Friday, June 20, 2003
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Da Big Story: Howard Dean's Son In Hot Water Over Break-in

Barb and Jenna Bush may have set a President precedent: declare your intentions to run, and watch what trouble your kids get into. Here's the scoop. 17-year old Paul Dean, son of Howard, was charged today in an incident involving an early-morning break-in at a Vermont country club. Beer and champagne were allegedly stolen from the club's cooler.

As an former "radio-n-teevee" person, I have a question: since Paul is 17, isn't he technically underage, and shouldn't his name have been withheld from press releases? When I used to call the local police bureaus for stories, they wouldn't release the name of anyone under 18.

This afternoon it's listed as a WPTZ BIG STORY, just above the one about a freight train smashing into a bunch of homes in Commerce, California. Sure, they had to call in about a dozen ambulances and set up a triage area for the victims - but it's not as BIG a STORY.

*sigh*...news coverage begets more news coverage.

If you read the story, note that it is a "representative of the Burlington Country Club" that gave the details, not the police. WPTZ-TV reports the elder Dean says his son was [only] driving the car waiting for his friends, when a Burlington city officer became suspicious and questioned Paul, leading to the arrest of four other youths.

As Joe Pesci would have said in My Cousin Vinny, he an' da four udder yoots was chawged in de incident.

Something tells me the station could have been a little more circumspect about scooping the Paul Dean story. First of all, because it sounds like the incident was just a garden variety teenage prank: it isn't as if Paul were charged with drug-dealing or some violent crime. Secondly, WPTZ is located in Burlington, Vermont. That puts them in the catbird seat for covering the former governor's 2004 campaign.

They might want to play nice with Howard; one hand washes the other, and all that jazz...let's face it, if he weren't Presidential candidate Howard Dean's son, it wouldn't even be a story.