Helping Vermont media understand their bias

By Guy Page

Seven Days Publisher Paula Routly recently bemoaned in a Nov. 11 column, “We’ve heard at regional newspaper conferences that many media outlets across New England struggle to attract conservative voices to their opinion pages.”

Routly’s right. Vermont conservatives — and Trump supporters in particular — are media shy. At numerous Trump rallies this reporter has asked flag-waving, sign-carrying, “USA” chanting Vermonters to tell me why they support the president. Those willing to answer usually refuse to give their names. Social and family repercussions are feared. Worse, they tell me they’re worried about losing their jobs.

And frankly, they have reason to be worried. Just ask Tiffany Riley, the Windsor School principal fired for not cheerleading about Black Lives Matters on her personal Facebook page. Putney Town Administrator Karen Astley averted termination after she publicly apologized for posting “All Lives Matter” on her Facebook page.

Guy Page

But editors might say, “we’re not an elected board. We aren’t responsible for how readers might react. We welcome open, free speech.” It’s a claim some pro-Trump and/or anti-BLM readers doubt. Some recent events make them think that, on the contrary, an anti-conservative bias exists in some Vermont media:

Online comments cut – Many media outlets – including Seven Days– have eliminated their online comments section, giving the impression (true or not) that they don’t care what readers think. VTDigger in particular acknowledged that BLM backlash influenced its decision to eliminate the comments section.

Radio callers challenged – A few days after the election, a prominent radio call-in host was recently fired for injecting his anti-Trump perspective into the caller-guest conversations. On the one hand, his firing shows that anti-Trumpism isn’t always tolerated. On the other hand, listeners might have thought twice before calling a show where their opinions are likely to be quickly challenged by the host.

Social media blackouts ignored – In the runup to the election, Facebook blacked out posts and even cancelled the accounts of some Vermont conservative activists and candidates. Art Peterson, House candidate for Rutland-2 and leader of an anti-BLM flag petition, found his Facebook account erased in early October. No explanation – it was just gone. It was only restored after the election (which he won). Coverage of this free-speech challenge was minimal. If Vermont Progressive candidates suddenly found themselves kicked off social media for supporting Biden or BLM, one suspects the Vermont media would have taken notice.

The rush to cry ‘racist’ – Probably nothing about the Vermont media bothers conservatives more than watching news coverage of an event they attended being falsely portrayed as racist in nature. They know they’re not racist. They know the event (say, the Support the Police rally in July) wasn’t racist. Yet the local news, per expectation, found one unknown person making one derogatory comment. Some in attendance conclude the media found and reported the story it came looking for: ‘look at the racist yahoos.’

Selective story assignments – When a Vermont House candidate who is the African-American granddaughter-in-law of redbaiting Sen. Joe McCarthy’s greatest foe, Vermont Sen. Ralph Flanders, likens BLM intolerance to the Red Scare of the 1950’s, you’d think someone in the Vermont press might find the historic parallels interesting. Apart from Vermont Daily (“Another Flanders stands tall,” July 23), you’d be wrong. The power of the press to inform the public is just as much about what it doesn’t cover, as what it does.

Columnists seeking retribution – In the Nov. 12 Addison Independent, “Clippings” columnist Christopher Ross rejects the idea of holding out a post-election olive branch to Trump supporters, likening them to abusers. Channeling AOC’s comments, he quoted Vermont-born journalist Garrett Graff: “America should watch closely this week and demand a heavy price for those who callously, and cowardly, cast doubt on the integrity of our election system.”

Statements like that make Trump supporters who just want a fair election wonder if they’ll end up in a re-education camp. But ultimately, the reader must decide: will I cave to fear or not? We must decide if “In God We Trust” really means something – like stepping out in faith to protect the First Amendment.

Her editorial page is open to conservatives, Paula Routly says: “All reactions are welcome. If they [letters to the editor] are signed, cogent and 250 words or less, we’ll publish them in the paper and on our website.” Send your letters to Seven Days here.

Many Vermonters want Vermont to change but won’t speak outside of their social media bubble. For them the choice is clear: continue to blame the media, or engage it.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Public domain

34 thoughts on “Helping Vermont media understand their bias

  1. It’s really rich for her to say that. Her paper totally blocked any commentary, refused to do any interviews of a completely new political party in Vermont.

    Zero…..

    Yet they knew every fact, dollar spent about all the other candidates……..

    Zero….

    We had many requests in too.

    Abject liar, that’s what she is. Yet they waxed poetic from coast to coast and repeated articles about a young man of 13 years old running for governor.

    • Read ’em and weep leftist VT MSM! As Reagan said “if they won’t listen to reason let them feel the heat”

      Routly is clearly feeling the heat – as one of VTs faaar leftist publishers including writers of the extreme leftist fringe tho here in VSSR boringly mainstream much. And has likely discovered a drop in traffic which translates into dollars – chaching much lol

      Former VT senator who blessedly lost job – Tim Ashe partner Routly clearly disdains reader opinions as evidenced by ongoing nuclear re elimination of comment section instead of the lesser – going third party.

      Demanding opinions filtered thru LTE with no accounting nor discussion as if there is any? ROFLAO lol 😀

  2. “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there ARE other views.”

    -William F. Buckley

  3. The media is biased. We have had to endure 4 years of “hate Trump” The media not only hates Trump but they hate anybody who supports him. The media has spent 4 years lumping all conservatives and republicans as hateful people. Apparently , the media’s hatred of Trump blinded them to the damage the media was doing to our country. The people of the United States could plainly see the truth but the media continued to report lies. One example would be that the protests were mostly peaceful when we could see the violence , the looting, the foul language, the burning. Right here in Vermont the media failed to report on the obnoxious behavior of the so called “peaceful ” protesters.

    I’m not in a social media bubble. I do speak out. It is terrible that WDEV allowed the Trump bashing for years. It was their radio station and they could do what they wanted but they have done irreparable damage to their station. Look at the Burlington Free Press. They censored conservatives years ago and they are experiencing a long slow death. Vtdigger will suffer the same fate. Who cares now that they have eliminated all comments.

    I say won’t it be nice when the media stops all it’s hate? The media claims Trump was hateful but I know it was the media that was hateful. I have lost all respect for the media and I don’t blame Trump. This happened long before Trump became President.

  4. I confronted the Free Press about their bias and misinformation back in the 1980s. I also sent a letter to Time magazine’s editor about their lack of objectivity and use of falsehoods & half-truths in 1985. Time never printed my letter, but the editor sent back a response of 3 paragraphs, and one sentence has remained in my mind ever since:

    “Objectivity is a mythical deity to which we at Time do not pay homage.”

    • Wow just wow – and that was about when print media started its slow downward slog to death and what it is today a shell of its former self – wonderful addition to its obit lol

  5. Does Vermont Media really want to understand their Bias?

    I think not.. it’s working pretty well for them.
    Show me where they have any history of giving up things that work for them.

  6. Its not just the media, its also boards and commissions and public officials that want to shut up everyone who says things the liberals don’t want to hear.

    • Guy,

      The OWNERS and SUBSIDIZERS of the VT Media tend to hire politically correct EDITORS, who are likely to perform like marionettes for job security in precarious, job-losing times.

      Always follow the money and the desire for power and control.

      All else is BS

  7. Sorry Guy, it’s not Vermont Media.

    It’s Vermont Propaganda.

    When any agrgument is censored, from front porch forum, to VPR call,in, to complete one side coverage of topics, ringing cover for lt Governors who do not meet the basic qualifications for the office (vt digger), for stopping All commentary, from sharing a life with the most influential in office (7 days/Ashe)…….its propaganda. Who pays for all this? It’s not the people of Vermont. Check out the funding for Vt Digger, which is really a PAC hiding behind the guise of a non profit press.

    It’s utter propaganda, plain and simple.

    • That’s interesting about the Digger being a PAC, when you look at the staff that place has, 28 people on the list, the last time I counted, I had a feeling it was more of a Democrat jobs program. These are real jobs where people make a paycheck and might have insurance even. That sure is a lot of overhead.
      How on earth can tiny Vermont have enough news to keep all those people going?

      Our NH site, granitegrok.com, which is our most popular site here on the Right.. they run the whole place with two guys and some volunteer writers. I think the guys bring in about enough money to keep the place running and this is it. It’s certainly no money making venture. So think about it. These guys use the Alexa rating system, so we know it’s got a lot of traffic. We’ve got twice the population, so probably a whole lot more going on, and they run the whole operation with two guys basically.
      So just looking at how they run these places is very telling about what is going on.
      There should be an investigation done on what is going on at VTDigger.. it all looks fishy to me. And you know I have a good sniffer on me.

      • This is where the truth get’s snuffed out all the time. John Klar ran a challenge up the flag pole. But again….your saying “all needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…”

        I think the plural is the most important part. We are cut off at the knees when we go out alone. There are those in leadership that could take up the banner. The only thing they print of our Governor is his Trump bashing statements, anything else of import is left out. The man has a weekly press conference but you wouldn’t know on any of the “media sites” in Vermont.

        Could the VT GOP do something, say something, take a vote?

        When a person steps out of line they are put on headlines across that state and threatened or fired immediately…see our school principle for saying very sane things…..

        This is where we desperately need a group, within the VT GOP,, something….that people together can stand up in a bit of safety and number to challenge and question things.

        I can assure you the one thing the two parties can agree on is they don’t want a third party….that is for sure.

        Yet here we are aiding and abetting enemies of the state. Your nose is quite good.

        How are the glitches in your election devices getting sorted.

        • Laura and Neil.

          The REPUBLICANS, with help of concerned Democrats, need to revive “TAKE BACK VERMONT”.

          Otherwise, things will slide further towards SOCIALISM and idiocy, like GWSA.

          Creeping SOCIALISM, masquerading under the guise of “Remaking America”, “Fair New Deal”, “Climate Change Fighting”, and other such shibbeliths, as espoused by Bernie, AOC and Schumer, is doing massive damage to the Vermont economy, and the Vermont way of life.

          OVER-TAXED, OVER-CONTROLLED Vermonters need to have LOCAL control, instead of CENTRALIZED government control, favored by the Dem/Prog Socialists.

          • This is very true Willem, and there is a sense of urgency because of the economic situation.
            Lets not forget, that when Donald Trump set our economy on fire, Vermont was still not doing really great because the state is so anti-capitalism and anti- anything that people on the Right think is good.
            We were reading about the state depopulation problem before this even happened.. (and I would not call incoming fleeing New Yawkers a Plus!)
            So yes, we must all work hard to fix things, and fast.
            Consider that the people that truly get what is going on are getting older, we’ve got to fix this for our kids. Or the state has no good and healthy future..
            and I would say that all of New England is in this boat, surely this is not just a Vermont problem.

          • they pretty well pigeon holed that term “take back Vermont” to mean other than what it truly meant and is no longer effective

            couldn’t agree more, we have to be exact in our language and leave an opening for those who love America and usually vote with a D, they’ve got us divided, hating and calling each other names

            Which is the winning philosophy for the NWO pimps and rinos…

            The people will eventually rise up and change things, when they’ve run out of other peoples money most likely….

        • Yes, Communists are ORGANIZERS. Barry from Kenya actually called himself a “Community Organizer” like that is some kind of a profession- apparently, they on that side see it as one.
          These people that are attracted to that party are just cut from a certain cloth that we are not. Teachers, people that like paper and desks, and sitting. They are organized as people and they organize out there very well.
          WE on the other hand, we are not like this as people.
          We like Freedom and Choice, we are independent people, we don’t need people and “organizations” because we are so self sufficient.. so this organizing thing is not something that comes as naturally to us..Forcing us to organize is like wearing a work coat that is too tight, we can’t wait to get it off.

          So what they have done in doing this, is taken away a whole lot of our power as Individuals.. like you say, it’s very hard to get anywhere anymore as a single man. So we need to do everything as 400 men, and that is not easy for us to get together.. we work, we don’t much care for people..
          It just ain’t our thing. So see now where we are. None of this was an accident ya know, they know this about us and set up the game in a way where we are at the disadvantage due to our natural nature.
          So now that we see this game, we have to get into it. We have to work as groups- like it or not, and form groups. This is why I have often said “Where are the Leaders of your Republican Party?” it’s up to them to make this happen, with the help of the worker bees out there, such a place like this site, to build groups of like minded active people that can all hook up and get things done. You need to create that cultural shift to then get your people elected.. this is there, a little, because you did just score some wins. But you need to build up that.

          Also, on this article. It kinda makes me laugh, the more I think about it.
          That staff at the Digger is largely young and dumb people. A lot of the stuff they write is outright insulting- or flat out dumb.
          We are much more moral, upstanding people. So why on earth would Conservative writers want to go play in their pigpens and eat outta that trough?
          Uh Hello? we have much higher standards- as people. We don’t get off on power, control, lying to people and leading them down the wrong path. The TRUTH matters to us. We are not in fear of that or wanting to hide it.
          It’s the huge cultural differences between the Left and the Right that makes no one from our side what to hang out with them in their rag operations.

          • Not a joiner and groups tend to gravitate to groupthink. Do not wish to join with Democrats bc they demand everyone accept their fatally flawed logic and way of life by poisoning every well by spitting in it. And diametricly opposed to their empty-headed way of thinking. Wow – difficult to believe from 2008 to 2012 was still voting Dem minus Shummy. And 4 short years ago still a contributing commenter on a site which I now view as communist but as an Indy still a rough ride.

            Am only interested in constitutional conservatives and even we are a very mixed bag including certifiable dummies. Would need strong conservative leadership but still likely to only be considered a friend.

      • They are well-funded as a 501 C3 and operate as a foundation terms of which they are clearly in violation of. Driving out of business print news who operate skeleton crews bc as nonprofit Digger is not beholden to advertising dollars – tho they seek advertising it’s the icing on their corrupt cake. And received an eyepopping windfall from the likes of similar media morons like 6 mo ago.

        • And look who puts up 66% of their funding, underwriting……

          It’s a PAC, pure and simple. Needs to be dealt with accordingly and suffer the penalties for their deception.

          They totally ran cover for Molly Gray….that’s how they keep their like minds in power.

          • List of ‘foundations’ supporting VPR – are also bankrolling Gravedigger and includes man-behind-curtain Bill and Melinda however there are others. Connected to propagandist wing of ‘journalism’ and at the scene of every crime is Poynter, oh and their fact-shredding dept Politifact. Did a very deep dive and there’s so much info difficult to process.

            All roads lead to the biggest man-behind-curtain tentacled George Soros groups including this election .

  8. Add The Commons (The Communist) paper to the list from Brattleboro a suburb of Massachusetts. Another tax free (non-profit?) job existing only from the taxpayer that has no control how their money is spent. Their people get paid. They post mainly liberal comments and you can’t challenge or add. So sick. It;s a bird cage bottom publication. Or a garden weed control membrane. Too bad trees were cut for paper. I told them they were the Communist and they didn’t like it. It’s a waste to look at their crapology.

    These publications will survive as long as VT is Socialist, If the state goes conservative, hopefully, (as the election sorta indicated), there will be a lot of head scratching.

  9. “We’ve heard at regional newspaper conferences that many media outlets across New England struggle to attract conservative voices to their opinion pages.”

    The main stream media profess to want a conversation but they don’t, they delete or censor any ideas or thoughts that deviate from the agenda they are trying to force down their readers throats.

    The media complains of fascism then employee it themselves and then wonder why people do not avail them selves of the propaganda the media is pushing and Vermont media is particularly biased.
    The media would cause Joseph Gobbles to be proud of them.

  10. Hi Laura

    Good points. A segment of the Seven Days audience, including many young people, may be interested in conservative point of view. If 7D doesn’t run a conservative letter, that’s on them. But if they don’t get any…. that’s on us.

  11. Is this the comedy section today Guy?

    Conservatives could rarely even post their comments at Seven Days without dealing with the backlash from daring to not support the assigned narrative being layed out.
    And the VTDigger?
    That place was even worse.. they didn’t even post most all of the comments they got I bet..mine flunked out pretty much all the time toward the end, this was before they decided that it was easier to simply not allow anyone to have any thoughts about things.

    Who in the world wants to work with these people- that are paid to tell us lies- and do it so willingly.
    THEM or their readers.. I mean who needs that- seriously?
    It’s such a hostile work environment around these hive thinkers.. look at what Tucker Carlson and Judge Janine have dealt with at FOX.. this mentality of running the places this way trickles right down to our local papers. At the end of the day, it’s all entirely the same machine.
    “It’s a Club, and we ain’t in it” has been made very clear.

    • Just try to reason with Ann Galloway at vtdigger see where you get. She hires young, liberal reporters and drags in a few older ones for those older out of touch liberals. And how about that Trump/American hating Danziger? What a jewel he is. His whole existence is consumed by his hatred of Donald Trump. She made the decision to eliminate reader comments to protect her readers from us deplorable conservatives and exercised her total control over the publications all liberal, all the time. She is still in “Pursuit of the Truth” and will never find it due to her censorship by omission and dishonesty in fake news.

      • She also accused a frequent critic on the F35 fiasco with *no proof* he was claiming to be a free lance contributer to their site stemming from request for information from a government operative. He was shaken down by junkyard dog on front page by Galloway and person assigned to ‘author’ the story lol… comment section for story written in disappearing ink which destroys some of the evidence may have been well over 100 if memory serves:
        F-35 opponent told Pentagon official he was a VTDigger freelancer
        By Tom Brown Oct 28 2013
        https://vtdigger.org/2013/10/28/f-35-opponent-told-pentagon-official-vtdigger-freelancer/

        • One great thing happened Friday. Ditzy Mitzy lost her recount and has been thrown to the ex-speaker of the house and legislative trash heep. Just think of no more Zuckerman, Ashe, Robin Tangerman Chestnut and Mitzy Johnson! Christmas has come early to Vermont.

          • Thanks for update – great news esp Mitzy Pelosi – speaking of her hero – Nasty Nancy might not be back as speaker lol 😀

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