MaineToday Media’s Monks Mandate
Since MaineToday Media was formed in 2009 as the new owner of the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, it has repeatedly failed to disclose in news stories that Robert C.S. Monks is an MTM board member and investor. It has also failed to note Monks’ roles in articles about controversies involving companies he owns or has a significant interest in.
This has happened over and over in articles covering both Monks’ business dealings and political activities. Most recently, the MaineToday papers have ignored Monks murky presence in the dispute over efforts by Black Point Resource Management (Monks serves as its board chairman according to his Website) and the Sprague Corp. (Monks is one of the Sprague heirs who own the company) to build a concession stand and parking lot near Scarborough Beach State Park in Scarborough. The Dec. 6 Press Herald carried yet another story that failed to note that Monks is a major force in both companies.
Recently, I received an email from a former MaineToday editorial employee that sheds some light on this persistent omission. The email read: “You frequently wonder why the MTM papers don’t disclose their conflicts on Bobby Monks. We used to. One day perhaps a month after arriving, [an editor] took me aside and told me, explicitly, to stop doing so.”
I suppose it’s some relief to know this ethical breach wasn’t the result of ignorance or incompetence. But not much.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.