Archive for the 'Colorado Springs Gazette' Category

Contrary to blogger’s claim, reporter sought comment and clarification and utterances of any kind

Monday, May 8th, 2017

In a blog post April 29, ColoradoPolitics.com reporter Joey Bunch criticized Western Wire, a news service backed by the oil and gas industry via the Western Energy Alliance, for a post that, Bunch wrote, “left an impression” that last Saturday’s climate protests were canceled due to snow.

Bunch reported:

The article goes on to cite a Facebook post about the event in Colorado Springs being cancelled. The story, however, makes mentions of Denver, including a forecast of 12 inches of snow in the metro area, but never says whether its event is cancelled or a go.

I e-mailed [Western Wire reporter] Johnson to ask about the “Denver-area climate marches” the article refers to, and why an industry site is doing a weather story and sending it out to reporters who might be thinking about covering the event.

He replied that the story specifically cites the Colorado Springs event. “And where exactly in the story did we dissuade reporters from going?” he wrote about the story e-mailed to reporters.

The Western Wire article failed to mention the Colorado Springs march was moved to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. beginning at Colorado Springs City Hall.

Many advocates would cry and wail about Bunch’s post in anonymous tweets, but to his credit, Western Wire’s Matt Dempsey responded directly in a post titled, “Our Friend Joey Bunch Missed The Mark.” He claimed Bunch “missed the point of our reporting entirely.”

I agree with Bunch that Dempsey’s post created the impression that the Denver demonstrations were at least threatened with cancellation, if not cancelled. But Dempsey claims in his post that he had actually wanted reporters to attend the rallies. “After all, the giant snowstorm that hit Colorado highlighted the supreme irony of the anti-fossil fuel activists’ campaign,” wrote Dempsey in his blog post. And he pointed out that Western Wire’s post linked to updated information about the Colorado Springs rally.

But I can’t figure why Dempsey concluded his post this way:.

It also makes us wonder why Joey didn’t just ask for a clarification in his email, instead of seeking comment for a critique of our story. Western Wire, like any other news outlet, is open to readers asking for clarifications or corrections. But that’s not what happened here.

The question to Joey is: Why not?

This is funny because Bunch sought (and got!) a comment from Western Wire. He’s a reporter, not a reader who might seek a correction or clarification. He asked for Western Wire’s thoughts or utterances of any kind–including clarifying variety. That’s what journalists do when they send you an email with questions and an explanation of what they’re doing.

Bunch provided me with the questions and background information that he emailed to Western Wire prior to writing his story. Here it is.

Did you guys try to confirm that with anybody yesterday? You really come away from your story thinking the thing was cancelled. I’m going to blog about the event, and it’s a side note that an industry wire service was seemingly dissuading reporters and attendees from going the day before. I’m not sure what the point of a weather story on Western Wire was all about.

But Dempsey says Bunch should have followed up again, if necessary, to determine Western Wire’s intentions. Dempsey told me, via email:

Our point is that Joey made a bad assumption by asserting that the Western Wire news story suggested the event was cancelled, and that somehow by posting it online and emailing it that we were discouraging reporters from attending.

Instead of trying to understand what the story actually said, he was in a rush to get comment for a rebuttal story of his own.

Following his story we felt a need to weigh in through a commentary piece. Our aim was to be respectful while still making our point.

Bunch is more worried about the journalism practiced at Western Wire.

“I’m not offended at all by Matt Dempsey’s opinion of me, and I don’t know any reporters who are taking it seriously,” Bunch emailed in response to my request for a comment. “I’m not. It’s the disregard for journalistic principles of fairness and accuracy in both blogs that bothers me as a person who’s been doing this for 30-something years. It doesn’t speak well for Western Wire as a news source or the Western Energy Alliance, if it continues to stand behind it.”

Dempsey continues to stand behind his post, maybe not understanding how serious it is to claim a journalist didn’t do the most basic aspect of his job–when in actuality it seems Dempsey didn’t do his by not giving Bunch the info he needed.

“Ubiquitous” Marcus heads to CO Springs Gazette

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

More moves in Colorado’s political jounalism world. In his “Local News and Media” newsletter, Corey Hutchins reports:

Readers of this newsletter over the past few weeks likely have noticed The Gazette in Colorado Springs is making moves under its new editor, Vince Bzdek, who came from The Washington Post last spring. A bevy of new hires— Joey Bunch from The Denver Post, Jim Trotter from Rocky Mountain PBS— is forming a political team with a goal of ramping up statewide political coverage. The paper, owned by conservative Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz, is already doing its own polling, a service other Colorado newspapers have scrapped as their resources dwindle. The latest hire to the politics team is Peter Marcus, a young and ubiquitous reporter who spent the past few years at The Durango Herald and was at The Colorado Statesman before that.

 

 

 

More bad journalism news with a silver lining

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Local journalist Corey Hutchins reports in his “Colorado Local News and Media” newsletter (subscribe here) on the recent upsurge in ongoing shifts among Colorado political reporters:

“…Denver Post political reporter Joey Bunch announced he was leaving to join The Gazette in Colorado Springs, which is beefing up its statewide political profile. But then, Gazette political reporter Megan Schrader announced she was leaving The Gazette to join The Denver Post’s editorial board. This comes after Jim Trotter’s recent move from Rocky Mountain PBS to The Gazette, and Woody Paige also leaving The Denver Post for the Colorado Springs paper.

If that wasn’t enough, The Colorado Statesman, a POLITICO-like subscription-based trade journal, effectively laid off its editorial department— just 50 days out from the election. I’m told the paper slashed half its budget. Some of the writers will still write, but on a freelance basis, and they’ll focus more on the weekly print paper than on the website, which was frequently updated. Also on the cutting room floor in Colorado: four people at BizWest Media’s Fort Collins and Boulder offices got laid off and the publication will shift to a monthly print schedule.

Whew, head spinning? Let this stop you. Former Denver Post journalist Tina Griego has returned to Colorado after four years on the East Coast, and is now an editor at The Colorado Independent. Check out her first essay about the new, gentrified, displaced Denver she found upon her return.”

No one in their right mind likes Republican Larry Mizel’s “secret” ownership of the Statesman, but cutting veteran news reporters there is obviously bad and sad.

Usually bad journalism news has no silver lining, but this time the good news is Schader’s and Trotter’s moves and Griego’s return. Also, Post Editor Lee Ann Colaciappo informs me that the newspaper is advertising for a political writer and hopes to fill Bunch’s position soon. So let’s be thankful for that.

CORRECTION: An early version of this post incorrectly stated that The Post’s staff of political writers would be shrinking further due to Bunch’s departure. 

Colorado Springs GOP primary turns the Legislature’s smiles into snarls

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

A mailer  in Colorado Springs includes actual factual photos of state house candidate Larry Liston cross-dressing, but the attack letter fails to mention that Liston’s step into a dress was all part of a joke.

As reported by the Megan Schrader at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

One page of the letter includes two photos of Liston from Hummers, a skit put on by the minority party in the House chambers every year skewering the majority party. It also includes a link to a story about criticism Liston faced for calling unwed mother’s “sluts.” Liston later apologized for the statement. Another link in the letter takes readers to the 2011 voting log on Senate Bill 200, which created the state exchange for the Affordable Care Act and shows Liston voted for the legislation.

Liston said those are “gross misrepresentations.”

[Former State Rep. Amy] Stephens said there is a “long-standing House and Senate agreement” that anything in Hummers would not be used for or against someone in political campaigns.

“It’s just reprehensible that this would be violated,” Stephens said.

The mailer appears to be the work of GOP consultant Jon Hotaling in support of Rep. Janak Joshi (R-Colorado Springs), who’s facing a primary challenge from Liston. Hotaling defended the letter in the Gazette’s story.

Hotaling, who has ties to Jeffco State Senators Tim Neville (SD-16) and Laura Woods (SD-19), as well as failed GOP candidate Tony Sanchez (SD-22),  reportedly orchestrated similar dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in over KVOR talk-show host Jeff Crank.

In that 2006 race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

On his radio show Saturday, Jeff Crank said, “I think Joshi is hanging out with the wrong people. I think he’s hanging out with the wrong crowd.
His campaign manager is known for these dirty, divisive tactics.”

“This kind of stuff is tearing our party apart,” said Crank on air, calling Joshi and his backers the “Pharasies,” slimy holier than thou characters from the Bible.

Colorado Springs Republican Bernie Herpin, appearing on Crank’s show Saturday, said Sen. Kent Lambert has admitted to signing the Liston mailer. But the mailer wasn’t Lambert’s idea, Herpin said. .Listen to Herpin on KVOR 5-14-16 here.

Animosity-filled people blaming Medicaid for Colorado budget woes are wrong–again

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Colorado Springs’ Republican Mayor John Suthers told the Colorado Springs Gazette Tuesday that turning the hospital provider fee into a TABOR-defined enterprise would be “by far the easiest, least painful solution for the taxpayers” to address Colorado’s budget woes.

But in his interview with Schrader, Suthers repeats the misinformation that Obamacare’s expansion of Colorado’s Medicaid program, which provides health care to the poor, is eating up state money now.

Suthers: “A lot of the animosity surrounding this goes back to the fact that they are saying look if we didn’t participate in the Medicaid expansion we wouldn’t need all this money, and the provider fee was basically a means to pay for the expansion. I understand all of that, but having the provider fee in the TABOR calculation is going to create immense problems going forward. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger and if you don’t take it out I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The animosity-filled people who told Suthers that Colorado “wouldn’t need all this money” if it weren’t for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are actually factually wrong.

Colorado’s Medicaid expansion has so far cost Colorado nothing (Here at page 26). It’s been 100 percent paid for by the federal government, which will slide down to paying 90 percent of the costs by 2020.

Next year, Colorado will contribute about $41 million toward covering Obamacare’s new Medicaid enrollees. If Colorado were paying the full 1o percent now, the state would contribute $142 million. And Suthers is correct that the Hospital Provider Fee, which is used to cover various health care services for poor people who can’t afford them, is earmarked to pay for this.

But $41 million is a fraction of the $768 million projected to be collected by the Hospital provider fee next year. Next year’s state contribution to covering Obamacare’s Medicaid enrollees, which looks to be on the order of $75 million, is still a fraction of the HPF money collected. So the HPF appears to be a solid source of funds for covering Colorado’s contibution to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

The people, mentioned by Suthers, who have all the animosity about the hospital provider fee should explain how they’d fund basic health care programs for elderly, disabled, and other poor people without it. And, for that matter, how they’d pay for state government with it, if it’s not removed from the TABOR framework and $370 million in tax dollars is refunded to you and me.

CLARIFICATION: I updated this post to clarify that the HPF funds health care in Colorado, not other government programs.

Anti-choice activists have wide range of responses to the Planned Parenthood shooting

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

For an RH Reality Check post today, I collected comments from anti-choice activists to in response to Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.

The comments ranged from a total rejection of violence to support for the domestic terrorist, who appears to have targeted Planned Parenthood because of his disagreements with the organization. From RH Reality Check:

“Whatever his motives, I condemn the violent actions of the shooter in Co Springs today,” state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs),who once praised a fellow Republican legislator for comparing Planned Parenthood to ISIS, wrote on Facebook. Klingenschmitt once saidthat “left-wing politicians want [women] to kill their babies.”

Meanwhile, a former GOP nominee for a seat in the Colorado legislature supported the gunman.

Nate Marshall, who was nominated by Republicans in 2014 for a state house race, but later dropped out, posted an angry response to the shooting on Facebook. Marshall later deleted the comment.

“My comments on the situation in Colorado Springs is simple and this: this guy is a hero,” wrote Marshall, who was found in 2014 to have ties to white supremacy groups. “Children are not being slaughtered and butchered for profit by left wing scum today.”

“Yesterday three innocent born people were murdered along with an unknown number of preborn children,” wrote Gualberto Garcia Jones, author of Colorado’s 2014 personhood amendment, in an email Saturday. “We are called to personally work against both. As a side note, I would say that the death of the Christian, pro-life police officer is especially tragic since he leaves behind a wife and two young children. My prayers are with all the victims regardless of their personal views.”

Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason, who is based in Colorado,  had similar thoughts, but also criticized the news media’s coverage of the tragedy, writing that “the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”

Colorado Right to Life spokesman and Denver talk-radio host Bob Enyart alleged that violence by pro-choice activists goes unreported.

Enyart: Colorado RTL contrasts the eight people unjustly killed since 1993 by known anti-abortion vigilantes with the eighty women killed by pro-abortion violence for refusing to abort their own children. (See this in the excerpt from ARTL’s anti-vigilantism article.) Those murdered moms are invisible to the media.

When a journalist advocates a “right” to dismember an unborn child (an act that would put an animal rights activist into a rage if done to a preborn cow), that kind of psychological dysfunction helps explain why the pro-killing media including the Huffington Post ignores those mothers who were brutally killed. And then there are the hundreds of women sexually assaulted by their own abortionists who are also ignored. But who cares; certainly no one in the media. The silence is for the greater good. No?

I could not verify Enyart’s claims.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the alleged terrorist, Robert Lewis Dear, was not one of the regular protestors at the Planned Parenthood center where the shooting occurred.

Dear was not a protester at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, said Joseph Martone Jr., who regularly attends prayer services outside the building on Centennial Boulevard.

Martone said Dear’s name was not familiar to members of the Colorado Springs Respect Life group that meets twice weekly for Mass at the Planned Parenthood on the mornings the clinic reportedly does surgical abortions.

“Nobody seems to know him,” Martone said.

On Breitbart, John Nolte wrote:

Nolte: Almost entirely for purposes of convenience, nearly 60 million innocent children have been butchered since the Supreme Court manufactured a Constitutional right to kill your unborn child.

In the coming days, as the defenders of this barbaric practice get more shrill, we must not be intimidated. In fact, with the media spotlight on abortion and on the pro-life movement, we must use this opportunity to continue to make our case for the million-plus innocent lives that will be legally massacred next year.

Outside or inside the womb, senseless violence must be condemned.

Those who condemn one and not the other have no place in a civil society.

Many anti-choice politicians who’ve been condemning Planned Parenthood with such intensity in reacent months, such as Colorado’s Rep. Mike Coffman, Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Doug Lamborn, and others, have yet to even mention the organization’s name in their communications about the tragedy, as far as I can tell.

Seeing strong support for tax increase, CO Springs mayor open to extending it after five years

Monday, November 16th, 2015

Americans for Prosperity and other conservative operaatives in Colorado Springs got pissy with Republican Mayor John Suthers for thowing his support behind a sales tax to fix the city’s pot-hole-ridden streets.

But his proposal won, by a 2-to-1 margin.

Now, some of Suthers’ conservative critics will be unhappy to hear that Suthers may extend the sales tax beyond its five-year duration, if needed.

Talking on KVOR radio after the vote, Suthers didn’t rule out extending the tax, telling host Richard Randall:

Suthers: We’ll do a reassessment of our road conditions in four years, give a full report of the the public, and say, this is where we are. Do we need to do anything further? My hope is that we will significantly expand our road investments through the general fund over the next five years, and this may not be necessary to extend. If it is necessary, can we lower it dramatically? We will evaluate that in four years based on the progress we make.

Listen to Suthers KVOR 11.5.15

Poking the eyes of his opponents, Suthers told Randall that his polling showed clear support for the tax increas from the get go, and so he wasn’t surprised by the overwhelming support for it in Colorado Springs, despite the “noise” against it.

Suthers: We polled throughout…. When you just have community hearings, you don’t really get a clear view of how the public as a whole looks at an issue.  Sometimes you get how interest groups look at a particular issue. So we went to the public and said, where are your priorities between storm water and roads? How would you want to pay for it? Would it be sales tax or property tax? What kind of duration should the tax be? All that sort of thing.  And I was very gratified. The number held the pretty clearly, with all the noise that we heard over the last month about, oh, they are going to spend the money on something else.  Or they could find the money elsewhere. It really didn’t move the needle at all. The numbers stayed very consistent. So I wasn’t surprised, because we had been doing some polling throghout. and that’s how the community felt about it. Listen to Suthers KVOR 11.5.15

Gazette should have offered op-ed in support of Planned Parenthood

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

In an op-ed in the Colorado Independent yesterday, Colorado State Sen. Michael Merrifield writes:

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the Colorado Springs Gazette published an editorial that contained many of the same falsehoods about Planned Parenthood that are being spread by the extremists who made the hoax video.

I submitted a column to correct the record about the work Planned Parenthood does for Coloradans and nationally. The Gazette refused to run it — a disservice to its readers and the community I represent. I’m glad the Colorado Springs Independent has higher standards for public discussion.

It’s true that the Gazette’s editorial was full of misinformation at best, lies at worst. The Gazette didn’t even come close to informing us that no evidence exists showing that Planned Parenthood has broken any laws.

Instead, the newspaper quotes directly from undercover videos that are so altered that they have no use as evidence against Planned Parenthood.

The newspaper musters up the audacity to state Planned Parenthood has an “apparent practice of selling the organs of aborted babies.” Even if you accept what you see in the full videos, there’s no evidence that Planned Parenthood does anything other than offer fetal-tissue for research purposes for the cost of processing. That’s legal.

Next, the Gazette claims there’s an “overwhelming and growing body of evidence” that abortion providers “solicit the sale of human organs.” There is no such body of evidence much less a growing one. There’s no evidence that the tissue is provided by donors on anything but a voluntary basis.

The Gazette seems to have let its heartfelt opposition to abortion get in the way of sweet reason–which is why it should have published Merrifield’s op-ed. It explained, in plain language, the benefits of research on fetal tissue:

Merrifield: If you’ve ever gotten a polio or measles vaccine], you benefited from the type of research condemned by these dishonest, deceptive, heavily edited videos. Fetal tissue research has been common medical practice since the 1930s, was instrumental in the development of the polio vaccine and has been federally funded since 1993. At that time, both of Colorado’s U.S. senators, Hank Brown and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, voted for it. Today it’s used to help find cures for Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, macular degeneration and other chronic illnesses.

Merrifield concludes by reciting statistics on the women’s health services provided by Planned Parenthood, only a tiny fraction of which have anything to do with abortion, as well as the fact that 1 in 5 American women will utilize Planned Parenthood during her lifetime.

It’s a shame the Gazette didn’t publish the piece, especially because the anti-Planned Parenthood view dominates the commentary page’s official content. And, god knows, the folks in Colorado Springs should hear the other side’s opinions too.

Gazette sees big differences among GOP rivals who are largely the same

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

The Colorado Springs Gazette tried to make an argument this week that gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo stands further out of the mainstream than his rivals, Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp, and Scott Gessler.

Even if you missed last night’s 1950’s revival at Colorado Christian University and you haven’t read the clown-car series on ColoradoPols, you know that’s a tough case to make when you start looking at specific issues. Women, immigration, environment, energy, etc. There ain’t that much difference among them on the craziness meter.

Just spin the radio dial, for example, and up pops Beauprez, saying something wild, like agreeing with a talk-show host that Obama is a Muslim. John McCain had the guts, you recall, to eloquently reject the suggestion that Obama was an Arab. But not Beauprez, as of Sept. 30, 2013, on the Charles Butler Show, Genesis Communications Network.

Butler: I conclude that Mr. Obama has never lost his Muslim beliefs or his Muslim leanings. At the end of the day here’s a principle in Islam called Taqyyia. And I believe that is what Obama has been practicing for the last thirty-some years, is Taqyyia. And it’s an Islamic principle where you can deceive a non-Muslim into thinking that you are non-Muslim, in the interest of pushing, putting forth Muslim interests. And I’m looking at Mr. Obama and everything he’s done, and the media doesn’t cover it this way but when you look at the facts, everything he has done thus far has been to support and destabilize stable regimes for Muslim rule, whether it’s Muslim Brotherhood, whether it’s Hezbollah, he’s supported those things.

Beauprez: That’s why so many of our allies, Israel for the primary among them, but that’s why so much of our status around the world, our respect among our friends around the world–

Butler: Am I telling the truth, Bob? Or am I off on this? Help me out, here

Beauprez: Absolutely.

That’s a Gazette “standard bearer of fiscal and social conservatism” talking?