Tag Archives: Louis Freeh

Bunched knickers at the Freeploid

The Burlington Free Press’ Mike Donoghue is shocked, shocked, that someone would dare steal his scoop.

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Donoghue is referring to his excellent story on the Louis Freeh accident, in which he broke the news that an eyewitness saw Freeh’s vehicle force three other drivers to swerve out of his way. Which raises the question, why isn’t Freeh facing any charges for reckless driving or endangerment or some such?

And how Mike’s knickers are in a twist because Channel 3 poached his story.

I feel his pain.

As does every non-Gannett journalist in Vermont, who would tell you that the Burlington Free Press is the number-one violator of this ethical principle. The Freeploid likes to pretend, in fact, that it is the only journalistic outlet in the state. It is very quick to grab credit for its own “gets,” and extremely — extremely — reluctant to grant the same credit to others.

Let’s just take one recent example. Terri Hallenbeck, reporting on Governor Shumlin’s campaign launch: 

According to the governor’s office, Shumlin has spent 141½ days in the past two years outside of Vermont, which includes 54 personal days off and 35 days on business for the Democratic Governors Association, of which Shumlin is chairman.

“According to the governor’s office,” my ass. That story came straight out of Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz’ column in Seven Days. Which was entitled “On the Road Again: Shumlin’s 141.5 Days Outside Vermont.”

So, rather than give proper credit to Heintz and Seven Days, Hallenbeck called the governor’s office for confirmation. Which gave her an excuse to avoid giving credit where credit is due. Well, to be fair to Hallenbeck, I suspect that her editors made her do it.

In any case, I say anyone at the Burlington Free Press who whines about story-poaching needs to look in the goddamn mirror.

Rank hath its privileges

Well, well. Looks llike there was more to the story of Louis Freeh’s car wreck than we were led to believe. 

The former FBI director was driving on state Route 12 in Barnard on August 25 when his vehicle left the road and smashed into a tree and some shrubs. It’s assumed that he fell asleep at the wheel. State police had said they would not seek charges nor even write a ticket. But look what the Burlington Free Press’ Mike Donoghue dug up

An out-of-control SUV driven by former FBI Director Louis Freeh almost struck head-on three motorists, who were forced to take evasive action to avoid crashing in southern Vermont, according to one of the drivers.

The driver, Van Coleman, gave a written statement to a Windsor County deputy sheriff, who was the first police officer on the scene of the Aug. 25 crash of Freeh’s vehicle. Deputy Sheriff Justin Hoyt said he gave the eyewitness report to state police. 

Donoghue reports that a motorcycle and two cars were forced to “swerve into the left lane when Freeh’s vehicle crossed the center line… and headed at the trio at a high rate of speed.” The witness, Coleman estimated that Freeh was doing at least ten MPH over the speed limit. 

Apparently, Coleman’s account failed to make it up the chain of command. VSP spokesperson Stephanie Dasaro, who issued three news releases that didn’t mention the close calls, said “I did not have that level of detail.” And Public Safety Commissioner told Donoghue “This is the first I have heard about that.” 

Flynn added that he “would ask for an explanation.” 

He’d better. This smells as bad as a week-old fish. If Freeh is not charged or ticketed, the State Police needs to provide a solid, thorough, convincing explanation. Otherwise it’ll look like the Good Old Boys’ Network got the better of justice.