A feat of journalistic legerdemain

Hey, remember the news about former Douglas Administration functionary Roger Allbee’s candidacy for State Senate… as a Democrat?

Well, the Brattleboro Reformer ran a story today about Allbee’s newly announced bid. And reporter Mike Faher (and his editors) did a remarkable thing.

Never once was Allbee’s lifelong Republicanism mentioned. And while there were two references to his service as Agriculture Secretary, the story did not say which administration he served in.  

Nothing whatsoever to indicate that Roger Allbee was, until very recently, a Republican. Quite literally, the article ignores the elephant in the room.

I’m sure Allbee appreciates the Reformer’s contortionist act, since Windham County is solidly Democratic and his best hope is that voters will recognize his name but not clearly recall the details of his past service.  

The article starts off with Allbee’s self-encomiums about his leadership and experience, cites his “long history of interest in agricultural issues,” and lists his educational background. Yeah, I think Faher basically retyped Allbee’s resume.

Allbee runs through a comprehensive and unsurprising list of key issues; his positions on same are the extremely generic sort of stuff you could hear from almost any candidate in either party.

The story also covers his interest in health care and his current post, as CEO of Grace Cottage Hospital. The story does NOT mention the fact that Grace Cottage Hospital just had a very close call with losing its eligibility for Medicare reimbursement.

Which is doubly fascinating because the Reformer’s story about Grace’s near-disaster was written about two weeks ago by… Mike Faher.

You’d think that little detail would be fresh in his mind, and might be considered relevant to a piece that touts his “first-hand experience” as a hospital administrator.  But no.

Looks like a hometown whitewash to me. Or, should I say, tongue bath.  

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