(See also addendum below: the Free Press didn’t have a reporter at one of the biggest news events in recent history!)
Regular readers of the Burlington Free Press (all six of us) know that transparency is one of its signature causes.
(Except when it comes to the Burlington Free Press itself; there, secrecy rules the day.)
Well, this preoccupation caused Vermont’s Saddest Newspaper to leap to an unwarranted conclusion yesterday.
In the morning, the media got notice of a gubernatorial press conference to be held at 2:15 p.m. There was no mention of the subject matter.
And this caused the Freeploid to throw a nutty. It posted a short piece entitled “Secrecy surrounds Shumlin’s news conference.”
Shumlin has led the fight for government transparency, but his new press secretary, Scott Coriell, has failed to respond to questions about the topic of the governor’s meeting with the media.
Well, son of a bitch. Of course he didn’t respond.
Most gubernatorial pressers include a bit of political business — a bill signing, a new initiative, a ribbon-cutting. In those cases, the media alert will tell us what’s coming up.
But when there’s an actual policy announcement of significant magnitude? Hell no. Shumlin’s people aren’t going to upstage the announcement by providing advance information. The Freeploid is basically demanding that the administration leak its own stuff.
Particularly in this case, when the announcement was made simultaneously to the media and to those who’d been involved in the single payer work. If Coriell had disclosed the subject matter, do you think the Free Press wouldn’t have found a way to publish the “scoop”?
The Freeploid went on to complain about changes in the time and venue for the presser. Which, c’mon, grow up. It’s not that big a deal.
I suspect the Freeploid’s real problem is that it no longer has a Statehouse bureau, and the editors had to decide whether to send a staffer down from Burlington. That’s a big deal for a paper as understaffed as the Freeploid. But that’s not the governor’s problem. And Scott Coriell shouldn’t be raked over the coals for simply doing his f’n job.
The article was slightly updated after the presser, and can be viewed by anyone who hasn’t canceled their subscription yet. The updated version mostly changes the verb tenses; the misperceptions, self-entitlement, and aspersions on Coriell remain intact. One more signpost on the Burlington Free Press’ descent into irrelevance.
Addendum. A loyal reader pointed out that the Free Press’ main article on Shumlin’s presser was not written by a Freeploid staffer, but by the Associated Press’ Dave Gram. That’s pretty awful for a “media company” that insists it hasn’t retreated from Statehouse coverage, and whose leader has publicly slammed “rumors and speculation that we are abandoning coverage in Montpelier.” Well, sir, your absence at yesterday’s announcement is not rumor or speculation, but fact.
Presumably what happened was: the Free Press tried to find out the subject of the presser and failed. The editors then made a calculated gamble not to send a reporter — although they did send their photographer Glenn Russell. Their gamble exploded in their faces. Dave Gram’s a fine reporter, but Vermont’s largest newspaper should not be depending on the AP for coverage of a huge news story.