis may follow Governor Patrick
Scandal may negatively affect governor’s image
With a major speech at the Democratic National Convention earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick finally enjoyed the breakthrough moment on the national stage he had been actively seeking since the beginning of his second term.
Now, Patrick finds himself grappling with the kind of crisis that has the potential to taint his national image and keep him bogged down in the details of governing.
This is typical Globe, and it’s lame. The headline and the lede here are speculation. Speculation does not belong in a straight news story; there are other sections of the paper for that. A news story should not tell us how to evaluate the facts, or predict political or image fallout. That happens on its own, without a reporter’s encouragement. And the story is still unfolding.
I am emphatically not talking about “fact-checking”, which is the province of straight news reporting. If Gov. Patrick were to say the sun rises in the west, then definitely, a straight news story should indicate that it rises in the east. One can’t let people get away with lying to the public. That’s not speculation or analysis, that’s just factual reporting.
And if the opinion writers, “analysts”, or the editorial page were to hold forth about Gov. Patrick’s image or legacy, that’s all good and grist for the mill. If one turns to the Opinion section, or if we see a columnist’s face, we can expect a dialogue on interpreting facts.
The contentions of the story about underfunding should be of immense concern to the Governor, his underlings — and the legislature, who after all appropriate those funds. And apparently, the chain of command was extremely sluggish in dealing with the bad business; underlings were not empowered to deal with the problem; and supervisors were insufficiently vigilant.
There’s a big and real story here. Just report facts and have enough respect for readers that they can form their own impressions — or at the very least, leave the speculation for the opinion section.