1. A key scene in the film features the Globe's Walter Robinson threatening Boston Church-suing lawyer Roderick MacLeish to cooperate with the paper's investigation. MacLeish wrote in a Facebook post that in truth the event "never occurred" and, in fact, he "welcomed" the meeting with Robinson.
2. Another scene features the Globe's Sacha Pfeiffer claiming that abuse victims "have to sign confidentiality agreements to get monetary settlements," implying that the Church forced these agreements upon victims. In truth, as we have reported before, it was the other way around. Embarrassed by what had happened to them, it was the victims who sought secrecy from the Church.
3. In another scene, Robinson asks MacLeish if he ever followed up with the cases he settled to ensure that abusive priests were taken out of ministry. MacLeish's uncomfortable silence to Robinson's question implies that he didn't. In fact, it was MacLeish himself who told the Globe back in December 1993 that the Archdiocese had removed 20 accused priests from active ministry. (In addition, MacLeish at the time "credited the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston with taking prompt action on the accusations.")
4. The film portrays Globe staffer Steve Kurkjian as being dismissive of the Globe's pursuit of the Church abuse story. In fact, Kurkjian did some of the reporting on the Spotlight Team investigation. So reckless is this portrayal that even the Globe's own Kevin Cullen has now written, "Kurkjian, a journalistic icon, is owed an apology."
5. The film portrays a meeting in 2001 about abuse at Boston College High School between Globe staffers and administrators as being confrontational in nature. In truth, not only did the meeting not take place until 2002, it was indeed cordial. Even the Globe itself at the time praised the high school's swift and transparent handling of its crisis in an opinion article.
6. The film features a scene with the Globe's Spotlight Team acting astonished when learning about a report issued to bishops in 1985 that had foreseen the scope of the abuse crisis. In truth, the paper already wrote about the report back in 1991, and the report itself was the subject of a front-page article in the Globe in July 1992.
7. Hollywood entertainment magazine Entertainment Weekly exposes at least three more fictitious scenes! Check it out:
"Late in the film, [Globe columnist Walter] Robinson pressures one of his sources, a lawyer named Eric MacLeish (Billy Crudup), for information, and the slick attorney throws it back in his face: 'I already sent you a list of names … years ago!' he says to Robinson and [the Globe's Sacha] Pfeiffer. 'I had 20 priests in Boston alone, but I couldn't go after them without the press, so I sent you guys a list of names … and you buried it!'
"Except that exchange never actually happened. Nor did the scene where Pfeiffer searches the archives and brings the clipping of the December 1993 story to Robinson, proving MacLeish correct: it ran on B42 and didn't include any of the priests' names. And a later scene, where Robinson admits to his colleagues that he had been the Metro editor back in '93, accepting his role in not catching the story sooner, didn't happen either."
Now you know.
[There is even more. See the headlines. See the editorial cartoons. See the photographs.
Check out the most talked-about new book, Sins of the Press: The Untold Story of The Boston Globe's Reporting on Sex Abuse in the Catholic Church (Amazon.com)]