Archive for November, 2013

Media omission: Coffman may take personal legal action against Obama

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Rep. Mike Coffman announced Tues. that he may file a personal lawsuit against President Barack Obama over what Coffman sees as Obama’s abuse of power.

Speaking on KHOW radio’s Mandy Connell show, Coffman said America is in a “Constitutional crisis” due to Obama’s “abuse of waving the so-called magic wand of this prosecutorial discretion.”

Obama is “creating new law by not enforcing existing law, without going through Congress, a co-equal branch of government,” Coffman said on air. (Listen to Coffman say, on KHOW 11-26-13, that he’s considering legal action against Obama.)

“My office is engaged in the legal research right now of how do we take on the Administration,” said Coffman on the radio.  “It appears right now that we may have to do it, that I may have to do it, or somebody may have to do it, as an individual, outside of Congress, to litigate on one of these issues, the constitutionality. And I think you can litigate on one of them and establish a precedent that impacts all of them.”

On the radio, Coffman was unclear about the specific instances of prosecutorial discretion would be the focus of his legal action.

In June, Coffman voted to strip “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants brought to this country illegally by their parents, of work permits and start deporting them, because, Coffman said, Obama over-stepped his authority in allowing immigration officials to defer deportation of them. (Yet, Coffman is also opposed to comprehensive-immigration-reform legislation, passed by Senate Republicans and Democrats, and he has yet to propose a specific plan that he would support.)

On KHOW, Coffman said he believes Obama exceeded his authority in lifting “certain elements of the [Iran] sanctions,” in deciding that governors had some discretion under the 1996 Welfare Reform Act, and in implementing Obamacare.

One wonders what else Coffman is thinking of. Relaxing some federal drug enforcement measures relating to Colorado’s marijuana statutes? (unlikely since Coffman has signed on to a bill allowing banks to conduct business with dispensaries). Maybe Coffman is also upset about Coffman’s approach to DOMA?

Reporters might explore the irony that Coffman is wasting time with a hail-Mary lawsuit trying to stop Obama from getting stuff done via executive orders, which Obama has arguably been forced to use thanks to Coffman and his fellow obstructionist House Republicans.

Partial Transcript of Rep. Mike Coffman’s Appearance on KHOW Nov. 26, 2013

Listen to Coffman say, on KHOW 11-26-13, that he’s considering legal action against Obama

Coffman: I think this country is in a Constitutional crisis because of this President’s ability or abuse of waving the so-called magic wand of this prosecutorial discretion, and basically creating law by not enforcing existing law, creating new law by not enforcing existing law, without going through Congress, a co-equal branch of government.

Connell: …One of my great frustrations with the Republicans DC is that there does not seem to be a concerted effort to push back against these exact Constitutional abuses that you are talking about. Is this something that comes up in the Caucus about if there’s any strategy. There has to be some way to tell the President of the United States that he cannot just on a whim choose to enforce or not enforce pieces of legislation that have been created by the Congress.

Coffman: My office is engaged in the legal research right now of how do we take on the Administration It appears right now that we may have to do it, that I may have to do it, or somebody may have to do it, as an individual, outside of Congress, to litigate on one of these issues, the constitutionality. And I think you can litigate on one of them and establish a precedent that impacts all of them.

Media omission: Magpul hasn’t always been silent about Sandy Hook, like it is now

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

After news broke Tuesday that the mass murderer at Sandy Hook used a 30-round magazine manufactured by Magpul, a (still) Colorado company, local reporters naturally tried to reach Magpul executives for a reaction.

But Magpul didn’t return calls yesterday from the Boulder Daily Camera, Fox 31 Denver, or The Denver Post.

Rather than simply report Magpul’s silence, reporters should have informed us of previous comments by Magpul executives about the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Asked in March, during an appearance on KOA radio, how he’d feel if one of his company’s 30-round magazines was used by the killer at Sandy Hook, Magpul Industries executive Duane Liptak said:

Liptak: “Address the individual behavior and the criminal, not the instrument.”

In a online discussion forum about Newtown in March, Liptak wrote: “It’s unfortunate that the 363 days last year that did not include a high-profile mass shooting by an insane individual received less attention than the 2 days that did.”

In another online discussion in March about whether video games are the cause of violence, Liptak wrote:

Liptak: “That’s the issue.  Instill a moral code, responsibility, and respect for others…and viola…your young man doesn’t grow up to be a doucherocket.”

Liptak promised readers of the online forum in Jan. that he (presumably through Magpul)would take action in the 2014 election in response to the Colorado Legislature’s gun-safety legislation, which was arguably at least partially a response to Sandy Hook:  “We’re working on our ‘Free Colorado’ campaign right now, but we may not have it launched in time to stop this [gun legislation].  At the very least, we’ll continue to push it through the 2014 elections. :-)”

Liptak’s comments about Sandy Hook on the radio and in the online forums contrasted with a more empathetic statement issued by Magpul Dec. 18, 2012 shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting:

We at Magpul are deeply saddened by the acts of violence in our nation, and our hearts and condolences go out to the families who have suffered such tragic losses. These acts of pure evil, committed by deranged individuals with no morals, nor respect for life, are enough to shake one’s faith in human nature. Still, amidst these criminal atrocities, things are brought back into perspective by the actions of those like the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook, who, unarmed and untrained, put themselves in the path of this violence in courageous attempts to protect those in their charge. Actions like this, those by the passengers of United Flight 93 on 9/11, and the daily sacrifices of our service members and their families bolster our belief in the power of personal responsibility and humble us in our gratitude that such courageous and unselfish individuals vastly outnumber the villains in our midst.


Media omission: congressman touts stem-cell lab tour despite opposing stem-cell research

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

From a post of mine on yesterday:

Rep. Mike Coffman is on record opposing embryonic stem-cell research, but that didn’t stop the Colorado Republican from touring a stem-cell laboratory at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and tweeting, “Happy to get the chance to tour the Stem Cell Research facility.”

A spokesman for the school, which is located in Coffman’s district, confirmed that the stem-cell facility visited by Coffman November 8 uses stem cells obtained from human embryos.

In 2008 and 2010, Coffman supported Colorado’s failed “personhood” initiatives, which aimed to define life as beginning at conception, when embryos form, and would have banned not only embryonic stem-cell research but also all abortions and some common forms of birth control.

Coffman is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the U.S. Congress, and reporters should be watching for him to make statements and stage events, like this stem-cell tour, that may appeal to moderate voters but run counter to Coffman forever-held beliefs and policy positions.

Other examples include Coffman’s shifting position on the government shutdown, his attempt to label himself a no-labels politician, his once hard stance against allowing abortion after rape and incest,  and his evolving position toward undocumented immigrants and their children.

Reporters should remind readers of Coffman’s major and mini-makeovers as more emerge. The pattern is now part of the story.

Peter Boyles Critiques Local Coverage of the Hudak Recall Effort, as only Peter Boyles can

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

by Michael Lund


In the heated battle and drama surrounding the efforts to recall Colorado State Senator Evie Hudak, accusations of malfeasance and misrepesentation have been thrown back and forth, a gubernatorial candidate has proffered obscene gestures, and local news outlets have entered the fray to parse out the truth and report on the contentious issues raised by the two sides.

Never the wallflower, KNUS radio talk show host, Peter Boyles, has become the media point man for the Recall organization, hosting the organizers Mike McAlpine and Laura Waters in daily appearances  for updates and rallying cries.   As you might guess, the tone of the show these days is combative and loud.

When KDVR Fox 31’s reporter Eli Stokols and KCNC CBS4 Denver’s Shaun Boyd ventured into Arvada and Westminster to report on the Recall and efforts to thwart it, they were not spared from Mr. Boyles cutting criticism and confrontation.

We’ve provided some audio clips from The Peter Boyles Show for you to hear exactly what Peter Boyles thinks of their journalistic efforts:

1. Peter and Joe Neville, lobbyist for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, respond to Eli Stokol’s report identifying paid signature gatherers for the Hudak recall effort as having criminal records, which supports claims purported in door hangers and robo-calls by Hudak supporters.  The root of Mr. Boyles’ complaints seem to lie mostly with the organizations defending Hudak against the recall, whose methods to investigate recall works Boyles refers to as “underhanded”, “Brownshirt technique” “gestapo-esque” and “very, very KGB”.  Misters Boyles and Neville accuse the Democracy Defense Fund as ‘gift-handing’ information to Stokol’s for his report.  Further criticism from Neville and Boyles refers to Stokols’ reporting that DDF “fundraised” $30,000 to fund their efforts when it appears the money was donated in large amounts by few donors.  Finally, Boyles charges Stokols for not forwarding information concerning the potential crime of threatening phone calls from someone associated with the Hudak recall.

2.  Boyles calls Stokols’ piece “bad journalism”, claiming that DDF gave Stokols information critically important to the report, while refusing to return Boyles’ phone calls requesting answers to his questions.  Further criticism from Boyles falls to Shaun Boyd’s report on the recall in which she interviews Hudak.  Boyles mocks Hudak’s appearance in the piece a, saying that “Evie is now part of ‘Shaun’s people'”.

3.  Boyles facetiously adopts the song “Eli’s Coming” to mock Stokol’s supposed failures in his report.  Also in this segment, Boyles lays out his case against Shaun Boyd’s report, which reported that Hudak claimed that she had nothing to do with the organized opposition to the recall.  Peter calls “BS” on that claim, but doesn’t back up his assertion.

4.  This clip includes audio from Shaun Boyd’s interview with Evie Hudak, complete with Peters peanut gallery commentary and editorializing.

An interview with Tim Hoover, who left The Denver Post Friday

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

After a six-year run at The Denver Post, as a reporter and editorial writer, Tim Hoover left the newspaper Friday to be Communications Director for the Fiscal Policy Institute. It’s a certainty that Hoover’s fair-and-accurate writing will be missed by reasonable progressives and conservatives alike.

This week, Hoover answered a few questions via email.

How long were you at The Post? And at previous journo jobs? How long were you in journalism?

Hoover: “I was at the Post just short of six years, having started in January of 2008. I worked at The Kansas City Star for seven years as a statehouse reporter. Before that, I worked at the Tulsa World and The McAllen (Texas) Monitor. All told, I was a professional journalist for 20 years. My experience does go back further, though. I was an intern at The Albuquerque Tribune (which is how I know Lynn Bartels from 20-something years ago), an intern at The Daily Oklahoman and an intern for the Oklahoma Capitol News Bureau. I was also once a stringer [freelance writer] for The New York Times. And, of course, I worked at my beloved school paper, The Oklahoma Daily, at the University of Oklahoma, where I was a reporter and eventually the editor.”

Why would you leave such a prestigious position at The Post? Were you worried about the future at the newspaper?

Hoover: “I left the Post because I had to think about the future. I will have to work for at least another 20 years before I can retire. It was time to start thinking long-term about the path forward. I enjoyed being on the editorial board. It is a position of great responsibility, and you get to rub elbows with U.S. senators and occasionally foreign dignitaries and all manner of world-class minds. I was also treated well on the board and have great respect for my colleagues. My decision to leave transcended all that.”

What are a couple of your favorite memories of news reporting or opinion writing at The Post?

Hoover: “As with a magician’s code, we don’t reveal publicly who wrote which specific editorials. It’s supposed to be a consensus process and involves collaborative writing at times. I will say, however, how amusing it is when people think certain writers pen specific editorials because of their supposed political leanings and it happens that the piece was completely conceived and written by another writer with diametrically opposite political views. Editorial writers, like all people, are three-dimensional.

“I can say, however, that I especially enjoyed writing one blog piece with my byline about a very overwrought TV report on a state-owned airplane. It was fun to dissect the TV story, and it got a big reaction in the world of state government and politics.

“As for stories as a reporter, I think my best work was done scrutinizing claims made about the state budget, whether it was asserting that Gov. Bill Ritter had hired thousands of government employees when he hadn’t or claiming that certain businesses would be harmed by the removal of special tax breaks when in fact they admitted either they weren’t hurt at all or weren’t even affected by the changes. I enjoyed writing stories about a candidate for governor who embellished his past career as a small-town police officer and then backpedaled when put under the spotlight. I had a lot of fun reporting at the Post, and I’d just note that it followed stints at several other newspapers where I worked on lots of great stories. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to cover state politics and government at two major American newspapers, though my career covering many beats spanned two decades at multiple newspapers, small and large.”

What’s your response to conservatives who are saying that your move to PR proves you’ve been biased all along?

Hoover: “I didn’t really give it much thought. I am on good terms with many conservatives, and a number of them were very congratulatory about my move. It all comes down to the individual class a person has. You make some people angry as a reporter if you are doing your job correctly. It’s all part of the package.”

What advice would you give to a young person who wants to be a journalist?

Hoover: “That is a tough question. I don’t know if I could honestly encourage someone to go into the industry if they are not already pursuing journalism. I think I would tell them that they should only pursue journalism if they are so passionate about it they don’t think they want to do anything else. And if they do go into the business, do not do it in a half-assed way. We live in a time when anyone can be published, and so it has given rise to ‘pseudo-journalists,’ wannabe bloggers’ and hacks who work, if they get paid at all, for partisan operations or stealthy partisan donors. Many of these people couldn’t find a courthouse a block away with a map, couldn’t cover a fire, flood or shooting, have never had to write a story about a zoning hearing, school board or city council meeting or sit through hours of legislative committee hearings and floor work. They have not ever had to be real reporters. They don’t do quality research nor is their work scrutinized heavily by editors above them. They are lazy and sloppy and biased, and it is all the more reason why there need to be actual, trained journalists to go out and gather the news. If a young person still wants to be a real reporter despite all of the hardships they will face, then I would encourage them.”

Who will win: Romanoff or Coffman?

Hoover: “I would say Coffman is very vulnerable because of his newly drawn district and the fact that he has had to do a tightrope act on so many issues that has not pleased either side of the political spectrum. But so much of this could depend on what happens nationally. The Democratic brand has suffered greatly in the last several months because of the Obamacare rollout fiasco. It’s hard to say how that translates here in Colorado, and it is a long way to November.”

Any other thoughts?

Hoover: “My former colleagues still in the newspaper industry work far harder and under far more stressful conditions than most people realize. I would ask that readers and the public at large give them some well-deserved recognition at times. It’s almost Thanksgiving. Let’s be thankful we still have newspapers covering public affairs. And remember, some poor group of reporters and editors has to work on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The news doesn’t stop for the holidays.”

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog

For our sake, journalists should fight each other more often

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Journalists like to think of themselves as good critics, so why are they so timid about criticizing fellow journalists?

“I’d like to see more media criticism in general,” 9News Anchor Kyle Clark emailed me. “I think it can only make journalism more accurate and useful. I think journalists are often in a unique position to offer competing perspectives on the work of other journalists. As long as that criticism is provided in the spirit of getting accurate and complete reporting to the public, I see no issue with it.”

Fox 31 Denver Political reporter Eli Stokols told me via email:

Stokols: “Denver is increasingly a media desert. The only remaining big daily newspaper is hemorrhaging staff. Television stations are going younger and cheaper with each passing contract. As a result, there are more and more mistakes and omissions in stories, less depth and analysis, less stories getting covered on the whole — and there’s hardly anyone out there in a public role doing criticism, keeping score. So, when there’s an important journalistic distinction to be drawn, it often falls on journalists themselves to draw it. And in some cases, I’m willing to do so.”

Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett also supports journalists criticizing each other, writing that it’s “responsible” for reporters to be media critics.

So why don’t we see more media criticism by Denver journalists?

Criticism Should Not Be Reserved for Egregious Cases

Stokols wrote that he’d criticize journalists more often if he had more time, but only in “extreme circumstances.”

Time constraints I understand, but why just extreme circumstances? The media is a player in politics, and so it’s obviously part of the basic job description of a political journalists to criticize other journalists, as often as possible, even if the criticism isn’t major.

Thumping the Journalistic Chest Is Good

Clark favors more criticism generally, but worries that “trolling the work of fellow journalists purely for mean-spirited or competitive purposes doesn’t do any good.”

Journalists don’t need to be mean-spirited, I agree, but competitive? Why not? Doesn’t fact-based, professional competition (scoops, investigative reporting, etc.) among journalists benefit everyone?

As Eli Stokols wrote:

“As someone at a station with a brand that doesn’t carry the same heft as ‘The Denver Post’, it’s a bit more important to remind readers/viewers when they’re getting certain stories, or more stories, from FOX31 News at 9 or We’re not the number one station. We’ve only been on the air 13 years. So we have to fight a little bit harder to build and enhance our unique brand. If I break a story and, two hours later, it starts getting traction after it appears in the Post, I’m not doing my job getting my story into the news pipeline and making sure that readers and other sites linking to it understand who broke it and when. All journalists want to serve the public, but we also want to get credit for our work. This is a business. Our brands are important. It’s not enough to report and write and then post or air a story; now, you’ve got to sell it too.”

Criticize Even If You Think It Might Be Petty

Plunkett worried that “if the criticism became overly personal — one writer picking on a writer for a clunky sentence. for example — my concern is that it would make us look petty.”

I agree with Plunkett — and so did Clark and Stokols. But journalists are too thin-skinned generally, so they should compensate for their natural tendency to think a criticsm is petty or personal when it probably isn’t. In other words, they should err on the side of launching the criticism, even in they think it’s dumb.

Journalists Shouldn’t Let Fear of Making Mistakes Stop Them from Criticizing Others

Stokols wrote: “I try to remember to temper my criticism a bit, knowing that I myself and my newsroom get beat on plenty of stories and make our share of mistakes.”

If a journalist sees an opportunity for criticism, and it’s in the public interest to point it out, she should. It’s irrelevant that she might make the same mistake some day. If the criticism is deserved, and there’s time to articulate it, it should be delivered.

Journalists Should Side with Factual Commenters

This is big frustration of mine, as a progressive. Why don’t more journalists intervene, as in take sides, when another journalist is fighting a reader/advocate/partisan about whether a story is accurate? (See Twitter)

If a journalist is debating a reader about a fact, let’s hear from other journalists. If that’s not in the public interest, what is? Not just on Twitter, but also in comment boards.

Plunkett said journalists should side with fellow journalists or reasonable commenters, adding:

“I try to respond to credible criticism that strikes me as offered in good faith, whether the post comes from a transparent or opaque account. Doing so should build accountability and good will within the politics community. If the poster is a known belligerent or appears destined to become one, I tend to avoid response.”

Media Criticism by Journalists Can Make A Difference

Clark wrote: “Constructive media criticism via Twitter is hugely useful because it allows us to identify weak spots or errors in stories, often before they go out via our largest distribution platforms. Accuracy is the goal and constructive media criticism is essential to getting the story right.”

This makes sense to me, especially with the rise of Twitter, because what better way to stop the messengers from spreading bad information than calling the messengers out while it’s still gestating on Twitter?

Stokols is less optimistic: “When there are no consequences for ripping off other people’s work without citation, no consequences for failing to cover a major story or doing so poorly, lackluster journalism is likely to persist — especially when outlets with stronger “brands” seem to maintain some bottom-line dominance regardless of what they’re putting in print, online or on the air. And unfortunately, a sharp-tongued tweet or blog post probably isn’t going to do much to reverse that trend or wake people up. Put another way, it’s unlikely that sort of criticism will ever reach the critical mass where it has any serious impact.”

I think public criticism by respected journalists can make a difference, and even more so as social media expands.

If more reporters saw media criticism as part of their daily beat, and more seem to, it might make a difference.

Plus, it makes for good reading — which is another reason journos should do it. They’ll build their audiences.

Media omission: Buck blames the “left” for making him go off-message, then he goes off-message!

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck and his conservative talk-show allies like to blame “the left” for distracting them from what they say are the real issues, which somehow don’t include immigration or a woman’s right to choose abortion.

But the obvious truth is that it’s Buck and other conservatives who bring up the taboo issues (immigration, abortion) on their own, because their own base voters demand to know about them!

To prove the point, during a recent radio interview, I timed the number of seconds that elapsed between 1) Buck saying he won’t talk about immigration and 2) Buck brining up his extreme immigration position on his own!

For the record, it took Buck exactly 30 seconds, from promising not to talk about it to saying, with no leftist provocation, he’s opposed to immigration reform at this time.

Here’s the proof, from KVOR’s Jeff Crank Show Nov. 9.

CRANK: Well, it is one of those things. And I talked about this earlier. It just seems to me that Republicans in the last couple of election cycles, have allowed the left—They’re very good at diverting our attention from the issues that matter….issues like immigration. The life issue. Things like that….

BUCK: Well, you’re absolutely right. The – what a Senator spends most of his or her time doing are the issues involving the expenditure of federal funds….

CRANK: Sure, and there’s no question about it. I think where the left sees their opportunity is that like, if they can bring up immigration, they know where John McCain is going to be….

BUCK: Well, and it goes to credibility, also. They don’t just want to talk about immigratioin. They want to give amnesty, and then say, “Trust us, we’ll secure the border. Trust us, we’ll develop an employee verification program in the country.” And we don’t trust the federal government. And that’s why we’re divided.

Similarly, on the Mike Rosen Show, Nov. 14, Buck said social issues like abortion are “less sigificant” for a U.S. Senator.

Then, exactly 71 seconds later (@22:00 in the podcast), Buck told a caller that individual employers should not have to carry insurance policies for their employees that cover birth control, as required with some exceptions by Obamacare. That’s not significant these days?

It was already self-evident that Buck brought his problems on himself during his last failed Senate run (See, “I am pro-life. And I’ll answer the next question. I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest.“). But just because it happened once before, shouldn’t stop reporters from pointing out the Buck phenomenon as it emerges once again.

Channels 4 and 9 should have credited Denver Post for breaking story about GOP bid to host 2016 Republican convention in Denver

Friday, November 15th, 2013

On The Denver Post’s Spot Blog yesterday, I was happy to find political editor Chuck Plunkett being a media critic.

He called out CBS4 and 9News for running stories about the State GOP’s bid to host the 2016 Republican convention in Denver–without crediting The Post for breaking the story earlier in the same day.

Plunkett wrote:

Few journalists can say that they have never failed to mention that a competitor broke a story or broached aspects of a story before they published or broadcast their reports. But it ought to be a journalist’s good-faith rule of thumb that she try to point out when another journalist or newsroom did the hard work of informing the public.

The argument is both an ethical and an economic one.

The Post, like many newsrooms, has faced repeated downsizing in recent years. The livelihood of its journalists depends on the success of our brand.

So when newsrooms with large audiences take our work for their own, we are disenfranchised.

9News responded to Plunkett’s post with a tweet stating that 9News attributes stories to the source that confirms the information. In this case, 9News turned to Colorado GOP Chair Ryan Call, who spoke about the topic on camera.

“Journalists get tipped to a story in a lot of different ways, and it’s our job to go out and confirm it ourselves,” 9News News Director Patti Dennis told me this morning, adding that this is the reality of how the news business works. “We love the guys at The Post, but if we can confirm our own stories, that’s what we’re going to do.”

But Kelly McBride, Ethics Faculty at the Poynter Institute, told me Dennis’ approach conflicts with the journalistic ethic to be transparent, which, she argues, is increasingly important to today’s news consumers.

“The audience is really wondering where all of your [story] ideas come from,” McBride told me. “It’s not just when you get it from a competitor. They want to know, ‘Hey, our beat reporter found this out from a source on the beat.’ Or, ‘We stumbled upon this while perusing public documents.’ Or, ‘This is on the agenda of this politician’s schedule today.’

Why are you choosing to tell us this story now, because the reality is, most stories don’t have a news peg, even though we think they do. This is a classic example. If you’re in the news market, you’re wondering, ‘Why is everybody in my news market suddenly writing about the possiblity that the Republican convention is going to come here. What is the event that caused this to happen? Well, the event was that The Denver Post stumbled upon it.”

It’s ethical to be transparent, McBride said, partly because when you are, the “audience finds the information more helpful and useful.”

Ethics aside, McBride thinks that, especially in today’s news environment, news outlets will lose credibility over time, if they don’t credit news outlets that break information, like Plunkett requested.

“What’s interesting now, because the audience can track where they get their information from, because of time stamps on the internet, people can see the news process much more clearly, the audience is starting to request a little more intellectual honesty from the news providers,” McBride said. “This isn’t a big thing, like, ‘Hey, you stole that story from the newspaper.’ It’s more of a little thing that adds up over time to either add credibility to an organization or undermine credibility.”

And so, over time, if you’re constantly doing that, more and more of your audience members are going to notice it,” said McBride, who just finished editing a book called The New Ethics of Journalism. “And they are going to notice that you get beat on a story, and then miraculously you have the story, and you never acknowledge that someone else turned up the information first, and they’ll start to see you as someone who’s not completely honest about where your ideas come from. And it’s so easy to be honest. You dont’ have to say in your first line of the story, ‘as originally reported in.’ You can acknowledge it half way through the story or at the end of the story

As a blogger, I definitely appreciate it when The Denver Post or 9News or CBS4 gives me credit for information I find. It’s the nice thing to do, especially if you care about saving newspapers and journalism generally–not just about saving yourself (though McBride argues it’s in your own self-interest too).

So I come down on Plunkett’s side on this one, even though, as Dennis point out, it’s not necessarily the way the journaism world works. But it should be.

Media omission: Exposing criminal signature gatherers is “just another tactic of the left,” says Hudak recall organizer

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Yesterday on KNUS, a Hudak-recall leader said that facts, documented Wed. by Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, that a criminal is collecting signatures to put the recall measure on the ballot, are “just another tactic of the left.”

Yet, reporters should know, the two recall leaders, Mike McAlpine and Laura Waters, pledged not to hide from the public, and to be “up front” about the situation.

Here’s part of what they said at 48 min in the second hour of the Peter Boyles show Nov. 13.

Boyles: Laura and Mike, what are you going to do about this?

McAlpine: Well, we’re going to be in a position, Peter, where we have to check on this. We need to make sure everything is above board. We’ll do what’s right.

Boyles: You literally have to. This makes the case that the left wants to believe…. What you must do is confront this. We’ll call Dudley this morning This is, as my grandma used to say, is the fly in the ointment.

Waters: When we saw the piece last night, we immediately looked through our volunteer records. We did not recognize the man…. What we’re seeing this is that people in the community are recognizing this as just another tactic of the left.

McAlpine: …Most of us live in the area and work this out of passion for change…Anybody who’s interested can hear the truth from us. We’re not going to hide behind a series of veils. We’re going to be up front about it.

If exposing the criminal backgrounds of signature-gatherers is just an empty tactic, then you have wonder what’s not just a tactic. What’s meaningful? Boyles didn’t ask.

Boyles continues to deny that Hudak-recall leader called Tom Mauser a Nazi

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

KNUS talk-radio host Peter Boyles has yet to acknowledge that a leader of the Hudak-recall effort, Mike McAlpine, during an appearance on Boyles’ show, referred to pro-Hudak protesters as Nazis.

Boyles even attacked gun-safety activist Tom Mauser for saying, correctly, that McAlpine called Mauser a Nazi.

I called KNUS recently to talk with Boyles about it, and here’s what he said:

Jason: You accused [gun-safety activist Tom] Mauser of lying about McAlpine saying Brownshirts.

Boyles: I said Brownshirt! I said Brownshirt!

Jason: No, you didn’t. Listen to the tape.

Boyles: Of course I did.

This is so bizarre because the audio clearly confirms that McAlpine called the protesters “Brownshirts,” and he was even called out on it by The Denver Post.

Boyles was apparently unaffected by a Oct. 28 news release from the Anti-Defamation League, calling the Brownshirts comment “deeply offensive” and asking “McAlpine, Boyles, and all public figures and community members to refrain from making inappropriate Nazi analogies in the political arena.”

I thought maybe McAlpine could straighten out Boyles himself, so I’ve been emailing and calling him, asking him to acknowledge his Nazi slur and explain it. Twice I got McAlpine on the phone, and twice he told me to send him emails. (I sent them, and he didn’t respond.)

Here’s what McAlpine told me today.

Jason: So I just want to clear up this issue on the Peter Boyles Show. Boyles is saying that he said that the protesters were Brownshirts, but I heard the tape and it sounded like you said it. And I’m wondering if you said it.

McAlpine: You’d be welcome to send me an email on that, and I’d be glad to respond.

Jason: I did a couple times, and you didn’t.

McAlpine: Ok.

Jason: Real quick. Did you say that the protesters were Brownshirts?

McAlpine: You are welcome to send me an email.

I’ve received a number of emails saying Boyles shouldn’t be allowed to get away with his baseless attack on Mauser, in particular. But he is.