UPMC has banned the paper from five of its hospital gift shops, accusing it of “slanted” coverage, the paper reported.In an internal memo, UPMC accused the Post-Gazette of treating the health system unfairly.
“The P-G's hostile editorials and insensitive cartoons have bled over into slanted news coverage,” UPMC said.UPMC did not address the gift shop ban in its note. But it did say it cannot support the Post-Gazette through advertising or subscriptions.
“The P-G has the right to print what it wants,” UPMC said. “We have the right not to pay for it.”
Executive Editor David Shribman defended the newspaper. “We believe that our coverage of UPMC has been fair-minded in every respect,” he told the Associated Press.
UPMC operates more than 20 hospitals and has more than 60,000 employees.
The newspaper said UPMC has criticized it frequently over the years, most recently over its coverage of an ongoing contract battle with Highmark. Highmark and UPMC have been feuding since Highmark, the largest health insurer in the region, acquired a rival health system—now called Allegheny Health Network—in 2013.
UPMC cited a negative story about a competitor that ran on the front page of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in June, but ran only as a brief in the business section of the Post-Gazette. It also pointed to a series of editorial cartoons, including one about the Highmark dispute that seemed to compare UPMC with the Islamic group ISIS.
The UPMC-Highmark fracas seems to be wearing thin for local officials.
“Both of these entities have a view that there's nothing more important than their dispute with each other,” James Donahue, the Pennsylvania executive deputy attorney general who is one of those charged with making sure the pair comply with a year-old consent decree, told the Post-Gazette.