Yesterday we blasted the Portland Press Herald for running coverage of Chellie Pingree without coming clean about the paper’s, and the author’s, direct financial ties with her husband. Tom Bell, the newspaper union’s president, was in charge of the union when it sought and received a $4 million loan from Pingree’s husband to keep from making employee concessions to a new owner.
Apparently they’re paying attention. The PPH continues to allow the union boss who sought out Pingree’s $4 million loan to cover the congresswoman, but at least they are running a disclaimer now:
“Pingree’s husband, S. Donald Sussman, is a financier, philanthropist and frequent Democratic donor who recently purchased a 5 percent equity stake in MaineToday Media through Maine Values LLC.
MaineToday Media owns and operates The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and other media outlets in Maine.”
The assignment of Tom Bell to this campaign is essentially the Press Herald doubling-down on their pro-Pingree advocacy, a kind of “screw you” to the readership who might have concern over the paper’s ability to objectively cover its owners’ political and business dealings. This isn’t fixed by a disclaimer.