Vermont Chamber Brings Together Chris Graff and Garrett Graff for First Joint Appearance, a Discussion on Politics and the Media

On September 28, 2023, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce hosted an exclusive event featuring Chris Graff and Garrett Graff at the Flynn Space in Burlington Vermont. The father-son duo took the stage at “An Evening With the Graffs” to discuss the intricate relationship between the media and politics.

Garrett Graff and Chris Graff in conversation with Megan Sullivan, VP of Government Affairs.

Both Chris and Garrett Graff are esteemed journalists, authors, and political commentators with deep Vermont roots. The event focused on the ramifications of a rapidly changing media landscape nationally, and right here at home in Vermont. In particular, the Graffs focused on how social media and the 24-hour news cycles have influenced public opinion and impacted civic engagement as well as examined the rise of opinion-driven journalism and the proliferation of misinformation.

Chris Graff, a veteran Vermont reporter, served as the long-time Vermont AP bureau chief and host of “Vermont This Week.” In his decades with the AP, he covered the critical stories as the state transformed itself from a rural, Republican outpost into the state of Howard Dean, Jim Jeffords, Patrick Leahy, and Bernie Sanders.

Chris Graff stated, “We are incredibly lucky here in Vermont. Something special about our politicians that has remained true is their accessibility. We’ve seen our politicians succeed in presidential campaigns because we have something that the rest of America wants. When we ask our politicians a question we expect to get an answer, and we do.”

Garrett Graff is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, distinguished magazine journalist, internationally bestselling historian, and regular TV commentator and producer. He is recognized as one of the nation’s most prolific and wide-ranging journalists and historians. He offered a robust perspective on how political and geopolitical trends will shape the next decade. Specifically, how the current media landscape underscores that younger generations are the first in U.S. history to be less prosperous than their parents.

“The press is the only industry mentioned by name in the Constitution,” said Garrett Graff. “With a political landscape changing faster than we as a society can process it, and a void of national journalism rising to the occasion, younger generations are entering the workforce amid an excess of misinformation. Modern journalism too often covers the state of an issue rather than the stakes, and this is central to its failings.”

“The Vermont Chamber is proud to have brought these two incredible Vermonters together on stage for the first time,” said Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop. “Together, Chris and Garret have a combined 50 years of perspective on the rapidly changing media landscape, and how this has impacted political discourse and policymaking. We hope to see their shared expertise on display again very soon. ”

Chris Graff displays a photo of Garrett Graff conducting his “first interview” with Governor Madeleine Kunin as a young aspiring reporter.