Archive for the '7News' Category

Harber to produce weekly TV interview shows on election topics

Friday, August 19th, 2016

Denver television fixture Aaron Harber will again produce an extensive series of TV interview shows, called Your Decision 2016, focusing on Colorado election races, ballot initiatives, and related issues beginning no later than Sept. 25 and ending Nov. 6.

“The majority of voters really start paying attention after Labor Day, so our focus is to try to make people aware of this over the course of the next four or five weeks and then start the programming,” said Harber. “Our goal is not just to provide the programming as a public service. Our goal is to reach thousands of voters, so they have a place to go for fact-based and mutually respectful and civil discussion, which seems to be in short order in the political world today.”

Harber will soon begin solidifying topics for 14-to-18 half-hour shows. He aims to cover not only the major races and state-wide ballot initiatives but also key down-ballot state legislative races, such as state senate contests that could determine whether Democrats take control of Colorado government.

Harber plans shows on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race and the Aurora Congressional race (U.S. House District 6) between U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman and his Democratic challenger State Sen. Morgan Carroll.

At least two shows will be offered each week. They will air on KCDO-TV Channel 3, Saturdays at 9 to 9:30 p.m. for one show and Saturdays 9:30 to 10 p.m. for another show. (The two shows will be air again on KCDO from 11 a.m Sundays to 12 a.m. and later on Sundays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) The two programs will also be broadcast on COMCAST Entertainment Television Mondays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. (with repeat shows during the week on COMCAST and on ION Television), and the two shows will also be downloadable on COMCAST XFINITY ON DEMAND service).

The different venues offer “voters lots of chances to see the programs,” says Harber.

“With these six prime-time spots, we really want to take advantage of the opportunity to be on the air when a lot of people are watching television,” said Harber.

Harber’s show joins other Denver TV candidate-interview shows that have made a demonstrable impact on Colorado politics in recent years: 9News’ Balance of Power and 7News’ Politics Unplugged. Unfortunately, Fox 31 Denver dropped its interview program when longtime political reporter Eli Stokols left the station for a job at Politico.

There’s also the Get More Smarter Show, hosted by progressives Jason Bane and Alan Franklin, and Devil’s Advocate, “moderated” by Jon Caldara of the right-leaning Independence Institute. (Caldara’s show broke news last month when U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn backtracked on his previous pledge to ban all abortion, even for rape.)

In 2014, Harber’s election shows were rolled out in partnership with The Denver Post. Harber has a regular public-affairs TV program as well as the focused election programming.

Thanks to journalists who refuse to take the same non-answer for an answer

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Journalists take a lot of hits these days, but we’re all glad they’re out there asking questions.

The final days of the Republican senatorial primary give us an opportunity to thank journalists for asking candidates a question multipile times when the question isn’t answered.

This primary season, we added interviews with former State Rep. Jon Keyser to BigMedia’s video of reporters who refuse to take the same non-answer for a real answer. (The video also includes interviews with Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Tip of the hat to, among others, 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman, former Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, and New7’s Marshall Zelinger and Marc Stewart.)

Keyser says “liberal media is not going to give up”

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser has proven to be a horrible media critic, threatening a reporter with his dog and saying the media is out to get him, without offering any evidence for his anger.  In fact, I can’t identify a single question from reporters that’s been unfair to Keyser or unreasonable given the facts on the table.

If anyone doubts this, I offer the following exchange between Keyser and KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, beginning at 28:50 May 18 Hour 2 here.

Caplis: Obviously you’ve been getting a lot of questions over the way you handled an interview with a particular reporter from Channel 7. Give folks your perspective of that conversation through your eyes.

Keyser: The interview that you’re talking about, it actually took place during the middle of a debate. We were in a debate, a candidate debate. We took a five-minute stretch-your-legs break, and then of course this guy  [Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger] came and shoved a camera in my face. We were in the middle of the debate!

You know, I think it takes a lot of discipline to stick you your guns and say, ‘Here’s what I know. I know that I’m on the ballot. The Secretary of State has looked at that. A judge has looked at that again and again.’

And it takes a lot of discipline to not give the left what they want, which is — it’s not the 24-hour news cycle anymore–it’s something that will feed into the 24-minute news cycle.

They wanted me to misspeak, or they wanted to have me say something that they could run with or that would hurt me later. But I was focused on not stoking that fire, because, frankly, that is a very serious thing. And we wanted to make sure that we had the truth, that we knew exactly what happened. And that takes a little while sometimes. Now that doesn’t satisfy 24-minute news cycle.

But, you know, I think it was important that I stood in there, and frankly, we got to have a Republican who can stand there and take the punches, because the liberal media is not going to give up. They are not going to give me a free pass. That’s for sure. So, I’ve got to be able to stay on message, stay disciplined and be able to take the punches. And I’ve shown again and again that I can. I’ve answered more questions in the four months that I’ve been running for the United States Senate than Michael Bennet has in 4 years…

Caplis: This reporter who went to your home during the day?

Keyser: Yeah, certainly I think there are boundaries. And like any dad, I’m protective of my family. And if it seemed in that interview that I was agitated or somewhat upset, it’s because I was! It’s because I’m a dad. I’m very protective.  He scared my kids. My baby cried for another hour after they left. Nobody’s jumping out of Michael Bennet’s bushes to ask him questions.

Keyser said he’d “double- and triple-checked” his petition signatures and “everything”

Thursday, May 12th, 2016

With Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser still not talking to reporters about multiple forged signatures on his ballot-access petitions, I had no choice but to look back at previous statements Keyser made about the signature-gathering process. And reporters should be interested in what I found.

Recall that he claimed, on conservative talk radio May 2, to have “double- and triple-checked our petition signatures.”  Listen below.

In fact, in one interview on KOA 850-AM, he twice said he the phrase “double- and triple-checked,” indicating he’d put some thought into it. He said his campaign checked “everything” related to the petition process, which you’d think would include forgeries and signature gatherers with criminal histories of forgery.

This leads to the question for Keyser, if he ever talks to reporters about this: How could he possibly have double- and triple- checked his signatures if at least 10, according to 7News, are forgeries?

Why did Keyser say he double- and triple-checked the signature, as well as the entire “petition process and everything?” Did someone mislead him? Was he making this up? Why didn’t he verify what he was saying before he said it?

Keyser told KOA’s Mandy Connell on May 2:

Keyser: “It was an interesting week. It wasn’t too dramatic for us. We had double- and triple-checked our petition process and everything. And actually, I’m a reservist still in the United States Air Force, and I was gone on reserve duty. And I knew that we had double- and triple-checked our petition signatures. But we had a secretary of state that said we had a problem. We were a few signatures short in one of the congressional districts. But we knew we were okay. We were very confident about that. It took a couple days, but I’m on the ballot now and ready to beat Michael Bennet.” [needless to say, BigMedia emphasis]

Keyser’s promise to “always” answer questions is out the window

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Reporters should now that earlier this month, former Rep. Jon Keyser said what some politicians will say, and promised to always answer questions.

The context of May 2 discussion on KOA 850-AM was social issues, but you wouldn’t expect Keyser to have one standard about answering questions on social issues and another standard for other topics, like possible illegal campaign activities.

Keyser’s promise with respect to answering questions was clear (Listen below.):

Keyser: These are all issues that we have to talk about, if it’s a social issue. If it’s a question, I always answer the question. [BigMedia emphasis]

But now, Keyser’s campaign is refusing to answer questions from 7News reporter Marshall Zelinger about signatures that were apparently forged on Keyser’s petition to put his name on the June 28 GOP primary ballot.

Zelinger reported: We reached out to the Keyser campaign with a phone call and text to the spokesman, but as of Tuesday night at 11:45 p.m., he had not returned our call, text or tweets.

It’s not as if Zelinger’s questions are out-of-bounds or anything. He’s found 10 signatures that are clearly forged from people who leave in Congressional District One, where Keyser’s campaign needed to gather 1,500 signatures to make the ballot. He got 1,520 signatures. If you subtract the 10 forged signatures, Keyser is down to 1,510, and all of his signatures from CD 1 haven’t been analyzed yet.

Bottom line, reporters should point out that Keyser has promised in the past to always answer questions. In the wake of this story, he’s not doing so.

Sounding like Trump, Brophy says unnamed “efficiencies” are needed to solve Colorado budget woes

Friday, March 11th, 2016

The latest Republican to stand in front of a camera and complain about state spending on health care for the elderly, disabled, and other poor people, without offering any alternatives, is former state Sen. Greg Brophy, who’s freshly back from a job with Rep. Ken Buck in Washington DC.

Brophy appeared on Politics Unplugged, 7News’ interview show, last month to say that Colorado is being forced, under TABOR rules, to refund taxes to citizens due to the hospital provider fee.

“The hospital provider fee and the other expansions of, well, it amounts to Obamacare, have committed spending on that area at the expense of every other area in state government,” said Brophy.

In 2009, Colorado tapped federal funds, used to match a “hospital provider fee” collected by hospitals, to expand Medicaid coverage to around 300,000 low-income people and children. It allowed kids, for example, from families of four making $45,000 annually to qualify for state Medicaid coverage. Later, Obamacare kicked in, reimbursing the state to cover more poor people in Colorado.

So yes, Colorado has expanded its Medicaid program. It’s one of the major functions of the state government, along with k-12 education, higher education, transportation, and prisons.

Brophy thinks the state has gone too far in helping the elderly, disabled, kids, and other poor people get medical coverage. If we weren’t covering more uninsured people, we could prioritize spending “on education and transportation where the people, I think, want it.”

So, reporters should ask how he wants to cut Medicaid. Knock off some of the disabled people? Keep in mind that the state isn’t paying for coverage of the newly added people anyway, since the feds pick up the tab for Obamacare and the hospital provider fee. So what would Brophy have us do? Charge poor people co-pays, which Brophy advocated in the past, saying poor people aready spend their money on, Lotto, cigarettes, and air conditioning? Would he have Colorado lower eligibility thresholds? Are we too generous?

Brophy didn’t return a call to explain.

“I really think we want to force the state of Colorado to find efficiencies in what they spend money on,” Brophy told 7News’ Marshall Zellinger, sounding a lot like Donald Trump.

Where are these efficiencies? Where’s reality? Or is it like, I’ll force Mexico to build the wall. Trust me, they will.

Fox 31 Denver fills Stokols’ political reporter position

Monday, January 25th, 2016

In the nine long months after political reporter Eli Stokols left Fox 31 Denver, it looked like the local TV station’s surprising reputation as a go-to source for political news, cultivated by over a decade of obsessive work by Stokols, was going to be completely lost.

Serious politics coverage at Fox 31 essentially vanished overnight. It was an unbelievable fall, and depressing. (Not to say Fox 31 didn’t have some good pieces and journalists, but the unfilled hole was huge.) But on the positive side, it showed the impact one talented reporter can have on a news outlet, especially a TV station, and on an entire state.

That’s why it’s great that Fox 31 has hired a reporter, Joe St. George, to take over Stokols’ political beat, showing that the station’s commitment to politics coverage didn’t start and stop with Stokols–as can be the case at local TV outlets.

Joe St. George arrived at the station last month after covering politics in Virginia for over three years and, before that, for a stint in Iowa. So he’s got nothing comparable to Stokols’ experience, but he seems to be hard-working and, jeez, all of the people of Colorado are glad to see him given the chance, though they don’t know it.

“Joe’s passion is in political reporting,” said Fox 31 News Director Holly Gauntt.  “He did a lot of good political reporting at his former station and has a good reputation there. It’s rare. He’s one of those guys who breathes, eats, lives, sleeps politics, so I snatched him up as soon as I found out about him.”

Gauntt says it will be tough for St. George to replace Stokols, whom she described as “the best political reporter in the state. (It’s true St. George is no Eli Stokols, but he’s closer to Stokols than Dan Quayle was to Jack Kennedy.)

St. George’s “number one priority” will be politics, including, eventually, the type of in-the-weeds blogging produced by Stokols. St. George will do that once he develops the contacts and knowledge required, said Gauntt

“I think politics is hugely important,” said Gauntt in response to my saying that Fox 31 deserves a ton of credit for hiring a new political reporter and giving Stokols the space to focus on politics when he was here–because many local TV outlets don’t have any political reporters at all. “Some of it’s not for broadcast. You can’t get too far into the weeds, but that’s the beauty of websites and blogs and all of that.”

For his part, St. George says he’s “very lucky” to be covering politics for a local TV station in his third swing state.

“I would never have left Virginia if I didn’t have an equally exciting opportunity to cover politics in a state like Colorado,” he said.

St. George has “followed Eli’s work for years” and hopes to work on multiple platforms like Stokols did.

“While not every politics story is a great TV story, it has a place online if it doesn’t have a place on television,” said St. George, who hopes to start blogging soon. “I consider myself not just a TV journalist but a multi-screen journalist.”

Stokols hoped his former station wouldn’t drop serious political reporting after his departure.

“I’m glad to see that Fox31 remains committed to covering Colorado politics and policy debates in its newscast and across additional platforms,” wrote Stokols when asked for a comment about St. George’s hire. “I look forward to following Joe’s coverage from afar.”

Toward the end of his run in Denver, Stokols started an interview show that aired some of the most dramatic TV news video of the 2014 election in Colorado. Gauntt has no immediate plans to launch such a show (which would compete with interview-type shows aired by local TV news competitors 9News and, now, Channel 7). But she’s open to the possibility down the road, she said.

Denver Archbishop: Shun Candidates Supporting Planned Parenthood

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

You wouldn’t know it, because they were essentially ignored by Denver media (except Channel 7, Denver’s ABC affiliate), but thousands of anti-choice protesters rallied on the west steps of the state capitol Saturday in frigid weather, marking the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In speeches, spiked with attacks on Planned Parenthood, rally-goers were exorted to take action on “life” issues–banning all abortion and preventing the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

The big-cheese speaker at the March for Life event was Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, who promised, “We will not be silenced,” after telling the crowd to call and email their state legislators–and to attend Colorado’s March caucuses, where political parties select candidates and hash out party platforms.

“Bombard [legislators] with emails,” Aquila said at one point.

Following the lead of his predecessor, former Dener Archbishop Charles Chaput, Aquila promotes political activism by Catholics. He hasn’t gone so far as Chaput did in recommending that faithful Catholics vote against one presidential candidate (Kerry) and for another (Bush). Instead, Aquila acted as if he was nonpartisan on Saturday, urging the protestors to look at candidates through the filter of “life” issues, without mentioning a political party.

But one of the issues that most clearly divides the two parties these days is abortion, with Democrats mostly being pro-choice and Republicans mostly not. Among the presidential candidates, the division among the two parties is shocking.

So Aquila’s decision to focus the attention of Catholics on “life,” issues, rather than, say immigration, poverty, or climate change, puts him in the pocket of Republicans–especially given that he made no mention of the death penalty on Saturday, which is a “life” issue embraced by Democrats. Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.

You can see this in Aquila’s attitude toward Planned Parenthood, which came up repeatedly at the rally. Ninety-seven percent of Planned Parenthood’s work has nothing to do with abortion but instead with providing women, many of them low-income, with basic health care and family planning.

So does Aquila think Catholics should support candidates who support Planned Parenthood? For an RH Reality Check post, I asked Aquila this question after the rally.

“No,” he told me,”I believe that we really need to give witness to life, and Planned Parenthood does not give witness to life.”

Pope Francis, who’s focused the world’s attention on economic inequality and environmental disasters, has given Aquila the opening to have said something very different to me, along the lines of, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for, serving the poor and healing the sick. It’s up to individual Catholics look at the world’s needs and struggles and act in accordance with their faith.”

I honestly think, if the Catholic Church survives, someday a future Archbishop in Denver will.


Karna Swanson, Communications Director, Archdiocese of Denver, writes: 

It was unfortunate to see you mischaracterize the position of Archbishop Aquila on life issues in this blog post. You say, “Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.” 

Actually, the Archbishop is in lock-step with the priorities of Pope Francis that you mention, particularly immigration and the death penalty. His position against the death penalty is well known.

See his column here on the issue:…/power-love-conversion…/…

“The problem with the death penalty,” he states, “is that in trying to solve the problem of violence, we take up violence as our tool. Christians need to stop the cycles of violence that erode our souls—we need to stop participating in the culture of death. Instead of deterring crime, the culture of death makes all of us more open to evil and violence and crime.”

See his letter on immigration here:…/Immigration-and-future-bilingual.pdf

See his column on the “Francis Option” here:…/secular-slums-and-the…/…

A top priority of Archbishop Aquila is life. And he supports people and organizations that promote life, and help all life to flourish.

Regarding Planned Parenthood, it’s a fact that according to their 2013-2014 report, the organization performed 327,653 abortions. To the archbishop, and to Catholics, that is a loss of 327,653 lives. 

You can mislead with stats that show that Planned Parenthood “only” does so many abortions a year compared with other services they provide, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of lives are ended each year by this organization. It doesn’t matter what other redeeming qualities they may have, that number—327,653—cannot be ignored. That number means that Planned Parenthood is an organization that promotes death, not life.

For this reason, neither Pope Francis, nor Archbishop Aquila, nor any future archbishop, will ever be able to say, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for,” because the Catholic Church will always stand for life, at all stages, in every moment.


Elbert County clerk still getting praise for poster opposing same-sex marriage

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson, whose right-wing show originates in Colorado’s Elbert County, is praising Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder for hanging a poster in his government office with a quote from the Bible, “Each man should have his own wife and each woman should have her own husband” — even though Schroeder has apparently removed the poster from his office, after local residents complained.

“If you come anywhere close to a heathen sacrifice, a heathen temple, or a heathen ceremony, much of which is represented by the modern pagan state,  and that is homosexual weddings, you ought to at least make it clear that you are not implicitly or explicitly approving of the idolatrous practice,” Swanson told his listeners during a podcasted show Thursday (at about 15 minutes). “And using a Bible verse would be a good way to do that.”

With his poster, Schroeder apparently wanted to wipe his conscience clean of any responsibility for the same same-sex marriage license issued by his office, according to a report by KMGH-TV in Denver, Denver’s ABC affiliate.

“My thought process is that they have to see the poster,” writes Schroeder in the email obtained by the TV station.  “And if they choose to violate God’s written Word, then that is on their head.”

That’s in line with the beliefs of radio host Swanson, who I’ve called a shock pastor in the past, due to his string of extreme statements, based on his take on the scripture.

“This guy is kind of following through on the principle that I have brought out a number of times on this radio broadcast concerning the question, ‘Should a Christian attend a homosexual wedding?'” Swanson said on air last week. “And I have said ‘yes’ as long as you hold up a Bible verse [opposing same-sex marriage].”

I won’t be holding up a Bible quote at the heathen solstice party I’m attending tonight, fyi. But if Swanson comes, and he wants to peacefully carry around a quotation on a poster or something, that’s fine with me. In fact, he’d fit right in, because people bring strange things to the party. But, please, keep such signs out our government buildings.



Radio host should have asked Coffman why he featured a Planned Parenthood logo in an ad last year, given that he sounds now like he’s never liked the organization

Friday, July 17th, 2015

Rep. Mike Coffman came out swinging against Planned Parenthood yesterday, telling KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, “It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood.”

Then why did Coffman feature a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad just last year, Caplis should have asked Coffman. Coffman’s 2014 ad stated that Coffman “was praised for protecting women from violence” and showed the Planned Parenthood Action Fund logo on the screen.

Judging from yesterday’s radio interview, Coffman has a list of longstanding grievances against Planned Parenthood, and Caplis would have done his listeners a favor by asking Coffman what they are. What was Coffman thinking of when he said Planned Parenthood has done “one thing after another?”

When Coffman’s ad ran last year, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains responded by pointing out that Coffman “voted many times to de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide many important health services to women including birth control, family planning services, and lifesaving cancer screenings.”

In 2011, Coffman voted against Planned Parenthood funding, as part of a House resolution to the federal budget billHR 36, which prohibited  making funds available  “for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.”

For most of his political career, Coffman maintained his ardent opposition to abortion,even in the cases of rape and incest, as well as his support for personhood ballot measures in 2008 and 2010, which would have outlawed all abortion and some forms of birth control.

However, in 2013, Coffman flipped, and his office stated that the Congressman supported giving rape victims the option of having an abortion. Coffman has never explained what motivated this change, leaving everyone to conclude that he was trying to shine himself up for women voters in his swing district. Hence, his unauthorized use of the Planned Parenthood logo in the ad.

Coffman made his comments about Planned Parenthood in response to Caplis’ question about recent allegations by conservatives against the organization, which it has denied.