The Boston News Media relentlessly lobby for more government spending, more taxes, more government authority, and more government control. They also advance their egalitarian social agenda. They have a sizable ability to influence attitudes, elections, and government policy.
There's one large sphere of influence in Massachusetts that opposes the Boston News Media, at least on some issues: the Catholic Church. We should not be surprised that the Boston Globe and other media outlets in the state are exploiting the priest scandal to de-legitimize the Catholic Church.
In the wake of the scandal, the Catholic Church has been forced to close parishes, and now parochial schools are on the ropes.
Coverage of the Catholic Church's failure to report and rein in abusive priests is certainly warranted. A call for justice for Catholic families was long overdue.
But the Boston News Media's continual negative coverage of the Catholic Church is more than news reporting; it is lobbying and editorializing disguised as news. This is particularly evident when compared with their constant puffing of their prized Big Government Programs – public schools among them.
The coup de grce came this month when they reported that Boston politicians are working to buy up closing parochial schools with taxpayer dollars.
The Boston Globe said, “City Council President Michael Flaherty wants the city to consider buying cash-strapped and underenrolled parochial schools that may be closed, hoping it will edge Boston closer to neighborhood schools and allow the district to dismantle its decades-old busing policy.”
Rather than debunk such a lame excuse for buying up parochial schools, this news story ignores the obvious: the City of Boston can end its disgraced busing legacy by simply letting kids enroll in the existing schools nearest to their homes.
In this quote, the Boston Globe refuses to point out the city councilor's hypocrisy: “Flaherty…asked the archdiocese in October to give Boston the u2018right of first refusal' before selling any more closed schools. [Flaherty] also said the church should consider selling to the city at a reduced price.”
Boston government bureaucrats regularly pay their union pals two to three times competitive market labor rates to build public schools. Yet they want the Church to hand over its schools for pennies on the dollar.
The Boston Globe further refuses to acknowledge the veiled threat in this quote from the city councilor: “u2018What I tell the archdiocese is that we need a partner here, and we’d like your help,' Flaherty said. u2018I’m sure the archdiocese would benefit from some good will.'”
This is Tony Soprano Politics: Sell us your schools at fire sale prices or we'll burn you out. We'll continue to vigorously prosecute and defame the church.
The “Partnership for a Big Government Boston” – the Boston city government and Boston News Media – is threatening to destroy its major competitor. The state and its ally are attempting to seize power from the church.
Exposure of the priest scandal, even with fair and objective reporting, may well have led to the closing of some parochial schools. But consider how they're blacking out news about government-run public schools.
Survey random Massachusetts voters to see if they read about the former finance director of the Massachusetts Teachers Association who got convicted for stealing $802,000 from their bank account last year. 90% of the people whom I pose this question to respond with a dismayed and embarrassed, “uh, no.”
The Boston News Media similarly buried the story of the Lunenburg school superintendent a few months later who was indicted for stealing more than $420,000 from the central Massachusetts school district.
Consumers of newspaper, radio, and TV news should know about these public school officials who stole over $1.2 million. But they don't.
Consider the Boston News Media blackout of this major education phenomenon: the discrepancy between the outcomes of parochial schools compared with those of government-run public schools.
Parochial schools cost $3,500 per student per year while the Boston Public Schools spend well over $11,000 per student per year.
Parochial school kids learn to read – and to read well. Half of Boston's public school graduates and dropouts fail to meet minimal literacy standards set by the state Department of Education.
Parents of parochial school children living in the city are grateful to have a safe, affordable place to send their kids where they can get a decent education.
But most parents facing the prospect of sending their kids to the city's public schools are desperate to find an alternative. If they can afford it, they enroll them in private school. Otherwise they flee the city for suburban schools, homeschool their children, or compete to get their kids into the least bad of their public school choices.
If the Boston News Media sincerely cared about “the children,” they would expose the extensive damage being done by the Massachusetts public schools. They would investigate, discover, and report how decades of reforms and increased spending has utterly failed. They would spend a lot more time reporting on the success of parochial schools and other forms of private education.
But the Boston News Media have taken a vow of silence on the sins of pubic schools – unless insufficient taxes and government spending are blamed. “More taxes” is their mantra. More lousy public schools are the result.
If not for the lobbying of the Boston News Media, parochial schools would be doing better, and the brimming coffers of failed public schools would be shrinking instead.
February 25, 2004