Massachusetts News Reporters Donate To Democratic Politicians At The State Level, Too 

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It turns out that people who work in news also make political contributions in state elections — to Democrats.

NewBostonPost has previously covered how members of the mainstream media in Massachusetts make political donations, and how they skew heavily to the Democratic side — including in the 2021 U.S. Senate runoff elections in Georgia. What about when it comes to elections at the state level?

NewBostonPost took a look at those contributions since 2018 and found a few active news reporters who have given money to Democrats.

This includes WBZ-TV general assignment reporter Bill Shields. He gave $50 to Arlington resident Lori Lennon, who unsuccessfully ran for state representative that year. She primaried incumbent state Representative Sean Garballey, who has held the post since 2009, but lost 72.6 percent to 27.4 percent.

Lennon served as a web producer for WBZ from 2005 to 2011, according to her LinkedIn page.

In a 2018 interview with Progressive Massachusetts, she said she is pro-abortion and in favor of single-payer health care at the state level, providing illegal immigrants with driver’s licenses, and putting a fee on carbon emissions.

A spokesman for WBZ could not be reached for comment on the matter on Monday. Nor could Shields.

On the radio, WATD’s Plymouth correspondent Bobbi Clark is another political contributor. The cause she has given to twice:  the Plymouth Democratic Town Committee.

Although her coverage at WATD is exclusively Plymouth politics, she has donated $50 to town Democrats twice: once in April 2020 and another time in September 2018.

Political contributions are nothing new for Clark l, either. She donated to then-Massachusetts Senate president Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) several times as well:  $50 in 2007, $35 in 2008, $50 in 2010, $50 in 2011, and $125 in 2012. That’s a total of $310. These donations occurred while she was working for WATD.

WATD station owner Ed Perry told NewBostonPost in an email message that he understands that there is some risk when it comes to media making political contributions, but he views her as a fair reporter. Perry said:


I think probably contributions to a candidate or a party by a reporter can be risky but not necessarily damaging to that reporter’s credibility. A reporter presents facts rather than opinions created by personal preferences. So, as long as these guidelines remain in place, making a personal contribution to a candidate to reward good work or interesting promises probably works okay. I occasionally send a few bucks to the Committee to Re-Elect one of our local State Reps who, as a college student, served as an intern in the WATD Newsroom. But, should he step out of line in providing honest service to the communities he serves, I can guarantee that WATD listeners will hear about it. And I think Bobbi Clark responds the same way. I’ve never known her to suppress a story about an elected official who has broken the rules of the game. And I must admit that, should she run for office again, I’d probably send a few bucks to Therese Murray’s election committee. Without her support and creativity I doubt we’ve have the new Plymouth District Court facility in place and Route 44 West from Route 3 would still be a street instead of a highway.


Additionally, Clark told NewBostonPost in an email message on Monday night, “I have been reporting for WATD for 20 years and I think my work speaks for itself.”

Shields and Clark aren’t alone in their political contributions, either.

Patch field editor Jimmy Bentley is on that list. He covers the South Shore and Cape Cod, according to his Patch staff bio, and has worked for Patch since 2016, according to his LinkedIn page. Yet, he donated $25 to a pair of political candidates in 2018:  Kevin Higgins and Thomas Merolli. 

Higgins, a Democrat from Whitman, unsuccessfully sought his party’s nomination for state representative in the Seventh Plymouth district in 2018. It’s the district that state Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington) represents.

Higgins ran on implementing single-payer health care at the state level, according to his campaign Web site.

Merolli, a Democrat from Mendon, unsuccessfully ran against state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster) in the Worcester and Norfolk District in 2018.

Like Higgins, Merolli ran on implementing single-payer health care at the state level, his campaign Web site said.

Neither Bentley nor a spokesman for Patch could be reached for comment on Monday.


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