Does this tweet constitute “Us[ing] his or her position with the state to secure privileges or advantages for himself or herself, which are not generally available to governmental employees, or to secure governmental privileges or advantages for others to which they are not otherwise entitled”?
That is the absurd position that Ray Buckley has taken. More particularly, Buckley has filed an ethics complaint claiming that by tweeting Waterville Valley has “the best snow NH has to offer” Sununu “provided Waterville Valley with a marketing platform that excluded every other competitor.”
As of March 25th, the twitter account in question had a grand total of 2,312 followers. Some marketing platform. Never mind that Sununu tweeted “Everyone should be in the white mountains this weekend,” not “Everyone should be in Waterville Valley this weekend.”
The real story here is how WMUR, and in particular John DiStaso, shill for Buckley. Note the following:
The law’s first requirement is that any complaint filed with the committee “shall be filed confidentially.” The NHDP released the complaint publicly, first to WMUR.com and, several hours later, in a press release.
So Buckley gave WMUR a “several hours” scoop – as we’ll see below WMUR, in turn, rewarded Buckley by pushing this non-story much further than the other liberal press were willing to push it.
WMUR and the local press, as you would expect from Democrat Super-PACs, dutifully treated Buckley’s stunt as news. Only the Boston Globe, hardly a bastion of conservative journalism, did more than slightly reword Buckley’s press release, noting:
Sununu has sent about 300 tweets from the official account. Two of them mention Gunstock ski area, where he apparently chaperoned a school ski club; a handful of others mention diners, restaurants and country stores he has visited.
But WMUR, the following day –in an obvious attempt to keep the story alive because there was nothing new to report– ran another major story on Buckley’s stunt, calling it a serious matter:
The complaint prompted a buzz on the local political scene, but it is a serious matter with a detailed procedure set out in state law, which also specifies what portions of the process must be made public and what must be kept secret …
No wonder that Buckley gave WMUR, and more particularly John DiStaso, special treatment on this stunt. It didn’t deserve any news coverage to begin with, yet WMUR ran two major stories, the latter of which reported no new facts or developments, but which called the stunt a “serious matter.”
To clarify a phrase: Nobody shills for Ray Buckley Like WMUR Does.