Andrew Shelffo Denies Being Paid by Capital Video

Twenty-two days after being asked the question, Andrew Shelffo has at last declared on his MassLive blog:

not being paid by Capital Video.”

We applaud Mr. Shelffo’s new found candor, if not his promptness in responding to a relevant citizen inquiry. The ethics of citizen journalism may be somewhat uncharted territory, but there are some who take issues of conflicts, disclosure, transparency, accountability, and respect for citizen feedback seriously.

It would be a shame if people refrained from questioning or criticizing those who write on MassLive for fear of receiving a torrent of bluster, evasions, demands for apologies, accusations of ethnic insensitivity and counterquestions.

For those who are interested, Mr. Shelffo yesterday gave an interview on the subject to Bill Dwight on WHMP. Download the interview ( mp3 file, 26MB ).

20 thoughts on “Andrew Shelffo Denies Being Paid by Capital Video

  1. What are you doing, NPN? Just earlier this week in a comment submitted twice to two separate posts that you had made on this issue, I asked you why you were demanding Andrew Shelffo to disclose if he had any ties to Cap Video, and when you responded because Andrew never explained why his thinking on the issue had switched, I then submitted, twice, an explanation that Andrew had in fact explained his shift in thinking when he first spoke up at a City Council meeting. I noted that I had posted his comments incorporating his explanation at my blogsite not long after Andrew made them before the City Council. This post was made on October 28th. Go to: . Instead of forthwith posting my explanatory submission, which cleared up the matter, you chose to post at least three rather lengthy features burying the matter of your misadventure, rather than fess up.

    Even more remarkable is that the last of those three posts by you was all about the importance of trust and transparency between bloggers and their audience! Then, just yesterday I posted on my blog notice that Andrew had explained himself before, and yet today you still crow that Andrew was in error for taking offense at your accusations? Are you becoming slightly psychotic in your obsession to banish erotica which you consider unacceptably pornographic?

    Adam and Jendi, please be the better people I know you can be and usually are. Apologize to your neighbor Andrew for your unfounded character assassination and give yourself some rest!


  2. Asking a journalist (even a citizen journalist) a relevant question about their motivations is just being a good investigator. By calling it “character assassination” you are discouraging free inquiry and short circuiting the feedback process between the media and the public. This does not serve free speech or quality journalism.

    I wasn’t convinced by Andrew Shelffo’s reasoning or yours about the basis for his arguments. I felt it important to press the question of a conflict of interest to get clarity on that important point.

    Mr. Shelffo’s arrogant attitude towards our questions is not appropriate for someone who enjoys the privilege of having MassLive host their blog.

  3. Just how often are journalists put on the stand to defend their credibility without cause cited? It was not a relevant question unless NPN had a cited reason for asking Andrew in particular, as it has not questioned the integrity of anyone else in the debate, such as Bill Dwight. By not stating a reason justifying the question, NPN turned the question into an unfounded insinuation – an innuendo. It was dirty rhetorical question, and Andrew saw it for what it was.

    In response to my asking NPN its reason for asking the question it claimed it just could not believe someone would change their minds after looking into the anti-porn rhetoric more critically than NPN does. Pretty lame reason. So lame that it makes me wonder if NPN really did have a valid reason to ask the question when they went after Andrew, other than to silence him by leveling upon him a personal attack. As a father of young children who disagrees with NPN’s point of view living approximately no further from the proposed Cap Video store than NPN does, for NPN he is a particularly threatening figure in the debate.

    Masslive can make its own decisions as to who should have the “privilege” of being hosted by them. Who is NPN to tell Masslive who it may host? Is NPN jealous that it is not hosted by Masslive or something?

    Further, NPN continues to cover up the fact that it went after Mr. Shelffo even though Andrew had explained himself weeks ago before the council and on-line at my blog. It knew or should have known as the responsible journalists they claim to be that Andrew had long ago explained himself and there was no reason to believe he was acting on behalf of Cap Video. Yet NPN still covers up its malfeasance and pretends to be so righteous as to preach to us journalist ethics!

    Congratulations, NPN, you have joined the ranks of Rush Limbaugh and the like. What next for you, a show on Fox News?

    All I asked is that NPN admit that it wronged Andrew and make an apology to restore its own honor and credibility; but it refuses.

  4. That Shelffo’s blog appears on MassLive is irrelevant. MassLive is a website whose primary purpose is journalism, but that doesn’t mean that everything on MassLive is journalism. Every newspaper has non-journalism components. Columnists, including political columns, Op-Ed pieces, letters to the editor, and advertisements appear in every major newspaper, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. The SPJ CoE says that these segments must be clearly distinguished from the journalistic portions, but it’s clear that in this case the separation is unambiguous.

    Shelffo uses his blog to discuss his son’s Red Sox fandom (which, as a dyed-in-the-wool Yankees fan, he finds disconcerting), his participation in charity races (were you there, by the way? It benefited Safe Passage, an important resource for battered women. Those of us who attended had a nice time and raised money for a worthy cause which you claim to care a great deal about), and his personal feelings concerning a house fire in one of his neighbor’s houses, as well as his opposition to your fear-mongering and evidential cherry-picking.

    I think that the honchos down at MassLive would find the suggestion that Mr. Shelffo is a reporter, contributing to the journalism arm of MassLive, to be laughable. I don’t think that any reasonable person could look at Shelffo’s blog and think that he is a reporter, or that the blog is journalistic in nature. Although he’s on MassLive, he’s merely expressing his opinions there. You’ve expressed your opinions there, too, in his comment section. He’s no more a journalist than you are. Or I am. Or Robin Maltz is. Or the copywriter for the Comcast ads that accompany Shelffo’s blog is.

  5. The irony that Mr. Shelffo would raise funds for Safe Passage while defending the interests of an egregious exploiter of women and vendor of abuse was not lost on us.

    The editorial department at MassLive told us it would be unacceptable to use a MassLive blog for advertising purposes.

  6. That’s not the irony. The irony is that you would claim to care about the egregious exploitation of women and *not* participate in an easy, fun way to raise money for Safe Passage.

  7. Also, I didn’t say it would be OK to use a blog on MassLive for advertising purposes. No one thought Andrew was doing that. Those same editors thought it was so obvious that he wasn’t being paid by C/V that they didn’t persue the matter at all when you tried to make a Federal Case out of it.

    My point was this: Andrew Shelffo is not a journalist. The fact that his blog appears on MassLive rather than someplace else has no bearing on his status as a journalist. He’s a guy with a blog, just like you. Remember how you said you weren’t a journalist after I told you about all the things you’d be obligated to do if you were? Andrew’s not obligated to do those things, either.

    (P.S. Comcast uses MassLive blogs for advertising purposes.)

  8. I’d like to know whether you categorize your “irony” remark, in which you suggest that Andrew Shelffo is a hypocrite for running in a charity race, as more of a courteous remark, or more of a discourteous remark. Just out of curiousity, since you brought up the importance of courtesy and ettiquitte on the internet. In this particular case, were you using courtesy, or discourtesy?

  9. I agree that Safe Passage is a worthy cause, but we don’t have time for everything. For example, when we don’t publish your comments quickly or respond, you jump all over us.

  10. Since you claim that the saftey of women is your primary concern, it’s odd that you couldn’t find time to participate in a fundraising race for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.

    I don’t jump all over you when yo don’t immediately publish or respond to my comments. Other people have, but I haven’t. You have numerous opponents, not just me. Please be aware of to whom you are speaking. When you accuse someone of something, please make sure he’s actually done it.

  11. I certainly had the impression you were aggressively pressuring us for a response here even after we felt a question was sufficiently answered or not worth debating. It’s true that other people have registered greater impatience with our ability to keep up with their commenting. We do appreciate your patience.

  12. We are not now or ever able to do everything that might be possible to advance the interests of women. All we ask from Mr. Shelffo is that he at least avoid doing things that harm the interests of women and the community.

  13. Doug, the issue was whether Andrew was being improperly influenced to advocate for Capital Video within the editorial portion of his blog. That would be an unacceptable mixing of advertising and editorial.

  14. In the instance you cite, I waited a *week* before asking my question again. During that week, you had posted and replied to many comments from many people. You posted the comment I was referring to on the first, but didn’t answer my question, and then I waited until the sixth.

    I also didn’t “jump all over you.” I said, “hey, you never answered my question.” I didn’t swear, or call you a name, and I wasn’t being rude. i was merely renewing a question I thought was important and that I wanted to see answered.

    And it’s crazy to suggest that the question wasn’t worth answering. I ask why you’d think that C/V would even want to pay Andrew. You say that K.G.’s friend was killed under mysterious circumstances. I say, why is that relevant? You say, that question is not worth answering. Huh?

  15. a) You were claiming he was a *journalist* and that it would be inappropriate for him *as a journalist* to be paid by capital Video. I was pointing out once and for all that he’s not a journalist.

    b) No one thought that Andrew was being paid by Capital Video. I didn’t, none of your readers did, and no one at MassLive did. Even when you posted an entry devoted to his “stonewalling” and then two more devoted to “journalistic ethics,” no one who left a comment was on your side. Everyone who commented thought you were being paranoid, or crazy, or rude, or mean.

    c) Since courtesy is your new big thing, have you considered apologizing to Andrew? Even if you think you don’t *owe* him an apology, you certainly must agree that an apology would be in line with a courteous attitude. Issuing an apology is never discourteous; failing to issue one sometimes is. Perhaps you should err on the side of caution in this case, and go ahead and apologize. I’m certain that Andrew and many of your readers would be grateful.

  16. You and Mr. Shelffo (and I) have a substantive difference of opinion about what the interests of the community are. The fact that he runs in the annual Hot Chocolate Race shows that his heart is in the right place.

  17. Andrew may have good intentions with regard to reducing domestic violence, and that’s good. However, that doesn’t mean his reasoning and evidence with regard to porn can’t be criticized.

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