Tag Archives: Anne Sosin

The Mask Slips

And the Academy Award for Painfully Earnest Passive Aggression goes to…

The topline from this week’s gubernatorial Covid presser was probably the Scott Administration’s apparent determination to push harder for getting Vermonters vaccinated. The governor practically accused the unvaccinated of betraying their fellow Vermonters and promised a new messaging strategy. I doubt it was because I’d just written the exact same thing last Tuesday, but hey, if they’re taking my advice, that’s fine with me.

However, for the political observers in the crowd, the most telling development came near the end of the marathon presser. VTDigger political reporter Lola Duffort asked a pointed question about chief of staff Jason Gibbs slagging an administration critic last week. (This was after two hours of nobody else bringing it up.) In his response, Scott made it clear that Gibbs was absolutely speaking on his behalf — and that Scott shares Gibbs’ condescending attitude toward critics and skeptics.

Yeah, the mask slipped, revealing the mean-spirited flip side of Governor Nice Guy.

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Low People in High Places: The Latest in Stupid

Apologies from the Veepies Selection Committee, which has been overwhelmed with all the stupid and/or obtuse in our public sphere. I’m sure we missed a few, but here’s a selection featuring a whole lot of misplaced self-regard from those in positions of public trust.

FIrst, the Hey, Look, A Squirrel! Award For Attempted Misdirection goes to Jason Maulucci, spokesthingy for Gov. Phil Scott. When last we met, we were giving chief of staff Jason Gibbs a right roasting for maligning a public health expert who disagrees with the administration. Gibbs all but accused Dartmouth’s Anne Sosin of professional misconduct, saying she was “desperate to prove a false narrative” and that her analysis “conceals the full truth.” Those are serious things to say about an academic’s work product.

Maulucci, when asked for comment by VTDigger, defended Gibbs by ignoring the personal criticism of Sosin. Gibbs had merely “presented data from a neutral data tool” according to Jason Junior, who concluded with “There is nothing uncivil about pointing out facts.”

Exactly, Jason Junior. There is nothing uncivil about pointing out facts. But there is something extremely uncivil and downright unseemly about attacking Sosin’s integrity. Maulucci’s lame-ass defense doesn’t change that.

Still to come: a spate of ass-covering by the cops, and correcting a very racist public monument.

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Jason Gibbs, Sooooper Genius

Not Exactly As Illustrated.

Collars must be getting tight around the Pavilion Building’s fifth floor, where Gov. Phil Scott and his inner circle have their offices. I say this because yesterday, Scott’s chief of staff Jason Gibbs delivered a series of tweets in which he claimed to know more about Covid-19 than the actual experts. Most of his attention was focused on one particular expert, Anne Sosin of Dartmouth College. He took exception to her advocacy of a mask mandate, questioned her ethics and research, and challenged her to a Science-Off on Twitter — everyone’s chosen platform for scientific discourse.

At times it approached the level of bullying. It was an unusual and unseemly performance by Phil Scott’s top guy.

Oh wait — he’s come back for Round 2 today! I’m surprised; I thought he’d get a talking-to from his boss and return to his hidey hole. Hmm. Maybe the governor wants his chief of staff out there showing his ass to the world.

Can we conclude that this is of a piece with the administration’s blinkered approach to “the science and the data” that Scott claims to rely on? When asked about dissenting experts at a recent Covid briefing, Scott professed to trust the experts in the building. His underlings, that is.

What’s gotten under their skin? It’s not the failure of their Delta variant policy or the terrible Covid case counts or hospitalizations or ICU admissions or the overstressed health care system or the slow plague of long Covid we’re setting ourselves up for. Maybe it was the Vermont chapter of the American College of Physicians publicly calling for a mask mandate and other “evidence-based measures.” Maybe it was former health commissioner Dr. Harry Chen joining the chorus. There are so many experts on that side, and so many studies showing that mask mandates are effective, that Team Scott must be feeling a bit embattled.

But, for whatever reason, Gibbs’ primary target was Sosin.

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