by Steve Merrill
I don’t usually see the need to defend Vermont Daily, but seeing a thread loose in Seven Days’ “Fair Game” column April 7 prompts a tugging that unravels writer Dave Gram’s whole garment.
In last week’s column, Gram begins by grading Vermont’s elected officials on Pension Reform and ends with the Vermont State Employee Union threat of a vehicle rally in front of a female legislator’s home as somehow involving “sexism behind the extra vehemence” – never mind union thuggery hassling someone at their home should be off limits for anyone, male or female.
Next he tackles Page for not covering a harassment settlement by a County Court employee in Barre. Forgive me, but covering stories on one’s website is usually the province of the website’s owner/operator, no? Gram seems upset that “I could not find coverage of this story on Page’s Vermont Daily website.” Gasp! The horror!
Then Gram switches to Vermont Daily’s March 31 story about VT Digger’s hiring of an Indian-American and a link to a tweet.
THIS is why I avoid BOTH Twitter AND Facebook. Who has the time or inclination to chase every rabbit down every hole, unless you’re a beagle then it’s just what you do. That, and getting lost all the time, witness the “Lost Beagle” pinups on every country store’s billboard in New England. My brother’s beagle lost his way back when, and somebody had a new beagle, until the next time it went running off. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I find solace being outdoors with my dogs (who return when called) or in a good book. It clears the head and lowers the blood pressure.
But back to Gram and his VTDigger new-hire’s tweet about Mass Live’s “boring rich white people” comment which Gram admits was a bit “ham fisted” (ham-handed?) whatever THAT means and Page’s comments about the tweet. Gram then pivots to VTDigger’s website “mostly quoting white people” and conflates Page’s story with a “national right wing freakout” about Gov. Scott’s BIPOC vaccination preferences and “the baying immediately began” on the “Conservative Twittersphere”, which seems weird to me as I saw the same story on Russia Today (R/T) and global news coverage.
“If your sole source of local news was the Vermont Daily website, edited and published by conservative blogger Guy Page, you could be forgiven for thinking that the main victims of racism in Vermont were white people.
“Page fashions himself as an investigative journalist and give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death-style advocate for the First Amendment and constitutional principles of equality. It’s just that an awful lot of his zeal is reserved for cases in which people of color pick on poor, oppressed whites.“
– Dave Gram, Seven Days
Gram then tries to get a comment from Digger’s new hire and “got no reply”. Again, can you see why I avoid both Twitter AND Facebook and ALL social media?
So Gram seeks comment from Digger’s founder/editor who is “sorry that Page doesn’t see the value..of hiring..(those) with diverse lived experiences” and a Digger reporter’s mother (emigrated from India) who “wonders if Page has researched all the Digger editors, or just the brown skinned one?”
Good grief, people. When “researching” reporters/editors by and from what they write, how does one determine their color or why should they care? Most judge the tree by the fruit it bears.
Does everything now come down to one’s racial identity which is immutable and determinate of nothing save genetics? And where does this new national obsession lead? Nowhere good, I can imagine, as I thought the USA’s motto was “E Pluribus Unum”, meaning “from many, one.” We are ALL Americans, whether you came here in 1621, last week, or Indigenous and were here all along. A descent into tribalism can only lead to a “Lord Of The Flies” type nightmare.
Finally Gram wraps it all up by quoting Page, after asking about some other “Twitter Feeds” of other Digger reporters/editors (again with the Twitter!), “who spoke extensively about his desire for equal treatment of people of all races,” but no matter, “judgement” has been rendered here and the “defendant” found guilty. Guilty by assumption, Gram (and others) assuming ALL conservatives, and maybe caucasians generally, must be guilty of racism, insensitive-ism, or some other “ism.”
How could it be otherwise? If you don’t follow and comment about evert Tweet or Facebook post by everyone, everywhere, then you aren’t commenting fairly? This seems to be the fashion nowadays. Now please exempt me from this madness, I have a good book waiting.
The author is a longtime video programmer on NEK-TV and, until given the boot earlier this year, a reporter on the governor’s press conferences.
Photo credit: screenshot excerpt from April 7 Fair Game column by Dave Gram, as published online by Seven Days.