(Editor’s note: Several weeks ago, Vermont Daily responded to an offer by Seven Days, Vermont’s largest weekly newspaper, to explain why conservatives and in particular supporters of President Trump are wary about talking with media. The letter in the Dec. 2 edition of Seven Days appears below.)
To the editor:
Vermont conservatives and especially Donald Trump supporters are indeed media shy [From the Publisher: “Talking Cure,” November 11]. At Trump rallies, attendees tell me they won’t talk to any reporters because they perceive bias. For example:
• Online comments have been turned off: This decision by many media outlets — including Seven Days — gives the impression (true or not) that they don’t welcome conservative pushback. VTDigger.org in particular acknowledged that Black Lives Matter backlash influenced its decision to eliminate comments.
• Social media blackouts ignored: In October, Facebook blacked out some conservative activists and candidates, including Art Peterson, a House candidate from Rutland and outspoken BLM opponent. Had candidates been kicked off social media for supporting Joe Biden or BLM, one suspects the media would have taken notice.
• The rush to cry “racist”: Nothing reinforces conservatives’ negative media stereotypes more than watching news coverage of an event they attended being falsely portrayed as racist. They know they’re not racist. They know the event (say, the Support the Police rally in July) wasn’t racist. But coverage focused on one unknown person making one derogatory comment. Conclusion: The media came with an agenda.
• Columnists seeking retribution: On November 12, an Addison County Independent columnist likened some Trump supporters to abusers. He quotes 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.”
Such statements make Trump supporters who just want fair elections wonder if they’ll end up in a reeducation camp.
Page is the publisher of the online Vermont Daily.