Archive for May, 2014

A cheat sheet for GOP primary debate on the “feminine perspective”

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

GOP gubernatorial candidates will be debating the issues from a “feminine perspective” May 20 at the conservative Centennial Institute, housed at the conservative Colorado Christian University (CCU), presided over by the conservative former Sen. Bill Armstrong.

Here’s a description of the debate topic:

The Women of Centennial Institute, a new group affiliated with CCU’s think tank, invite you to a debate on economic growth, education, energy, the environment, safe neighborhoods, drug policy, moral and cultural concerns, and all the other issues from a feminine perspective. All the major party candidates, four Republicans and one Democrat, have been invited. Republicans Mike Kopp, Scott Gessler, and Bob Beauprez have accepted.

Even without Tanc, who’s declined to attend, as did Hick, this promises to be well worth the ticket price (free), but you must RSVP. Do so here.

If reporters attend the event, co-sponsored by KNUS 710-AM, here’s a cheat sheet.

First, the Centennial Institute is the outfit that sponsors the annual Western Conservative Summit, where I witnessed the conservative minions literally drinking Kool-Aid last year, prior to an anti-immigrant speech by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The women at this year’s event (July 18-20) include Michele Bachmann and Laura Ingraham. Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina are invited. It would be good to know if the debaters would welcome the endorsement these women.

There’s always personhood, which would ban abortion, even for rape and incest.

Beauprez: He’s gone both ways on personhood (like Rep. Cory Gardner), first endorsing a federal personhood bill, then saying in May he’s never supported it at the state level. What happened?

Gessler: His website says he believes life begins at conception. If he’s not supportive of personhood, which would give legal rights to all stages of human development from conception on, is he pro-choice?

Kopp: He’s fully supportive of personhood and has a legislative history to back it up.

Beyond personhood, how about equal pay for equal work? Do they like Planned Parenthood? Roe v. Wade?

And just out of curiosity, do any of these guys these guys consider themselves feminists?



Cheer up, Dan Caplis. Gardner is ignoring other radio hosts, too.

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Dear Dan Caplis:

In case you missed it last week, after you said that Rep. Cory Gardner’s “handlers” are keeping him away from you, Mike Littwin tweeted, “Dan, it’s him, not you.”

But you still sound hurt. And that’s sad, because you’re usually so perky.

On your radio show today, you repeated your feelings that Gardner’s advisors are keeping him from you. He won’t jump on your show every time you’re in the mood for him, like he did in the old days (before he announced his senatorial run against Democrat Mark Udall).

But, if you won’t believe Littwin, here’s another reason not to take it personally that Gardner is ignoring you.

This morning, on far-away KFTM radio in Ft. Morgan, radio host Jon Waters told his listeners:

“We were scheduled to have Congressman Cory Gardner with us this morning. He is not able to join us at this time.”

So there you go, Dan. It’s not just you.

Cheer up!


Hanel’s departure deals another blow to Colorado political journalism

Monday, May 12th, 2014

On Friday, Joe Hanel ended a nine-year run at the Durango Herald, leaving for a job at the Colorado Health Institute.

Hanel wrote a lot about politics, and he was clearly one of the best remaining political journalists in Colorado. His departure is yet another blow to Colorado journalism, as the number of political reporters with both experience and intelligence dwindles.

Hanel started at the Herald in 2004 as a freelancer and joined the newspaper’s Denver-bureau staff in 2005. Prior to that, he worked as a presentation editor at the Rocky (2002-3), as a graphics and news editor at the Longmont Daily Times-Call (1996-2002), and a graphics editor at the Greeley Tribune (1995-6). He has a degree from CU-Boulder journalism school.

Last week, he answered a few of my questions via email:

Why are you leaving?
I’m going to be a writer and designer at the Colorado Health Institute, a data and number-crunching think tank. My reasons for leaving newspapers are purely economic. I turned 40 this year and I’ve had to admit to myself that there’s no way I’ll be able to retire from this industry. My job as the Durango Herald’s Denver correspondent was secure for the foreseeable future, but there are just fewer and fewer places to go for new opportunities. People think of journalism as a calling or a cause, but in truth it’s a job. I know some journalists sneer at colleagues who leave for better opportunities, as if we’re somehow betraying the brotherhood, but I think my first responsibility is to provide a secure future for my family. And I’m sad to say that journalism isn’t the place for that.

What are some of your favorite memories as a political reporter?
I’ve gotten to travel all over on someone else’s dime. There are worse places to travel for business than Durango. I’ve gotten to help trap a bear, explore old uranium mines, ski Wolf Creek, cover the Club 20 debates in Grand Junction, see Mitt Romney in Craig and wonder what the hell he was doing in a little town that he was going to win by 25 points, and cover five national political conventions (which is enough for one lifetime).

And the press corps at the state Capitol is really a wonderful bunch of people. They act like cynical bastards, and it’s OK if you hate them, but they are loyal and dedicated and true to their values and their friends.

What are your biggest concerns about Colorado journalism today?
I’m worried about the Denver Post. I can’t overstate how much worse off our city is without the Rocky. It would be a damnable shame if the Post fought the Rocky to the death, only to commit assisted suicide with the help of their new hedge fund owners.

From a broader perspective, we still have not come anywhere close to finding a solution to our biggest problem as an industry – the failure of our economic model. I always hear from amateur media critics who think newspapers are failing because everything we write doesn’t reinforce their partisan point of view. We’re not failing because of the content. The news has never paid for itself. It was always subsidized by classified and display ads. We lost the classifieds to craigslist, and we can charge only pennies on the dollar for online ads compared to print ads. So we still make most of our money in print, but print is dying. That’s the conundrum. Really smart people (and, I admit, lots of stupid ones, too) have tried to find a way out. And we’re still looking.

Would you discourage a young person from going into journalism?
I think young people are in a pretty good position to at least have a chance to succeed in journalism. The industry needs energetic people with new ideas who will work for cheap. I can’t lie and tell them that this is a promising business right now, but we aren’t the only industry to have uncertain times. I’ve been very impressed with the young journalists and students I’ve met the last few years. A few come to mind: At the Denver Post, Kurtis Lee and Jordan Steffen kick butt on a fairly regular basis. At my own paper, we have Chase McCallister, who commands the English language like she’s been doing it for 50 years. These people, if they can stick it out, soon will be veteran journalists. But there’s a world of difference between your 20s and your early 40s, and I don’t see the business turning around in time for a guy like me.

Other thoughts?
In rereading this, I think I sound defensive or sanctimonious. I know there’s a lot I could have done better the past 20 years, and I know journalists make boneheaded decisions every day. I’m not excusing our mistakes. I just think, despite all our flaws, people will miss us when we’re gone.

Last thing: I can’t say enough positive things about the Ballantine family, who own the Durango Herald and Cortez Journal. They enjoy owning newspapers, they take pride in the quality of their product, and they work hard to be good publishers. I’m no longer on their payroll, so there’s no point to me sucking up other than to say thanks to a generous family of serious journalists. This business needs a hundred more families like them.

Talk-radio host’s hate rant on Michael Sam

Friday, May 9th, 2014

With apologies to the film Steel Magnolias, starring Shirley MacClaine and Olympia Dukakis, here’s a rant by a Colorado Springs’ talk-radio host against Michael Sam, the first openly gay man to (hopefully) be drafted into the National Football League.

The audio of the rant, by KVOR’s Richard Randall, is overlaid on a segment of the 1989 movie.

WARNING: This video clip shows bare asses in a locker room, which are a big problem for Randall.

Colorado progressive talk radio hits bottom with cancellation of Gloria Neal show

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

There’s endless speculation about why progressive talk shows repeatedly fail on commercial radio, and the latest to go down is Gloria Neal’s morning show on KKZN AM-760, Colorado’s Progressive Talk.

Greg Foster, vice president/programming for Clear Channel, which owns the station, told The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow yesterday:

“I can confirm that Gloria Neal’s show is no longer on KKZN and she is no longer with our company. We will be announcing new programming for KKZN in the near future.”

I didn’t listen to Neal much, but I liked her. And more than her, I liked the fact that her show existed, in the conservative-infested radio air waves of Colorado. (A few public stations around the state, like Boulder’s KGNU, air left-leaning talkers.)

Neal took over the show a couple years ago from David Sirota, who tweeted yesterday that he had solid ratings when he was there.

But progressive talk radio has been headed down hill since the hopeful days of Air America and Al Franken, and here in Colorado, it’s hit the bottom now, where it will probably remain.

Why do conservatives dominate the political talk-radio medium? Its base audience is old white men who are turned off by professional journalism and find an affirming, like-minded community on the airwaves. Conservative corporations, like Clear Channel and Salem, have a cheap (increasingly syndicated) formula for offering delivering conservative content. Bingo.

Once eager to be talk-radio guest, Gardner now always has “an excuse” to decline interviews, radio-host says

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

“Before, whenever we wanted Cory, we made a call, and we got Cory,” said KNUS radio-host Dan Caplis on air Monday. “Now, there’s always an excuse.”

Caplis, who’s usually big on personal responsibility, blames Gardner’s “handlers” for ducking his show, not Gardner himself.

“It’s like, ‘Wait a second handlers!’ Let Cory be Cory. Let Cory loose,” Caplis told listeners Monday. “And let him go out and work this state retail.  You know, don’t be afraid of protecting or scripting every sentence, every paragraph the guy says.  He’ll be a very fine U.S. Senator.  Just trust him to be Cory. And maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s just an initial impression, but my impression is that he may be over-managed at this point. [BigMedia emphasis]

Chuck Bonniwell, who was a guest-host on another KNUS show Monday, joined Caplis on is show briefly, saying:

“[Gardner] ought to at least come on the ‘Dan Caplis Shows’ of the world, where he’s going to get a positive reception, he’s going to be treated with respect, and he’s going to do well.  And they ought to at least do those.  And they can’t even do that, which is amazing, just amazing!”

Gardner last appeared on Caplis’ show just after Gardner announced his senatorial run against Democrat Mark Udall. But since then, silence.

“What I’m worried about is, as great as I believe Cory is, it’s because I’ve had a chance to get to know him,” said Caplis on air. “You know, Cory and I would give speeches at different dinners. We’d do interviews on air, et cetera. Most of the people in this state don’t know Cory yet. How are they going to know how good he his unless they get a chance to get to know him?”

In the weeks after announcing his campaign, Gardner has faced questions from the media, including talk-show hosts, about his vacillating positions on abortion and immigration.

Journalists and talk-show hosts alike do the right thing when they tell us about their difficulties landing public officials for interviews. Caplis said on air that his criticism is an “initial concern,” but “we have had a hard time getting Cory on the show, since the original interview.” He’s hoping things will change soon.

Post story exaggerates GOP unity this election cycle

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

I was all set to write a blog post this morning about Scott Gessler saying on the radio that his Republican gubernatorial opponents are all losers, including Mike Kopp who, Gessler said, presided over the Republicans’ disastrous legislative-election collapse in 2010.

Gessler told KNUS talk-radio host Jimmy Sengenberger a couple weeks ago:

“If you want to have the same results that we’ve had in the past, just do the same thing… I’ve won a state-wide election. You know, Tom Tancredo is a good man, he has not won one. Bob Beauprez is a good man, he has not won one. Mike Kopp is a good man. When he ran the state Senate Majority Fund, which was the 527 to support senators in 2010, we didn’t win any of the competitive races then either. I think we need to stop looking to the past and looking instead to the future.”

But then I saw Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels’ article about all the “unity” among Colorado Republicans this election cycle.

Bartels reported:

Although there’s a four-way race this year for the GOP nomination for governor, [GOP State Chair Ryan] Call & Co. so far have done an effective job cajoling the candidates to aim their potshots at Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and not each other.

I thought, “Huh?  What Tea-Party planet have I been on, to have missed this alleged unity?

Tom Tancredo, who’s the GOP front-runner, is arguably the face of Republican dis-unity in Colorado.

He’s repeatedly bashed by Republicans, even in The Post (by former Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams), and Tanc wastes no time fighting back, also in The Post, beginning with the line, “Asking Dick Wadhams’ advice on how to win Colorado elections is like asking Barack Obama’s advice on how to balance the federal budget.” He’s constantly telling KNUS’ Peter Boyles that Ryan Call wishes he’d disappear.

Before he left the race, Sen. Greg Brophy was in attack-a-fellow-Republican-a-minute mode, saying Tancredo is weak on guns and is focused mostly on writing books. Gessler, he said, has ethics and budget issues.

“You look back at the Holtzman campaign and the damage done to Beauprez at this time — Both-Ways Bob and all that stuff,” Bartels told me, acknowledging that Brophy was “the most vocal.” “Where is Beauprez-Holtzman? You have to make things relative to 2006. This would be July in 2006 right now. And it’s nothing like it was. I mean, Beauprez was so damaged by Holtzman.”

“I realize you’ve got the two Jeffco races involving Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and all that, but I expect that,” Bartels continued. “It’s not news to me that the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is involved in a primary. It’s going to be below-the-belt torture. But it is news to me when Dave Pigott gets 45 percent at the assembly and jumps out.”

Bartels has a good point. It could be worse.

But still, aside from the GOP Senate primary, if you’ve been observing Republicans fighting in the trenches, “disunity” is still mostly the word that comes to mind, and Bartels should have toned down the unity theme and provided some examples of infighting in her piece.