No sooner does the generally useless Vermont Watchdog score an actual journalistic coup, than it slips back into its usual nut-wing flackatoid ways.
The ‘Dog, for those just joining us, is the Vermont outpost of a 50-state network of right-wing “news” sites funded by the Koch brothers and their allies. Most of its stories are standard right-wing fodder; a prime recent example is its unfounded fearmongering about Russians trying to get Vermont driver privilege cards. (They applied, they got caught, they got no licenses, end of story.) But earlier this month, VW’s Bruce Parker got a legitimate scoop: he broke the story of a backroom legislative deal that netted the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce a $100,000 no-bid grant.
A few days later, Parker reported some widely divergent legislative memories on how this grant weaseled its way into law. Also useful information.
Well, enough of the real journalism. Today, it’s trumpeting the notion that state funds “may be supporting the sale of baby body parts” via Planned Parenthood. Note the inclusion of “may be.”
The basis for this article is a piece of heavily edited video — described as a “hoax” by Salon.com — that purports to show a top Planned Parenthood official openly talking about selling fetal body parts. Which would be scandalous if true, but the unedited video clearly shows the official was talking about the legitimate practice of donating tissue to medical institutions for research or transplantation.
That doesn’t stop the right-wing echo chamber from raising Cain about it. And here comes Vermont Watchdog, with a transparently flimsy pretext for getting in on the outrage.
To recap: the foundational story is a lie. Watchdog’s weak-ass attempt to capitalize is a frothy Santorum of a piece, as revealed in the telling phrase “may be.”
Which is another way of saying “We have no evidence whatsoever.”
What they have is state officials not returning their calls to comment on a bogus accusation, and the head of Vermont Right To Life jumping on the bandwagon with gusto.
That’s far from enough for a credible journalistic organization to justify a story. But it’s more than enough for Vermont Watchdog.
Piece of advice for the ‘Dogs: If you want to be taken seriously when you do get some actual news, you’ll have to stop trading in ultrapartisan bullshit. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if your legitimate barks are ignored by the rest of us.