Daily Archives: September 11, 2014

Bunched knickers at the Freeploid

The Burlington Free Press’ Mike Donoghue is shocked, shocked, that someone would dare steal his scoop.

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Donoghue is referring to his excellent story on the Louis Freeh accident, in which he broke the news that an eyewitness saw Freeh’s vehicle force three other drivers to swerve out of his way. Which raises the question, why isn’t Freeh facing any charges for reckless driving or endangerment or some such?

And how Mike’s knickers are in a twist because Channel 3 poached his story.

I feel his pain.

As does every non-Gannett journalist in Vermont, who would tell you that the Burlington Free Press is the number-one violator of this ethical principle. The Freeploid likes to pretend, in fact, that it is the only journalistic outlet in the state. It is very quick to grab credit for its own “gets,” and extremely — extremely — reluctant to grant the same credit to others.

Let’s just take one recent example. Terri Hallenbeck, reporting on Governor Shumlin’s campaign launch: 

According to the governor’s office, Shumlin has spent 141½ days in the past two years outside of Vermont, which includes 54 personal days off and 35 days on business for the Democratic Governors Association, of which Shumlin is chairman.

“According to the governor’s office,” my ass. That story came straight out of Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz’ column in Seven Days. Which was entitled “On the Road Again: Shumlin’s 141.5 Days Outside Vermont.”

So, rather than give proper credit to Heintz and Seven Days, Hallenbeck called the governor’s office for confirmation. Which gave her an excuse to avoid giving credit where credit is due. Well, to be fair to Hallenbeck, I suspect that her editors made her do it.

In any case, I say anyone at the Burlington Free Press who whines about story-poaching needs to look in the goddamn mirror.

Mahatma Milne Reveals Himself

Aww, sheeeeit. 

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The above quote is from Milne’s interview today on VPR’s Vermont Edition. 

Where do you start? 

I’d say “self-absorbed, egotistical, and deluded,” but I suspect the real answer is “clueless and maladroit.” In his very brief time in the spotlight, Scott MIlne has already established a reputation for verbal blunders, malapropisms, abrupt changes of subject, and a weird combination of aggression and passivity. (Example: On the one hand, excoriating Vermont Health Connect as radical experimentation; on the other, refusing to rule out the even more progressive single-payer system.) 

When he wasn’t elevating himself to the highest ranks of humanity, Milne spent a lot of time failing to define himself or his candidacy, per VPR’s Jane Lindholm: 

 “I’m not talking about what my plan is today,” he said. “I’ll be very clear, and I’ve been very consistent from the beginning, that what we need is a health care system that offers access to everybody.”

Milne is short on details on other issues as well. He believes that property taxes are too high and getting higher in many towns around the state. He said we need to reform our education system to keep costs down. When questioned on Vermont Edition, Milne backed away from a prescription for a fix. 

… “Stay tuned,” he said.

C’mon now, Mahatma. It may go against every fiber of your pacifist, meat-eschewing self, but sometime, someday, you do have to start revealing policies of your own.

Back in late July, Milne laid out a two-part strategy: August was for criticizing Governor Shumlin’s record, and September was for his own policy rollout. 

Hey, Mahatma: September began a week and a half ago. Time to shit or get off the pot.