Boycott the Boston Globe; read the Bay State Banner instead

Boston Globe uses stigmatizing language as young people die

This blog post will probably make some of my friends at the Boston Globe feel uncomfortable. I apologize in advance if that is the case. But I suspect many of my Globe friends will agree with me. In any event, ethically, I cannot stay silent.

Today, Felice J. Freyer and J.D. Capelouto published a story entitled, “Safety plan for addicts rejected,” on page B1 of the Metro section. It was an excellent story.

But I am disappointed in Freyer, Capelounto, as well as their bosses, Brian McGrory and Mark Morrow. Why did they use the word “addict” in their byline? We’ve been over this many times.

Addiction is a public health crisis in Massachusetts. So many young people are suffering and dying, and I expect the flagship media outlet of New England to do better. Just as it is unacceptable for doctors to refer to patients as “addicts” because it is stigmatizing, it is unacceptable for McGrory and Morrow to use this word.

Certainly McGrory, Morrow, and their colleagues have friends or family members who are using drugs. They should be leading the way, not making mistakes like this. I am not going to buy the Boston Globe until McGrory and Morrow issue a formal apology/ retraction and promise to never use the word “addict” again in a byline. I suggest you do the same.

Read the Bay State Banner from now on.

And yet I understand running a newspaper is a tough business. No one wants to buy papers anymore, and jobs are being cut. But if McGrory and Morrow ran a tighter ship, the Boston Globe would be growing, rather than dying off.

Maybe McGrory and Morrow should take a vacation or look for new jobs. I’d hire them to work for me on my consulting business. Or maybe they should issue a retraction, promise to never use the word “addict” again in a byline, then come over to my house for some pizza, and we can discuss in person.

If you found this blog post useful, please share on social media/leave comments below.

Best regards,

Philip Albert Lederer MD

Update August 8, 2018- I have decided to buy the Boston Globe again. 


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One thought on “Boycott the Boston Globe; read the Bay State Banner instead

  1. I received a message stating that my “attack” is a bit “over the top.”

    I agree, it is provocative. It might get me in trouble. But I have to speak the Truth.

    My response (I can’t send it by email, I have to post it here on the blog), is that I apologize if you are feeling angry with me.

    Please forgive me.

    I apologize if the blog post was poorly thought out, but I can’t take it down.

    I am sorry if you are having problems with your boss or your colleagues.

    I know how hard you work. You have done amazing work and I urge you to continue doing amazing work.

    But pain leads to progress. I know from experience. Pain always leads to growth.

    Think about the Boston Red Sox. If a player on the ball team hits 30%, they make the All Stars.

    So if you are hitting 30% with your articles, or I am hitting 30% with my blog posts, I will be an All Star.

    Now a bit more explanation.

    I have taken care of thousands of patients in my career. Many used drugs. Many died from infections or overdose.

    I have had too many regular folks die from overdose, and too many family members, and I expect that the word addict will not be used in bylines by newspapers.

    We have been over this before, so my only conclusion can be that 1) the editors at the Boston Globe want people to die so they can sell more newspapers, or 2) they are busy and they forgot about their prior articles.

    I suspect it is the latter, but it certainly could be the former. With capitalism, you never know. Addiction is a big story.

    But a much more profitable story is if the Boston Globe were to change. How about you reporters leave your office and come down to the homeless shelter and serve soup for 8 hours every Saturday. And how about you bring the editorial board with you. If you did this, then your newspaper would sell many more papers.

    This is ‘Cultural Strategy,’ as described by Prof Douglas Holt.

    You have to analyze the cultural orthodoxy so you can disrupt it.

    Let me tell you a little story. There was once a lady who sat outside the Charles MGH train station. She was a patient at Mass General in the homeless clinic.

    I don’t recall her name, but I always gave her money. Then, one day she was gone, and there was a big piece of wood next to the station.

    People were writing messages on it to her. She had overdosed and died.

    She was homeless, a nobody, her life didn’t matter to the powerful people. But the street people missed her and cried and it was tragic.

    I believe her name may have been April, or Hope, or something like that.

    If news outlets like the Boston Globe stopped using the word “addict” in their bylines, things might get a little better for homeless folks and poor people who use drugs.

    I urge a boycott of any media outlet that uses the word “addict” in a byline.

    It is not just the Boston Globe.

    Gandhi said that we must focus on truth, even if it makes people angry/upset.

    So again, I apologize, but the boycott continues of any media outlet that uses the word “addict” in bylines.

    I would be happy to discuss in person next week, but not today, because I am working on a deadline.

    I would also be happy to stop the boycott immediately if you accept my proposal.

    Think about it, this might even get you a promotion.

    Silence = death.

    Best regards,

    Philip Albert Lederer

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