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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
BECHTEL UNLOADS ON THE
GLOBE. Under fire from Governor Mitt Romney, Attorney
General Tom Reilly, and others, Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff has
decided to defend its work on the Big Dig by unloading on the
Boston Globe. In a full-page ad on page 17 of today's
Boston Herald, the firm reproduces an op-ed piece that it says
it submitted to the Globe, only to have it rejected. "What the
Globe Doesn't Want You to Read: Big Dig Safe & Sound," the ad
begins. Isn't that nice?
The op-ed was written by Matt
Wiley, who was program manager of the Big Dig and is a senior
vice-president at Bechtel. I'm not going to reproduce his entire
piece here (it doesn't seem to be online), but among other things he
- "All the experts agree: The Big
Dig is structurally safe and sound."
- "The tunnels already meet
industry norms for water intrusion, even before they are
- "The program to seal leaks will
be completed within months, not years, generally at the contractors'
expense and without jeopardizing the project's budget."
The ad also asserts:
Globe's Joan Vennochi began her
November 18 column: "The
Tunnel is leaking. And the private management team hired to
oversee the Big Dig should answer these questions: Is it
structurally sound? Who is going to fix it? Who is going to pay
But when Bechtel
Parsons/Brinckerhoff tried to answer those very questions in an
opinion column, adding informed perspective on the controversy,
The Boston Globe refused to run it.
So why wouldn't the Globe
run the column? I asked editorial-page editor Renée Loth, who
referred my inquiry to Globe spokesman BMaynard Scarborough.
Scarborough, in turn, released a statement. Here it is in
It appears that
Bechtel/Parsons is trying to blame the messenger in this
situation. Contrary to what they have stated in today's ad, The
Globe's Op-ed page is not the place for interested parties to
rebut news stories or challenge the facts therein. Nor is it a
public relations forum. The Op-ed page is a section of the
newspaper where we feature differing opinions on issues that
affect the community at large. Bechtel had the option of working
through the Globe Ombudsman or using "Letters To The Editor" to
air their discontent. It should be pointed out, however, that
Globe reported today on
page B3 Bechtel's position on issues raised in recent news
stories. That, in our opinion, clearly demonstrates that we
continue to approach this story with fairness and objectivity in
By the way, here's
the Herald's report
on Bechtel's response. And here
is the Globe's archive
of reports on the Big Dig.
posted at 5:06 PM |
Betchel is few years late and a handful of billion dollars short. Otherwise I have great confidence in their money-sucking hole-in-the-ground.
"Contrary to what they have stated in today's ad, The Globe's Op-ed page is not the place for interested parties to rebut news stories or challenge the facts therein."
Eh, well, where is the place that people or corporations who feel they have been maligned go to complain? I thought that was the opinion page. As well, sometimes the letter isn't enough.
Good score for the Herald to get a paid ad out of the deal though!
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Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.