Archive for the 'Associated Press' Category

Fact check: More evidence that Gardner tried to stop Obamacare by threatening government shutdown

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

In a blog post last week, I noted that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner threatened, during a radio interview in August of last year, to shut down the government unless Obamacare was defunded. This is in 180-degree-contrast to what a Gardner spokesperson was quoted as saying last week, that “Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open.” It turns out Gardner also launched the defund-Obamacare-or-we-shut-down-the-government warning from the floor of the House of Representatives. And he did it the day before the shutdown occurred:

Gardner: “Over the weekend, this House worked to find a solution to the impasse over the Continuing Resolution, sending over various options to the Senate to try to jump start negotiations to work through an agreement to find a solution to keep our government funded. In the early hours of this morning we finally said to the leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, let’s find a way to meet face-to-face, through a conference committee, to negotiate a solution and avoid a government shutdown. We passed three times now measures to keep the government funded and a way to find solutions to this critical issue. But there are many people in Colorado who are struggling now because of the shutdown and who are worried about what happens to their situation, particularly those who may have been impacted by the flood. And that is why we must find a way to get government funded, to find a solution to get government going back on track, while preventing policies that we know are bad for the economy.”

Here, Gardner acknowledged the concern that the shutdown could affect flood recovery, and he blamed Harry Reid for the impasse, but he insisted that a budget deal must prevent “policies that we know are bad for the economy” (i.e. Obamacare riders in the Gardner-supported funding resolutions to keep the government open). This contradicts his spokesperson’s statement that Gardner warned Republicans not to shut down the government to try to stop Obamacare. I don’t see any such warning in Gardner’s floor speech, and, in fact, the government shut down the next day.

Fact check: Gardner demanded defunding Obamacare to avoid government shutdown

Monday, August 18th, 2014

The Associated Press’ Nicholas Riccardi reported Aug. 15 that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s spokesman, Alex Siciliano, “noted that, before the shutdown, Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open.”

Maybe Siciliano doesn’t listen to Gardner much on talk radio. Maybe he’s too busy talking to reporters on behalf of his boss.

But when I read Riccardi’s piece, I recalled hearing Gardner advocate for, as opposed to against, demanding Dems defund Obamacare or face a government shutdown.

On August 1, 2013, two months before the government shutdown, Gardner told KOA’s Mike Rosen:

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. 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. [BigMedia emphasis]

If that’s a warning “against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open,” then mushrooms aren’t popping up in our mountains right now (and they are).

Next time Gardner’s Siciliano tells me something, if I’m a reporter, I think I go the extra mile to make sure it’s accurate.

Context in Associated Press story helps readers understand nuances of immigration issue

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

An Associated Press article last week reported on the clashes between Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, on immigration issues. The AP piece, by Nicholas Riccardi, not only presents the two candidates’ current positions on the topic but also adds info about what the one of the  candidates is not saying.

Gardner last week said that he did support citizenship for people here illegally who served in the military. But he would not give any more specifics about who else should be granted citizenship.

Information about what  candidates aren’t willing to say allows readers to make meaningful comparisons.

It helps voters distinguish, in this case, a narrow immigration position, like Gardner’s, from a broader one, like the comprehensive immigration reform supported by Udall. (Reporters covering Rep. Mike Coffman should also point out his unwillingness to offer a specific immigration plan, beyond vagaries–unlike his Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff, who’s a backer of the bipartisan Senate bill.)

Riccardi’s piece clearly states that Udall supports the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate, and Gardner does not.

Gardner has long opposed any immigration reform, even reduced college tuition for undocumented young people, until unspecified border security measures are in place.

Gardner attacked Udall for supporting a 2005 bill that would have made it a felony to be in the United States illegally, Riccardi reported.

For context, as he did with the two candidates’ current immigration stances, Riccardi should have contrasted Gardner’s own positions back then to Udall’s.

Gardner, for example, was part of an organization called State Legislators for Legal Immigration, according to a May 22, 2007 Greeley Tribune article. Among other extreme immigration positions, Gardner’s group wanted to prohibit the children of undocumented immigrants from attending school, even elementary school, and from receiving all other public assistance.

This comports with Gardner’s 2006 vote in the state legislature against providing any benefits, including preventative care, like immunizations, to undocumented children as well as adults. At the time, Gardner was allied with the lawmakers in Colorado who thought the tough compromise legislation, passed during the special session in 2006, didn’t go far enough.

Reporters should clarify that Coffman is not supportive of citizenship path via college

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

UPDATE 3/9/24: Associated Press reporter Nick Riccardi sent me a couple tweets, offering additional information about his interview with Coffman referenced in the blog post below:

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog FYI in his interview Coffman expressed hope that his military bill would be joined to a broader DREAM type bill.

Jason Salzman: @NickRiccardi Thanks very much. Did he say that he now supports a path to citizenship via college for undocumented young people?

Nick Riccardi: @BigMediaBlog Essentially, though I haven’t seen the bill he referenced so I don’t know how narrow it may be.

Jason Salzman: Maybe it was one of the bills that the GOP was thinking of offering instead of the Senate bill./// In any case, if Coffman supports citizenship via college, he’s with Dream Act, in most forms. A big shift, as i see it. News.

—–

Journalists continue to report that Rep. Mike Coffman is being nicer to young undocumented immigrants than he really is.

Coffman supports giving young immigrants a path to citizenship if they sign up for military service but not if they enroll in college. The Dream Act, which Coffman has voted against in 2010, offers citizenship through both college and the military to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Reporting on Coffman’s position today, the Associated Press stated:

After seeing fast-growing Hispanic and Asian populations overwhelmingly back Democrats in 2012, Coffman embraced citizenship for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

This is accurate, but somewhat misleading because, Coffman isn’t embracing citizenship for young immigrants as much as he’s allowing it, since his one-track path to citizenship is so narrow.

Later, the article reports that Coffman was moved to help immigrants by his discussions with undocumented immigrants who could not go to college, without stating, specifically, that Coffman does not support a citizenship path via college.

Coffman says his change of heart on immigration dates from discussions with young people in the country illegally who cannot join the military or go to college.

“I really believe that the strongest expression of American citizenship is serving this country in uniform,” said Coffman, a Marine Corps and Army veteran. He’s proposed granting citizenship to any young person here illegally who enlists.

That’s accurate, but especially since Coffman brought up college himself, the article should have noted that he’s not offering citizenship to any young person here illegally who enrolls in college

Reporters should not spread Gessler’s misinformation that 2013 election law set deadline in recall elections

Friday, August 16th, 2013

Correction: This post was corrected to state that the CO Constitution gives recall candidates until 15 days before an election to qualify for the ballot.

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What led to the latest court ruling in two recall elections in southern Colorado is an apparent conflict between Colorado’s Constitution, which gives recall candidates until 15 days before the election to qualify for the election ballot, and Colorado law, which gives them 10 days after the election date is set.

But it wasn’t Colorado’s new election modernization law (HB13-1303) that set the 10-day deadline.

It was actually a 2012 law, sponsored by Republican Keith King and Democrat Nancy Todd. It set the 10-day window. Here’s the relevant portion of HB12-1293 that’s now on the books:

1-12-117. Nomination of successor. (1) FOR PARTISAN ELECTIONS, a candidate to succeed the officer sought to be recalled shall meet the qualifications of a party candidate or an unaffiliated candidate as provided in part 8 of article 4 of this title and shall be nominated by a political party petition or an unaffiliated petition as provided in part 9 of article 4 of this title. Nomination petitions MAY BE CIRCULATED BEGINNING THE FIRST DATE ON WHICH A PROTEST MAY BE FILED and affidavits of intent to run as a write-in candidate shall be filed no later than fifteen TEN CALENDAR days after the date on which the appropriate governing body convenes and DESIGNATED ELECTION OFFICIAL sets the election date AS PROVIDED IN SECTION1-12-111. 

The Denver Post got it wrong in a Spot blog post yesterday, reporting that the new election law set the 10-day limit, and the Associated Press made the same implication in a story yesterday.

If it weren’t for the 2013 election law, county clerks would have been able to choose not to run an all-mail-in-ballot recall election, because the law mandates all-mail voting. But they still would have had to rely on the 10-day deadline for permanent vote-by-mail voters and for absentee and overseas ballots, including ballots for military personnel. So the statutory conflict with the state constitution would have come up anyway.

In fact the problem would have arose had a recall election occurred anytime since Colorado started using mail ballots in the 1990′s as ColoradoPols has pointed out yesterday, citing former GOP Secretary of State Donetta Davidson.

I can’t blame reporters for being confused, however, when you have the state’s top election official, Scott Gessler, spreading false information about this topic and promoting himself in the process.

On KOA’s Mike Rosen show Aug. 13, Secretary of State Scott Gessler held up himself as  white knight who tried to fix the 10-day-deadline problem in the election modernization bill, even though the new law isn’t the cause of the problem. Listen to Gessler here @4 minutes into the recording.

Rosen: “A judge ruled that a provision of the state Constitution, that apparently only applies to a recall election, says that you only have 15 days prior to the election to turn in enough signatures to get your candidate’s name on the ballot. And the lawsuit brought by the Libertarians says instead they were given only 10 days after the Governor set the election date…It’s a little confusing, since the Constitution conflicts with election-reform legislation passed in the last session. Now it all lands back in Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s lap… I gave a brief summary. Put some more details on it. ”

Gessler: “Well, your summary is pretty accurate. We had tried to harmonize the statute and the Constitution. Ironically, I was very much opposed to the legislation that went through last year but found myself in the position where I had to defend it….”

Rosen: “How about the conflict between what the state Constitution says, that apparently applies only to recall elections, and what was in the new legislation passed this year?”

Gessler: “Well, the judge held that it was a conflict. We had tried to harmonize it, but it is what it is. So our approach is, you know, we’ve got to make this work.

Rosen should have Gessler back on his show to explain that the 2013 election-mondernization law did not lead to the latest court ruling in the recall elections, and media outlets who published misleading articles should clarify.

9News won’t refer to an individual as an “illegal immigrant”

Monday, April 15th, 2013

During the debut Sunday of its occasional political discussion program, Balance of Power, 9News announced that after  the April 2 decision by the Associated Press to stop using the term “illegal immigrant,” 9News reviewed its use of the term and decided not to use it to describe an individual.

“When referring to individuals, we’ll refer to them as people in this country illegally, or simply, people here illegally,” 9News anchor Kyle Clark announced in a Sunday newscast.

The Denver Post is also reviewing whether to change its style guideline for “illegal immigrant,” in the wake of the AP decision.

9News explained.

The Associated Press recently announced it would confine the use of the word illegal to actions, rather than individuals. 9NEWS decided the AP’s guidelines make sense. Our goal to use language accurately, precisely and fairly.

We’ll continue to use the term illegal immigration to describe the larger issue. When referring to individuals, we’ll refer to them as people in this country illegally, or simply, people here illegally.

We’ll take care to note, when speaking about specific individuals, whether their legal status has been adjudicated by the government. That mirrors our policy of specifying whether someone accused of breaking any criminal or civil law has been found guilty or is simply accused.

“It’s more accurate,” 9News concluded. “And that’s our goal.”

9News did the right thing by putting manipulative banner in context

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

You’re feeling pretty good right now if you were one of the gun-rights activists who paid for the biplane that flew over the Colorado Capitol Monday carrying a banner: “Hick: Do Not Take our Guns.”

Local reporters ate up the banner, and a Google search turns up about 2,000 hits.

One problem: The banner is totally misleading, in the context of what is actually happening below the plane on the ground at the Capitol.

If you own a gun, you won’t lose it under the proposed legislation. And if you’re a law-abiding citizen, the bills won’t affect your ability to buy a gun.

As such, you’d think reporters who cited the banner would have pointed out, hey, its message doesn’t connect with reality in Colorado.

But just one story bothered to say that the banner was a sky-high form of manipulation.

As far as I can tell, only 9News’ political reporter Brandon Rittiman did the right thing and put the banner in context:

A constant drone of honking car horns could be heard from inside the governor’s office, part of a demonstration against the gun control measures. A hired airplane flew over the Capital for hours towing a banner that read, “HICK: DO NOT TAKE OUR GUNS.”

“There’s a plane flying around that’s saying, ‘Hick, don’t take our guns.’ Well, here’s the answer: we’re not taking any guns,” said the governor.

While nobody would have to give up a gun they currently own under the proposals, the protestors still see them as overly restrictive of the second amendment. [bigmedia emphasis]

Other reporters let the banner speak for itself.

Associated Press reporters Ivan Moreno and Kristen Wyatt’s piece, which was picked up widely, including by the Washington Post, described some of the gun bills under consideration, but didn’t refute the implication of the banner:

A biplane flying above the Capitol Monday warned the governor, “HICK: DO NOT TAKE OUR GUNS!” Hickenlooper backs expanded background checks and has said he’s considering a bill to limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. He hasn’t indicated where he stands on other measures, including whether he supports a proposal that would hold sellers and owners of assault weapons liable for shootings by such firearms.

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee reported:

The biplane flying over the Capitol carried a not-so-subtle message to the Democratic governor: “Hick, don’t take our guns.”

(To be fair, Post coverage described the gun bills in separate articles, but still.)

Television stories by Fox 31’s Kim Posey and 7News Anica Padilla reported the banner and provided no context.

If you’ve made it to this point in this blog post, you might be thinking that this isn’t such a big deal. A manipulative banner. What else is new?

But the response by reporters to the banner is emblematic of how gun-rights activists have managed to push their accusation of a gun-grab into the debate at the Capitol without being called out on it.

The don’t-take-my-gun banner isn’t an outright lie that can be corrected, but reporters should try harder to defend readers from the you’re-going-to-lose-your-gun spin that’s being pushed at the Capitol.

Politico incorrectly reports that Coffman now backs “pathway to citizenship for immigrants residing in the country illegally, and for their children”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

On Feb. 10, at a public forum in Aurora, Rep. Mike Coffman told the crowd (See video here.):

“I haven’t resolved the question about a pathway to citizenship for (adults) who’ve overstayed their visa or crossed the border illegally,” Coffman said.

Coffman also said that 1) he supports granting undocumented children, brought to America by their parents, a pathway to citizenship (through military service) and also that 2) he supports granting “legal status” (not necessarily citizenship) to undocumented adults.

Since then, a number of news outlets reported Coffman’s new positions on immigration, and they speculated that he’s modifying his views because he’s now vulnerable (or desperate) in his new district with a large Hispanic population.

But some journalists and bloggers are creating the false impression, or actually misreporting, that Coffman supports a path to citizenship for undocumented adults, when as far as I know, he does not.

Yesterday, for example Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported, in an article with the misleading headline of “Mike Coffman Does a 180 on Immigration:

“[Coffman] came out in favor of establishing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants residing in the country illegally, and for their children.”

I’ve requested a correction from Isenstadt, but he didn’t immediately respond.

In a blog post last week, I spotlighted a misleading headline atop a blog post by Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Curtis Hubbard. It read, “Four Reasons why Rep. Mike Coffman, (R-Aurora), Saw the Light on the Dream Act.”

In fact, Coffman supports one of the DREAM Act’s two paths to citizenship (military enrollment) not the other path (high school or college graduation). So, he hasn’t seen much light on the DREAM Act. As of today, he’d vote against it, as he did in 2010.

I have to say that in a previous blog post, I also overstated Coffman’s new position on the Dream Act, and I tweeted that he flipped when he hadn’t. Long ago, I guess, I convinced my own self that he was sure to flip at some point, and when it looked like he did a 180, I rushed to my keyboard. But actually, he just modified his position, as explained above.

I corrected my blog post. I hope the bigger, badder journalists out there correct their stories or stop misleading us about, as AP put it, Coffman’s “change of heart” on immigration.

Reporters covering the ASSET bill introduction at the State Capitol

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

I’m launching a project this year called “Still Standing: Journalists at Work.”

I’ll be tweeting and blogging photos of CO journos on the job.

To  start, some photos of reporters covering the ASSET news conference today at the State Capitol.

From left, AP's Ivan Moreno and The Denver Post's Tim Hoover cover the introduction of the ASSET bill

AP’s Ivan Moreno (left, front) and The Denver Post’s Tim Hoover (center, front) and other reporters cover the introduction of the ASSET bill

Fox 31's Eli Stokols conducts an interview after ASSET news conference.

Fox 31′s Eli Stokols conducts an interview after ASSET news conference.

Reporters should question Coffman on abortion for rape and incest like they did Ken Buck

Friday, October 26th, 2012

In a good story today, Associated Press reporter Ivan Moreno, discusses how the personhood amendment isn’t on the Colorado ballot but it’s nonetheless a big part of this year’s election debate. The Associated Press reported:

An anti-abortion proposal to ban the procedure in all circumstances isn’t on Colorado ballots this year — but the divisive measure is still playing a big role in the state’s political campaigns.

The article goes on to report the details, which I’ll get into below, but readers would have benefited from some background on how GOP candidates in Colorado talked about their ties to personhood in 2010. And compared that to what’s happening today.

Two years ago, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck decided to un-endorse personhood, but stuck to his position opposing abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. Other top-line personhood supporters in 2010, like Rep. Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman, did not back off their positions.

This time, as AP reports, GOP congressional candidate Joe Coors has apparently un-endorsed personhood, and he’s definitely flipped on his position opposing abortion in the case of rape and incest.

But Mike Coffman is following Ken Buck’s path on personhood, distancing himself from the measure itself, but standing firm with key elements of personhood, including opposition to embryonic stem cell research and abortion for rape and incest.

He told The Denver Post in August, with no elaboration, that he’s against all abortion, except to save the mother’s life.

Today’s AP article points out that Coffman is trying to skirt personhood-related questions by saying he’s not focused on abortion rights.

That’s exactly what Buck tried to do, but reporters and other media types, like KHOW’s Craig Silverman, rightfully wouldn’t let him get away with continuing the dodge. They pressed Buck on the issue, forcing him to explain his thinking fully and openly.

And they were right to do so, as women’s issues are of obvious importance to voters.

Recall this exchange with Buck on KHOW’s defunct Caplis and Silverman radio show:

Craig: Let’s say, god forbid, that a 13-year-old boy impregnates his 14-year-old sister and does it by forced rape. You’re saying that the 14-year-old and anybody involved in the abortion should be prosecuted, if they choose to terminate the pregnancy, either through surgical abortion or a morning after pill?

Buck: I think it is wrong, Craig. I think it is morally wrong. And you are taking a very small group of cases and making a point about abortion. We have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of abortions in this country every year. And the example that you give is a very poignant one but an extremely rare occurrence.

Craig: Incest happens. I’m sure your office prosecutes it. And we know rape and sexual assault happen all the time, and your office prosecutes it. So it’s not completely rare. I agree that most abortions have nothing to do with that. I don’t know if I’d go with rare.

And during a televised debate on CBS4, Gloria Neal asked Buck, “Will you really make a raped woman carry a child to full term?”

Buck said that “we need to stay focused on the issues that voters in this state care about, and those are spending and jobs.”

Neal responded:

“Social issues are important to the voters in this state. I am one of them. So I need you to answer that question, because in addition to votes and jobs and all of that abortion is very important, and when you start talking about rape and incest, that is important to the voters. So, please, answer that question.”

Buck then said:

“I am pro-life, and I don’t believe in the exceptions of rape and incest.”

This is the kind of questioning we need from reporters when Mike Coffman tries to dodge questions about personhood/rape because these issues allegedly aren’t his current focus, though obviously they have been in the past.