Aw, fer the love of Mike. There goes the eyelid again.
The Vermont media corps followed up their reliance on a teeny-tiny (and entirely male) pool of pundits with a rousing encore this morning.
First, I come across an article by VTDigger’s Mike Polhamus* about the wind energy issue in the gubernatorial race. And there’s our man in Middlebury:
Eric Davis, a retired Middlebury College political science professor, said the voters most fired up on the wind turbine issue are people in rural areas who live near existing wind projects.
Now, that’s the kind of unfiltered conventional wisdom that money just can’t buy.
And then, just when my eyelid was settling down, I open up VPR’s webpage and find a piece by Bob Kinzel that not only quotes Davis at length, but throws in a healthy dose of Garrison Nelson for good measure.
Not only that, but Davis and Nelson are the only two people quoted in the entire piece. It’s an entire story spun, cotton-candy-like (but much less tasty), from the recycled froth of Vermont’s Only Two Academic Pundits.
Saints deliver us.
What makes this worse is, as the Associated Press’ Dave Gram pointed out in a comment on my previous post, there is another well-qualified academic who happens to be a woman: Linda Fowler of Dartmouth College.
Yeah, I know Dartmouth is in New Hampshire, but just barely. Its footprint definitely straddles the state line. And if Fowler can be a consistent source of moderately interesting fodder, why is she such a rarity? Heck, it’s not as though Davis or Nelson is offering unequalled nuggets of insight.
So please, if she’s available and willing, more Linda Fowler. And I urge Vermont media outlets to continue the hunt. Broaden your Rolodexes. Get a little creative. Who knows, you might actually deliver some unique value to your readers.
I do not call for a ban on Eric Davis, or Nelson for that matter. But any media outlet that resorts to The Usual Suspects more than once a week or so needs to take a fresh look at its reportage.
*Mike Polhamus appears to be VTDigger’s go-to guy on the wind issue, and there are obvious signs of anti-wind bias in his reporting. He typically gives far more space and consideration to wind opponents than he does to advocates. Today’s piece was no exception.