Wednesday, June 8, 2011

VPR Scandal

Rep. Peter Welch's  radio press secretary, VPR's Bob Kinzel, broadcast another  Peter Welch press release this morning.  The press release featured Welch expressing  counterfeit "outrage" about Rep Weiner's behavior with Kinzel making supportive comments.   Then Welch said that despite Weiner's disgusting behavior and his repeated lies, Welch concluded that Weiner shouldn't resign.  More supportive murmurs by  Bob Kinzel.  The trouble is Bob Kinzel is supposed to be a VPR "reporter" paid by Vermont and U.S. taxpayers.   This is a scandal at VPR.   VPR broadcasts radio press releases from elected officials who support taxpayer funding for public radio.

The Fourth Estate is supposed to scrutinize our elected officials.  This watchdog role  a vital part of democracy.  But if government funded media use its taxpayer funded resources to provide free press releases for elected officials, with no scrutiny,  then the fourth estate has become a corrupt arm of the government.   That is exactly what has happened at VPR.

 I have never taken a journalism course, but here are some suggestions for questions Mr. Kinzel might have asked Rep. Welch if he wants to be a real journalist rather than a mouthpiece for Rep. Welch:

  1. Why an ethics investigation?  We already have all the information about what Weiner did. 
  2. Isn't it a waste of taxpayer's money to have an ethics investigation?  How much will an ethics investigation cost the taxpayers?  
  3.  An ethic investigation is confidential until the committee makes its findings public. Rep. Charles Rangel's ethics investigation lasted almost 735 days with his censure occurring five months later after the 2010 November elections.  Isn't a call for an ethics investigation just an opportunity to take this scandal off the front page until after the next Congressional election? 
  4. Republican Rep Chris Lee  resigned hours after it was revealed he posted a shirtless picture of himself online because John Boehner demanded he do so.  Democrats gained another Representative in a special election for Lee's seat because Republicans would not tolerate such behavior. Rep. Weiner sent an obscene picture of his naked body to several young women, and lied about it for a week.  Why don't Democrats demand resignation by this obviously worse behavior?  
  5. Isn't your "outrage" hypocritical?  Isn't it cynical for you to come on the air and express outrage at Weiner's behavior, yet not call for any consequences for his behavior? 

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