Archive for May, 2011

Among friends on radio, McInnis says he has “complete vindication” but “just a little too late”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

“You are among friends here,” Rick Wagner told his radio guest Scott McInnis Thursday. “No one is going to try to pick at you because I know there is a limited amount you can say about it.”

Wagner kept his promise, stroking McInnis for about 15 minutes, even saying that McInnis’ plagiarism “was brought up by his primary opponent in the election, which of course was The Denver Post. I believe they were running for governor.” (McInnis has also blamed The Post for his downfall.)

Feeling comfy, McInnis told Wagner that last week’s regulatory decision not to strip him of his law license was “kind of bittersweet news” but, still, “gave us complete vindication.”

“Just a little too late,” he said.

Why did McInnis wait until it was too late? Why didn’t he release the emails that allegedly instructed Rolly Fischer not to plagiarize? That’s the question everyone’s been asking, and of course Wagner didn’t ask it.

But McInnis seems to think he had provided proof of his innocence all along, but no one listened!

“And at the beginning, we obviously stated exactly what had occurred, and we were vindicated by the Supreme Court that came out with the same kind of findings,” McInnis told Wagner, who interviewed McInnis Thursday on KFKA’ s Amy Oliver Show (1310 AM in Greeley). Wagner was substituting for Oliver.

Wagner should have pointed out that the report of the state’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel, whose record has been questioned by Westword, did not exonerate McInnis. It allowed him to practice law, but it didn’t clear him of plagiarism or of fraud.

As The Denver Post’s Dean Singleton said on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show last week, McInnis is still a plagiarist, even if the plagiarism was  executed by his assistant Rolly Fischer. This conforms with the view of Prof. Bob Steele, a journalism ethics guru, who pointed out last year that even if text is given freely to a writer, word-for-word use of it still constitutes plagiarism. And in McInnis’ case, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs did not authorize McInnis to use his words.

Neither has McInnis been cleared of misrepresenting his water-musings articles to the Hasan Family Foundation, which he described as “original,”  leaving him open to charges of fraud. Seeme Hasan acknowledged on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show that contrary to what the Foundation stated last year, McInnis did inform her, on a fax cover sheet, that he had hired an assistant to work on the water project. But Hasan says the assistant could have been answering the phones, for all she know. She did not know he would be writing the water musings, and she would not have allowed this had she known, she told KHOW.

With these issues unaddressed, it was easy for McInnis to tell Wagner, who’s a conservative columnist for the Grand Junction Sentinel, that “Laurie and I are very thrilled” with the attorney-regulation report.

Looking ahead, McInnis told Wagner that he thinks the attacks on him were so successful that they will be replicated.

“Look at the destruction that it did to us,” McInnis said. “And I think you’re actually going to see this tool utilized even more in the future.”

Is McInnis thinking there are more candidates out there who got paid $300,000 for a two-year fellowship, hired a research assistant to do the job, and didn’t have the time or inclination to make absolutely sure the final product wasn’t copied from a Supreme Court Justice? And then tried to blame everything on his research assistant?

We don’t know, because Wagner didn’t ask.

(Click here for the BigMediaBlog transcript of the McInnis interview discussed above. Contact for a copy of the audio recording of the McInnis interview.)

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog.

Transcript of May 26 Interview with Scott McInnis

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Transcript of Interview with Scott McInnis on KFKA’s Amy Oliver Show(1310 AM in Greeley), May 26, 2011

Rick Wagner substituting for Oliver. The interview starts at about one hour, 37 minutes.

Wagner: I know that you’ve had some kind of good news recently.  I know there are a limited amount of things that you can talk about it because it had to do with regulation counsel, the State Supreme Court dealing with this alleged issue of plagiarism this thing was brought up during the election when you’re running for governor. And frankly you should be governor. But anyway, I am going to give you a chance to say something on its. You are among friends here. No one is going to try to pick at you because I know that there is a limited amount you can say about it. The story is out that you have been essentially exonerated by the attorney regulation counsel and the Supreme Court, which controls attorney licensing and talks about behavior. We are one of the few states where behavior outside of what happens in the legal case or if you break the law influences what can be shaped or done by the Supreme Court.  Pretty much everything that you do can be looked that by the Supreme Court to see if you are a good person to have a license to appear in front of the bar. Scott had this complaint filed and it has taken a long time to get through the system about this issue involving some writings he had done on water law.  And if all you people can remember how this was brought up by his primary opponent in the election, which of course was the Denver Post. I believe they were running for governor. I’m not sure. I want to let Scott just talk to little bit about it. Scott just go ahead.

McInnis: Just a little history to it. I ran for governor. I always considered that the privilege to have the opportunity. We had a great campaign going. I had big dreams for Colorado and where we, as a team, could take the state.  And out of nowhere popped up these allegations in regarding plagiarism. Needless to say we felt very strongly about this, but allegations were filed with the Colorado State Supreme Court as result of this event. And kind of bittersweet news, for over a year we’ve been in an intense investigation and the results of the investigation were just released last week by the State Supreme Court, and they gave us complete vindication.  It supports, obviously, statements and position that I took from the very beginning with this was first, when we first were aware of it. That was about 4 o’clock in the afternoon the afternoon before it was broke, ah put out, by the Denver newspaper. So Laurie and I are very thrilled by the result. We spend most of our time over Grand Junction and although as I said it was bittersweet because it was year-long. Even the people who filed the complaint which was Ethics Watch, which in my opinion is an arm of the Democratic Party, even they acknowledged the investigation of the Supreme Court was very thorough. The findings of the Supreme Court were probably for someone who is kind of an expert of looking at these kind of things, will tell you that the opinion is very strong and certainly terrific news for us. Just a little too late.

Wagner: Well I read several versions of the opinion and the actual letter that I know is out there from regulation counsel.  And it was a fairly strong vindication of you and they brought up some things out there that had not come out during the original piece of this. That you had made it clear that to your researcher that you wanted him to use as must stuff as original possible. Not be lifting anything. And that he believed that some of the comments out there were in the public domain. Probably was not true. That he put in there. And you put the foundation that you were doing the work for on notice that you had a researcher hired. 

McInnis: Well Rick, I can tell you that I have taken a lot of pride over the years. As you know, you and I are both attorneys. Not only did I practice law but I was in the United States Congress. Not only the United States Congress but was in the Colorado House of Representatives where I was the majority leader, and I was also a police officer. Never in my career, never in my career, have I ever had some question my ethics. Or my integrity.  And that is exactly what they tried to do.  They threw everything that they could at us. And at beginning we obviously stated exactly what had occurred and we were vindicated by the Supreme Court that came out the same kind of findings.  Very strong findings because of course they have an investigative arm and they’ve had a year to investigate this. These are professional people.  The Supreme Court and I think anyone out there is going to acknowledge, look,  it probably has more credibility than any investigative group in Colorado. And they should, rightfully.  So we are pleased with the results.  Nonetheless Rick we have been under this kind of…

Wagner: It’s a cloud over a person’s life.

McInnisYes of course it is a cloud so we are pleased with the results. But it was very unfortunate.

Wagner: I’ve told people at my radio show and I might have mentioned it in Greeley when I have hosted to show for Amy when she was out-of-town. I do not like this political sort of regulatory game that gets played.  This happens to involve regulation counsel which I think is especially off-topic for the governor’s race.  If you want to make a point of this and say look this guy did this and we think that is not a good idea for someone who’s running for governor-that’s fine.  But when people start turning the election laws in this case the regulatory counsel as sort of a diversionary tactic from these. Unless there is some major wrongdoing, I am not interested in doing that to political opponents. 

McInnis: Well look what happened Rick. Look at the destruction that it did to us. And I think you’re actually going to see this tool utilized even more in the future. Politics is a tough game. Unfortunately it diverts from the real issues. Some of the shenanigans that have gone on, I think you’re going to see more of it I think in the race. Just in the congressional race we saw this last week in New York where they threw is a straw man to throw the race.

Wagner: We talked about that last hour. We just mentioned it last hour it was my impression that they threw this former Democrat in the race in New York 26. 

McInnis: Not only, Rick, was he a former Democrat, he was a very very wealthy individual, and then he came in and declared, self-declared that he was carrying the Tea Party mantle, and as a result of that, he was able to pull enough votes from the Republican that the Democrat won the race. Now the Democrats like to say that it’s Medicaid, Medicare excuse me. Certainly Medicare is a big issue out there. But, the combination of the fact that the Congressman had to resign in shame—so that’s a disadvantage for the party to start with. Then you throw in there the money that they were able to come up with the straw man. This guy was a Democrat for a long time. He switched to an unaffiliated so we could run as Tea Party. You know, that’s a, it’s not illegal but it’s certainly what I would consider kind of a strategy that is deploying pretty dirty politics. I think you are going to continue to see that. We have a history of it. I mean, clear back to George Washington. You know, ack in those days, it‘s interesting, because having a quote “illegitimate child.” I don’t see how any child is illegitimate. At any rate, back then they would throw that at each other and so on. So, the unfortunate part of it, it cost us dearly, but I hope that it doesn’t discourage people for running for office. It is so critical that we don’t let them beat us down. And I can tell you that Laurie and I are as strong as ever. The results that we saw here were redeeming nonetheless. We just want people continue to have faith in the system. 

Wagner: It makes a person feel better to be redeemed at some point. You can certainly argue something about choices made during the campaign and how you handle stuff, but setting other people’s hounds loose on you to get outside of the questions of the campaign a little bit is something that I just find disturbing.

Wagner: We are back with my guest Scott McInnis and one of the things that I wanted to get Scott in for which is to talk about politics little bit too.He’s interested in politics. [laughs] So I wanted to get his take on a couple of things. Having been in the state Legislature for awhile, what do you think is going on over there in the last year? 

McInnis: Well this is a difficult year for the Legislature because, one, they only did they have their budget situations, but they have a new governor and probably really critical, although it’s not an interest on Main Street, it is the redistricting and reapportionment.

Wagner: Wow, that’s what I wanted to talk about. You are taking my notes and you can’t even see them.

McInnis: Rick, there’s a difference, and it’s easy to confuse. Reapportionment applies to the State House seats. Redistricting applies to the U.S. Congressional seats. 

Wagner: I use them interchangeably but I know that there is a difference.

McInnis: It is easy to confuse them. Interestingly, I saw where, what’s the Congressman? Kucinich. Whatever his name is out of Ohio. I worked for him. Well not for him obviously. I worked with him. He actually is going to be redistricting out of Ohio. He is going to lose his congressional seat.

Wagner: Because they are losing population.

McInnis: Yes he is now talking about moving to Washington State to run as a Congressman out of Washington State in a very liberal district up there. It’s interesting. He was on the news last night. Another thing is that, in Colorado there is, contrary to popular belief, there is no restriction that a state has to elect Congressman out of a particular district. You can elect your Congressman statewide. Now that doesn’t happen in Colorado, and it’s never happened Colorado. But what we have to be particularly cognizant of here in Colorado; how they carve out these districts and what happens.  As you know the Democratic Party took the official position, and they were down here they put together a bill that would split the Western Slope.  Now the only way you can split the Western Slope for example and have enough population to have the two congressional districts is the population would have to be a big community or a big city on the other side. We don’t have big cities over here.  So there are a lot of political tricks that are going on on redistricting.

Wagner: Our ideological nemesis I call them in the newspaper, Boulder County, was going to be paired up with Mesa County.

McInnis: Yeah, what do we have in common with Boulder? Really, I mean it just doesn’t make sense. So it is a busy year for the Legislature. This will go the courts. That’s, in my opinion, what the Democrats wanted to happen from the very beginning.  They do well in the courts on redistricting. So that’s an issue they’re dealing with. And then at the federal level, of course you asked about the state level, but at the federal level, they have massive deficits that they gave to deal with and the presidential election coming up.

 Wagner: That usually means nothing will get done.

McInnis: Well that’s right. Next year’s session will be very interesting. It will be very short session.

Wagner: Yeah and everyone is going to go home to campaign. You were in Congress for a long time. Ten years I think.

McInnis:  Twelve years.

Wagner: Twelve years. So you see that. You can tell it’s an election year, particularly a presidential election year when there is a lot going on. The business of Congress starts getting truncated right there and everybody tries to get out of town.

McInnis: And now you see it the year before. Next year is the election year. But this year, the Democrats are not going to put up a plan, and let’s delay the hard decisions until after the next election. Which means it will be delayed until after the next election.

Wagner: They didn’t even put a budget up. The Democrats didn’t put a budget up.

McInnis: Reed said he is not going to. Doesn’t intent to. SO the legislature will be out pretty soon.  When is their last day? It’s coming up pretty soon. Isn’t it?

Wagner: Yea I just saw something on that.

McInnis: Unless are called back to special session which I don’t think they will be because they did get their budget done. Then redistricting goes to the court. I’m pretty confident that the court is going to leave the Western Slope…well the Western Slope is defined differently. I’m talking about all the mountains from Vail back. Well because Vail, they stuck it to us. I’m pretty confident. Let me put it this way. I would be totally shocked if the courts decide that the interests of the western Colorado in the community interests and community tie-ins would be better served by splitting the Western Slope.

Wagner: It is supposed to be a continuity of interests. It’s not supposed to be competitive districts which is the Democrat talking points all the time. Our listeners over here in Greeley, the fourth congressional district. They are trying to monkey around with that to, what I read, is that Brandan Shaffer who lives in Longmont can run against Corey Gardner.

McInnis: That is exactly right. Corey Gardner has done a fabulous job by the way. He’s a star over in the Greeley area. But they will look at the rural areas. The two areas, the district on the Eastern Slope and the district on the Western Slope. Which have, by the way, a lot in common. Although their waters are primary aquifer, and so on, and our waters are primary surface, etc. But we have a lot of interests with the rural part of part of eastern Colorado…western Colorado. They are going to do the same thing with eastern Colorado. Try and use it to slice up to benefit the city districts. So Corey has got his hands full. Scott Tipton has his hands full. And by the way the state legislatures, their seats are being realigned too. So they have their hands full.

Wagner: Well it’s going to be interesting and we have to keep on top and pay attention and a lot of it is going to happen in the courts like you said. And then that ends up being done by fiat. The processes is not anything that we see. I know that the folks over in Greeley are worried about how this is going to go. They got a great congressman in there now with Corey, and they need to hold on to him. It’s going to carve that baby up.

Conservative radio hosts weakly clarify “projected” versus “actual” state spending

Friday, May 27th, 2011

It’s one thing for Tea Party talk-radio hosts to assault my ear drums with noise about the federal budget deficit. I can handle that.

But my head starts to spin when they say Colorado has a budget deficit, forgetting the small detail that we have a state constitution that specifically disallows deficit spending.

Last week (5/17), for example, the angry guys on KLZ’s Grassrooots Colorado (560 AM, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) stated:

Co-host Ken Clark: The state of Wisconsin has a budget deficit. Until Walker took over they were running a budget deficit. Same is true for California. Same is true for Colorado. Same is true for New York. Probably better than 30-40 states are running a budget deficit. There are a very few that are in the black.

Co-host Jason Worley: I think there are between three and five that are in the black.

Actually, a majority of states are in the black, like CO.

So I emailed Worley to ask that he correct his erroneous statement on his next show.

“I’m gonna run with facts as I research them,” he replied via email. “Given, we adjusted spending, but see attached.  Also Tell Sen Heath we don’t have a deficit.”

He sent me a link showing that Colorado and other states have projected deficits but failing to prove his point that Colorado  is actually running a deficit.

I pointed this out to Worly in an email, and he responded:

I noted on the show yesterday that we said budget deficit, not deficit spending.  I get the subtle difference, but it should be noted that if revenue changes in a negative direction all that work means nothing.  We will be more precise in the words we choose.

On the air, Worley said he got a “fact-check” email from me noting that Colorado is not “deficit spending” and that he replied to me by saying, “no, we have a budget deficit; I understand the structural differences between the two, thank you.”

Not exactly the correction and explanation you’d want, but it’s something. I’m waiting for Worley and Clark’s on-air explanation of projected versus actual spending at the state level.

Radio host doesn’t catch Romer misstatement that he wants to put middle-school sports back into middle schools, when the program already exists in DPS middle schools

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

On KCFR’s Colorado Matters last week, mayoral candidate Chris Romer said he wants to “make sure we put sports back into middle schools.”

This surprised me, because I had just watched my son, who plays on his DPS middle-school baseball team, lose badly in the playoffs to the kids from DPS’ Hamilton Middle School. (The loss seemed like a bad dream to my son, and maybe it was, if Romer is right and his baseball team doesn’t really exist.)

Radio Host Ryan Warner, who conducted excellent interviews with both mayoral candidates, didn’t ask Romer how he plans to put middle-school sports back in the middle-schools, when they’re already in the middle schools.

But fortunately I got the chance to put the question to Romer Monday night, during a debate on Colorado Now with Aaron Harbor.

Romer wasn’t bothered at all by his apparent misstatement on the radio, saying he wants to “expand” the middle-school sports program.

Before posing my question to Romer, I had called John Andrew, DPS Middle School Athletics Manager, to find out more about the DPS program

He told me it serves 5,000 kids this year, up from 1,700 in 2003, with teams in 30 middle schools. Thirteen sports are offered, including baseball, proving unfortunately that my son’s repeated strikeouts were real.

Andrew said that DPS has the only program in the nation with funding from all the major sports fanchises (Nuggets, Avalanche, Broncos, Rockies). They cover the entire budget, except fees.

But I knew the program doesn’t cover all the kids who want to play sports, because my son was mercilessly cut from the team the first year he tried out.

So I asked Andrew how his program could be expanded.

He said the size of existing facilities prohibit much expansion, like adding a junior varsity program with games against other schools. He said possibly some sports could be enlarged, but what Denver really needs for kids’ sports is a middle school sports center, basically a b big indoor gym, like the 54,000-sq-foot Gold Crown Field House in Lakewood, which might cost something like $12 million. (Once such a complex is built, no small task but a doable philanthropic campaign, Andrews is confident he could raise funds to pay for programs expenses.)

Another way to expand the program would be to add sports for 4th and 5th graders, in elementary school, according to Andrew, which might cost $800,000 annually.

I told Romer and Hancock of this middle-school need, and they both supported it, without proactively offering any ideas on how to pay for it.

Now that some of the facts are on the table about DPS middle-school sports, which came up because Romer was asked for a specific way a mayor could help the DPS,  Romer should explain how he might pay for it. And Hancock should chime in.

(Watch the Romer-Hancock debate that includes the middle-school ports discussion on Channel 3 (K3 Colorado KCDO-TV) in two parts on Sunday, May 29, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Part 1), and June 5, at the same time (Part 2).)

 Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog

Got questions for Denver mayoral candidates?

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I’ll be on a panel asking Denver mayoral candidates Michael Hancock and Chris Romer questions Tuesday, May 24, at a debate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Ricketson Auditorium (enter on Museum’s west side), 6:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Help me out by sending suggestions for questions to me at

Other “media panelists” asking qustions will be Denver Post Columnist Susan Barnes-Gelt, FOX31 Reporter Jon Bowman, Former Denver City Councilwoman Sue Casey, ColoradoBiz Magazine Editor Mike Cote, and The Denver Daily News Reporter Peter Marcus.

Aaron Harbor, host of the Aaron Harbor Show, will moderate the debate, to be aired on “Colorado Now with Aaron Harbor.”

Click here to make your (free) general-admission reservation to attend the event, which will be broadcast at 7 p.m. on K3 Colorado (KCDO-TV Channels 3 & 28.3 broadcast) and Channel 3 on COMCAST, DirecTV & DISH Network

McInnis cleared of dishonest lawyer conduct, but slimy, mean politician conduct still a problem

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Back in November, Scott McInnis told The Denver Post that he’d clear his name within a few short months. It wasn’t clear what he meant, but you had to assume something would show that he didn’t deserve the harsh treatment he got as he ran for governor in the last election.

He couldn’t show that he really did not commit plagiarism, could he? I mean, the exact words in McInnis’ water articles, written for the Hasan Family Foundation for $300,000, were lifted from another writer’s work. This was clear and irrefutable, right?

McInnis couldn’t blame the media? Or Dick Wadhams? Or even The Tea Party.

What could clear his name?

I waited impatiently, and no name-clearing happened. I was getting real desperate to know WTF was in McInnis’ mind, and today rolled around.

It turns out that an attorney connected to the Colorado Supreme Court conducted an investigation, at the behest of Colorado Ethics Watch, on whether McInnis’ behavior meets the lawyerly snuff test.

His investigation, indeed, cleans up McInnis a bit, but it doesn’t clear his name, unless you believe throwing people under buses is a good idea.

John Gleason, who conducted the investigation, aired his conclusion in documents quoted by the Grand Junction Sentinel (posted previously here)  this morning:

“Based on the sworn testimony of Mr. Fischer and his contemporaneous emails, personal notes and other documents produced by him, it is clear that in 2005, Mr. McInnis both disclosed to Mr. Fischer that his draft articles may be published by the Hasan Family Foundation and instructed Mr. Fischer (a water law expert but inexperienced author) that he must not plagiarize anyone’s work. …”

So Gleason clears McInnis of dishonest lawyerly conduct.

But does it clear him of slimy, squeezy, mean politican conduct? Does it make his conduct look, ah, gubernatorial, if I can use that word there.

No way.

No one but a lawyer would believe it means much, in the political name clearing business, if emails stated that Rollie Fischer was told not to plagiarize. And he apparently forgot or didn’t read the fine print.

That’s no reason for McInnis to go on TV and blame the plagiarism on Fischer. He should have taken responsibility himself. His name was on it. Fischer was confused, and so were the Hasans, according to the story in the Grand Junction Sentinel today.

Still, we don’t know if today’s news was, in fact, the name-clearing event that McInnis was referring to in November. You have to guess that it was, or at least that he had found correspondence with Fischer and the Hasans that put the blame for the water plagiarism on Fischer.

If so, if McInnis thought this would Shyne up his image, McInnis still doesn’t get it.

His mistake was throwing his research assistant under the bus. He could have survived the plagiarism, probably. But his handling of it sunk his campaign.

He can’t clear his name of those mistakes. That was his problem then, and that’s what he’s going to have to live with.

Caplis and Silverman mum as D’Souza says Obama views America as “bad guy,” not Iran

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Radio Hosts Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman were mum yesterday as Denish D’Souza told them (at about minute 32) that “Obama views not Iran, not North Korea, but America as the bad guy.”

At the same time, Caplis eagerly promoted D’Souza’s appearance today at a GOP fundraiser at Magianno’s at the Denver Pavilions, posting a flyer about the event on the show’s KHOW web page.

Caplis and Silverman could at least have discussed whether it’s intelligent, much less appropriate, for the Colorado GOP to give a microphone to D’Souza who says that the President of the United States thinks our country is worse than Iran or North Korea.

I know the Colorado GOP has to be thick-skinned to hold up its tent, and I’m not saying D’Souza should be censored, but is this the right platform for him?

Asked about his questioning of D’Souza today, Silverman told me:

“There are time constraints in that I have a co-host. In an ideal world, I could have spent three hours individually interrogating Denish D’Souza because I listened to his book cover-to-cover. I don’t agree with his one-size-fits-all theory of Barack Obama, but I do find it interesting…

I didn’t have anything to do with putting up that promo for the luncheon, but I don’t have a big problem with it either. If I had time, I might go see him today. I don’t have to agree with a book to find it interesting…

Denish D’Souza is probably far right, and definitely conservative. I think he’s entitled to his point of view just as Jason Salzman is entitled to your  far-left view. I don’t think either of you should be censored. And if the Colorado Democratic Party wants to have a program with you, I have no problem with it. And if we cover it on KHOW, I would have no problem if we decided to post a promotion for your event.”

D’Souza’s thinking is reminiscent of Tom Tancredo’s comment last year at an appearance with U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck:

“The greatest threat to the United States today, the greatest threat to our liberty, the greatest threat to the Constitution of the United States, the greatest threat to our way of life, everything we believe in, the greatest threat to the country that was put together by the Founding Fathers is the guy who is in the White House today,” Tancredo said.

Buck felt the need to put some space between him and Tancredo, saying at the time:

“I don’t agree,” [Buck] said. “I think there are a lot of threats to the White House and I don’t think the man in the White House is the greatest threat to this country at all. I am concerned about the direction of the country, but — I love Tom, but I don’t always agree with him.”

But later, you recall, after Jane Norton, gently embraced Tancredo’s comment, Buck also warmed up to Tancredo’s position a bit.

In any case, I think Caplis and Silverman should have called out D’Souza’s extremism more forcibly and questioned its place in the political debate here in Colorado. Silverman isn’t scared to do this, but he missed an opportunity yesterday.

Potter series promotes healthy skepticism of journalism, local author writes.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

In an “expanded edition” of his book of essays on the “Values of Harry Potter,”  local libertarian gadfly Ari Armstrong slams a 2008 article in the American Communication Journal, by Amanda Sturgill and others, which argued that the Harry Potter series portrayed journalism in dark and destructive manner.

Armstrong’s basic point is that, sure, journalism in the Potter books, embodied in character Rita Skeeter, was flawed at times, but that’s how journalism is in real life as well. So the book teaches young readers to look at the news media with a critical eye.

“Consumers of journalism will do well to adopt the thoughtful skepticism promoted by the Potter series,” Armstrong writes.

He provides a few examples to illustrate his point that journalists can make mistakes without undermining the value of the news media. One of his examples, unfortunately, is New York Times columnist Paul Krugman’s opinion, written after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, that “We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was.” Yes, that was a dumb opinion, but Krugman is not a reporter; he’s paid to opine. You’d think Armstrong could have come up with better examples from the spectacular archive of journalistic foibles.

Still, Armstrong’s critique about the Sturgill article is on target for the most part, as he points to examples, even if they’re brief, of the beneficial role journalism plays in the books, as well its destructive use as propaganda when the news is taken over by Voldemort. There seems to be an obvious lesson in the dangers of state control of the press here, and you wonder why Sturgill ignored this and the other material Armstrong cites.

Armstrong writes:

“The Potter novels teach that, even in the faceof shoddy reporting or outright censorship, the truth can prevail if its advocates keep fighting for it.”

I noticed that Armstrong did not say the truth “will” prevail without quality journalism, and he’s right. You have to wonder today, with serious journalism struggling, whether enough of the truth will get out there for our experiment in democracy to have a happy ending.

So maybe the lesson in the Potter series that Armstrong lauds isn’t the one we really need.  We need more books showing how the truth doesn’t prevail in the end  when journalism is forsaken or corrupt. That’s where things look to be heading to me.

Unlike Boyles, right-wing Christian radio host Enyart apologizes for being a birther

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

KHOW talk show host Peter Boyles, you recall, didn’t flinch when Obama released his birth certificate last month, saying he had no intention of backing away from the story.

Bob Enyart, who hosts “Bob Enyart Live,” weekdays on Colorado “Colorado’s Christian Station,” KLTT 670 AM, disagreed with those who said President Obama’s birth certificate was not valid, and he apologized to his audience for his “erroneous thinking.”

Conspiracy theorists should look to Enyart for guidance here. He saw evidence and changed course. How do you like that?

Then, in an admirable piece of self-reflection,  he looked deeper, and he reasons that the entire birther discussion was a distraction from the real issues.

I can’t agree with what he sees as the real issues, but he’s entitled to his view, which is, in part:

In the big picture, I regret that I did not stay more focused on the eternal moral issues, which of course include the fundamental issues of government that God will bring up on Judgment Day…. 

…[S]ince I cannot believe that God is going to care, neither about where Obama was born or any other leader who has advocated the killing of the innocent, therefore I am going to get beyond this distraction and focus more on what matters eternally! 

I think this means we won’t be hearing Enyart talk about birtherism anymore. But his Personhood-Amendment crusade? It doesn’t look like its going away, does it?

Colorado Springs Gazette interview started El Paso GOP controversy, county officer says

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The elected Secretary of the El Paso Republican Party said her inappropriate remarks to a reporter in March led to last week’s passage of a Republican resolution suggesting that GOP officers from El Paso County not criticize elected Republicans.

The Secretary, Sarah Anderson, told Grassroots Radio Colorado host Jason Worley yesterday that she regrets telling The Colorado Springs Gazette in March that some Republicans were calling Rep. Amy Stephens’ health-insurance exchange bill “Colorado’s presecription for federal crack addiction,” as well as the relatively mild moniker,  “Amycare.”

“That’s what started this,” she told Worley.

Anderson said she later apoligized to Stephens for her comments to the Gazette, and she agreed with Worley that it was a mistake to make those statements to a newspaper reporter who identified Anderson as the “secretary of the El Paso County GOP.” She said she never took a stand using her title again.

But Anderson argued on the radio that she does not think her position as an officer of the El Paso GOP should preclude her from speaking out against health-insurance exchanges, for example.

It would have been interesting if Worley had asked Anderson if she thinks the El Paso County GOP should pass a reverse resolution, if you will, suggesting that elected Republicans not criticize elected GOP officers.

Such a resolution might have stopped Stephens from telling the Colorado Springs Gazette that the uproar over her health-insurance bill was caused, in part, by “anarchists.”

The Gazette: Why do you think there’s been such an uproar from part of the conservative community and the Tea Party?

Stephens: Let’s be clear—it’s not the conservatives. I’d say it’s more libertarians, and other people I view as anarchists, some people in the Tea Party and the 9/12 group. I think there are numerous factors. There’s not one answer.”

Activists mocked Stephens for this remark.

For example, here’s what Mike Krause of the Independence Institute said about it Monday on Grassroots Radio Colorado:

Worley: Oh wait, Mike are you an anarchist?

Krause: Oh no, that’s you guys.

Clark: You’re not going to stand with us brothers in arms in anarchy.

Worley: Independence Institute didn’t back up SB 200, so you must be an anarchist.

Krause:  It’s interesting, and I’ve been listening to you guys talking about this. It’s interesting to us. Let me tell you how we view this. We’ve worked with Amy Stephens in the past and we assume we will again in the future. We are simply having a policy disagreement over this SB200, and so for us, it’s simply principle over politics. We assume we’ll get past it…but I guess we fall in the anarchy wing as much as… look, if you guys are anarchists, you know what, we’re just going to put on black masks with you and go break some windows and burn some stuff.

… Hopefully everyone can make up and move forward, but we’ll see what happens.