By Joe Dwinell
The Boston Globe reporter who penned a Sunday story about rocker Tom Scholz's lawsuit against the Herald had previously gone on television and seemingly endorsed Scholz's claims in the civil action against the Globe's rival -- and admitted he was wrong to do so.
Scholz alleges that the Herald defamed him in articles published in March 2007 by purportedly "implying" that he was responsible for Boston lead singer Brad Delp's decision to take his life, a claim that the Herald denies. In February 2011, Globe reporter Geoff Edgers covered Scholz's earlier allegation that problems in Delp's relationship with his girlfriend in 2006, months before they reconciled and became engaged to be married, caused Delp to take his life the following year.
During a February 2011 television appearance to promote his article, Edgers seemed to endorse Scholz's claims against the Herald. "This guy is an extremely sensitive person," Edgers said about the rock star, who has been described by Rolling Stone as "a litigation machine." "I think he wants to be vindicated. I think he wants the public to know that he didn't cause this, that he's not to blame and I genuinely believe that he's hurt and in pain."
When contacted back in 2011 by Herald representatives about his apparent bias, Edgers admitted that his statements had been inappropriate.
Edgers' most recent article, entitled "Brad Delp's Last Days Detailed In Court Papers," seems to advance Scholz's more recent allegation that it was an incident between Delp and his fiancee's sister that was responsible for Delp's suicide. Edgers had emailed the Herald on May 18 to say that the Globe was writing a new story on the lawsuit the next day, and needed a comment "ASAP." When asked if he had read the court document that was to be the subject of the article, Edgers first said that he had, and then admitted that he had not, and had not taken steps to obtain it.
In writing the Globe's most recent story, Edgers failed to quote from the portion of the statement issued by Herald spokeswoman Gwen Gage which raised the issue of his previous television appearance. In that statement, the Herald said: "We regret that the Globe, having already published a misleading article about the matter in February, 2011, has persisted in assigning someone to cover this case who has literally gone on television and publicly associated himself with Mr. Scholz and his position. This appears to be an instance of journalistic rivalry getting the better of editorial judgment."
The Herald sent emails to Edgers and the Globe's editor-in-chief, Martin Baron, asking if they disputed that Edgers made the statements during his television appearance, and that he had admitted that it had been inappropriate for him to have done so, whether it was appropriate under the circumstances for Edgers to continue reporting on Scholz's lawsuit against the Herald, and whether Edgers' statements on television "should have been disclosed to Globe readers, so that they could consider the fact that he had done so in assessing his reporting on the subject."
In his response on behalf of both of them, Baron declined to answer the specific questions posed, but insisted that "any suggestion that our reporter has behaved inappropriately or expressed any bias is flat-out false and based on distortion."