These things used to be weekly updates on the Covid-19 pandemic but, as of today, that’s no longer the case.
For the second week in a row, Gov. Phil Scott opened the event by declaring he had nothing to say about the pandemic. Instead, he used his platform to tout an administration policy priority. And the first administration official who followed Scott the lectern wasn’t Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine or Virus Vaticinator Michael Pieciak or Education Secretary Dan French.
No, it was the person pictured above: Public Service Commissioner June Tierney.
Needless to say, she didn’t talk about Covid. She talked about Scott’s plan to enhance mobile phone service by spending $51 million on new cell towers.
Right off the bat, we get two big tells that the state of the pandemic is no longer the chief subject.
Then came Strike Three. WCAX’s Calvin Cutler wanted to ask about the medical monitoring bill making its way through the Legislature, so he opened by noting that his question was “off topic.”
Scott’s response? “It’s not off topic for our weekly press briefings.”
That’s a new, and I’d say deliberate, change on the governor’s part.
So, per Scott himself, we no longer have weekly Covid briefings. We have weekly administration Happy Hours broadcast live across the state. In an election year, it begins to look less like public information and more like free publicity.Continue reading