Meet the Press

Colorado Senate candidate Bob Schaffer’s spokesperson, Dick Wadhams, seems to be manipulating the media in some strange way every time he’s in the news these days.

This time he’s telling Lynn Bartels at the Rocky Mountain News that the Producers at Meet the Press had mostly given up on trying to convince Schaffer’s opponent, Mark Udall, to accept their invitation to debate. Bartels quoted Wadhams:

“I can tell you that Meet the Press had pretty well given up on him,” Wadhams said. “The producers didn’t think he was going to do it. “We pretty much shamed them into accepting the debate.”

But Bartels didn’t state whether Wadhams accusation was true. Just because an allegation sits within quotation marks doesn’t mean reporters shouldn’t fact check it–or at least get a response to it.I called up Meet the Press, and the show’s publicist, Jenny Tartikoff, would only tell me, “We don’t comment on our booking process.”

You wouldn’t expect the truth-crusaders at Meet the Press to illuminate the truth for citizens in an importatn Senate race, would you? Oh well, I can see the logic of not commenting on the booking process in some cases, but here’s a situation where Meet the Press is being used by Wadhams. Meet the Press should have set the record straight.

For her part, Bartels wrote me that she had contacted Mee the Press, and she had intended to put its response into her article, but this was dropped from the final version of her article. She wrote me by email:

We initially had in there a line that we didn’t get a response from Meet the Press, and a line about how Tara Trujillo laughed out aloud when I told her what Wadhams said about Meet the Press.Those were removed. Can’t remember if it was space or some other reason.That was more than 24 hours ago!

…Some background: Wayne Allard was the first sitting senator to debate on MTP. Before, incumbents figured why risk it.

The debate can be important. Pete Coors in 2004 mistakenly said North Dakota was part of the axis of evil. Republicans kind of gave up. That same year, John Thune and Tom Dashle debated. Thune didn’t win but didn’t lose, either. He showed he could hold his own with Thune.

I think the most fascinating thing is the sidebar to my story. It was Schaffer who told Benson in 1994 to quit debating, a move that pundits said helped sink his campaign.

In the end, Wadhams used the credibility of Meet the Press to advance his agenda. Neither the Rocky nor Meet the Press should have allowed him to do this.

The Meet the Press debate takes place Sept. 28.




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