Outrageous! | Freyne Land
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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Outrageous!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2007 at 10:56 AM

*Updated 3:45 p.m.

James Dwinell of Randolph has been active in Vermont Republican Party circles for more than a decade. He's been an executive director of the state party and the Republican candidate for auditor of accounts in 1998, losing to Democrat Ed Flanagan.

James - not "Jim" -  is an especially creative kind of guy, a successful businessman, and in the Internet Age became a "journalist" with a snappy, lively, online Vermont political report that looks at the Vermont scene through the eyes of a Republican.

The Dwinell Political Report started back in October 2000 as the Dwinell-Sternberg Report, but Libby Sternberg departed after a couple years and Sir James carried on solo.

Back in the early days, Democratic Gov. Howard Dean treated James, the former GOP candidate and party boss, politely at first at his weekly press conferences. After all, Ho-Ho knew he would be running for president in a couple years. He certainly didn't want any trouble with the First Amendment.

But, finally, Dean had enough of GOP James' partisan questions, partisan writings and challenged his credentials as a "reporter."

Guess who stood up for Dwinell's right to be there?

Yep.

Yours truly. It wasn't for Howard Dean to decide who was or was not a journalist was it?

And Dean, shall we say, "backed down," and allowed James to continue his attendance at the Guv's weekly pressers.

Lately, James has published his Dwinell Political Report (paperless like the Vermont Guardian), irregularly. His second edition of 2007 came out two days ago. A long one. Juicy. In fact, an outrageous one that clearly crossed the line.

click to enlarge shumlin.jpg

click to enlarge gov_douglas.jpg
Dwinell certainly is free to attack the Democratic leadership in Montpeculiar to his heart's content.

But this below-the-belt item attacking Democratic State Senate Leader Peter Shumlin (left) - Republican Gov. Jim Douglas' (right) likeliest challenger in November 2008was like nothing Dwinell has published in his "political report"  since he printed the unsubstantiated claim U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords had Alzheimer's Disease.

A new and ugly low, folks.

From the current edition of Dwinell's "political report":

---------------------------------------------------------------------

BACK TO THE PAST

Shumlin was deemed "a pathologicalliar" by AP reporter Ross Sneyd. This was confirmed by former WCAX reporterAnson Tebetts. Sneyd went on to say that in previous lives, the media passedon Shumlin's lying, but "not this time."

It has also been reportedto DPR that Shumlin's wandering eye keeps wandering. He left politics in2002 in part to do some marriage maintenance. Many folks have been watchingShumlin's return to see if old dogs can learn new tricks. The jury votetoday is a definite no. The young lovelies of Montpelier have been reportingmultiple unwanted hits by none other than the senate pro tem.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WHAT the hell?

Way over the line.

Also, not true!

Anson Tebbetts, the former WGOP, er, WCAX-TV Statehouse reporter, now a new deputy secretary in the Douglas Administration's Agency of Agriculture, could not be reached for comment. We called the agency - Ol' Anson's on vacation this week.

Hey, didn't he just start?

We sent a copy of the DPR to Reporter Sneyd at the Associated Press on Wednesday. He had not seen one. A few hours later, Sneyd sent us this copy of an email he had sent Dwinell:

-------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sneyd, Ross
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2007 1:58 PM
To: 'dwinell@comcast.net'
Subject: Correcting the record

Mr. Dwinell:

You inaccurately attribute two partial quotes to me in your newsletter. I did not say either of the things you allege. I look forward to a correction.

Ross Sneyd

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Yours truly contacted Dwinell and asked for his response to Sneyd's email?

On Thursday morning, Dwinell sent me the following:

"i must have gone off my medication, and have now proven myself to be a candidate for civil commitment.

"my 'quotes' of ross was really stupid of me, and i have apologized to him and will of course print a correction and apology.

and i needlessly offended maybe twenty other people. i could have made the same points and offended nobody. the issue was quite regretable."

Yes, indeed.

Quite regrettable, James.

***UPDATED - After Gov. Douglas' 1 p.m. weekly presser:

click to enlarge sneyddouglas.jpg

That's a shot (left) we took of the Guv answering a question from Mr. Sneyd of the Montpelier AP Bureau just a little while ago in the Fifth Floor conference room.

It was yours truly who brought up the fact the "leading Vermont Republican Party online newsletter" had in its latest issue  "reported" on the alleged sex life of the Democrat most likely at the moment to be on the November 2008 ticket as that party's gubernatorial candidate and challenger to Jim Douglas.

Gov. Douglas: "I didn't know that."

Press: "Do you read the Dwinell Political Report?"

Gov. Douglas: "Sometimes, but I haven't seen the latest one."

Press: "Do you think going into someone's sex life is crossing the line?"

Gov. Douglas: "Well, I certainly wouldn't do it."

Of course not. You'd get someone to do it for you. No fingerprints is key!

-----------------------------------------

When we got home, we discovered Mr. Sneyd had forwarded to us the "apology" he'd received from James Dwinell, Vermont's leading online Republican scribe:

To: Sneyd, Ross
Subject: Re: Correcting the record

good morning,

that was so stupid of me, to quote you without checking with you first. i am very sorry and i apologize.there is no excuse. i had your "quote" from different people in my notes who said that they were in the room and that is what you said. and i had this fleeting thought that the "quote" seemed very unlike you. yet instead of then asking you directly, i just plowed on. really stupid of me. i am filled with regret.  more so, as i respect your well deserved status as dean of the press corps practiced with skill, intelligence and civilty. i will of course print and acknowledge your correction. i am so sorry. james

Sneyd tells "Freyne Land," he accepts Dwinell's apology.

"As [Dwinell] says," writes Ross, "it's definitely not the kind of thing I would say."

But is this a sign of the 2008 campaign that lies ahead?

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Bio:
Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

More by Peter Freyne

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