Journalist ousted from governor’s conferences recalls World War II era information control in speech

Michael Bielawski/TNR

Conservative activists rally with conservative group Vermont Liberty Network on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at the Vermont State House.

Conservative group Vermont Liberty Network held a rally Saturday that drew about 70 Vermonters to celebrate the Green Mountain Boys and hear from a journalist who was banned from attending the governor’s press conferences.

As rally-goers gathered at noon on the chilly spring day, NEK-TV news host Steve Merrill took to the microphone as the first featured speaker of the afternoon. The Scott administration banned Merrill from posing questions in February after he asked how the state would decide who is an indigenous person with regard to priority distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

“I guess when they saw that the (NEK-TV) station manager wasn’t going to reel me in or take me out to the woodshed, they quickly changed topic, and suddenly they said they hadn’t been able to find anything [demonstrating racism] from my show on YouTube. And suddenly they found some YouTubes of some old shows that were mostly comedic and not really hard news,” Merrill told the crowd.

He said the administration considered his work “hobby entertainment.”

“I wasn’t real news, and this is after nine-and-a-half months of asking the questions, and I know a little bit about censorship and communism and socialism because, even though I have an old Yankee last name, my mom was an immigrant from Stalin’s Soviet Union.”

Merrill shared some of his family’s history, including experiences of the World War II era in Eastern Europe. He said this family history gave him a keen eye for government overreach and censorship.

“We had a good schooling on socialism, communism and censorship when we were kids,” Merrill said. “For them to pull my privileges, and then I appealed it, and they denied my appeal of course without a reason except for the hobby news thing. I guess they didn’t want me asking any more technical questions because I’ve done a lot of technical questions about the adjuvants in the vaccines.”

He said he tried to remain on good terms with Gov. Phil Scott throughout the discussions.

“We were polite, we were asking pertinent questions, tough questions, and (Health Commissioner) Dr. Levine would get up and say ‘well it looks like you’ve done your homework here.’ Which I had spent many hours in front of a computer to dig up this stuff and there’s a lot of questions,” Merrill said.

Also speaking at the event was Vermont Daily reporter Guy Page. During his speech, Page reminded everyone that while pro-constitution causes may feel like an uphill fight, the same was true during the Civil War, The War of 1812, and the American Revolution.

He said citizen engagement is necessary to keep Vermont as a center of freedom.

“First of all freedom from slavery, but there are all sorts of free-love, communes — social ideas that were basically on the idea that this is a free state and nobody is going to be here telling us how to do things,” Page said.

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate John Klar hosted the event. He commended Merrill for asking tough questions to the governor.

“Probing for answers to difficult medical questions has been there throughout the press conferences with our governor,” he said. “And that does annoy him and Mr. Levine because they want little lobs like, ‘Oh, how is your dog? Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl?’ That’s the questions they want.”

Klar recalled past generations and their efforts to resist government overreach, and he reminded the crowd that it’s preferable to take a stand while freedom yet exists.

“Imagine being in the French underground in the resistance against the Germans — that’s where you are going to be later,” he said. “Are you going to have more bravery then than you have now?”

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of NEK-TV and Michael Bielawski/TNR

7 thoughts on “Journalist ousted from governor’s conferences recalls World War II era information control in speech

  1. Communism is alive and well in Vermont. Scott should be run out of town on a rail. Tar and feathers would help. People were so much wiser back in the day….

  2. Those press conferences are a joke and have been since day one. They spent most of the time talking about how to care for prisoners and then Levine declared, “racism is Vermont’s largest health crisis”. Enough listening and nodding people, time to question the authority and the direction of our state.

    • Carson Campbell you are right the press conferences twice a week are a JOKE and the 2 biggest JOKES are Scott and Lavine. What gets me is Scott having to confer with the “Governors” especially with Cuomo. Why would you take advice from him, especially after what he’s done.!!. Can he not think for himself?? The way he and the left are ruining our state they aren’t thinking at all.
      Scott wants a lot more illegals sent to Vermont. That right there shows he’s doesn’t care about Vermonyers or our state, just the money that will come in.. These illegals are coming into our country with COVID-19.
      He and the Montpelier Swamp aren’t fit to run our state, Because of the so-called “LOCKDOWN”, many small businesses will be gone, families losing their home/apartments, suicide has risen because people and the young can not be with families and friends, our students are falling behind in their education..
      The Government is treating us as imbeciles.. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, I’ve been washing my hands since I was 2 yrs old all by myself. Wear a mask, amazing I have seen many of the legislators and the Governor without a mask in public. So it’s” do as I say not what I do.” Communism is alive and well in Vermont.? Sure is, Vermont isn’t the state I grew up in anymore. There are those who have moved in and took over our once great state. Shame on us for allowing this to happen. !!!
      Take Back Vermont and our FREEDOOM !!!!

  3. Thanks to these reporters for sticking to tough questions; it is journalists who are supposed to keep government accountable, after all. Still, there aren’t enough tough questions being asked about the vaccine beyond the distribution issue. Here’s a few that reporters might consider:

    “As of the last update, over 2,000 post-vaccination fatalities for Covid-19 have been reported into the CDC’s VAERS database, including three in Vermont. Since coincidental ‘background fatalities’ can account for a portion of those numbers, we ran a VAERS query for the entire recorded history of the influenza vaccine and came up with less than 2,000 reported fatalities. Comment?” [See

    “VAERS reports over 60 post-vax miscarriages to date in the US. Since the vaccines were not trialed on pregnant women—and since a 2010 HHS study concluded that “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported—do you think investigation is warranted?” [See

    Or, “When will we have reliable data showing the vaccine stops transmission? If the vaccine does not, how do we get to herd immunity to end the pandemic?”

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