Archive for the 'Denver Post' Category

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.

 

Fact Check: Gardner opposes Dream Act and blocked immigration reform

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.

During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he’d vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.

“Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform,” Gardner said. “It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform.”

If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he’d have said that he’s long opposed the Dream Act.

Gardner: “I don’t think we should give unfair advantages to people not in the country legally” Gardner told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in 2012, referring to the Dream Act.

“I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year, echoing comments opposing the Dream Act that he made to the Ft. Collins Coloradoan the year before. “I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”

Last year, Gardner even opposed a proposed state law, so-called ASSET, to grant in-state tuition for young immigrants in Colorado.

Gardner: “But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country,” Gardner told KNUS’ Steve Kelly last year.” And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security.”

On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner’s website states that the Congressman opposes “giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration.”

In a similar vein, Gardner likes to say, “I strongly support immigration reform.”

But Gardner was one of 30 House Republicans who openly opposed House Speaker John Boehner’s immigration principles, intended to begin the embryonic stage of the process of moving immigration legislation out of the House.

Asked directly by Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols if he went to House Speaker Boehner and urged him to move the bipartisan Senate immigration bill or some other bill, Gardner again did not answer the question, saying that the Senate doesn’t have a “monopoly of good ideas.”

If he’d answered the question, he’d have said that he joined House Republicans in blocking Boehner and thereby ending hope for immigration reform last year.

Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reported last week that Gardner  has “long held he doesn’t support providing amnesty to those here illegally.”

Reporters need to pin Gardner down on what he supports now and what he’s done about it. Otherwise, he gets to present himself as if he’s for reform while he done nothing to advance reform.

Colbert skewers Gardner’s personhood falsehood

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert skewered Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s crazy falsehood that there is “no federal personhood bill,” starting at the four-minute-twenty-second mark in the video below.

Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols is featured in the segment. He, along with other local journalists (e.g., 9News’ Brandon Rittiman, Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus, Grand Junction Sentinel Charles Ashby, CBS4′s Shaun Boyd), have done the right thing journalism-wise in trying to hold Gardner accountable and to expose the brazen falsehoods that he’s been repeating about the Life at Conception Act.

And proving that you never know where personhood media-criticism will get you, look really closely at the five-minute-and-three-second mark, and you’ll see a Denver Post op-ed by yours truly flash across the screen!

In any case, Colbert’s video speaks for itself.

Media omission: Gardner knew about birth control ban, says pro-personhood group

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Colorado Senatorial Candidate Cory Gardner withdrew his support from state personhood amendments because, he told The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, he didn’t understand that the measures would ban birth control.

Everyone rolled their eyes and moved on, as if to say,”It’s obvious he’s gunning for female votes statewide, so who cares if he might be lying.”

To their credit, reporters cited Gardner’s legislation that would have banned birth control, but, given Gardner’s in-bedness with personhood supporters throughout his political career, you’d think we’d have seen more about what Gardner really knew and when he knew it.

Now, with ballots arriving in your mailbox (Yeah!)  this week, comes a blog post from Colorado Right to Life, which was a major backer of personhood efforts in Colorado, stating, yes, Gardner knew all along about the birth control ban.

Colorado Right to Life: As you probably heard, Cory Gardner announced publicly that he no longer supports Personhood. He apologized for ever supporting it. He said he was well-meaning, but it was a mistake.

Of course the reason he gave for not supporting Personhood — that it would ban “contraceptives” — is completely false, and is a propaganda claim of NARAL and Planned Parenthood that is often repeated by the media.

Cory Gardner has attended briefings on Personhood by CRTL where this was discussed — Cory should KNOW better! But since he knew it was a false statement and he made it anyway, we can only conclude he has made a cynical choice to give up on principles so he would be more attractive to moderate voters.

As Bob Beauprez reminded us, personhood backers oppose birth control, like IUDs and Plan B, which they say threated or destroy zygotes (or fertilized eggs).

I get into this in more detail in a post this morning on RH Reality Check, but I reached out to Colorado Right to Life for more details on Gardner’s briefings and got no response.

Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason told me via email that, when Gardner was in the state legislature, Colorado Right to Life gave legislative briefings “detailing the effects of the amendment.”

“I would assume that he attended, given his position at that time, but I couldn’t guarantee anything,” she wrote.

Media omission: It’s ironic, in light of Gardner’s Post endorsement, to recall that Gardner’s extremism extends to his view of journalism itself

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, like much of the political right, sees himself as a victim of liberal media bias. On a day when he was endorsed by The Denver Post, and Gardner is tweeting about how “honored and humbled” he is, I thought I’d point back to a few of the many times he’s trashed the news media with sweeping, unsupported accusations of bias that serve only to accelerate the decline of professional journalism.

In 2011, Gardner told Grassroots Radio Colorado:

Gardner: “The press likes to blame the Tea Party for a lot of things, because there’s a bias in the media against people who believe in smaller government.”

Worley: “You mean people like us.”

Gardner: “People like us.”

In January of last year, Gardner said:

Gardner: “Look, the media is going to criticize the Republicans every time we turn around, because we are not in lock-step with the President.”

After Romney’s self-inflicted election loss in 2012, Gardner blamed the media:

Gardner: “When the American people were watching the news with their family at the dinner table, they saw a media that is gung-ho for the President. So not only were we running an election against the President of the United States, we were running an election against TV stations around the country and inside people’s living rooms.”

Some progressives are so angry at The Post for its Gardner endorsement that they’re threatening to cancel their subscriptions.

By doing this, and forsaking the last gasps of Denver’s by-far best news source to survive, we’d reduce ourselves to Gardner’s own level of extremism that, for some reason, The Denver Post failed to see in Gardner across the spectrum of issues from global warming and immigration to abortion and journalism itself–and beyond.

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.

Post story misleads readers about Gardner’s 2007 stance on “contraception”

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

In a piece on Colorado’s Senate race today, veteran Denver Post political reporter Lynn Bartels misleads readers into thinking a 2007 state personhood bill, sponsored by senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, wouldn’t have banned “contraception” when, in fact, the bill would have prohibited the use of common forms of birth control—as well as all abortion, including for rape and incest.

Bartels wrote:

The Udall campaign didn’t mention another part of that bill, an omission that bolsters Gardner’s argument that he’s not opposed to contraceptives. It reads: “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or administration of a contraceptive measure. … “

But Bartels didn’t point out that other language elsewhere in Gardner’s bill mandates that contraception would have to be used “prior to the time that pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.”

The definition of “pregnancy” in the bill is “the human female reproductive condition of having a living unborn human being within her body throughout the entire embryonic and fetal ages of the unborn child from fertilization to full gestation and childbirth” [BigMedia emphasis].

So, under Garnder’s bill, some forms of “contraception,” like a condom or diaphragm, are ok, because they unequivocally don’t threaten or destroy fertilized eggs (zygotes) or any fetal stage of pregnancy.

But other forms of contraception, like the copper IUD or some forms of the pill, would not be allowed because they are considered abortifacients by the religious right. They are seen to threaten or destroy fertilized eggs. (In 2007, when the bill was drafted by Gardner, more types of hormonal birth control were widely seen as blocking zygotes from reaching the uterus and causing them, even if they got there, to be unable to implant in the uterine wall.)

Hence Gardner’s 2007 bill was carefully written to ban both abortion and certain forms of abortifacient contraception, while freeing women to use non-abortifacient methods to their hearts’ content.

In 2009, making his position against the use of certain forms of contraception clear, Gardner voted against the Birth Control Protection Act, which simply defined “contraception,” without exceptions, as a medically acceptable drug to prevent pregnancy. And Gardner has a clear record of opposing Plan B, also considered an abortifacient by hardline anti-abortion activists.

The Hobby Lobby decision spotlighted the fact that anti-abortion activists still say they’re in favor of “contraception,” as long as some forms are excluded.

In Bartels’ piece, Personhood USA director Keith Mason said the federal personhood bill, which Gardner cosponsored last year, could be interpreted to ban birth control.

Here’s the entire section of Gardner’s bill referenced by Bartels:

(4) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT THE SALE, USE, PRESCRIPTION, OR ADMINISTRATION OF A CONTRACEPTIVE MEASURE, DEVICE, DRUG, OR CHEMICAL, IF IT IS ADMINISTERED PRIOR TO THE TIME WHEN A PREGNANCY COULD BE DETERMINED THROUGH CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL TESTING AND IF THE CONTRACEPTIVE MEASURE, DEVICE, DRUG, OR CHEMICAL IS SOLD, USED, PRESCRIBED, OR ADMINISTERED IN ACCORDANCE WITH MANUFACTURER INSTRUCTIONS. [BigMedia emphasis]

Here’s the section defining pregnancy and other terms:

(1) “FERTILIZATION” MEANS THAT POINT IN TIME WHEN A MALEHUMAN SPERM PENETRATES THE ZONA PELLUCIDA OF A FEMALE HUMAN OVUM.

(2) “PREGNANT” OR “PREGNANCY” MEANS THE HUMAN FEMALE REPRODUCTIVE CONDITION OF HAVING A LIVING UNBORN HUMAN BEING WITHIN HER BODY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH. (3) “UNBORN HUMAN BEING” OR “UNBORN CHILD” MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH.

(3) “UNBORN HUMAN BEING” OR “UNBORN CHILD” MEANS AN INDIVIDUAL LIVING MEMBER OF THE SPECIES HOMO SAPIENS, THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMBRYONIC AND FETAL AGES OF THE UNBORN CHILD FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH.

18-6-902. Abortion prohibition. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT KNOWINGLY ADMINISTER TO, PRESCRIBE FOR, PROCURE FOR, OR SELL TO A PREGNANT MOTHER ANY MEDICINE, DRUG, OR OTHER SUBSTANCE WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENT OF CAUSING OR ABETTING THE TERMINATION OF THE LIFE OF AN UNBORN HUMAN BEING. A PERSON SHALL NOT KNOWINGLY USE OR EMPLOY ANY INSTRUMENT OR PROCEDURE UPON A PREGNANT MOTHER WITH THE SPECIFIC INTENT OF CAUSING OR ABETTING THE TERMINATION
OF THE LIFE OF AN UNBORN HUMAN BEING.

Fact check: Beauprez’s support for personhood isn’t irrelevant at state level

Friday, September 19th, 2014

I don’t envy reporters who are trying to uncover the logic in gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s decision to withdraw his support for personhood at the state level but to continue backing federal personhood legislation, even though state and federal personhood laws would do the exact same thing: ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

In a post yesterday, Denver Post reporter John Frank tried to unravel Beauprez’s logic, and he made some headway, reporting that Beauprez apparently believes his abortion stance is irrelevant, because federal law is all that matters regarding abortion, and Beauprez won’t “deny what the law provides you.”

Beauprez: “The governor has very limited impact on what is really the federal law. Democrats always bring it up because they don’t want to talk about the economy or education or about transportation,” he said. “I don’t know where it is an issue in this campaign.”

Tell that to women and others in Texas, where a state law, under review now by federal judges, could reduce the number of abortion clinics statewide from 41 to just seven or eight–and Texas has over 5 million women of reproductive age.

In the more friendly territory of Colorado, a personhood abortion-ban bill was introduced just last year. What if control of the legislature changed, the bill were passed, and it landed on Beauprez’s desk? What about a bill requiring counseling prior to having an abortion or multiple trips to a clinic?

The Guttmacher Institute has a depressing chart that reporters covering Beauprez might want to take a look at, summarizing the 9 categories of state laws restricting abortion.

One category of state laws is “State-Mandated Counseling:”

17 states mandate that women be given counseling before an abortion that includes
information on at least one of the following: the purported link between abortion and breast cancer (5 states), the
ability of a fetus to feel pain (12 states) or long-term mental health consequences for the woman (8 states).

Waiting periods in ten states effectively require women to make two trips to a clinic prior to having an abortion. Some states mandate abortions to be performed by a licensed doctor at a hospital or at a clinic with full surgical capabilities.

Colorado is obviously less restrictive than many states when it comes to abortion, allowing it throughout pregnancy, and the state Leg is controlled by pro-choice Democrats. But it’s not crazy to point out that this could change. It’s fair to say it’s not likely, but it could happen.

So reporters should correct Beauprez when he says, when it comes to abortion, a governor has “very limited impact on what really is the federal law” and a women’s right to choose is the “law.”

Beauprez: “Some like me are personally pro-life, but I’m not going to deny what the law provides you.”

But Governors change laws. What laws on the Guttmacher chart would he sign? What wouldn’t he?

Deleted Denver Post article stubbornly remains in Post digital archive

Monday, September 15th, 2014

I was perusing the Denver Public Library’s Denver Post archive, on NewsBank, and smiled when I saw an article by former Post reporter Kurtis Lee titled, “Coffman shifts on abortion, personhood.”

That’s the story Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett removed from the Post’s website hours after it was published April 16.

I clicked on the article, and there it was, complete and unabridged. It noted that “not long ago, Coffman won praise from hard-line pro-life groups for his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and support of personhood initiatives that effectively would have outlawed abortion in Colorado.” And it included Coffman’s response when asked to elaborate on why he abandoned his longstanding support for a personhood abortion ban: “There are parts of it that are simply unintended. … I think it’s too overbroad and that the voters have spoken.”

You recall the short-lived publication of the piece unleashed long-winded criticism from progressives, and, to his credit, Plunkett responded with blog posts of his own, explaining his decision to un-publish the piece and offering Coffman’s quotes and other new information in the disappeared article. But Lee’s original piece was never re-published on The Post’s website or in the newspaper.

Asked about the stubborn appearance of the article on The Post’s digital archive at the library, Plunkett said: “Once you take a story off your own web page, of course, it doesn’t mean it disappears from the internet. And here you’ve discovered that it still does exist, in fact, in an archive that we use. I just hope that all the stories that we put in [the archive] that we intend to publish stay in that archive. Every now and then I wonder. We sweat and bleed and go to all this trouble, and then we can’t ever find the stories again.”

Plunkett also said that he felt his blog posts at the time, containing the new information from Lee’s article, obviated the need to re-publish the piece. But if he had to do it over again, he would run the story with “one or two” additional paragraphs.

“Sometimes when you’re in the heat of the moment, you remember what you learned,” Plunkett said. “And what I learned was, if the story has something wrong with it, and it needs to be fixed, you pull the story and you keep working on it. In today’s environment, sometimes that’s not the smart move.”

Radio host would be “shocked beyond imagination” if Beauprez likened Americans to sheep. Well, he did.

Monday, September 8th, 2014

I spoke last week with the radio duo of yore, Dan Caplis and Craig Silverman, who were co-hosting Dan Caplis’ KNUS show.

Caplis and Silverman think The Denver Post should have more coverage of Hick’s comments on CNN about the death-penalty, despite copious coverage already, including blog posts, letters, a front-page news story, titled “Gov. suggests killer could get full reprieve,” and then a pile-on weekend piece, “Colorado’s Death Penalty Voters Could Make Hickenlooper Pay.”

I pointed out that The Post has yet to even mention many of the most bizarre statements that Hick’s opponent, Bob Beauprez, made during his “wilderness years,” after he left Congress and started running (and talking) in Tea Party circles, like Beauprez’s radio 2010 comments,reported by the Colorado Independent’s Susan Greenethat we’re living “ever closer” to “one world order,” and “we’re living through what a short time ago was fantasy, Orwell’s 1984.”

Beauprez: “A lot of people think we’re kind of out there, that we’re on the fringe, for even talking like this, but the real failure is to not recognize the reality that’s around you,”

Yes, that’s the word “reality” he used.

I told Caplis and Silverman, among other things, about Beauprez’s suggestion, also reported by Greene, that Americans are like “sheep” who’d blindly allow the government to implant microchips in their bodies.

Greene also reported on Beauprez’s agreement with the suggestion that states would have more power if the 17th Amendment were yanked from the U.S. Constitution and Senators weren’t elected directly by the people.

But Caplis would have none of it:

Caplis: “I would be shocked beyond imagination if Bob Beauprez had taken the position, for example, that our Senators should not be elected or that people are like sheep, etc.”

Media figures like Caplis would do well to read Greene’s piece so they don’t say stuff like that. With any luck, they can read about it in The Denver Post some day soon, too.