Archive for the '9News' Category

Journalists express frustration during discussion of election news coverage

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

The Columbia Journalism Review’s Rocky Mountain Correspondent, Corey Hutchins, has posted highlights of a panel discussion Tuesday, moderated by Compass Colorado’s Kelly Maher and me, on local news coverage of the 2014 election.

Here are three of Hutchins’ eight highlights:

Bored on the Bus

KDVR’s Eli Stokols on covering the modern professional campaign:

“Unfortunately there were very few days where I sat there and I said, ‘Absolutely have to shoot this today,’ because it was so rare that these candidates were actually available, putting out public schedules, doing public events… I rode on the Udall bus, I went up to Fort Collins and Greeley a couple times to find Cory [Gardner] when he was speaking to Republicans there, and you know, you would get the same rehearsed, trite lines from all of them. And when you sat them down in an interview you got the same rehearsed, trite lines from both. And so maybe it is incumbent on us to be better, to push them out of their comfort zone a little bit … I think that’s the tough part of the modern campaign. Campaigns with money are so not reliant anymore on mainstream media to get their message out, especially in a market like this [in Colorado] where there is not such a critical mass of media.”

The Denver Post didn’t want to cover ‘scripted theater’

Post politics editor [Chuck] Plunkett said his paper didn’t want to fall into the trap of covering what he called the “scripted theater” of the campaigns. So in the early spring, he said, he gathered staff for multiple substantive discussions about issues they wanted to address this election season, so they weren’t just “having to chase the Twitter around, having to chase the horse race around.” Some of the issues they decided to focus on were immigration, the ground game, and money, and how candidates evolved on issues. Also, for the first time, the paper held its own recorded debates in its auditorium instead of partnering with a TV station….

Didn’t approve this ad

CBS4’s [Shaun Boyd] provided some levity when she spoke of how she’d recoiled at seeing her on-air reporting appear in a political ad on TV. To her dismay, her station ran the ad on its airwaves. But, she said, other TV stations in Denver didn’t air it because they didn’t want to highlight the reporting of a competitor.

In his post, Hutchins discusses the journalists’ frustration with the scripted answers from the candidates. Riccardi, in particular, talked about how closely the professional candidates stay on their talking points, and he said he hoped to walk away from the campaign trail more often in the future and write about the election from an outside-the-box perspective.

That’s a good idea, but I thought local journalists could have at least tried to break the campaign script more often during the last election on many issues. And even if they didn’t break it completely, they could have spotlighted candidates’ manipulative or repetitive talking points more clearly for voters, like Eli Stokols did in his interview with Senator-elect Cory Gardner.

This would have required more aggressive follow-up questioning by journalists, and it could have been done at more of the public events where reporters questioned the candidates.

The frustration of the journalists on the panel Tuesday was mostly not evident at the candidate debates and interviews, where journalists, with some important exceptions here and elsewhere, took a passive role, without much follow-up.

Here’s part of Tuesday’s discussion about how to address the talking points.

PLUNKETT: We do break the script. A good journalist can get people to talk about more than sometimes we give them credit for. I think when you start to think about the election in general, you remember all those scripted moments, and you’re frustrated by it. It’s annoying. You wish people would just answer the question. And that creates a very human reaction in you, and you react to it, in a hostile kind of way. But I do think, if you think back, there were tons of stories written by lots of people on the campaign trail, and we did get into issues. We did look at important moments.

STOKOLS: I think as a journalist you have to draw out and just explain to people when somebody’s not answering the question, sometimes. Whether you show that in a TV format or in a print format, you just say, you know, “…has refused to answer this question repeatedly throughout the campaign,” or, whatever it is. I think that should be revealing to people, you know, like Chuck said. Sometimes, there’s not a lot more you can do.

Durango Herald’s Peter MARCUS: Yeah, I agree. And I also agree that it is tougher in print. I mean, when I was pushing Cory Gardner on, you know, what the difference is between the state Personhood initiative and the federal bill, you know, it’s weird to write that into the story. It’s like, “The Durango Herald pushed Gardner on…” You know, and how many times can you write that? And are people even understanding what’s going on in the exchange, that you’re on the phone, or conducting your interview in person, we’re just asking the same question over and over in different ways? It gets hard to write it into a story. But more importantly, you can’t make them break the script. I STOKOLS: Well, you know, we have to be a little analytical. I mean, we can’t just sit there. we’re not stenographers.

MARCUS: Right

STOKOLS: So, you know, when you sit there on a campaign bus, and Mark Udall and Michael Bennet are sitting there, and the national reporters are asking, you know, like, “President Obama, he’s not here. Is he killing you?” And they’re like, “Oh, no! It’s fine!” Whatever. And then, you know, they go on background, and they’re like, “Jesus! The President is killing us!”

MARCUS: Right! What do you do? Yeah, what do you do?

STOKOLS: It doesn’t take a lot of analysis to understand, one, what the reality is, and two, why they can’t explicitly say that, or admit that, doesn’t mean we can’t write it, and explain that to the reader or the viewer, that, look, this is a fundamental reality of this campaign, whether it is admitted to or not admitted to, you know, by the candidate.

MARCUS: Yeah, you may not get them to break the script. You can write it in, because of what people tell you on background and everything. But you’re not going to quote them on it,

RICCARDI: Yeah, I totally agree. If you’re just waiting on these guys to tell you something, the yield-to-effort is minimal.

Asked why more of gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s extreme comments were not covered, some of the journalists on Tuesday’s panel explained that it’s difficult to address an issue if the campaign isn’t focusing on it.

RICCARDI: I also think this is a great example of how campaigns define a lot of what you end up covering. Hickenlooper ran a positive campaign. Hickenlooper did not put these past statements of Beauprez in the public light repeatedly, therefore there were other things that reporters had to focus on with their limited time. Look at how much ink we spilled over Gardner on two measures that will probably never become law. Right? And that’s a direct reflection of the fact that the Udall campaign and their allies put a lot of time, attention to creating points behind those issues. And I think you’re seeing the opposite of it in terms of what happened on the governor’s side. Hickenlooper did not want to make that an issue, and guess what, it didn’t become a big issue. I agree with Chuck, it’s a balancing act [on how much coverage old candidate statements should get]. There’s no—there’s no clean formula for anything in this business. But I also think this is a great example of how a lot of our coverage reflects the choices being by campaigns, for better or for worse.

STOKOLS: Yeah, the governor’s race was about the Governor because the Governor made it that way. I mean, he didn’t come out and do a lot of campaign events, but when he went to the sheriffs, and Kelly’s folks got that on video, that was a huge pivot in the campaign. And there were other things that he did —the comments to CNN earlier in the year, in answering a hypothetical question. There were mistakes that he made that we were sort of forced to cover. Whereas, some of these [Beauprez] statements, they matter on some level, but they have a shelf life. And so, when, you know, you’re running ads based on a 2006 statement, it does seem harder sometimes to rationalize going back and covering this, just because you’ve got a, you know, a 527 or somebody calling you and saying, “Hey, you know, did you see these statements? You should cover these. You should do a story.” Sometimes, you need more than that to be pushed off the ledge, especially when you look around and your colleagues aren’t doing it. It’s not like we all run around in packs, but when you’re going to go out and do a story yourself, and you’re going to be first, and you’re going to rationalize something that is just really aimed at putting another campaign or a candidate on the defensive, you have to be pretty careful about that, I think, in terms of, you know, have we covered this before, right? I don’t know what the exact formula is but–

MARCUS: There is no formula, but I think, for me, a component is also gauging, you know, interest, from outside groups, from the public…You know, at the beginning of the campaigns, a lot of the outside groups were really trying to push these 2006 talking points and comments and things like that. And you could just see, it wasn’t gaining traction — forget in the media, it wasn’t gaining traction on twitter — it wasn’t gaining traction. And it wasn’t because, I’m pretty sure, that these outside groups—and I know some of you are in the room, so I’m sorry — but, you didn’t have that much. The fact that you were going back to 2006, back to 2008 shows that it was—it was all you had. And it wasn’t gaining traction, not because we weren’t covering it—perhaps maybe possibly a little bit, but it really had to do with people’s interests. I didn’t see these statements coming back up. I think the closest we got was “Both Ways Bob” came back for a short minute, there. But, I was just looking around. I wasn’t seeing it gaining traction. It seemed like people were looking to move on, find out what this election was about, and I think that plays into how much attention it gets with the media, as well.

The event, which was sponsored by the University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs, Compass Colorado, and BigMedia.org, was attended by political operatives and others from both sides of the political divide. There were about 40 people in the audience.

It’s the media’s fault! Or is it?

Saturday, November 8th, 2014

It’s easy to complain about journalism among friends. But what do you get out of it? Echoes.

Here’s a chance to talk back to the media directly. On Tuesday, a panel of top local journalists will discuss the highs and lows of media coverage of the 2014 election—and take questions from the audience.

The panel features Shaun Boyd, Political Specialist, CBS4, Peter Marcus, Denver Correspondent, Durango Herald, Chuck Plunkett, Politics Editor, The Denver Post, Nicholas Riccardi, Western Political Reporter, Associated Press, and Eli Stokols, Political Reporter, Fox 31 Denver.

Any question about local news coverage of the election is fair game. Why so few stories about Bob Beauprez’s wild birther ideas? Were John Hickenlooper’s gaffes underplayed? Did reporters allow senatorial candidate Cory Gardner to bury his Tea Party past? What about Benghazi, ISIS, and Obama?

The panel will cover the spectrum of opinions in part because moderators come from the left and right on the political spectrum: Kelly Maher is director of the conservative Compass Colorado, and yours truly is a progressive blogger.

The event takes place Tuesday, Nov. 11, from 7:30-9 a.m. at 1380 Lawrence Street in the 2nd-floor Terrace Room.

It’s free, and even includes coffee and continental breakfast. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the discussion runs from 7:45 – 9 a.m. Please RSVP to tips @bigmedia.org. You can also email questions, if you don’t want to ask them yourself.

Paul Teske, Dean of University of Colorado Denver’s School of Public Affairs, will offer introductory remarks. The University of Colorado’s School of Public Affairs is sponsoring the event, along with BigMedia.org and Compass Colorado.

Best Local Journalism of the 2014 Election Season

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Here’s my list of top election-season journalism by local reporters:

Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols didn’t take Cory Gardner’s falsehood for an answer on personhood. And, and in the same five-star interview, he tried harder than any other journalist to get a straight answer from Gardner on the details of his health insurance plan.

Only the Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene offered a comprehensive look (with Mike Keefe cartoon) at the extreme right-wing comments of gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. See Bob Beauprez’s Last Eight Years: Conservatism at its Extremes.

The Associated Press’ Nick Riccardi explains why senatorial candidate Cory Gardner says he favors immigration reform. And he points out that that Gardner’s actual support for reform proposals is limited and illusive.

Corey Hutchins, who writes for a variety of outlets, broke the shocking story on Medium about Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) urging a military revolt against Obama. (Reminder: Our country is at war.)

9News’ Brandon Rittiman was the first local journalist to press senatorial candidate Cory Gardner on the hypocrisy of his withdrawing support for state personhood measures but remaining a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill. Other journalists, besides Stokols and Rittiman, deserve credit for challenging Gardner on this: 9News’ Kyle ClarkThe Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, and The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus.

Stokols wrote the definitive piece on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners toxic impact on Colorado Republican Party’s election prospects. See The New Front in Dudley Brown’s War: Jefferson County.

Colorado Community Media’s Vic Vela provided the first comprehensive look at the Republican turmoil in all-powerful Jefferson County. See Jeffco Limps Forward in Races.

The Denver Post’s John Frank wrote an insightful piece on the potential impact on the election of the school-board protests in Jefferson County.

They err themselves, but local TV news fact checkers Shaun Boyd (CBS4), Brandon Rittiman (9News), and sometimes Eli Stokols make a huge contribution to rational electoral debate with their Reality Check, Truth Test, and Fact or Fiction pieces.

Freelance journalist Sandra Fish filled a media gap with detailed reports on election-ad spending, mostly written for Colorado Public Radio (e.g., here and here).

The Associated Press’ Kristen Wyatt was quick to expose Gardner’s hollow claim of being a leader of Colorado’s new energy economy. See Senate candidate in Colo. touts a failed measure.

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews wrote intelligently about how the outcome of the Coffman-Romanoff race, in district whose demographics reflect America’s, could portend how well the GOP does in 2016. See GOP incumbent in Colorado 6th CD in a Race with Implications for 2016.

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels told the story of how the grand fracking compromise was reached, with its implications for the upcoming election. See Let’s Make a Deal: How Colorado Came to a Fracking Compromise.

Finally, and I’m a progressive media critic being completely objective here, the Colorado Independent‘s Mike Littwin has been brilliant over the past few months, writing with humor and insight that you can’t help but appreciate, even if you love the people he lampoons or shreds.

All in all, at a time when everyone complains about the demise of local journalism, we saw some great stuff. Of course, there were epic lapses, but I’ll get into those later, or perhaps at our (bipartisan) Nov. 11 panel discussion on media coverage of the 2014 election.

Colorado Bishops declare “neutral stance” on personhood amendment. But how neutral?

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Colorado’s Catholic Bishops, speaking through the Colorado Catholic Conference, announced their “neutral stance” last week on Colorado’s latest personhood measure, Amendment 67.

The Bishops’ announcement came in a news release denouncing an anti-personhood media campaign by Catholics for Choice, a national organization that challenges the “Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage, family life and motherhood.”

A spokeswoman for Catholics for Choice points to tacit support by Colorado Bishops for Amendment 67, despite their professed neutrality on the measure, by allowing congregations to organize in support of it. You can find more details on a post of mine today on RH Reality Check.

You wonder what the bishops are thinking and how they justify it. And a trip back four years sheds some light on the matter.

The bishops’ statement of neutrality this year doesn’t get into the details, but back in 2008, when the personhood initiative first appeared in Colorado, they articulated their belief that a personhood amendment, if successful, could undermine the church’s goal of bestowing legal rights on zygotes or fertilized eggs.

The 2008 statement by Colorado Bishops Charles J. Chaput, Arthur N. Tafoya, Michael J. Sheridan, argues that a state personhood amendment is the wrong tactic to achieve personhood, because the federal courts could use it to affirm Roe v. Wade:

We admire the goals of this year’s effort to end abortion, and we remain committed to defending all human life from conception to natural death. As we have said from the start, however, we do not believe that this year’s Colorado Personhood Amendment is the best means to pursue an end to abortion in 2008…

Constructive alternatives to reduce abortions and advance the ultimate objective of ending abortion, however, do exist at the state level.

In the last two years, state level legislative strategies to protect life have included: increased penalties for attacks on pregnant women which result in the death of the unborn child; informed consent and ultrasound legislation which would have required a woman to be notified of her right to receive an ultrasound before an abortion was performed; and a complete abortion ban.

The Catholic Church in Colorado has a long and active history of working, through state legislative efforts and other community initiatives, to protect life from conception to natural death. We will continue through every realistic means to work toward this end. [BigMedia emphasis]

Maybe that’s why Gardner opposes personhood at the state level but supports in in Washington. He thinks it’s a more realistic way to ban abortion and common forms of birth control. That’s speculation, but with Gardner apparently lying about personhood, what else can you do?

After all, like Beauprez, Gardner has said his position is the “same” as Archbishop Chaput’s.

Reporters continue to object to Gardner’s apparent personhood lie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels wrote yesterday:

“Almost everyone but Congressman Gardner agrees that the federal bill is similar to state “personhood” measures that Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated and Gardner supported until just weeks after entering the Senate race in February.

More proof came the night before, when Gardner’s told 7News’ Marc Stewart  (at the 50-second mark here) that the federal personhood bill is an empty symbol, instead of the extreme anti-abortion bill that it is.

Stewart: But your name is still, though, on the personhood legislation, correct?

Gardner: Well, that’s just a statement that I support life.

Gardner’s apparent lie here completes a trifecta of false statements to Denver TV stations, including Fox 31, Channel 9, and now, Channel 7–in addition to all the other news outlets that have endured this falsehood and objected to it, rightfully, sometimes in the strongest possible terms.

 

On radio, Singleton doesn’t recall Coffman’s “I-Stand-by-My-Statement” interview with 9News

Monday, October 27th, 2014

You recall a couple years ago, 9News anchor Kyle Clark caught up with Rep. Mike Coffman at a fundraiser and asked if voters were “owed a better explanation” about Coffman’s statement that Obama isn’t an American “in his heart.”

Using the same kind of cringe-inducing repetitious dodge we’ve seen from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner on personhood, Coffman repeated five times, “I stand by my statement that I misspoke, and I apologize.”

If you’re on the editorial board of The Denver Post, and you’re trying to figure out whether to endorse Coffman, you’d think you’d do enough research to know about Coffman’s infamous 9News interview.

But former Denver-Post owner Dean Singleton, who still votes on The Post’s editorial board, told KNUS radio over the weekend that he didn’t know about the 9News’ interview, even though The Post had just endorsed Coffman, raising questions about how closely The Post’s editorial board examined Coffman’s record.

Singleton: The Post’s endorsement of Mike Coffman shouldn’t have surprised anybody because The Post has always endorsed Mike Coffman.

KNUS Weekend Wake Up Host Chuck Bonniwell: Why do you like Mike?

Singleton: Mike Coffman is one of the hardest working Congressmen in the House.

Boniwell: He’s also one of the dumbest.

Singleton: I disagree.

Boniwell: I’ve spent time around Mike Coffman, and I think I can perceive. The Channel 9 interview, with Kyle Clark, the Mike Coffman interview, where all he could do is endlessly repeat the same one sentence given to him by his handlers. That was one of the more amazing moments in Colorado politics.

Singleton: Well, I don’t remember that.

Boniwell: I’ll play it. [laughs]

Singleton: I’ve known Mike a long time. Mike really works hard for his district.

Singleton could obviously have voted to endorse Coffman even had he known about the 9News’ ambush interview. But it’s a serious entry in the negative column on Coffman’s evaluation, and you wonder how he could possibly have not have known about it. It’s hard to find political types who don’t.

Singleton did not return a phone call this morning seeking comment.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/posts-singleton-doesnt-recall-kyle-clark-interview-with-mike-coffman

Clark’s questions for Coffman in 2012 came after Coffman was avoiding reporters after the release of a video of what 9News called his “birther moment,” when the congressman said he didn’t know whether Obama was even born in the United States. But Coffman said he did know that “in his heart, [Obama is] not an American. He’s just not an American.”

Reporters should correct Gardner’s claim that he was against government shutdown

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner took his falsehoods about the government shutdown to a new level this week when he told PBS’ Guen Ifill:

Gardner: “I voted for every measure that would have avoided the shutdown. I supported efforts during it to make sure we were finding ways not only to get out of the immediate situation but to make sure that we develop long-term solutions.”

That’s the kind of rotten information journalists should correct before it’s too late.

Everyone who follows this issue at all knows that Gardner voted with fellow Republicans to shut down the government in an effort to kill Obamacare.

Gardner was fully behind using the threat of a government shutdown as leverage to try to de-fund the health-care law.

As Gardner told KOA Radio’s Mike Rosen in August: “I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work.”

As part of a fact-check of a recent ad, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman explained how Gardner’s votes led to the shutdown, just after Colorado’s horrific floods:

Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown.

That didn’t happen by passing a bill to shut it down…

Those votes were Republican spending packages, which passed the House. They would have funded the government, but also contained language aimed at curbing Obamacare.

For that reason, the president made it clear he wouldn’t sign that bill, which had no chance of passing the Senate regardless.

Republicans knew they could cause a shutdown by forcing the healthcare issue to be part of the discussion about keeping the government open.

However, it takes two to tango, and the Democrats didn’t want to mix the ACA into the spending debate. It would have been possible to accept the GOP plan and avoid a shutdown.

Whether it was fair to bundle those concepts is the core of the debate.

After reading that, even if you’re on Gardner’s side and you wanted to force Obama to de-fund the health-care law, is there any way you could claim, as Gardner did, that he voted for “every measure that would have avoided the shutdown?” Not.

 

Revolt by journalists against Gardner’s lie (justifiably) continues

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

We’re seeing a full-scale revolt by journalists against senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s obnoxious denial of the simple fact that the Life at Conception Act, which he co-sponsored  last summer, is federal personhood legislation.

The latest confrontation occurred last night during 9News’ senatorial debate between Gardner and Democrat Mark Udall.

9News Anchor Kyle Clark: You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act is a personhood bill, which you’ve sponsored, is a personhood bill to end abortion. And we’re not going to debate that tonight, because it’s a fact. Your cosponsors say so. Your opponents say so. And independent fact checkers say so. So let’s instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgement, more broadly. It would seem that a more charitable interpretation would mean you have a difficult time admitting when you’re wrong. And a less charitable interpretation is that  you’re not telling us the truth.Which is  it?

Gardner: Again, I do not support the personhood amendment. The bill that you are referring to is simply a statement that I support life. Let me just repeat the words of Sen. Udall.

Clark: Why does no one else think that. That’s what we’re getting at.

Gardner: I’ve answered this question multiple times.

Clark: I’m aware of that.

Gardner: If you look at what The Denver Post said. The Denver Post has called Sen. Udall’s campaign on these issues, because he’s a social issues warrior, obnoxious, focused on one single issue. The fact is the people of Colorado deserve better. They deserve more than a single issue that Sen. Udall is attempting to give them.

Clark: Believe you me. We’re going to talk about that. But what I’m asking you about here is what appears to be willing suspension of the facts. People who agree with you on the issue of life think you’re wrong about how you’re describing the bill. Everyone seems to have a cohesive idea about what this is with the exception of you. I’m just wondering, what should voters glean from that?

Gardner: There are people who agree with my opinion on life. There are people who don’t. I support life. I voted for exceptions. The fact is, the bill that you’re talking about is a simply a statement. I’ve answered this question multiple times, but I’ll repeat the words of Sen. Udall who said, when he changed his opinion on the issue of gay marriage, that a good faith change of position should be considered a virtue not a vice. That’s not my words. Those are the words from Sen. Udall.

Rittiman: And you remain on the bill, and the idea of personhood is conferring rights of normal human beings on the unborn. That’s what the bill says.

Gardner: Again, I support life. And that’s a statement that I support life.

Rittiman and Gardner asked their questions with disbelief in their voices and incredulous looks on their faces, like the other journalists who’ve pressed Gardner this.

The growing list of stonewalled reporters includes (with links to coverage): The Grand Junction Sentinels’ Charles Ashby, The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, Bloombers’ Joshua Green, MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill, Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus, 9News Brandon Rittiman (twice), and Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols.

What offends these reporters, even though they don’t say it, is being lied to, brazenly, straight-up. If you’ve ever fact checked a politician, you know that there’s usually gray area involved, making it hard to say, “You’re lying.”

With Gardner, Clark said there “appears to be willing suspension of the facts.” But the “appears-to-be” part is gone now. It’s time for reporters to stop the courtesies and start calling it a lie. Gardner has been given every chance to explain himself in a coherent, honest manner, and he’s rejected those opportunities. It’s fair to say he’s lying.

Clark asked what Gardner’s personhood dance says about his “judgment.” It was a great and reasonable question. And since Gardner didn’t answer it, some reporter should track him down and put it to him again. This is weird and it’s serious.

Reporters try but fail to get truth from Gardner on Federal “personhood” bill

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

In an article this morning, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols reports that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner shifted last night from repeatedly saying to multiple reporters (as documented in the video above) that there is “no federal personhood bill” to saying, repeatedly, that it’s “simply a statement.”

Stokols writes:

“The federal act that you are referring to is simply a statement that I believe in life,” Gardner said when asked about the Life Begins at Conception Act by Lynn Bartels.

When Udall repeatedly went back to the issue, Gardner stuck to script, repeating his line that his co-sponsorship of the measure is “simply a statement that I support life.”

Gardner also attempted to separate the House Life at Conception Act, which he signed on as a co-sponsor to last summer, from the nearly identical Senate version, which he claimed not to have seen, and dismissed the notion, pushed by Udall’s campaign, that the legislation could result in banning some forms of birth control.

In countering this nonsense from Gardner, Stokols cites an appeal from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, explaining that “by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.”

Here’s the audio of Paul’s brutally honest statement of support for the Life at Conception Act.

And here’s a transcript of Paul’s entire statement:

Hello. This is Senator Rand Paul. Will you help me in a bold and aggressive campaign to end abortion-on-demand– once and for all?

Since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, nine unelected men and women on the Supreme Court have played got with innocent human life. They have invented laws that condemned more than 56 million babies to painful deaths without trial…merely for the crime of being “inconvenient.”

But the good news is Congress has the power to legislatively overturn Roe v. Wade and end all abortion-on-demand.

You see, when the Supreme Court invented the so-called “right” to an abortion, they left an opening for us in Congress to act on the question of when life begins. In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled: We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins … the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

The Court then admitted that if the personhood of an unborn baby is established, the right to abort, “collapses, for the fetus’ right to live is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Aendment …”

Now what the Court was saying, if you look through the all the legal mumbo jumbo, is that we in Congress have the POWER to legally define when life begins.

The same judges who wrote Roe v. Wade actually admitted this. Of course, science has long held that life begins at conception.

That’s why I’m cosponsoring the Life at Conception Act, which — by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.

That’s why I hope I can count on you to sign special petitions for both your Senators and your Congressman. And, if at all possible, I hope I can count on you to make a generous contribution of $50 to the National Pro-Life Alliance’s campaign to pass a Life at Conception Act and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Your generous contribution of $50 or more will help pay for collecting petitions from up to one million Americans … and for briefing hundreds of newspaper columnists, editorial writers, and talk radio hosts. The fact is, with enough pressure from dedicated pro-lifers on Members of Congress from both parties, you and I can force every member elected as a pro-lifer to either end the slaughter now … or face angry voters back home.

I have to tell you from my perspective as a pro-lifer in Congress that every pro-lifer’s activism is essential in our fight against abortion-on-demand. But I have especially come to appreciate the members of National Pro-life Alliance. Their members nationwide are perhaps the most active and focused on the ultimate vision of eliminating abortion-on-demand — not just regulating it.

In fact, it is primarily because of National Pro-life Alliance members that the Life at Conception Act has an all-time record number of House and Senate sponsors. That’s why I hope you will go all out to support their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade by passing a Life at Conception Act.

You see, their goal over the next 60 days is to add as many additional cosponsors as possible and then to force roll call votes in both the House and Senate.

Your generous contribution will then also help pay for hard-hitting radio, TV, and newspaper advertising which the National Pro-Life Alliance is committed to run in target states.

By forcing roll call votes, wavering politicians will have to either vote to protect the innocent — or face hundreds of thousands of angry voters back home. If you can help, just bring public opinion to bear on my colleagues in Congress, I’m convinced that we can get this bill to the forefront of the American debate — and ultimately outlaw abortion once and for all.

That’s why it’s vital you sign the petitions I mentioned at once. And please, make this massive advertising and petition drive possible by sending a special contribution to the National Pro-life Alliance.
[Please sign the petition below in support of the Life at Conception Act.]

Question of the Week: What does Beauprez think the federal personhood bill, which he’s co-sponsored, would do?

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Reporters looking for another source to counter senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s contention that “there is no federal personhood bill” can turn to gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, who cosponsored federal personhood legislation and acknowledges his own support for it.

And while he’s talking, Beauprez should explain what he thinks his federal personhood bill would do.

Both Gardner and Beauprez do not favor state personhood amendments, even though both candidates cosponsored federal personhood legislation, which would expand the definition of a person in the U.S. Constitution to include the unborn, beginning at the zygote or fertilized egg stage, and thereby banning all abortion and common forms of birth control.

Gardner’s bill is called the 2013 Life at Conception Act. Beauprez’s is the 2006 Right to Life Act. The two bills are essentially the same.

But unlike Gardner, Beauprez thinks federal personhood legislation exists, and his problem, he says, is with state personhood amendments, not the federal bill.

In March, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman clarified a previous 9News piece, which quoted Beauprez as saying he never supported personhood.

Rittiman asked Beauprez about his support of the Right To Life Act, a federal personhood bill, and Rittiman reported:

Rittiman: “Beauprez has certainly supported the concept of personhood in the form of federal legislation. He says his answer to 9NEWS was meant to convey that he has not supported it at the state level.”

Close Beauprez observers will note that the former congressman is careful, when he talks about his opposition to “personhood,” to focus on the state amendments, while staying silent on federal personhood legislation.

Look, for example, at what Beauprez said in Thursday’s debate in Pueblo:

Beauprez: “I’m opposed to the personhood amendment. I’ll tell you what I’m in favor of.  I’m in favor of innocent lives.”

In coverage of the debate, The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch did the right thing journalistically and informed readers of Beauprez’s support of the 2006 federal personhood bill.

Beauprez’s reference to “personhood amendment” Thursday comports with what he told Rittiman back in June:

Beauprez: “The personhood amendment, and that’s where we have to draw the line, the personhood amendment might have identified the right issue but the very wrong solution.”

Bottom line for reporters: Beauprez hasn’t explained why he still supports federal personhood legislation, even though he’s not on board with state personhood efforts. I’m curious to know what Beauprez thinks the federal personhood bill he co-sponsored would do, if passed, and why he backs it over state personhood.

Beauprez’s thoughts on why Gardner thinks “there is no federal personhood bill” would be of interest to those of us trying to understand Gardner’s mysterious personhood hypocrisy.