by Peter Freyne
Last Update: 2:30 p.m.
Update 1: *Rainville Campaign Responds*
Update 2: **Rainville's Global Warming Switcheroo - a flashback!**
An interesting week, eh?
Our "Adults Only" item in this week's "Inside Track" prompted quite a few interesting questions at GOP Congressional Candidate Martha Rainville's presser yesterday afternoon. And it's obvious Thursday morning, that Vermont media outfits are approaching it very differently.
The Rutland Herald/Times Argus ran a story, Candidate Dismisses Poison Pen Letter, and we're told from a listener that the VPR morning guy with the Scottish accent reported it, crediting the Rutland Herald.
Nothing in the Freeps, despite pretty direct questioning from the two Freeps' reporters and one editorialist in attendance. Nothing on "Vermont's Own" Ch. 3 News.
No surprise there, folks. Some viewers suggest the station's GOP slant is getting even more blatant and outrageous than ever. It's fair to say that WCAX's Vermont political coverage continues to be of the sort that would make the late, great owner and generous Republican Party contributor Stuart "Red" Martin very, very proud.
Heck, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce's favorite political reporter Anson Tebbetts didn't even bother to file a Rainville plagiarism story on Monday - the day it broke. Amazing that he totally ignored it, since the rest of the state's mainstream press treated it as the top political story of the day!
A Rainville campaign policy-researcher, Chris Stewart, got fired after being exposed for lifting quotes from other politicians - including Democrat Sen. Hillary Clinton - and attributing them in Rainville-website policy statements as coming from the lips of Martha Rainville herself!
You'd think Martha the Republican would have found Clinton's remarks sounding a little bit off-key?
The Rainville Campaign Plagiarism story was front-page news in Vermont on Tuesday morning - above-the-fold - in Vermont's major daily newspapers. Even Ch. 5 News had reported it Monday evening.
That very different news judgment may have prompted a little editorial "rethinking" over on Joy Drive on Tuesday. Tuesday evening, a day late and a dollar short, Reporter Tebbetts did report on Rainville's plagiarism. No big deal. Surely, Democrat Peter Welch would have been treated in similar fashion had he been caught lifting a quote from Republican Dick Cheney and posting it on his congressional campaign website as his own words?
Tebbetts' Tuesday story ran well down the news list at 6:14 p.m. The way Anson spun it, you'd think Martha couldn't possibly be in any way, shape or form the slightest bit responsible. That she was merely a poor victim and that she will surely weather the storm. In case you weren't watching this is what Ch. 3 told Vermont:
Martha Rainville has fired one of her staff members for plagiarism. The Republican candidate for Congress is dealing with this issue as the campaign goes into the final stages. Anson Tebbetts has more.
(tape 9 tile 1) ((Martha Rainville/Republican for Congress "it is disturbing. It's very disappointing.")) Martha Rainville's web site is shutdown as the campaign tries to clean up a case of plagiarism. Rainville fired a member of her staff because he lifted quotes from others and attributed them to Rainville in campaign material. (tape 9 tile 2) ((Martha Rainville/Republican for Congress "I looked at it as take responsibility, address it, head on, take care of it. Because we need to make sure that Vermonters understand that ethics is important. It's the foundation of real progress on all of the issues that are so important to Vermont.")) Rainville's opponent Peter Welch was in Washington and was not available for an on-camera interview but issued this statement. "Issues and ideas matter ... These plagiarism revelations are short-changing to Vermonters who want to know where their candidates stand." Rainville has made ethics the cornerstone of her campaign. St. Michael's Political Science professor Bill Grover says the plagiarism issue is serious but doubts there will be long term damage to Rainville. (tape 315 a) ((Bill Grover/St. Michael's College "I mean it's a serious issue but will people view this as an insight into who she is. They probably will not. 35 days out you don't want anything like this to happen. She will probably weather the storm and move on.")) Rainville believes only one staffer was involved and she hopes to have her web page up and running soon. Anson Tebbetts Channel 3 news Williston.
Poor Martha. Just a victim!
On Wednesday afternoon, Candidate Rainville held a presser. It had been previously scheduled for 2:45 p.m. at the HQ at Tafts Corners on an environmental topic. Unfortunately, she was 10 minutes late getting back from Ch. 3 where she had gone for an exclusive interview on the presser's topic before any other media outlets got a bite. Special treatment?
I'm just transcribing the tape of that incredible press conference now, and hope to have updates later today, so check back.
Here was Candidate Rainville's first response when asked about the anonymous Vermont Guard Porngate letter:
“I know that you received a letter that although it looks like it was signed is illegible, basically an anonymous letter, a letter that I find disgusting. A letter that was sent to the Welch campaign and to you and a letter that makes some very untrue allegations. I’m not going to discuss the specifics in there. I also know that there have been events that have transpired at the Guard since I’ve been gone that the current adjutant general is dealing with through an investigation that should not be discussed.
"So I will only say I know bits and pieces. I do not have any inside information or privileged information on what is going on there now."
Listening to the tape, one gets the feeling Martha Rainville sounds a little like she could be in a similar jam as House Speaker Denny Hastert. No one's accused Hastert of engaging in sex with underage pages. Rather the accusation is that he turned a blind-eye and effectively covered it up while other engaged in the illicit behavior.
Is that what Martha Rainville did, too, in her last job as adjutant general of the Vermont National Guard?
Vermonters certainly deserve to know before the November 7 Election Day, don't they?
Update 1. Posted 1:55 p.m.
From Rainville HQ via email:
"Martha Rainville was at Channel 3 for a previously scheduledtaping for their spots contrasting the candidates on the issues. It was not, asyou say “an exclusive interview on the presser's topic”
Martha Rainville For Congress
Thank you, Brendan!
According to the Monday press release you sent out, the stated purpose of Martha's 2:45 Wednesday presser was:
Rainville to Make Environmental Policy Announcement
WILLISTON, VT– U.S. House Candidate Martha Rainville will make a major environmentalpolicy announcement at a press conference Wednesday.
The press conference will be held at 2:45 p.m. at the CampaignHeadquarters in Williston.
WHO: U.S. House Candidate Martha Rainville
WHAT: Environmental Policy Press Conference
WHEN: Wednesday October 4, 2:45 p.m
WHERE: Martha Rainville for Congress Campaign Headquarters
Junction of Routes 2 and 2a, Tafts Corners, Williston, Vermont
The story reported on the Six News by the station that calls itself "Vermont's Own" was:
Republican Martha Rainville is getting behind a global warming bill authored by Senator James Jeffords and a Democratic congressman from California. The bill would require the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next 50-years. It also requires use of renewable energy, higher pollution standards for power plants and cars, and investment in new technologies. (tape 859 14:24) ((Martha Rainville/Republican for Congress "the Waxman bill pushes the envelope in a sense. There are only three Republicans who have signed on as co-sponsors. I hope there will be more as well all recognize to step out on this. We as a country sort of treaded water for too long.")) Rainville's Democrat opponent Peter Welch also supports the Jeffords-Waxman bill. Tomorrow, Welch will campaign and hold a rally at Middlebury College on the importance of addressing global warming in the next Congress.
I know. It sounds a little funny. Rainville is, after all, on record opposing even one more acre of Vermont designated as a "wilderness" acre, a position few Vermonters are aware of. Maybe that's because it would put her diametrically opposed to the position of our current entire congressional delgation? And of most Vermonters?
Also, Generalissima Rainville, as recently as July, expressed the view that "global warming" was just a theory - not a fact.
Sounds like she's had a campaign conversion to us - God bless her!
So, Mr. McKenna, two things stand out:
1. It was indeed an "exclusive" interview. Neither I, nor any of the other journalists from the Freeps, the Rutland Herald/Times Argus, the Associated Press or Ch. 5, the ones who were waiting for Candidate Rainville to return to her headquarters in Williston, got an invite to the exclusive interview she did over at Ch. 3's studios in South Burlington, prior to her scheduled press conference with the rest of the Vermont press, and
2. Marselis Parsons & Ch. 3 did report on-air what was the intended story - intended, that is, by the Rainville for Congress Campaign.
Nice teamwork, eh?
Congratulations, Martha! You got the story you wanted on the "top" Vermont evening news broadcast. And they didn't even have to attend your press conference!
**Update 2:30 p.m.**
From “Inside Track” on July 12:
Has Marvelous Martha seen Al Gore's global-warming flick, An Inconvenient Truth?
"No, but I do plan to see it," she told us.
No offense, but she desperately needs to see it soon. Why?
Because Martha Rainville sounds like she still is in a state of conservative, pro-business denial when it comes to acknowledging that global warming is not just a theory but actual fact. It's here, and it's happening now.
Is the global-warming crisis as critical to her as it appears to us?
"I think what's critical," replied Rainville, "is that we have to educate ourselves on it. There are obviously different opinions on global warming, but the overarching question is, what is global warming? What is the extent of it? How much of it is influenced by man and the decisions that we make? And what ought we to be doing?"
Martha's answer might have held water 10 years ago, five years ago, or even two years ago, but it simply doesn't hold water in 2006.
Quite simply, Candidate Rainville ought to consider updating her global-warming position quickly. Though she told us she normally only sees movies on DVD, this one might be worth a trip to the theater.
P.S. Looks like she took our advice and updated her global-warming position, eh?
But we haven’t checked back to ask if she’s actually gone to see the movie - the Al Gore movie.