Bunched knickers at the Freeploid

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

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 2.18.28 PM

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.

2 thoughts on “Bunched knickers at the Freeploid

  1. Terri Hallenbeck

    You’re making some assumptions here I’d like to clarify. I had made my own public records request to the governor’s office regarding his time spent out of state. I was told that there was another similar request that had just been made (which turned out to be Paul’s), so they were already gathering the info and my request could be filled more quickly than it would otherwise. My mistake was letting Paul get the info into print more quickly than I did, but to suggest I simply borrowed Paul’s information is incorrect and an unfair assumption.
    Terri Hallenbeck

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      Terri: Thank you for providing the context, but even so, the first one to produce a story deserves credit. If two inventors come up with the same idea, the first one to the Patent Office wins. Also, your paper has a long history of ignoring other media outlets – -and particularly ignoring Seven Days.


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