The Sun’s – and Meehan’s take? Well, the Sun goes rough on the Rep most of the time so there’s no ethical problem here. Even if it does look like a politician and a media outlet shaking the tree for profit. Some of the premium-cost ad revenue will go to Meehan’s Educational Foundation. The rest, I’m sure, will line the pockets of the Sun’s parent company.
This doesn’t look like a problem?
Meehan, whose nice-guy dad, Buster, spent 43 years in the Lowell Sun’s composing room, is having his staff work the phones for the hometown paper. Writes Meehan on his campaign stationery: “A representative from the Sun or my office will likely be contacting you within the next few weeks with an offer to be part of this special edition. In the meantime, should you have any questions or want to place an advertisement, please contact Emily Byrne at (978) 884-7114.” Byrne works in Meehan’s Lowell office when she isn’t taking ads.
I’ve met Emily on several occasions, and I like both her and Meehan personally. But this is a misuse of office if I ever saw one. Charity benefits notwithstanding (and one can argue that since it’s Meehan’s charity, it’s a huge conflict of interest even if non-profit), who at Meehan’s office thought this was a good idea??
All “this doesn’t affect our coverage, no really” aside (and true or not), Sun publisher Mark O’Neil and his ilk have decided business [and driving their political agenda] trumps ethics at his paper on more than one occasion. His corporate overseers ought to look into this, and quick; the paper’s circulation is already going down…and this sort of unethical behavior doesn’t strike me as a way to attract new readership.
Honestly? The Sun needs new leaders at the very top. Changes cannot be made by slapping these guys on the wrist and then giving them a raise. Second-tier newspapers are supposed to be where the increasing revenue is at, and it’s obvious the current publisher and top editor aren’t working out. It’s well known that the Sun doesn’t just report the news, it makes the news. It’s had an agenda ever since its days of local ownership and nothing much has changed except the person who signs the paycheck. I hope the corporate owners of the Sun realize leaving these dinosaurs in place is the poorest business decision they could make.
Hey, here’s an idea: let’s take a look at the archives of the Sun and see who’s the real hard-hitting, honest, fair writers and editors there. And then elevate one of them to the top spot. I know who my vote is for, though I won’t name names for fear of ruining their careers with the deadweights in charge.
[My co-blogger posted about this earlier today. I am posting the info on Blue Mass Group because this needs a thorough airing out.]