Daily Archives: February 7, 2015

Ethics, shmethics

Riddle me this, Batman: How is a political blogpost like a roadkill skunk?

The apparent answer: At first their stench makes them unfit for polite company, but after three weeks or so the smell goes away.

See, way; back on January 19, I wrote a piece about a bill before the legislature to establish a Latin motto for Vermont. Over time, the story went viral; it appeared on the Huffington Post, the Daily Kos, Reddit, Fark, and Gawker. It was shared on Facebook more than 10,000 times, and I literally got over 100,000 pageviews out of it.

But nobody else in Vermont media picked up on the story.

That is, until now. The Associated Press’ Dave Gram wrote a piece about it. The Burlington Free Press posted it on their paywalled website; here’s a link to the story on a non-paywalled site.

Nice of Dave to finally notice the story. Don’t know why it took three weeks.

Not so nice: he didn’t credit the Vermont Political Observer as the original source. Maybe the story’s blogorrific stench has dissipated, but the smell still permeates the dread name “theVPO.”

Gawker, that irresponsible gossipmonger, credited me; the local media, I guess, chooses not to.

Now I realize that (a) this is a trivial story, a sidebar to our coverage of politics and policy, and (b) nobody outside of the room I’m sitting in cares whether I get fair credit. But I do. And the giving and receiving of credit is always a lively topic whenever journalists gather; my salaried colleagues are quick to complain when they are slighted by another media outlet.

So here’s my complaint. For the vast majority of you who don’t care, my apologies and I promise something more relevant next time. Just needed to get that off my chest.

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RNC leader thinks better of Israel trip

Hmm. Apparently Reince Priebus, the chair of the Republican National Committee, ducked out of that big trip to Israel arranged by the hateful bigoted folks at the American Family Association.

Priebus was one of the many top Republicans, including Vermont’s own Susie Hudson, who were booked on a nine-day trip to Israel paid for, and guided by, officials of the American Family Association and its subsidiary, the American Renewal Project. The voyagers left last weekend, but Priebus was spotted this week in Washington, D.C.¬†after a meeting with Senate Republicans. Talking Points Memo:

His appearance in Washington came as something of a surprise after the founder of the American Renewal Project, David Lane, told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz last week that he would be taking Priebus, Priebus’ wife and about 60 other committee members to the Holy Land.

The trip was scheduled in November, but became a source of controversy last week after the Israeli media outlet Haaretz spilled the inconvenient beans about the AFA’s extreme Christianist positions.

You know, it’s funny how the Republican Party doesn’t mind offending Americans with its close ties to a hate group, but it’s afraid to offend Israelis. Yeah, funny.

I guess Priebus decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and quietly canceled. Hudson and the others made the trip, and are currently getting their heads filled with AFA dogma about Middle Eastern politics. Perhaps when Hudson comes back on Sunday, someone from the Vermont media will ask her what she learned, and about the appropriateness of the Republican National Committee accepting the lavish hospitality of the American Family Association.

Let’s hope so. To date, Seven Days’ Paul Heintz is the only reporter to pursue this story. How about it, VTDigger, Burlington Free Press, Vermont Press Bureau, Associated Press, VPR, WCAX, and WPTZ? The Vermont Republican Party actively distances itself from the more extreme provinces of national conservatism; how do its leaders explain one of their own, who holds a top position with the national party, taking an expensive AFA junket and absorbing its poisonous worldview?