Daily Archives: June 9, 2016

The Watchdog labors mightily and brings forth a mouse

The readership of this blog has been growing rapidly of late. Part of the new crowd, to judge from the Comments and my Twitter feed, is comprised of conservatives who apparently read this stuff as a form of aerobic exercise: Stimulate the heart rate through aggravation.

One brave Tweeter recently responded to my disparaging comments about Phil Scott’s letter touting “concerning reports,” anonymous, that the Shumlin administration was trying to shoehorn political job-holders into regular state positions.

Scott has kept quiet about the letter ever since, so methinks he realized he had no evidence beyond, according to his office, one single inside source.

(Either that, or somebody told him to STFU because Jim Douglas did exactly that during his exit from office.)

This Tweeter referred to a report on Vermont Watchdog about the allegations, and cited it as the kind of quality journalism that I’d failed to produce.

Well, as you already know, Watchdog is a place where they spell “quality” with a “K”, but I thought I’d better take a look at the article.

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Matt Dunne gets a major boost

I suppose they couldn’t change the timetable, but two of Vermont’s biggest unions picked a bad time to release their endorsements for governor and lieutenant governor. They were revealed on Tuesday, when practically all eyes were turned toward the last round of presidential primaries — and the few remaining eyes were focused on Governor Shumlin’s veto of S.230 and the legislative effort to rewrite the bill or override the veto.

But let’s not allow the nods to vanish into the mists of history just yet, because they are likely to carry great weight in our new, improved, low-turnout August primary.

The Vermont State Employees Association and the Vermont Labor Council AFL-CIO both opted for Matt Dunne for governor, and David Zuckerman for lieutenant governor. Last week, the VSEA’s legislative committee recommended Galbraith to its members, but the board of trustees went with Dunne after taking a straw poll among the union membership.

In both races, the unions opted for the person least associated with the Shumlin administration and the Democratic legislative caucuses. I guess that’s not surprising, given VSEA’s very contentious relationship with the administration. Just think of it as another of Shumlin’s little gifts to the Democrats who would succeed him.

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The Burlington Free Press is a whore

The second third of Paul Heintz’ “Fair Game” column delivered a bombshell for those of us who follow — and root for — our dwindling media sector.

The Burlington Free Press has begun to — not once, but routinely —  publish bespoke content written by interested parties, formatted and presented as if it were actual news.

Recently I caught one instance of this disturbing trend: the Free Press ran an article on the Q Burke Resort (before it was de-Q’d) — written by the resort’s PR person. It ran as a news story; the writer’s affiliation was not identified until a small note at the end of the piece.

The timing was unfortunate, since the article was published only a few days before the SEC came swooping down on the Stenger/Quiros operation.

What Heintz has done goes way beyond my isolated discovery. He runs down a lengthy list of articles, formatted and presented as news, in space supposedly reserved for journalism, that were provided by interested third parties.

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