Tag Archives: Jon Graham

If it didn’t happen in the Free Press, it didn’t happen

The Burlington Free Press takes tremendous pride in its scoops. Front-page placement, social media bragging. It’ll also follow up endlessly, whether fresh developments warrant it or not. And sometimes the “scoops” aren’t worth the paper they’re (at least for now) printed on.

Its pride in the Liquor Control Commission overtime affair is justified. Mike Donoghue discovered an abuse of the system and aired it out. One result: the amazingly well-timed retirement of Commissioner Michael Hogan.

Great. Good work. But I find it awfully curious that while the Free Press has devoted lots and lots of space to the LCC, it has published exactly one story — count it, one — about Attorney General Bill Sorrell’s refusal to investigate himself for possible campaign finance violations.

And that one story was an Associated Press production. No staff time whatsoever, as far as I can tell.

The only explanation I can think of: the story originated in Seven Days. The Free Press can’t claim credit; it’d just be playing catch-up.

If that’s not enough to get your Spidey Sense tingling, how about the fact that the Free Press has published not a word about State Police Corporal Jon Graham’s Facebook posts? The story first broke Friday night on WCAX, and has been widely re-reported elsewhere. But not in the Free Press (or on FreePressMedia).

Stories like these are usually catnip for the Free Press: allegations of official misconduct, of a kind that’s sure to generate pageviews and controversy.

Sorrell is supposedly testifying before a Senate committee this afternoon. I expect the Free Press will be there, and will report on the story — because now, it’ll have a fresh hook to hang the story on, and won’t have to credit Paul Heintz for the scoop.

Maybe I’m being too harsh. But the Free Press’ track record informs my cynicism. And for the life of me, I can think of no other explanation for Our Former Newspaper Of Record almost completely ignoring two significant stories in state government.

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Our ever-vigilant keepers of the public order

Oh boy, a cop scandal of our very own. And thankfully, it doesn’t involve shooting someone dead on little or no pretext. Just a digital cornucopia of hate speech from one of Vermont’s Finest.

The Vermont State Police is investigating one of its own for material that the trooper posted to social media.

One of the latest Facebook posts from Cpl. Jon Graham’s personal page is an article from Right Wing News. A photo of a smashed Virgin Mary Statue. And a comment from the trooper reading, “and these animals will kill you if you speak badly of Mohammed….tolerance.”

…The posts go back years, seemingly undetected by state police. Some allegedly penning his thoughts like one from 2014, “was just behind a Prius with a Bernie Sanders 2016 sticker…oh how I wanted to spin her vehicle out.”

Others make comments about actual crimes, “Officer involved shooting in Windsor tonight…officer okay…scumbag in hospital…as it should be.”

More specifics in a moment. First, though, a couple of notes that cut to the heart of the problem.

— Graham has been a state trooper for 15 years.

— He’s been posting hateful, racist, sexist stuff on Facebook for years. And his bosses never noticed?
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