The Pittsburgh Paper's Solution For Shut Out Super Bowl Fans Is One Big Conflict Of Interest

Yesterday, an unsigned editorial ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, decrying the NFL's offer of compensation to those fans whose Super Bowl seats were unavailable, and demanding that the league pay them as much as $50,000 each. The editorial failed to mention that one of the people affected by the blunder, and would stand to benefit if the paper's solution were implemented, was Allan Block, owner of the Post-Gazette.

The editorial is eminently reasonable, considering it was published before the NFL's latest offer of airfare, hotel and tickets to any future Super Bowl. We find no fault with the proposal. We do find fault with the absence of a disclaimer that the author might or might not be writing without an impartial pen.

The same day the editorial was published, a straight news piece ran in the sports section focusing on the seating controversy. Halfway down the article was this:

Allan J. Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc., which owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said he and his guests, Norah Lawlor and Jeffrey Bradford from New York, were among those who entered the stadium and made their way to their seats only to be told they would not be able to sit there.

They first were taken to a lounge where they could watch the game on television but could not see the field.

"For $900 tickets, we would have been watching the game on TV as we could have anywhere," Mr. Block said

.

What we've got is a platform being used to advocate for increased compensation for a small group including the owner of that platform. A simple note disclosing Block's attendance would have sufficed, to avoid giving readers the impression that the newspaper's editorial page can be used as propaganda for the rich guy who owns the place, like every other editorial page ever.

We've contacted the editorial board for comment; specifically, we've reached out to the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Post-Gazette, John Robinson Block — Allan Block's twin brother.