December 24, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Column on Hershey School Was ‘Factually Inaccurate Portrayal’

To the Editor:

We are astonished that The Chronicle of Philanthropy has once again allowed writer Pablo Eisenberg to use his column to unfairly attack Milton Hershey School without even bothering to contact us and give us the opportunity to correct his factually inaccurate portrayal.

This is an absence of journalistic accountability that The Chronicle itself acknowledged the last time Mr. Eisenberg wrote about us (see "The Hershey Trust Responds: A ‘Fundamentally Wrong’ Premise," September 16, 2011, and The Chronicle’s accompanying public acknowledgment that Mr. Eisenberg at least should have called Hershey to allow us to rebut his accusations in his September 14, 2011, column).

Now you’ve done the exact same thing all over again. Mr. Eisenberg once again lambastes at length a school he has never visited and people he has never contacted. He gives full credibility to discredited critics. And he gives us none. And once again, as a result, the number of factual inaccuracies in the piece is astounding. The fact The Chronicle continues to give Mr. Eisenberg a wholly one-sided platform for his vicious, "scorched earth" attacks is beyond troubling. So is the fact that you allow him to repeat many of the same outrageously and demonstrably inaccurate accusations that we corrected previously. (In fact, much of the text of this latest column is nearly verbatim to that in the 2011 piece, including the opening line).

Doing again exactly what you previously admitted was wrong is a definition of malice.

Milton Hershey School exists for one reason—to offer children in financial and social need the power to build an exceptional life. We have been devoted to that goal for more than one hundred years and have thousands of successful alumni eager to attest to that fact. We have a long track record of welcoming children from often difficult home circumstances and providing them with a stable and nurturing environment to learn and thrive.

Whenever questions are raised by our legal overseers, as is their duty, we cooperate fully. But those overseers—whose integrity Mr. Eisenberg arrogantly dismisses—do something that Mr. Eisenberg never does. They ask for our facts. And they assess them objectively. They even send representatives to see our school firsthand before reaching their judgments.

If only you or your writer had done the same. Instead, you once again gave a one-sided platform to an alleged journalist whose brazen unfairness you already have admitted. Shame on you, Chronicle of Philanthropy. Your readers deserve better.

Lisa Scullin

Vice President of Communications

Milton Hershey School