If you saw Seven Days yesterday, you know that longtime political columnist Peter Freyne is retiring the Inside Track. As I said yesterday, we're all sad to see him go.
And so, apparently, is Senator Patrick Leahy. Dan Barlow of the Vermont Press Bureau interviewed Leahy for a lengthy story about Freyne that appeared today in the Times Argus.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Wednesday that Freyne's retirement is a"big loss" for Vermont. The columnist has an institutional memory ofVermont politics and was always unafraid to "look behind the façade" orask probing questions to find out "what is really going on," theDemocratic senator said.
"I went to his blog every day," Leahysaid. "He is the type of writer who clearly knows hypocrisy. But healso knows the difference between healthy skepticism and cynicism."
Leahyalso delivered some friendly barbs at Freyne, joking that he was happythat he was born blind in one eye so that he didn't have to see thecolumnist in his biker shorts in the summer. Later he joked thatFreyne's hair loss during his cancer battle was "because he wanted tolook more like me."
"Seriously, Peter was very courageous in howhe wrote about his cancer as he was fighting it," Leahy said. "It takesguts to do that."
The Burlington Free Press ran a little story, too, in the Living section. They didn't interview anybody, or link to our website. The item doesn't have a byline.
There is one little hyperlink in their story, though. Look closely — the word "health" is highlighted. The story mentions Freyne's battle with cancer, so I figured that the health link would take me to a blog post or an article about Freyne's health. But no, no. It's an inline text ad for some "Chinese weight loss secret."
This is exactly the kind of media criticism Freyne would write about in his column. I will really, really miss him.
UPDATE: looks like the Free Press has removed that embedded inline ad in the Freyne story.