This week, Vermont’s Public Broadcasting ConglomerateTM has been releasing Part 2 of its (obligatory full name here) VPR – Vermont PBS 2022 Poll. And today’s story about one result is a study in journalistic imbalance.
The article is about the above question: Would you recommend that a young person stay in Vermont or leave?
The total result goes right down the middle: A bit more “leave” than “stay” with a sizable tranche “not sure.” Within that, however, Republicans were far less sanguine on Vermont as land of opportunity. A full 63% of Republicans said “leave.” Among independents, that number was 32%, and for Democrats it was 43%.
That’s perfectly fine fodder for a think piece. But the story that came out of the VPBCTM sausage factory was basically PR for a tired Republican talking point. A talking point that’s been repeated so often, for so long, that it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The University of Michigan, my alma mater, has been rocked by an unthinkable sexual-abuse scandal. Dr. Robert Anderson served as an athletic team doctor for thirty-five years and throughout that time, he sexually abused male students so frequently that it was a running joke among athletes. Except for those who were traumatized, of course.
This story has been out there for a while. But the latest disturbing turn is that several former football players — and many observers of Michigan athletics — say that legendary coach Bo Schembechler absolutely knew about Anderson’s abuse. Some say they told Bo; others say that he kept such a tight fist on his program that he couldn’t possibly have been ignorant. Just like Joe Paterno at Penn State.
And just like Paterno, the statue of Schembechler that adorns the athletic campus will almost certainly be removed sometime.
But what does this have to do with Vermont politics, you say?
These scandals have become so commonplace that I can’t help but believe that there are many more like them, so far undiscovered. And if you think this state is exempt, well, check your Vermont exceptionalism at the door.