Archive for December, 2017

Colorado Fake News Awards 2017

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Maybe we can’t stop Trump from promoting fake news, but we can at least try to stop our own leaders from spreading it. That’s the BigMedia Blog’s goal in bestowing Colorado’s first annual Fake News Awards to lawmakers and public figures.

Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado! Award — State Sen. Ray Scott

It’s bad enough that State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) called the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel “Fake News,” but doing so while 1) promoting Sentinel articles he agreed with and 2) refusing to remove actual fake news from his own Facebook page earns Scott the award of Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado. Scott refused to remove from his Facebook page a fake news item titled, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.” He also refused to delete a tweet with this ridiculous (and fake) quote from Ronald Reagan about Trump: “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.” And that’s not all! Just for good measure, Scott recently promoted an ad designed to look like news (sponsored content) from Grand Junction Sentinel.

Who the Fuck Cares about the Facts? Award — State Rep. Patrick Neville and Casper Stockham

Sometimes we ask people to remove fake news, once determined to be false by outside fact checkers, and lawmakers ignore us (e.g., former State Rep. Shawn Mitchell, former State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada). Other lawmakers talk about it with us in a civil manner and we agree to disagree (former GOP State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of CO SpringsRepublican State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton) And still, others say, essentially, who cares if it’s false? Take, for example, Republican State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Told about a falsehood on his Facebook page, he tweeted that we should “stop being such a #snowflake. End the #fakeoutrage #growup #moveoutofmomsbasement.” Meanwhile, the fake news remains on his Facebook page. A similar who-the-fuck-cares attitude toward the facts was revealed by failed GOP congressional candidate Casper Stockham, who posted a falsehood about a Muslim Target cashier refusing to sell pork, even though Stockham himself wrote that the meme is “probably not true.” It wasn’t. But there it sits on his Facebook page to this day.

Warriors Against the Fake News Darkness Awards

It’s been a depressing year on the fake news beat, but there’s hope on the home front. A growing number of Colorado officials are removing fake news, once they are alerted to the fact that it’s rotting on their social media feeds. Yay for these current and former lawmakers from both parties, who posted fake news and then removed it: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park), State Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver), former State Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan), U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Denver), former State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Calhan), Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, Former Democratic Mayor of Denver Wellington Webb, and Elbert County School Board Member Scott WillsJoshua Hosler, Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, also gets credit for removing fake news from his Facebook page, once he was alerted to it.

Let Me Deceive You — State Rep. Dave Williams

Despite the fact that immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than the rest of the U.S. population, you’d think they were responsible for 83 percent of crimes committed on American soil if you only got your news from the Facebook timeline of state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colo. Springs). Williams, who is a strong opponent of sanctuary city policies and even pushed a bill that would have punished politicians who enact them, almost exclusively highlights crime committed by immigrants. The only exceptions, making up 17 percent of crime-related posts on his timeline over the past 14 months, are an accusation that Hillary Clinton broke the law, a few posts expressing condolences after mass shootings, some promotion of his law to crack down on squatters, and an erroneous claim that an Antifa member stabbed an innocent man. Williams’ vastly disproportionate focus on immigrant crime deceives his Facebook followers into believing that undocumented immigrants are dangerous, when in reality, they’re more likely to be law-abiding citizens, and may actually cause crime to decline in their communities.

Mr. Congeniality Award — State House Candidate Raymond Garcia 

A failed GOP candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives, Raymond Garcia’s offensive, inaccurate, and downright cringe-worthy Facebook timeline earns him the satirical title of Mr. Congeniality. His social media activity often reveals bigotry, like when he called Harvey Milk a pedophile and suggested that black people should feel guilty for slavery. He also repeatedly attacks Hillary Clinton, whom he refers to as “Hitlery”, and once even posted a poorly photoshopped image of her in which Donald Trump appears to grope her with the caption “OMG this is perfect!!!” What a charming fellow!

The “Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming” Fake News Award — State Sen. Tim Neville

Global warming is a big priority for us fake news cops, so naturally we were alarmed when we saw State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) spreading fake news headlined, “Satellites: Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” The linked article cites satellite data allegedly showing a “prolonged hiatus” in global warming. The mainstream scientific community, as reported by, has found no hiatus in global warming on Earth. Yet, Neville has refused to remove the falsehood from his Facebook page.

Madeleine Schmidt contributed to this post.

Looper deletes fake news from her Facebook page

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Earlier this year, former State Rep. Marsha Looper told me she’d consider removing a fake-news item from her Facebook page, if she could confirm my determination that it was a falsehood.

To her great credit, she did so. It’s gone from her Facebook page.

The fake meme depicted wild exaggerations and falsehoods about a rape that did not occur in Idaho.

Looper, who left office in 2012 and now sells real estate, should get high praise from all of us, on every side of the aisle, for doing her part to fight the truth-free trend that’s threatening to undermine rationality in the public square.

And it’s not just Looper who has the integrity to own a mistake and remove fake news after posting it. A growing number of officials are taking a bipartisan stand for truth.

Gardner cancels interview with journalist but keeps his appointment with right-wing radio host

Friday, December 8th, 2017

I was really looking forward to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) appearance yesterday on Colorado Public Radio, especially after reading the outpouring of questions submitted in response to CPR journalist Ryan Warner’s request for queries for Gardner on the tax bill.

Here are the 100-plus questions, from Warner’s Twitter feed. They give you hope for representative government in these dark times.

But alas, Gardner canceled, leading Warner to Tweet:

I’m grateful for all the questions you’ve shared for @SenCoryGardner. His office says they must reschedule. Stay tuned.

You have to take Gardner at his word that he had a real conflict, but it’s worth noting that our senator did not cancel his radio interview with arch conservative Jimmy Sengenberger, over at KDMT, this morning at around 7 a.m.

Sengenberger started off by confirming Gardner’s previously announced position against backing Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who faces accusations of child molestation. Sengenberger told Gardner he “appreciates” Gardner’s stance.

“Thank you. Thank you,” said Gardner.

Then the tax bill.

“Where do we go from here?” asked Sengenberger, pulling out his big guns.

“I was very excited about the passage of the tax relief bill. Every income bracket, every income level in America will see tax relief as a result of this bill legislation. It’s going to grow the economy, create a million jobs, and most importantly for the people of Colorado, this will lead to higher wage growth. We’ve seen for far too long, over the past decade, stagnant wages, people working harder than ever, and they are not bringing home more money. As a result of this legislation, businesses bringing investments back into the United States, more competitive around the globe, we’re going to see those dollars come back into the United States and it’s going to result in competition for workers. And as a result we’ll see wage growth. That’s a very powerful tool of economic growth and economic activity, and that’s what we’re going to see…This makes us competitive again.”

Help! Journalistic intervention needed. But alas, no Warner-type person exists in the KDMT studio.

Instead, we have Sengenberger. All he could come up with was a trickle of a question about whether the individual tax cuts would be made permanent.

No doubt they would at some point, said Gardner, and the interview continued with this:

Sengenberger: “How much of an impact do you think this could really have on wages and other forms of investments that businesses might want to make, Sen. Gardner, in their businesses?”

Gardner: “Well, I think significant. If you look at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, their estimates in Colorado for net increase in income for the average family is over $3,000…”

Sengenberger’s response: None. (Complete acceptance of trickle-down economics and of the Tax Foundation as nonpartisan, when it’s in fact right-leaning)

He moved on to praising Gardner for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate.

“That one could affect a large swath of people, myself included,” Sengenberger told Gardner.

“This simply says to people, ‘You have a choice,” responded Gardner. “You can either buy insurance or not. It’s about freedom. It’s about opportunity….

“[This bill] doesn’t take anybody’s health care away. That’s simply a hysteria out there that is just not founded in reality.” [emphasis added]

Nothing from Sengenberger about the truly nonpartisan Congressional estimates that 13 million people will lose health insurance as a result of the repeal, and premiums will rise by 10 percent more than anticipated.

Instead, Sengenberger’s follow up question puts an exclamation point on why we can’t afford for journalism to die in America.

“How optimistic are you at being able to get this bill through Congress by the end of the year, if not by Christmas?” asked Sengenberger.

“You know, I’m very optimistic….” said Gardner.

Listen to Gardner’s interview on KDMT 1690-AM Dec. 6.