Archive for the '9News' Category

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.

Why did Gardner drop CO personhood initiatives but not the federal bill?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I can’t shake this question out of my head. Why did senatorial candidate Cory Gardner drop the state personhood amendments but remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood bill?

It would have been so easy for Gardner to uncosponsor the federal personhood bill. He’s even uncosponsored at least one bill before (not a personhood bill but still, an real-life bill!

Instead, he’s left saying, “There is no federal personhood bill,” and getting beat up for it by reporters (here and here) and Democrats alike. And rightfully so.

After months of wasteful thought, I offer you my best shot at explaining Gardner’s mysterious personhood hypocisy, as posted on The Denver Post’s website:

In contrast to state personhood ballot initiatives, the path to legislating personhood via re-defining “person” in the U.S. Constitution, like what’s mandated by the Life at Conception Act, is embraced by the national Republican Party platform. Also, 153 members of Congress, (132 in the House and 21 in the Senate) co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, along with Gardner. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Rand Paul, widely considered a leading GOP presidential contender.

If Gardner declared the federal personhood bill a well-intentioned mistake, like he did Colorado’s personhood amendments, he’d have abandoned the all those Members of Congress. He’d also be alienating powerful anti-abortion organizations and countless GOP activists. There’s a national movement built around the concept of enacting personhood via constitutional amendment. Not so much with state-based personhood initiatives.

It would be infinitely messier, politically, for Gardner to break ranks with backers of the federal personhood bill than from local pastors and churchgoers who’ve pushed Colorado’s personhood amendments and represent the ragged fringe of the national anti-abortion movement. And by parting ways with personhood in Colorado, Gardner could still try to polish his appeal to women, who will likely decide November’s election, while remaining friendly with the more powerful anti-abortion crowd. A perfect both-ways strategy.

All that’s speculation, I know, but what else can you do when Gardner’s own answer defies the facts?

Now the question is, will this work? Can Gardner win by repeating there-is-no-federal-personhood-bill? Or will a new crop of questions that should be asked by reporters force him articulate an actual factual explanation?

What’s next for reporters covering Cory Gardner’s personhood hypocrisy?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols tried hard last week to extract an explanation from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner for his decision to withdraw from “personhood” legislation at the state level but, at the same time, to remain a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill, which would ban all abortion, even for rape, and some forms of birth control.

So what else could a reporter ask Gardner at this point?

We know he thinks there’s “no federal personhood bill,” because he said it four times to Stokols and once previously to 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman.

So what does Gardner think the bill aims to do? If it’s not personhood, what is it?

Gardner discussed this question at least twice: Factcheck.org reported last month that “Gardner’s campaign says he backed the [state and federal] proposals as a means to ban abortion, not contraception.”

Later, contradicting this, Gardner told Rittiman that the “[Life at Conception Act] says life begins at conception.” Gardner’s spokespeople have said the same thing, saying it won’t ban contraception, but they did not mention abortion.

Abortion

Expanding on Factcheck.org’s article, reporters should discuss with Gardner the ramifications of his co-sponsorship of a personhood-style abortion ban. All abortion, even for rape and incest, would be banned. Thus, under the Life at Conception Act, a teenager raped by her father would not have the option of getting an abortion.

Contraception

Gardner has said the Life at Conception Act doesn’t ban contraception. In fact, he told Stokols, “I do not support legislation that would ban birth control. That’s crazy! I would not support that.”

Gardner did not waiver or offer further explanation, even after Stokols told him directly about one of  Factcheck.org’s conclusions: “Gardner says he has changed his mind and no longer supports the Colorado initiative, precisely because it could ban common forms of birth control. But he still backs a federal personhood bill, which contains the same language that would make a ban of some contraception a possibility.”

Reporters who question Gardner should avoid asking him about his position on “contraception” or “birth control” generally, because these words means different things to different people, as you can read here.

Instead, the question is, Does Gardner support specific types of contraception, like Plan B and IUDs. Plan B and IUDs could be banned under the Life at Conception Act because they threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes), which would gain full legal rights, the same ones you and I have, if the federal personhood bill became law.

In vitro fertilization

Factcheck.org pointed out that personhood measures, like the federal personhood bill, threaten “in vitro fertilization, which often involve creating more than one embryo in an effort to help a woman conceive — the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has been against personhood initiatives.” What’s Gardner’s stance on this issue, given his backing of the Life at Conception Act.

Plenty to ask.

So Stokols’ intense interview with Gardner leaves plenty of questions unanswered, and they go beyond the ones from Stokols that Gardner dodged or refused to answer factually.

Why did Gardner miss his chance to un-endorse fed personhood bill?

Friday, September 19th, 2014

The House of Representatives adjourned at noon today, meaning Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner has officially missed his chance to withdraw his name from the Life at Conception Act, a federal personhood bill, prior to the Nov. election.

To uncosponsor the bill, Gardner would have had to make a statement from the House floor, and now the House is out of session until Nov. 12.

In March, Gardner reversed his longstanding support of state personhood amendments.

But in an endlessly puzzling move, the congressman did not also remove his name from the federal personhood bill, saying instead that the federal bill is a toothless symbol–even though numerous fact checkers, like Factcheck.org, think otherwise.

The mystery of why Gardner thinks the Life at Conception Act is symbolic remains unanswered because, well, Gardner won’t answer it, saying stuff like, “There is no federal personhood bill.”

I guess, if you’re a reporter, all you can do is ask the question again and see if a factual explanation emerges.