Archive for May, 2012

Rosen wrong to slam 9News for labeling its news story “Coffman’s birther moment”

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Just when you thought birthers were running away from their inner birtherness, a new birther jumps out of the closet on the op-ed pages of The Denver Post today.

That would be the ever-rational Mike Rosen, of the Mike Rosen Show on KOA.

Rosen wrote a column today, titled “Mike Coffman was right about Obama in the first place,” defending Coffman’s statement, first aired on 9News May 16, that he doesn’t know if Obama is a U.S. citizen or if our president is an American “in his heart.”

The funny part is that, even as Rosen defends Coffman for saying these things, Rosen is still birtherphobic when it comes to accepting that both he and Coffman are birthers.

Rosen wrote: “To set the record straight, in his remarks at the Elbert County Fairgrounds on May 12, Coffman did not challenge the legitimacy of Obama’s natural-born citizenship. This was not, as 9News falsely captioned it on-screen in its slanted report, ‘Coffman’s Birther Moment.’”

(Incidentally, 9News acknowledged its story was stimulated by a tip from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.) In fact, Coffman separated himself from ‘birther’ activists who express certainty that Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. On that matter, Coffman said, ‘I don’t know.’ Neither do I. I’m not certain Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud, but I’m suspicious.”

Mike, you don’t know Obama is a citizen, and you still think his birth certificate might be a fraud. If you hold these beliefs, you can’t say, categorically, that the President is a citizen. That means you’re a birther.

And the Oxford American Dictionary agrees with me, defining a birther as:

“a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s US birth certificate.”

At risk of repeating myself, but I can’t resist: By definition, if you don’t know for sure that Obama’s birth certificate is valid, and you don’t know whether he was born in our country, then you’re “a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s US birth certificate.”

Thus, I hate to tell you, Mike, you’re a big old birther just like Coffman was during his “birther moment,” as correctly labeled by 9News.

It was “Coffman’s birther moment,” because Coffman told 9News that he misspoke. If you believe Coffman’s apology, it was Coffman’s moment of birtherness.

9News didn’t label its video “Birther Coffman,” or something like that, which would have unfairly attributed permanence to Coffman’s birther statement. 9News was accurate.

It’s true, to be fair, that if you research this topic, you’ll find different definitions of the word “birther.” Some claim the word means an absolute belief that Obama is not a natural-born citizen. But legitimate sources, like the one above, support my view and 9News’ use of the word.

But you can be sure of one thing. You’ll find plenty of birthers who will argue about how they define themselves. And they’ll cite seventeen million pieces of evidence to support one definition of “birther,” corroborated by nine million pieces of missing evidence.

Other birthers will find ancient newspaper clips and numbers to support their position on “birther.”

And the birthers will argue about what it means to be a “birther.”

But there’s one thing they will agree on. Like Rosen and Coffman (for a moment), they’re at least not yet sure that Obama is a natural-born citizen. They’re birthers.

Kaminsky’s departure may help conservatives

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Ross Kaminsky wrote this morning that he’ll mostly stop posting on his blog, Rossputin.com, but he’ll continue writing for the American Spectator and hosting his occasional weekend KOA talk-radio show.

Kaminsky took the occasion of his Rossputin announcement to predict a Romney victory in 2012.

He should have spiced up this boring prediction by adding that his own departure from the daily Colorado blogging scene might help Romney win, despite Kaminsky’s conservative leanings.

Here’s a Kaminsky blog post, titled Si se puede indeed, that illustrates my point:

Just what does it say about Colorado elections when, as Senator Mark Udall, stood up at noon in Denver today to introduce newly elected (formerly appointed) Senator Michael Bennet, the chant of the crowd behind him was “Si se puede!”?

When our elections are being determined by people who think it appropriate not to speak english at an event surrounding the election of an American to the highest legislative office in the nation, we have a problem.

So Kaminsky, who refers to himself as “one of the most influential pro-liberty bloggers” in Colorado, isn’t the kind of guy Colorado Republican Chair Ryan Call, who’s promised to make Mitt Romney available for two appearances on Fernando Sergio’s Spanish-language radio show in Denver, wants to cite when he tries to say the GOP is respectful to Hispanics.

Romney could also do without Kaminsky’s advocacy of water-boarding as punishment, which earned him a recent nomination for Andrew Sillivan’s Malkin Award.

Here’s the choice Kaminsky paragraph inspired Sullivan to nominate Kaminsky:

“At least Hayes had the courage to offer a sincere-sounding apology, though I’m certainly not alone with my suspicion that he truly believes everything he said, and everything his co-religionists in the cult of anti-Americanism said alongside him to besmirch our soldiers — living, dead, and fallen — on this Memorial Day weekend. Our soldiers take an oath to defend America against enemies foreign and domestic. Clearly, domestic enemies are in MSNBC studios, though I don’t suggest they be punished or harmed. They have every right to be idiots, though one would prefer that they at least recognize who is risking life and limb to protect that right. While I understand the temptation to waterboard Chris Hayes, the right answer is to understand that he represents today’s Democratic Party. The proper punishment for Mr. Hayes and his ilk is to make sure their TV ratings are as low as possible (which may already be the case when it comes to Mr. Hayes’ show) and to vote against Democratic candidates, other than those who (unlike John Kerry) have served with honor, at every opportunity,” - Ross KaminskyAmerican Spectator.

Here’s Sullivan’s comments about Kaminsky’s thoughts:

The most revealing thing about this rant is its understanding of waterboarding. It is, in Kaminsky’s eyes, an instrument of punishment. Every now and again, the far right shows its hand. The adoption of torture was as much about revenge and payback as it was a misguided, illegal, desperate attempt to get intelligence by methods never designed (by totalitarians) to get intelligence.

So I have to say, Ross Kaminsky, may you go far, wherever that is for you.

Snapshot of southern Colorado local TV news shows indifference to Hispanic issues

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

By Michael Lund, Bigmedia.org

In this election year where Colorado factors heavily as a swing state with a large and growing population of Hispanic swing voters, we’ve been looking at local TV news broadcasts in major media markets to identify strengths and weaknesses in their coverage of Hispanic issues and representation.

Following our analysis of the Denver market, we’ve turned our attention to southern Colorado and the local TV news broadcasts of KRDO Channel 13, KOAA Channel 5, FOX Channel 21, and KKTV Channel 11.

Our findings show a vacuum of coverage of Hispanics and the issues important to them.  While we’d hoped to find these news stations reaching out to a growing market demographic to garner their ratings, and an attempt to broaden the discussion around issues important to the Hispanic sector of the voting public, instead there seemed to be indifference.

Our analysis was a snapshot of news coverage, where we monitored two evening telecasts of all four news broadcasts from the same two days in April.   All the stories in the newscast were logged by their length and topic.  Stories that included subjects identified by Hispanic surnames or Latin-American or Spanish geographical origin were categorized by the type of reporting (news, sports, weather, etc.).  News stories with Hispanic related content were identified by topic (crime, commerce, government, legislation, accident, disaster, etc.), and when Hispanics were identified in the story we noted whether or not they were pictured.

Here’s what we found.

Overall, out of nearly four hours of collective broadcast time, only fourteen minutes (or 6.4% of air time) contained material that fell into our criteria of Hispanic-related – a relatively low representation in Colorado where Hispanics comprise 20.7% of the overall population. Our assumption is that Hispanic viewers would be more likely to view a broadcast where they are fairly and proportionally represented.  And at the same time, the general audience benefits in getting more representational and comprehensive coverage, with diverse perspectives on the issues which affect our communities.

So, since the Hispanic community is under-represented in news coverage, how they are portrayed in southern Colorado news broadcasts becomes even more important.

Establishing familiarity, credibility, and loyalty with the viewing audience depends on the viewers’ recognizing themselves and their values in the news broadcast.  Inclusion and visibility of Hispanics on the news staff provide that connection to a large portion of the audience.  However, in the small sample we observed, there was an obvious absence of Hispanic reporters and anchors among the four channels news programs, with the one notable exception from KOAA Channel 5, David Ortiviz.    

In the past, television news broadcasts have received criticism for misrepresenting minority communities in their coverage of crime stories; the need for balanced portrayal of these groups is a sensitive point of critique.  Of course, on any given day the stories will vary with the specific incidences of crime, but what we observed in the southern Colorado broadcasts isn’t encouraging:

  • Half of the stories involving Hispanic-related content were crime related with the majority of Hispanics portrayed being perpetrators.
  • Approximately one-third of the time allocated to news stories involving Hispanics (four minutes of a total eleven and-a-half) was reporting on crime.
  • Six of the seven crime stories involved a suspect identified as Hispanic (by surname).
  • In three of the stories, photos of the perpetrators were shown, as compared with eight identified Hispanics pictured throughout all the broadcasts and among all of the news stories reported.

Balance can be achieved no matter which crimes or criminals present themselves by expanding coverage to issues with specific interest or importance to Hispanics.  Fox21 can be commended in their early coverage of Colorado’s ASSET legislation, which proposed reduced college tuition for qualified children of undocumented immigrants.

Balance also comes from seeking interviews with Hispanics getting their commentary on topics of general interest.  A Pew Research Center poll has identified that the issues rated as most important to Hispanics in this election year closely correlate with the top issues of the general population: jobs and the economy, healthcare, education, etc.  So, when a feature story addresses these topics, it’s an opportunity to get opinions and perspectives representing a wide range of the audience.

As an example, Fox21 featured a story highlighting a street-side sign waver dressed as the Statue of Liberty, which included an interview with the Hispanic proprietor.  This commentary gave depth to the story, affirmed the diversity of the community, and provided an otherwise underrepresented (or misrepresented) group of viewers with a point of positive identification.  Even when the opinions differ widely among Hispanics on a given topic, credibility is established by inviting participation from one among the group.

Similarly, sports stories were surprisingly deficient of Hispanic perspective and topics.  Notable Hispanic athletes in Colorado sports seemed to be eclipsed by larger stories of the day.  And on the whole, Hispanic sports enthusiasts weren’t providing their commentary as much as one might hope.  Again, this could be explained by the small sample of broadcasts monitored, but it certainly raises the question whether reporters are reaching out to Hispanics where it would be logical and easy to do so.

However, KKTV and KRDO provided good examples of reaching beyond the big stories to find the hidden gems of local interest which gave a sense of inclusiveness.  Specifically, KKTV featured a profile on Jordan Pacheco, who moved up to the Rockies line up from the Sky Sox farm team, and KRDO aired a story about a prep league tennis tournament, featuring an Hispanic player.

As a point of comparison, our analysis of Denver TV news identified similar trends and conerns.  The most notable differences in their Hispanic coverage could be seen in the visibility of Hispanic reporters and anchors on the news teams.  Also, there seemed to be a greater degree of direct,on-site coverage of stories, so Hispanic commentary and visual representation were more apparent.  Sports reports included more coverage of mainstream Hispanic athletes, probably due to the accessibility and proximity of professional teams.  However, the same problems existed overall, with issues of balance, and the quantity and quality of Hispanic coverage.

There’s room for improvement, to be sure.  Let’s hope that Colorado’s news organizations can benefit from the widest possible viewing audience this election season, while responsibly providing balanced and informative coverage of the issues affecting all of us.

Click here to view the data (stories, reporters, categories) upon which the snapshot study is based: Hispanics in local TV news coverage: Denver and Southern Colorado

KOA radio hosts let Romney repeat statements, refuted in media coverage, about Colorado mining town

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Mitt Romney apparently forgot to read yesterday’s news coverage of his visit to Craig, Colorado.

Outlets from Denver’s Fox 31 to the National Journal and beyond pointed out that, despite Romney’s assertions, neither Colorado nor Obama policies had hurt the coal industry in Craig, and, overall, the town was weathering the recession pretty well.

But that didn’t stop Romney from appearing on KOA radio this morning, the day after his visit to Craig, and repeating statements that had been refuted by journalists.

Romney: There’s no question that Craig was an extraordinary welcome. We had about 1,500 people that joined in a rally, people from all walks of life, and they’re hurting. The regulations that have been put in place to try and drive out of business oil, coal, and gas are hard on Colorado, hard on Craig, Colorado, hard on various places across the country.

And I don’t think people recognize that as we try to replace oil, coal, and gas with very high-cost sources of energy, that we are going to drive more jobs away from America, not just from those mining and extractive industries, but also from all the industries that use energy in making their products. They will go elsewhere. They will go to China and other places that use coal and that use oil and gas. And that will mean more losses of jobs and further decline of income. So this is an important topic, and Craig is at the center of it.

KOA hosts April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs didn’t ask if Romney was bothered by the fact that Craig is doing well or the fact, also cited by reporters, that nonpartisan analysis shows that Colorado’s green-energy economy has been a solid job creator.

KOA hosts April Zesbaugh and Steffan Tubbs, who did a good job asking Romney a range of questions, also queried Romney about Syria:

Host Zesbaugh: Is the President doing enough about Syria, and what would you be doing?

Romney: Well, the decision to expel diplomats is of course an appropriate decision but it’s a very small step. We need presidential leadership. This is not a time for America to be leading from behind. We have not only a slaughter of people, some 10,000 people have been killed by their own government in Syria, but also we recognize that Syria is the Arab ally for Iran. And Iran is seeking to become the leader of the Middle East with nuclear weapons. This is an opportunity to see new leadership in Syria, which could conceivably distance itself from Iran. So, the President ought to be all over this. We should be working with our friends in the region, like Turkey and Saudi Arabi,a to assure that the forces, that the rebel forces of Syria are well-armed and safe. This idea of holding back, this policy of paralysis is not the right course.

Host Tubbs: …How long are we going to wait, do you think, whether it’s this administration or yours. How many more massacres do we have to see where women and children are shot at point-blank range before the United States, which has, you go back centuries, we are the country the world looks to, like it or not?

Romney: Well, the right course for America is to be the leader in a setting like this, and that does not necessarily mean that we are putting in place our military resources. We do have friends in the region. We can support them in providing armament to the rebels. We can also communicate with the Alawites who are concerned about the removal of Assad because of their common faith. We need to make sure the Alawites know there will be a future for them in Syria. There will not be a slaughter or a degradation of their importance in the community. So the things we can be doing as a leader in the world that hopefully are being done, and if they’re not being done, they ought to be done aggressively. So that we take advantage of an opportunity but at the same time stop a tragedy, which we are seeing occur.

Neither host asked Romney about the risks, as articulated by the Obama Administration, and shared by some Republicans as well, of arming groups that may turn against America.

Yesterday marked the second Colorado visit in a row during which Romney has appeared on Colorado’s Morning News on KOA. Here’s what he had to say on the show in May.

Last time, he also spoke one-on-one with local TV reporters. He chose not to do so during yesterday’s Colorado trip, possibly because he became irritated during his May visit with the questions from CBS4 reporter Shaun Boyd.

Romney apparently did not take questions from The Denver Post during either of his last two visits, prioritizing radio and local television. During a visit in April, Romney spoke only to conservative talk shows, ignoring The Post again.

Front page New York Times coverage of Colorado congressional candidate should be wake-up call for front-range media

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The name “Tisha Casida” has yet to appear in The Denver Post and other legacy media in Denver, but that didn’t stop The New York Times from including Casida in a front page article Wednesday about how “Paulite candidates for Congress are sprouting up from Florida to Virginia to Colorado, challenging sitting Republicans and preaching the gospel of radically smaller government, an end to the Federal Reserve, restraints on Bush-era antiterrorism laws and a pullback from foreign military adventures.”

The Times piece showed how these so-called constitutionalist candidates are making waves if properly funded, and the piece spotlighted a PAC that’s backing some of them with serious money.

“I’ve called myself a constitutionalist from the get go,” Casida told me.  “People who believe in fiscal conservatism and social liberty will come to our side.”

The Times reported:

And lightly regarded Paulites running for Congress could become forces with the right amount of money. Tisha Casida, an independent in Colorado, is running against Representative Scott Tipton. Calen Fretts is chipping away at Representative Jeff Miller in Florida’s Panhandle, and Karen Kwiatkowski is challenging Representative Robert W. Goodlatte in Virginia.

“I think there’s a great movement going on in this country,” said Ms. Casida, who said she was pulled into politics by Mr. Paul’s message and the red tape she faced trying to open a local farmer’s market.

“We were really pleased by the article,” Casida told me today. “We’re hoping that people nationally see our platform, which is much like Ron Paul’s, and connect with us.”  The article sparked internet signups on her website, Cassida said.

I told Casida I was glad to see that The Times correctly identified her (above) as an independent candidate, but I was sorry the newspaper stated she was running against Scott Tipton and neglected to mention that she’s also running against Democrat Sal Pace.

She says she’s frustrated that reporters sometimes omit her name completely when reporting on the congressional race.

“I think my true competition is Pace,” she told me. “I don’t think Tipton has a chance of winning no matter what.”

Casida mentioned that a congressional debate, sponsored by the Aspen Daily News and Aspen Public Radio, is planned, but a date isn’t set yet. Pace is planning to attend, but Tipton hasn’t accepted his invitation, according to Casida. “I think it would be interesting to discuss issues with Sal Pace,” Casida said.

The New York Times article capped off a “good couple of weeks,” said Casida

“At any point in time, we could get an influx,” she said. “People are hungry for candidates who will talk about issues.”

KHOW lands Coffman interview when other media outlets can’t

Friday, May 25th, 2012

KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show featured Mike Coffman for a long segment yesterday, talking about his statement at a GOP fundraiser that Obama “in his heart” is “just not an American.”

Coffman happily answered Dan Caplis’ questions after his spokeswoman, Danielle Adams, told The Denver Post Coffman had nothing to say for a Post article about the “possibility of repercussions and challenges to his campaign.”

(Nothing to say? Coffman? You’d think The Post wouldn’t lie there and accept this response, but that’s what it did, running a tiny sentence in paragraph 15 about Coffman’s rude treatment of the state’s leading news outlet. When will The Post show its loyal readers that the newspaper hates it when public figures blow off its reporters?)

If it makes The Post feel better, Coffman is also ignoring KNUS’ Kelley and Company, a morning radio show that’s getting more conservative by the minute. KNUS’ Steve Kelley said today on air that Coffman, a frequent guest on the show, did not return calls (plural) to be on the program.

Under soft questioning from KHOW’s Dan Caplis, with Craig Silverman away for the day, Coffman reiterated his apology for the birtherish statement. Coffman did not do so in the automaton-fashion he used the other night when confronted by 9News’ Kyle Clark, who deserves a lot of credit for tracking down Coffman after he’d been ignoring his interview requests as well.

A progressive website, Think Progress, pointed out, in a blog post titled Birther Congressman Confirms That He Only Walked Back His Comments ‘For Political Reasons’, that Coffman acknowledged during the KHOW interview that “to some extent” Coffman actually believes Obama is not an American “in his heart.” Think Progress’ Scott Keyes wrote:

The hosts told Coffman that a gaffe in Washington “is when somebody tells the truth” before asking the Colorado Republican, “Were you just at that moment speaking what was in your heart and are you now feeling you need to walk it back for political reasons?” Coffman conceded that this was the case — “to some extent that’s true” — before explaining that his main regret was talking about the issue because birtherism is a “horrible issue” for Republican.

Think Progress also spotlighted Coffman’s statement, in the KHOW interview, praising birthers:

Later, Coffman praised those who don’t believe President Obama was born in the United States. “[Issues are] going to determine this election, not focusing on the birther question. God bless people that do that. I understand their passion.”

Yesterday’s Coffman interview on KHOW, as well as his response to 9News’ questions this week, shows the value, from a public-interest perspective, of going the extra mile to get public figures to air out their views on topics they’d rather dismiss with a simple sorry-I-misspoke soundbite.

Journalists shouldn’t settle for this treatment during the election season which is upon us.

Election-season brings heavyweight guests to Fernando Sergio’s Spanish-language radio show on KBNO

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

When KBNO radio host Fernando Sergio launched his weekday Spanish-language talk show in 2004, you’d have been completely crazy to predict that the President of the United States would call in for a chat about seven years later.

But now, who’s surprised? Well, I was, but I shouldn’t have been.

Sergio’s show, “La Voz del Pueblo,” has grown to be the biggest and most trusted Spanish-language talk show in a state where Hispanics could easily decide the next presidential election.

And so, last Tuesday morning, a woman’s voice on KBNO said, “Hi, give me one moment, the President will be on the line.”

“No problem. No problem,” replied Sergio.

Then a minute later, Obama said, “Hello, Fernando?”

So began an interview that was scheduled for ten minutes but ran about 20. (Read about it here.)

“To the best of my knowledge it’s the first time a sitting president called into Spanish-language radio here in Colorado,” Sergio told me.

“You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t appreciate that. It was a very positive experience for me and [my listeners] to have the most important man in the world calling.”

So how’d Sergio land Obama?

“We approached the Obama campaign,” Sergio told me. “They did their research and expressed interest. And then we approached Secretary Salazar, and the Secretary said, ‘I will ensure that they know your show is an important show, and the President should speak to you.’ We heard back in a couple days.”

“Four years ago, I was able to speak with John McCain twice, but we were unable to speak with Obama,” Sergio told me. “Instead, we got Joe Biden.”

Republicans are reaching out to Sergio this year as well.

“I had a conversation with [Colorado Republican Party Chairman] Ryan Call,” Sergio said. “He told me, ‘You can be sure that I will have Governor Romney on your show at least twice this year.”

Has a date been set for Romney?

“Not yet,” Sergio replied. “It’s just a promise. It’s up to him. The doors are wide open. We will be as respectful with Governor Romney as we were with the President.”

“At some point during this process I will make the case for one of the other,” Sergio said. “Twenty or 30 days before the election. Here is who I’m going to vote for, and here are the ten reasons. But let people become well informed first. ”

“I stress how important it is to vote. Every single day, I say, you go out there and you vote. Don’t let anyone else decide this for you . This will be a permanent theme until November.”

It’s an approach that’s in keeping with how Sergio runs his radio show, which he sees as a “platform is to try to help people.”

The show, which airs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 1280 AM, mostly addresses consumer issues, like problems with banking industry and issues with police and immigration. Immigration attorneys make regular appearances on the program.

“The platform has worked out for us,” says Sergio, who’s been doing radio for 18 years. “It’s kind of like Martino’s show, but we’re more into helping people than promoting businesses.”

Sergio has an active presence on facebook, but his show isn’t streamed online, because of steep fees that are required due to the fact that KBNO mostly airs music, Sergio told me. He hopes a solution can be found and online streaming will be added at some point.

Asked about the issues he thinks are most important to Hispanics, Sergio said:

“From my perspective, of course, it’s the economy, but immigration for me, it’s a matter of respect. It’s emotional. I feel it. There is no other issue that has the same emotional impact. I was born in United States. But I witness the difficulties they face. I listen to the phone calls and the abuse.”

“I am an independent,” said Sergio, who supported Michael Bennet in 2010 and is leaning toward Obama. “I try in my own wisdom to do what’s right for my listeners.”

How does Singleton’s list of facts about Obama presidency prove media bias?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Please take a look at the paragraph below, from Dean Singleton’s introduction to a speech by President Barack Obama, and tell me if “liberal media bias” leaps out at you.

“He inherited the headwinds of the worst economic recession since the Great Depression,” said Singleton, who’s a former Chair of the MediaNews newspaper chain and of the Associated Press. “He pushed through Congress the biggest economic recovery plan in history and led a government reorganization of two of the big three auto manufacturers to save them from oblivion. He pursued domestic and foreign-policy agendas that were controversial to many, highlighted by his signature into law of the most comprehensive health care legislation in history. And the budget plans proposed by the president on the one hand, and Republicans on the other hand, aren’t even on the same planet.”

Do you see anything offensive in Singleton’s words here, delivered prior to a recent speech before hundreds of journalists in Washington.

All I see is facts.

A big recession. That’s true. Yes, he saved two of three auto companies. Yes, his agenda was controversial and distinct from the GOP agenda. And yes, his economic recovery plan was one of the biggest in U.S. history.

Everything Singleton said was factual. He wasn’t being balanced, but Mitt Romney was on deck to address the same group of journalists the next day.

Besides, are you really going to recite the leader of the free world’s failures after he’s doing you the favor of speaking to your luncheon?

That’s rude.

But conservatives saw Singleton’s introduction as evidence of the liberal bias that they find everywhere in professional journalism, from The New York Times to CBS News and beyond.

“I’m surprised Singleton wasn’t wearing an Obama button,” Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly said about Singleton’s introduction. “I mean, come on. The president understands that most in the media will back him.”

Conservative Washington Times columnist Charles Hurt wrote that Singleton sang Obama “an icky love song in which he reminisced about all their hot dates and then pledged his undying love forever.” Actually, Singleton told anecdotes about Obama speaking at previous luncheons.

Not to be outdone, talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh told listeners that the AP’s CEO “stood up and just lauded Obama as one of the greatest human beings ever, one of the greatest presidents ever, one of the greatest quotes ever, one of the greatest guys ever.”

Clearly, the fact that Singleton is a Republican escaped these guys, as did the fact that he does things like belch out front-page, anti-union editorials. Once, he even demanded that The Denver Post editorial board reverse its unanimous decision to endorse John Kerry, insisting that the newspaper back Singleton’s buddy George Bush.

Singleton ended his introduction of Obama by saying that these days “the only thing anyone seems willing to compromise on is….well, I can’t think of anything.”

Here’s a suggestion.

Let’s agree to acknowledge the facts.

When a journalist says something like, Obama saved two of the three big U.S. automakers and he came into office during the worst recession since the Great Depression, let’s not cry media bias.

Let’s just say, yes, those are facts, and honor them as such, so we can have an honest debate about what we truly disagree on.

A version of this post was distributed by the OtherWords syndicate.

Saunders memoir chronicles newspaper era that seems like ancient history

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

No matter what you thought of Dusty Saunders during his 54 years at the Rocky Mountain News, it’s hard not to love him after reading his memoir, which came out late last year.
The book, Heeere’s Dusty: Life in the TV and Newspaper World, is perfectly timed to chronicle an era that already seems like ancient history, even though Saunders ended his career at the Rocky just five years ago.

Jason Salzman :: TV critic’s memoir chronicles newspaper era that seems like ancient history, but it wasn’t long ago
Using unadorned language, which you’ll recognize if you saw his work over the years, Saunders takes you through his life at the Rocky as a wide-eyed copy boy, a wide-eyed reporter and editor, and a wide-eyed TV-and-radio columnist.
One success followed another in a profession that seemed limitless and excitement-packed for a hard-working guy like Saunders. He started his own section of the Rocky.

The bulk of the 300-page book recounts his interviews with Hollywood and news celebs of all types, national and local. The name dropping runs cover-to-cover, and it’s more entertaining than you might think because Saunders himself is so excited by meeting all the people, including Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Howard Cosell, Katie Couric, Peter Jennings, Tim Russert, Mary Tyler Moore, Dustin Hoffman (in the bathroom), and many more.

On the broadcasting beat, which he was inventing as he went along, Saunders flew around the country (often with his wife), covering national entertainment stories, looking for Denver angles. (Once, he tells us, he packed his wife and two kids in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena.)

When Denver Post Editor Chuck Green hinted that he might want to hire Saunders, Rocky Editor Ralph Looney found out, called Saunders into his office, and handed Saunders a slip of paper with a counter-offer salary figure on it, even before Green had made his offer.

“Will that keep you?” Looney asked Saunders.

“Yes,” Saunders told him.

“I can’t even remember, frankly, what the figure was that Looney gave me,” Saunders told me. “But in that day and age, with my financial position and my professional position, it was a reason to stay at the Rocky.”

I asked if he’d have jumped ship for The Post.

“I don’t know what their offer was,” he said. “I probably would not have left, because the Rocky was treating me very well. Why would I have wanted to leave?”

See what I mean by ancient history?

Rather than facing layoffs and furloughs, like reporters nowadays, while working 24/7 in three or more platforms, Saunders dabbled in radio and a bit on TV, mostly on weekends.

From 1994 to 2001, he co-hosted a Sunday KHOW radio show with his “friendly Denver Post competitor” Joanne Ostrow.

The show was canceled when a “major” executive of Clear Channel, which owned KHOW and KOA (and still does) came through Denver and heard Saunders and Ostrow criticizing good old Mike Rosen.

I wondered what Saunders, who pulls his punches, espcially by today’s standards, could possibly say about Rosen that would be considered over the top.

So I asked Saunders what he and Ostrow were saying about Rosen that was so offensive, but he didn’t remember specifically.

“Joanne and I had a very good thing going,” he told me. “We didn’t get on the radio Sunday morning and say, ‘Gee, did you hear what Mike Rosen said about this.’”

“That’s what I’d do if I had a radio show,” I told Saunders.

“It wasn’t that type of show,” he replied. “We’d just go with the flow. If someone would call in and criticize a TV performer, we’d voice our opinion. This particular day we sided with the callers. We agreed Rosen shouldn’t have said that. A guy named Randy Michaels, who is now with the Tribune Company, was the big programming honcho out of Cincinnati for Clear Channel, and he happened to be in town. And he heard us. I guess he went ballistic. We’re paying these print guys to get on our radio stations and criticize our work.”

Shortly after this, and after Saunders and Ostrow refused to make “on-air commercial pitches, something we obviously couldn’t do,” their radio show was canceled.

Saunders’ book veers between his innocent and personal encounters with media stars, which are described, and hints of wild partying, which aren’t. I g0t the feeling Saunders could have told a lot of after-hours stories, but he side-stepped my question about this when I interviewed him.

As it is, the book as an unreal simplicity and quaint quality to it, buy that’s no doubt partly because of the contrast in the newspaper biz between then and now.

Saunders took a buyout in from Scripps and left the Rocky in 2007, two years before it closed.

“I felt at the time, this was the beginning of the end,” said Saunders, who’s 80 years old and lists his speaking engagements about his book on his website. “I didn’t have any inside information on what Scripps was going to do. I would have been more shocked had I’d still been there [when the Rocky was closed].”

“Writing the book, and even now, I still have wild dreams about my working at the Rocky,” he said.

Do KLZ radio hosts know the difference between informing people and killing them?

Friday, May 18th, 2012

I spend a lot of time criticizing conservative talk-radio hosts, and some people think I’m beating my head against the keyboard.

Too bad for me. Here I go again.

I can’t accept that KLZ host’s Ken Clark and Jason Worley agree with Sen. Ted Harvey when he says, on the radio, that Sen. Morgan Carroll’s bill requiring hospitals to post a list of services that they do not provide is like “putting yellow stars on the door of religious hospitals.”

Even if you disagree with her bill, proposed legislation like Carroll’s and Nazi Germany have zero in common with one another.

You may think it’s ridiculous that I even write the above paragraph, but that’s what we bloggers have been reduced to, particularly because the legacy media is mostly ignoring the Colorado GOP’s Nazi talk this year.

The Nazis killed people and Carroll’s bill informs them. Carroll’s bill would’ve helped consumers make a purchase. That’s it.

Even if you’re anti-abortion, Carroll’s bill can’t be remotely linked to genocide in any way.

So, if you’re Ken Clark and Jason Worley, how could you possibly listen to this exchange without objecting?

Sen. Kevin Grantham (at 16:30 in the podcast):  “Ken, I kind of wonder if Patrick Malone would have made the same statement, or did even ask the same question to Rep. Carrol when she was running her Senate Bill 93, wondering whether she is going to have a legacy… or she’s worried about her legacy as a bigot for what she’s doing to hospitals and to private religious hospitals.  Doesn’t that make her a bigot as well?” 

Asked to explain, Grantham said that SB 93 would require “religious hospitals to post the services they do not provide,” which would be a requirement targeted specifically at catholic hospitals. This is not correct, since it would apply to all hospitals, but Grantham maintained that the bill was targeted specifically at abortion issues and other life issues.

Later, in a discussion about how the Democrats’ strategy on civil unions will backfire, Harvey said:

Sen. Ted Harvey (at 39:32): I don’t like to repeat the negative and talk about what their talking points are.  And what my talking points are is that this is an attack on religion.  This is [an] attack on the right of conscience, and the ability of people to exercise their faith the way that they believe is best for them. And I think that the people of faith are seeing this for what it is, and it’s a direct attack on them and they are now not sitting on the couch, not sitting in the pews, and just trying to live their lives and take their kids to school, and go to work and do those kinds of things. They are truly scared of what this is we’re talking about. We’re talking about an entire party in the United States that thinks it’s okay to force people of religious faith to do something against their religion. And that’s never happened in the United States before.  You heard Kevin [Grantham] talking about Senate Bill 93 where it forced hospitals to put on their door a yellow star, for all practical purposes.  To say, ‘this is who we are, and we have to tell you who we are.’  Never in American history have we had a major political party say that that’s okay.  And that is what you are seeing right now. And people of faith across the country  are rising up and saying, ‘No, not in our country.’ SB-93 is like putting yellow stars on the door of religious hospitals.