State Democratic leaders respond to FOX News

STATE OF

VERMONT


115 STATE STREET

DRAWER 33

MONTPELIER

,

VT

 

05633-5201

May 17, 2007

Roger Ailes

Chairman and CEO

Fox News Channel

1211 Avenue of the

Americas

New York

,

NY

 

10036

Dear Mr. Ailes:

Last week, a media crew dispatched by the Fox News program “The O’Reilly Factor” confronted a member of the Vermont General Assembly in the Statehouse cafeteria.  The incident was witnessed by several members of the Legislature and later reported on the O’Reilly program.  The news crew asked misleading questions that deliberately mischaracterized

Vermont

laws and our determination to protect our children. 

The Vermont Legislature has a long history of being open and accessible to all who wish to participate and observe, and has always recognized and granted access to the press to perform its important role.  However, the tactics employed by the producers of this television program are unacceptable and have no place in

Vermont

’s statehouse or

Vermont

politics.  The camera crew came at Representative Lippert in such an aggressive manner that several bystanders thought he was under attack.  Their questions were meant to provoke, rather than to elicit information. 

As the leaders of the Vermont Legislature, we condemn in the strongest terms these hostile tactics and stand with our colleagues in the Legislature in support of the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

If it was the goal of your producers and Mr. O’Reilly to create a reaction among your viewers that would lead to intimidating threats against our colleague, they succeeded.  Because of your program, Chairman Lippert has received numerous threats of personal injury and physical violence from your viewers.

If, on the other hand, it was Mr. O’Reilly’s goal to intimidate the Vermont Legislature into considering ineffective and misguided legislation or to weaken the Legislature’s steadfast support for our colleague, your tactics had the opposite effect.  We hope the bipartisan opposition to your channel’s tactics of intimidation will serve as a reminder that while

Vermont

welcomes a healthy and honest debate on issues, we will not be bullied by outsiders whose primary interest is provocation and political theater.

Sincerely,

Gaye Symington                                                            Peter Shumlin

Speaker of the Vermont House                                      President Pro Tem,

Vermont

Senate