Sausage Party II: I think We’re All Dicks on This Bus

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. 



5 thoughts on “Sausage Party II: I think We’re All Dicks on This Bus

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      I had trouble finding many because I wanted pictures that showed journalists in their element. I couldn’t find one of Nellie Bly or Jessica Mitford that met that requirement. I did find one (ONE) of Ida Tarbell writing at her desk, which is in the rotation.

      Also, FWIW, some of the pictures are faux-journalists. Clark Kent, Jimmy Stewart, Warren Harding typing on a typewriter that doesn’t have paper in it. So I added another faux female from an old movie. Work in progress. (Hey, Lois Lane…)

  1. James Mason

    It looks like UVM’s PolySci department has a similar balance issue: I count 19 of the 28 faculty as men. Surely one of the women in the department would be willing to take on some media consultation!

    Side note – I believe Digger has a strong editorial anti-wind position. Besides their choice in beat reporters, their board moderator tilts heavily towards the Annette Smith and Co. show — including the asinine “featured commentators” bit — and frequently chooses not to publish comments that could be considered pro-wind (or at least anti-anti-wind).

    1. John S. Walters Post author

      The women I saw on the UVM PoliSci list all had something other than Vermont politics as their specialty. I presume they’d be reluctant to comment on something they don’t study. But there ought to be at least a couple of women who study Vermont politics at one or another of our fine institutions, right?


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