Archive for the 'Blogs' Category

Kaminsky’s departure may help conservatives

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Ross Kaminsky wrote this morning that he’ll mostly stop posting on his blog, Rossputin.com, but he’ll continue writing for the American Spectator and hosting his occasional weekend KOA talk-radio show.

Kaminsky took the occasion of his Rossputin announcement to predict a Romney victory in 2012.

He should have spiced up this boring prediction by adding that his own departure from the daily Colorado blogging scene might help Romney win, despite Kaminsky’s conservative leanings.

Here’s a Kaminsky blog post, titled Si se puede indeed, that illustrates my point:

Just what does it say about Colorado elections when, as Senator Mark Udall, stood up at noon in Denver today to introduce newly elected (formerly appointed) Senator Michael Bennet, the chant of the crowd behind him was “Si se puede!”?

When our elections are being determined by people who think it appropriate not to speak english at an event surrounding the election of an American to the highest legislative office in the nation, we have a problem.

So Kaminsky, who refers to himself as “one of the most influential pro-liberty bloggers” in Colorado, isn’t the kind of guy Colorado Republican Chair Ryan Call, who’s promised to make Mitt Romney available for two appearances on Fernando Sergio’s Spanish-language radio show in Denver, wants to cite when he tries to say the GOP is respectful to Hispanics.

Romney could also do without Kaminsky’s advocacy of water-boarding as punishment, which earned him a recent nomination for Andrew Sillivan’s Malkin Award.

Here’s the choice Kaminsky paragraph inspired Sullivan to nominate Kaminsky:

“At least Hayes had the courage to offer a sincere-sounding apology, though I’m certainly not alone with my suspicion that he truly believes everything he said, and everything his co-religionists in the cult of anti-Americanism said alongside him to besmirch our soldiers — living, dead, and fallen — on this Memorial Day weekend. Our soldiers take an oath to defend America against enemies foreign and domestic. Clearly, domestic enemies are in MSNBC studios, though I don’t suggest they be punished or harmed. They have every right to be idiots, though one would prefer that they at least recognize who is risking life and limb to protect that right. While I understand the temptation to waterboard Chris Hayes, the right answer is to understand that he represents today’s Democratic Party. The proper punishment for Mr. Hayes and his ilk is to make sure their TV ratings are as low as possible (which may already be the case when it comes to Mr. Hayes’ show) and to vote against Democratic candidates, other than those who (unlike John Kerry) have served with honor, at every opportunity,” - Ross KaminskyAmerican Spectator.

Here’s Sullivan’s comments about Kaminsky’s thoughts:

The most revealing thing about this rant is its understanding of waterboarding. It is, in Kaminsky’s eyes, an instrument of punishment. Every now and again, the far right shows its hand. The adoption of torture was as much about revenge and payback as it was a misguided, illegal, desperate attempt to get intelligence by methods never designed (by totalitarians) to get intelligence.

So I have to say, Ross Kaminsky, may you go far, wherever that is for you.

New media can inform us about small-time candidates like legacy media never did

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Even in their heyday, the big urban news outlets almost never covered state legislative races very well, much less school board, city council, and other local elections. Small-time election campaigns were seen, for the most part, as boring to the mass audience, especially on local TV news.

New media offer great ways to get to know local candidates in depth, if you have the tiniest bit of inclination dig it up with few clicks of a mouse.

One such new-media platform is internet-only radio, where even the lowliest candidate for the lowliest race can shine.

“Art’s Place,” which aired on BlogTalkRadio Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (and is available 24/7 via podcast) is one such example.

The host of “Art’s Place” is Art Carlson, who’s running in the Republican primary for Senate District 28.

Last Saturday, April 21, for example, Carlson had Art “Skip” Carlson on his show. (Yes, they have the same name, but Art Skip Carlson is running for House District 50.)

The interview, covering a wide range of topics, compliments and expands on information on his campaign website and elsewhere.

I won’t present the entire interview here, because you should just listen to it if you’re interested.  But I’ll pull out a few highlights:

ART CARLSON: Let’s find out a little bit more about you.  Why are you running for State House, Skip?

ART “SKIP” CARLSON:  Well, Art, I’m a fourth generation Coloradan.  In fact, I’m a fourth generation Weld County person. We’ve been active in politics, we’ve been active in the community for my whole life.  My parents were. My great uncle was governor of the state of Colorado.  We’ve had representatives from my family – my ancestry in the statehouse ever since Colorado became a state.  And you know, we had to vote on our constitution four times before it was ever actually accepted as a state.  We would not, had we been successful in our first run at the state, would not have been the Centennial State but would have indeed been in two years before.  So, with all of that background, I just thought  I needed to give something back to the community and the country that has been so great to me, full of opportunity.  I didn’t succeed at all things.  But I’ve had an opportunity to do things, and it’s been a great place to live and a great place to raise a family, and I just want to protect that.

ART CARLSON: All right. And what are your main issues that you’re going to tackle down at the capitol?

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: [chuckles] Well, you know, Art, that’s one thing that so many people ask me!  [inaudible] says, “Well, what are you going  to go down there and …”  I said, “you know, I don’t know that I’m going to go down there and do anything other than get rid of a bunch of things that don’t belong there.  I think, all of these people going down and saying, “I’m going to pass this law for this and, I’m going to pass this for that…” without thinking of the ramifications and looking into the past and seeing, well, if we got rid of something, maybe, your goal would be accomplished by getting rid of some of the encumbrances that we have in the Statehouse now.  But, what I’m going to have is opportunity.  My by-word is ‘Opportunity to succeed for all.’  Forget about some of these government regulations … some of this stuffI’m tired of governments – state, local, and so forth, giving these significant tax credits to huge corporations to come in and build their buildings, and go to work, and put our small businesses out of work, and we can’t work with our small businesses which is the backbone of Colorado, and the backbone of this country, to help them be successful and to flourish, because that is so much better.  So, that’s basically what I’m after, is getting back to local – as local as you can on anything and making sure that everybody has an opportunity to succeed….

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …the past four years when the democrats controlled both houses and we had a really liberal governor, and they decided to put in these taxes.  And they figured out a way to get around TABOR.  But they don’t call them taxes. They call them fees.

ART CARLSON: [laughs]

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: … The FASTER thing that came in, where people just to go register their cars had to pay additional funds, is nothing but a huge, terrible tax on those who could least afford it, and that’s the low income, and those people who are on Social Security — on fixed income.  It hurt them significantly and it didn’t raise that much money.

ART CARLSON: That’s right!  I had two cars and I had to get rid of one because I just couldn’t afford the insurance and the taxes on it.

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: … We certainly need some money for road and bridge and so forth.  But we ought to think about working some deals, having a consumptive tax, perhaps raise the tax on the gas, on a exchange for getting rid of some of the things that the oil and gas people have to do, and to get rid of FASTER, would be far, far more fair, raise significantly more money, and be much, much better off for the entire community.

ART CARLSON: That’s right.  If we just grow the economy, that will bring in more revenue too.

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: Oh, absolutely!….

ART CARLSON: What are your thoughts on vouchers and charter schools?

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: “I love charter schools. My grandson is in a charter school.  And as I’m going down to the  Statehouse, I don’t think that I should have that responsibility, although I will have because that’s who it has deferred to. I think the local community should handle that stuff the best they possibly can. We put some new charter schools in here in Greeley, and they are doing extremely well. The public school is having a little bit of a tough time, but as it ends up, all and all, we’re doing a little bit better and I think if we do more of those things.

And I’m for vouchers. Vouchers are nothing more than competition, competition based on who’s doing the best job. If my grandson, who is one that we sent to a private school, and we sent him there only because he needed that, and that was the best place we could find for his education. We didn’t wake up one day and say, we got a bunch of money we want to waste. Let’s see, where can we waste money today. No, because we didn’t have the money to waste, but we invested it in my grandson’s education as well as a number of other people did here in Greeley. And that education he has gotten from that school has been just tremendous. And now it’s part of the Greeley system as a charter school, and they are doing very well…

ART CARLSON: …I really love living here in Colorado….

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …Colorado is a wonderful place. We’ve got to keep working at it. I’ve  got another meeting that I have to run off to here, Art.

ART CARLSON: Well, it’s been great having you, Skip. It was an honor having you on the show. It’s so much fun talking to you. You have such knowledge of the state, and I really like to pick at your brain more. Unfortunately, next week is the last episode of Art’s Place since I have to devote more time to the campaign… I think it would be amazing at roll call when they have to announce two Art Carlsons.

ART “SKIP” CARLSON: …That would be a good thing.

ART CARLSON: Yes it would.

If you look around the web, you don’t find as many radio blogs in Colorado, like Art Carlson’s, as you might expect. And, as he said, he’s suspending his show. Carlson seems like the kind of guy who will help you get one going, if you want to pick up the slack.

 

What did Tipton campaign tell the Colorado Observer?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

I’m going to name three political figures, and you tell me how they became embroiled in mini-media frenzies over digitally altered images or websites.

Marc Holtzman

Scott McInnis

Andrew Romanoff

Here are the answers: GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman’s photo was altered in 2006 to make him look taller than Reagan. GOP gubernatorial candidate McInnis’ 2009 website portrayed the Canadian Rockies as our own. And Romanoff doctored a photo on his 2010 Senate campaign website to make a crowd look more diverse.

If you got any of the right answers, and you should have, it’s because of all the media attention they got in Denver.

And deservedly so. Maybe they aren’t the biggest deal in the world, in the mix of all the ways political candidates are polished and handled, but digital alterations are tangible acts that can get real people, none of whom read this blog, thinking about politics and the real issues involved.

Same with expensive hair and mustache cuts by candidates.

Such an opportunity presents itself today, in an article broken by the Colorado Independent, a progressive news site

It reported yesterday that the Colorado Observer, a conservative website, posted a story Saturday with the following quote from Rep. Scott Tipton’s campaign Manager, Michael Fortney:

“With gas prices doubled, the national debt doubled, and unemployment has barely moved, we feel good.”

Then, after the Washington Post spotlighted the Fortney quote, it was changed on the Observer website to:

“Voters in the 3rd District are rejecting Obama’s policies that have led to gas prices doubling, the national debt doubled, and unemployment has barely moved. We feel good about our chances.”

Fortney told The Post that the Observer originally quoted him out of context. He told The Denver Post:

“I was not out talking to him about policies,” Fortney said this morning. “I was talking to him about electoral prospects, how the campaign was going to go in 2012 … Scott is voting for a budget that will rein in the deficit, rein in high gas prices.”

Fortney told The Post that the phase “about our chances” had been left out of the Observer article, and as you can see, it was  added to the Observer’s corrected quotation, along with other changes.

So what’s up with the Observer? What exactly did Fortney say? How did the changes to the quote come to pass?

I can hear skeptics, two of which read this blog, saying that the fact that the Observer changed the quote, and not the Tipton campaign, lessens the news value of this story.

But we’re talking about the Observer, a right-leaning entity, here. If The Denver Post had changed or altered a quote, the political significance would not be the same (and a correction would have been written). As it is, there could be more to this story than meets the eye.

The Observer remains mum about the incident. The Colorado Independent reports that it did not return e-mails, and its website provides no enlightenment.

I was able to reach Observer Valerie Richardson, who told me:

“I’ve got to tell you, I was completely out of the loop on that,” she said I hear. “It wasn’t my story. I probably know as much as you do, if not less. Max would be the one to ask.”

She was referring to Mac Zimmerman, who’s listed as the copyright agent for the site. He did not respond to my email seeking comment. He’s in Malaysia, Richardson told me, but she had been in touch with him via email an hour before I tried. I wanted to confirm that he is the former chief of staff for Josh Penry and worked for Tom Tancredo, but I haven’t heard back from him.

More local reporters at the legacy news outlets should cover this story, and try to get an answer from the Observer on what happened and why. What’s the relationship between the Observer and Tipton?

This is the kind of political story that sheds light on how political campaigns operate nowadays.

As traditional media continue to decline, it’s time for bloggers to step up

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

[Update: This post originally stated that Westword's Michael Roberts is responsible for eight blog posts per day, written by himself and other staff, on the Latest Word blog. Due to poor reporting on my part, I got this wrong. He is actually responsible for eight posts himself, Roberts kindly tells me, adding that Westword aims for at least 12 posts per day on Latest word, eight by Roberts and four or more by others.]

As The Denver Post sinks and shrinks, there’s no getting around the fact that, even if you hate them, bloggers become more important as opinion (and information) providers.

So I thought this would be a good moment to offer up some tips on blogging from Colorado bloggers, to inspire more and better blogging

For some reason, it took me about 15 minutes to write those two lousy sentences, which is around 14 minutes more than Westword Latest Word blogger Michael Roberts would have probably required.

“I’d love to write more slowly and linger over words and phrases, but in this context you have to open up the channel, receive and send. It’s not like you have the luxury to spend 10 or 15 minutes on a sentence.”

I called Roberts at about 1:30 p.m. Friday. He’d posted 10 items during the day, but he said, “I’ll be damned if I know how.”

“At the end of the day, if I were asked to tell you every post I wrote, I would be unable to do so.”

If you follow Roberts, you know he’s in a league by himself, among Colorado bloggers, in terms of productivity. He told me that being curious is a big help in writing so much.

But I wondered about his typing speed. Without meaning to diminish the quality of his writing, I asked if he was a really fast typist.

“I am a quick typist,” he told me. “One of my stock lines is. If I ever lose this job, I’d have a decent shot at a gig as an executive secretary.”

“I have at least one more [blog post] to do before I’m done for the day,” he said as we ended our brief conversation. He’d exceeded his daily target of eight posts, including four with an original concept and content, but, he said, “Damn it, news didn’t stop. There are a couple of things I really need to do.”

Asked for her advice on blogging, Denver Post blogger Lynn Bartels provided me with this blogger-sized list:

1. Employ nouns.

2. Add art.

3. Mix it up, between the lighthearted and the serious.

Bloggers like to refer back to their own work as early and often as possible, to cut down on typing and to get more mileage out of existing content, and that’s what Bartels did in answer to my question.

“I wrote a number of serious posts last fall about redistricting and reapportionment, including breaking news about new maps,” Bartels wrote me. “But I also had fun. Here’s one of my favorites, simply because of the picture and the cutline: [CLICK HERE].

My favorite recent blog: [CLICK HERE].

ColoradoPols‘ Co-founder Jason Bane said, via email:

The best advice I can give is to keep your writing short and simple. There’s no reason to write 5,000 words if you can make your point in 500, but that’s easier said than done. Most journalists and reporters will tell you that it is actually easier to write 5,000 words than 500, because you have to spend more time thinking about how to get quickly to the point. People don’t visit blogs because they are looking for long-form writing, and the longer you write, the less time you have to write something else.

I agree with Bane, but one trick is to get others to write for you. That’s why I’m grateful to Bane and the others for emailing me their responses to my questions. Unfortunately Westword’s Roberts won’t do email interviews, because he says he writes too much as it is. So I had to talk to him, which is better anyway, if you have the time.

Bane also wrote:

I believe it is also important to stick to a theme as much as possible. Whether you are writing about politics or about yarn, don’t stray too often from your central topic. Think about why readers are coming to your website. If someone visits your yarn blog, they aren’t going to keep coming back if you are always writing about sports, wine, and why you think Spring is the best of the four seasons.

Rossputin’s Ross Kaminsky had these tips:

Write up something just before bed, for posting the next morning. Even better, wake up a few minutes earlier and check the news to write something with maximum newsworthiness.

If you have more than one idea, write them all up, but post-date them so you can cover a couple of days at a time.

It’s widely agreed that posting content early in the day, with edgy headlines, attracts more readers. (And in Colorado, throw in the phrase “medical marijuana” as often as possible.)

Kaminsky continued:

People won’t return to sites which disappoint them with stale material more than a time or two Therefore, don’t bother blogging unless you have something new almost every day, and certainly every work day other than occasional vacations. If you can’t meet that level of supply of writing, try to participate in a group blog (such as Peoples Press Collective, for those of a free market/libertarian/conservative bent.)

Try to find an approach or style of analysis that is sufficiently different from other web sites that your writing will stand out as worth reading. Be honest about your ability to do so. Most people can’t. Like it or not, most people don’t really have enough to add to a discussion that they’re worth taking your time to read. Again, be honest about whether your writing is really different and incisive enough to be worth reading.

Quoting other people and unique sources is usually the best way to keep a blog worth reading. So even if you hated my take on things in this piece, which I wrote for posting during a vacation, at least you heard something from somebody else. With traditional journalism dying, that’s what we need most from bloggers, if they have the time.

Video of personhood press conference shows often-overlooked value of bloggers

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I’m a blogger, so I’m in a good unbiased position to write that bloggers make more contributions to the public debate than they are often given credit for.

No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you have to appreciate the blogger who posts unedited video of public events, like Free Colorado’s Ari Armstrong did yesterday.

Armstrong posted video of a press conference staged by backers of Colorado’s personhood on the occasion of submission of wording for a 2012 personhood amendment.

It’s excellent material, airing out good information, along with Armstrong’s interviews and written analysis, about the initiative.

Here’s his video:

Post’s Carroll and Littwin now blogging

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

You may have noticed that The Denver Post’s op-ed columnists Mike Littwin and Vincent Carroll have written a flurry of blog posts recently.

Well, that is, if you call Littwin’s four posts since Oct. 28 a flurry, which I would, given that Littwin wrote six blog posts this year prior to Oct. 28. Littwin jump started his blogging with string of two blog posts on the same day, Oct. 28.

Carroll has written ten blog posts since Oct. 5, when he apparently first started blogging.

I asked Littwin via email if he was joining the ranks of the blogging class, in addition to writing his normal column.

His response:

Yeah, I’m trying to join the digital-first, or at least digital-second, world. Obviously, you can’t be a full-time columnist and full-time blogger – or an old guy like me can’t, anyway – but I’m trying to do some blogging, and even tweeting, on days when I’m not columnizing. We’ll see how it works. When I’m blogging, I am, by necessity, sacrificing some of the time I would normally spend doing old-fashioned reporting for my column. But I’m not blind to the new realities, so I’m giving it a whirl.

You can find his “Fair and Unbalanced” blog here. Carroll’s blog is here.

They’re both off to a good start. It’s an honor to have them join us here in the blogosphere.

The Denver Post may be on the verge of taking new approach to opinion blogging

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

It’s been bugging me that The Denver Post’s Spot blog runs The Post’s editorial opinion without any other opinions to balance things out.

What about offering a little more diversity of views on the Spot? Or, better yet, scrub the opinion from the blog.

So I sent an email to Post Editorial Page editor Curtis Hubbard:

I notice that you occasionally place Denver Post editorials on the blog. And Alicia Caldwell posts there occasionally.

I don’t think this is fair because readers of the Spot get The Post’s opinion without getting the range of opinion they find on the commentary pages. So, for example, they hear your side on the paid-sick-days initiative but not other views. (Caldwell’s pieces are usually more informational than opinion.)

Even if you argue that The Post’s in-house editorial is centrist, you’d admit that it’s consistently anti-union and, for that matter, pro gay rights.

So I think you should throw Littwin’s and Carroll’s columns onto the blog, if you’re going to offer opinions there, so readers get a range of views.

Hubbard’s response makes you think we may be seeing a new opinion blog emanating from The Post soon:

We originally envisioned that The Spot would need both opinion and news content in order to thrive. Turns out, the politics team is more than capable of producing a popular blog with little help from the opinion side of the building.

Several of the posts you point out were done as part “beta testing” for opinion blogging, which I hope to have more to say on soon.

I’d love to see The Post take a serious shot at opinion blogging.  It’s track record (Gang of Four, Spot misfires) isn’t good, but it appeared that those past efforts were never loved and cared for.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s coming, if anything.

Gardner’s response to The Hill about Dept. of Transportation raises more questions for journos

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

The Hill picked up the ball after KFKA radio host Amy Oliver dropped it, and asked Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) about his statement on Oliver’s radio show Friday that there are “great ideas” floating around to “basically turn the Department of Transportation back to the states.”

The Hill’s Transportation blog reported yesterday:

“When you listen to whole interview it is clear that Rep. Gardner is simply saying there is a discrepancy in transportation funding and Colorado is a net loser when it comes to the money we get back,” Gardner spokesman Rachel Boxer said in a statement provided to The Hill.  “He believes in letting Colorado keep more of the gas tax it collects therefore cutting some of the bureaucracy between the states and Washington.”

Gardner’s office has yet to return my call, so I’m hoping a journalist, or even Oliver, will ask Gardner for details on this, to fill in the journalistic gap here.

First of all, the statement doesn’t actually say anything about whether Gardner believes that the Department of Transportation should be dismantled. So if Gardner’s office is trying to backpedal, he hasn’t done it.

So, the question remains hanging, “Does Gardner think, as he told Oliver, that it’s a great idea to basically turn the Department of Transportation over to the states?” If so, how would he do it? If not, why not?

And Boxer’s statement to the Hill raises a number of other questions, such as: How much of the gasoline tax does he think should be returned to Colorado and other states? How would he cut the Department of Transportation budget to make up for lost funds? How would he determine how much tax money individual states should keep? Does he support the other functions of the Department of Transportation, as described here? Does he believe the Department of Transportation serves the national interest?

Also when you read a transcript of Gardner’s interview with Oliver, it’s not at all “clear,” as Boxer told The Hill, that Gardner was “simply saying” that Colorado should keep more of the gasoline tax it sends to Washington.

That’s what Oliver, the talk show host was saying.

But Gardner got all excited and one upped Oliver. He told her about great ideas to “basically turn the Department of Transportation back to the states.” That sounds like the entire banana to me. Or basically the entire banana. Maybe leave a bite or the skin in Washington DC.

Was this a misstatement on Gardner’s part, rather than a misreading of his interview on the part of The Hill, me, and anyone else in their right mind who heard him on Amy Oliver’s show Friday?

Post should stop rewarding the bad blog behavior of Complete Colorado

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Bloggers like me see it as big win if a serious journalistic entity like The Denver Post credits them for breaking a news story.

People read about your blog in the newspaper, and your audience might increase from three to five.

But the best part is the credibility. Most bloggers still flail on the margins of the media world, hoping more people will take them seriously.

Even bloggers who don’t like The Post have to admit it represents the finest Colorado has to offer, journalism-wise.

So when The Post acknowledges a scoop by your blog, you just gained some standing in the journalism world, making your blog a little harder to ignore, even by reporters who hate bloggers.

So the blog Complete Colorado, a project of the right-leaning Independence Institute, is probably feeling pretty good right about now.

It’s been mentioned by The Post as the “first” to make public the evidence allegedly showing that Denver mayor-elect Michael Hancock was a client of a local prostitution ring.

Post reporters didn’t say Complete Colorado broke a news story.

But Post reporters have repeatedly referred to Complete Colorado as putting the story in motion, even if words like “broke the news” were not used.

To my way of thinking, this amounts to crediting Complete Colorado for breaking the Hancock news story even though The Post doesn’t consider the allegations published by Complete Colorado as a legitimate news story.

In fact, after Complete Colorado published the allegations, Post Publisher Dean Singleton said that no “reputable” news organization would touch the story. It didn’t pass muster as news story because the facts were not verified and the sources not adequate, Singleton said on the Caplis and Silverman show, where Post reporter Chuck Plunkett made similar comments.

It didn’t rise to the level of a legitimate news story, in The Post’s eyes, until later, when Hancock allegedly reneged on a promise to turn over cell phone records to The Post, according to an op-ed by Post Editor Greg Moore, who wrote that the campaign was “stonewalling.”

That’s when the Hancock story was deemed news, as Moore explained in his op-ed on Sunday.

So Complete Colorado deserves credit for nothing in this case, except irresponsibly spreading unsubstantiated anonymous rumors. Nothing resembling journalistic triumph for Complete Colorado.

In an email to me, Post Editor More wrote that his reporters didn’t credit Complete Colorado, but instead cited its action as “a fact in the narrative timeline.”

More wrote me:

As you noted in your email, The Denver Post has not described what Complete Colorado did as “breaking” a story. We simply described the fact that it posted the documents purporting to contain Hancock’s name and that represents nothing more for us than a fact in the narrative timeline.

He’s right.

But here’s an example showing how Complete Colorado was included in a front-page Post news story.

Nine days ago, as those records from Denver Players were first made public by the blog Complete Colorado, Hancock vigorously denied any association with the service. His campaign pledged to The Denver Post and 9News that it would produce cellphone records showing no calls to or from the service, and bank records that would show whether he made cash withdrawals on or near the dates in question.

You can see why I think most readers would mistakenly believe that The Post, above, is giving Complete Colorado credit for breaking a news story, even though if you read carefully, you see The Post isn’t doing so.

So here’s a proposed solution:

Going forward on this story, if an irresponsible outfit like Complete Colorado must be mentioned for background, The Post and other Denver outlets should state clearly that Complete Colorado published unsubstantiated information, which reputable news outlets would have left in the garbage can, at least until more credible information was found.

Continuing to give de facto credit to Complete Colorado encourages it, and other bloggers, to act irresponsibly in the future.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m really glad The Post is trying to give credit where credit is due to lowly bloggers for breaking news stories.

The Post’s proper acknowledgement of the fine work of bloggers will help journalism and good bloggers survive. But rewarding bad blog behavior, like rumor-mongering, hurts journalism, bloggers, and everyone else.

El Paso GOP passes resolution urging Republican county officers not to criticize elected Republicans

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

The El Paso County Republican Party executive committee passed a measure last night recommending, but not mandating, that party officers refrain from criticizing elected Republicans.

ReclaimTheBlue blogger Al Maurer broke the story that a resolution was introduced by Republican Bob Denny “on behalf of Rep. Amy Stephens” and was “designed to stifle opposition to SB-200.” HB 200, which cleared the Colorado House today by a 44-21 vote, establishes health insurance exchanges and has been opposed by Tea Party organizations, while supported by business organizations.

Denny, who represents HD-20 on the El Paso County Republican Party executive committee, told me today that Stephens asked him to bring it up, but he did not introduce the measure on her behalf.

“It was precipitated by SB 200, but the issue was broader than that,” Denny said. “She was concerned about it, and I introduced the measure in general terms.”

Denny declined to say who helped draft the resolution.

“Not that we don’t have freedom of speech, but as party officers, when you’re talking to the press or sending a mass email or something, you shouldn’t undermine party elected officials,” he said. “Party officers don’t agree with everything all the time, but we should at least be neutral.”

“The purpose of our officers is to get Republicans into office, and not undermine the work of those we sent to Denver,” Denny said, adding that there’s no way a resolution like this could stifle debate on SB-200 or other issues people care about.

Denny said it wasn’t practical for a party officer to broadcast personal opinions, for example to reporters, outside of his or her role as a party officer, because the party officer would inevitably be seen as representing the Republican Party.

“I was in the Air Force,” he said. “When you put a uniform on and you start talking, you were seen a representing the Air Force. You might say, I’m speaking for myself, but the press are going to pick you up as representing the Air Force.”

The resolution, which Denny said was a recommendation to the GOP central committee, passed after amendments were added, among which was changing “shall” to “should,” specifying that no mandate was passed, only guidance to party officers.

Maurer wrote on his blog post, which was titled, “Stifling Debate in the El Paso County GOP:”

In the end, cooler heads prevailed, and the measure passed with amendments that made it clear that county officers should remain neutral but were not absolutely prevented from speaking out. A big thanks is due to those on the committee who, while recognizing the need for civility in discourse and party discipline and unity, also balanced that with concerns for free speech and reasoned, open debate. You can read the measure for yourself, with my handwritten edits, here.

But watch what you write on Facebook, Twitter or your blog–all mentioned specifically in the measure–Big Sis is watching. Clearly name-calling and personal attacks are simply rude and uncalled for, but no one in public office should have a problem with honest disagreements on policy. We’re not Democrats after all.