A double standard at the Free Press? I am shocked! Shocked!

Ah, the Burlington Free Press: Champion of transparency everywhere outside its own doors.

The Gannett property steadfastly refuses to explain — or often even confirm — the organizational changes, comings and goings, mostly the latter, that affect the quality of its product and the ability of its readers — or should I say multiplatform consumers? — to depend on the Free Press for reliable, comprehensive journalism.

I’m sure the response from Michael Townsend would be, “Well, we’re a business! We have to protect our trade secrets and business strategy. Besides, we’re not bound to the same accountability standards as the public sector.”

Or, as he more succinctly put it to Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz earlier this week,

“I don’t talk to you guys,” he said. “I’m old-fashioned when it comes to competition.”

Oh, really? Well then, riddle me this, Batman: How come your reporters felt free to question WCAX-TV News Director Anson Tebbetts about the station’s mistaken broadcast of a photo of a murder victim?

And how come Tebbetts answered those questions?

“We’ve spent the last 24 hours apologizing for our terrible mistake,” Tebbetts told the Burlington Free Press. “We apologize to the family, her friends, the community and everyone that surrounded this case. It was a terrible mistake, and we’re deeply, deeply sorry.”

If the two men were in each other’s shoes, would Townsend have told Free Press reporters “I don’t talk to you guys”?

The Freeploid has plastered a thorough exploration of the WCAX incident in the prime spot on its webpage, seizing the opportunity to besmirch its’ competitor’s reputation.  And yet, it refuses to answer Heintz’ perfectly reasonable questions about newsroom cutbacks that will affect the quality of the Free Press’ product.

Anson Tebbetts feels a responsibility to his audience. Michael Townsend, apparently, does not.

The Burlington Free Press, transparency hypocrite.

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