Archive for the 'Denver Post' Category

Hey ColoradoPolitics, you’ll lose the war against fake news if you put your credibility at risk

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Journalists hate fake news, right? And they hate it when they’re accused of being purveyors of fake news. So why would a newspaper put its most valuable asset, its credibility, at risk by publishing fake-news advertisements that look almost exactly like news? And then not answer questions about it?

Don’t ask ColoradoPolitics, a political news site owned by conservative billionaire Phil Anschutz, because that’s what it did this week.

Corey Hutchins, writing for the left-leaning Colorado Independent, reports that ColoradoPolitics will not respond to questions about a deceptive advertisement, designed to mimic a news supplement, that ran in the online and print editions of ColoradoPolitics last week.

That was disappointing, because I thought ColoradoPolitics would respond to reasonable questions like the one in Hutchins’ headline, “Who paid for ‘sponsored content’ and a ‘paid advertisement’ in Colorado’s weekly political newspaper?”

I noticed that the logo on the ColoradoPolitics’ sponsored content/advertisement appears to matche the one used by Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED). And CRED ran a similar ad insert in The Denver Post a few years ago, with similar pro-oil-and-gas messages. So the answer to Hutchins’ question could well be CRED, but we don’t know for sure. CRED did not return a call.

I had a few other questions about the ad, and I listed them in my email, sent Thursday, to Vince Bzdek, the editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, also owned by Anschutz. Bzcek oversees editorial direction at ColoradoPolitics. He did not respond, which is too bad because I’ve admired his work and was hoping to hear from him.

Here’s my email to Bzdek. If you happen to know the answers to any of my questions, please let me know.

Hi Vince –

I’m a former freelance media critic at the Rocky, now blogging on media and politics, from a progressive perspective, at BigMedia.org, ColoradoPols, and elsewhere.

…[I thought] you might answer a few questions about the sponsored content that ran in ColoradoPolitics.

I know this is standard industry practice these days, used by The Denver Post and many other newspapers. And I’ve written about The Post’s sponsored content previously here.

My questions are:

  • Why is there no mention of the sponsor of the ad in the print or online editions. The logo matches the one used by Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED), so I’m guessing that’s the sponsor. Is this true? Why not state this on the ad?
  • Did you consider making the “Paid Advertisement” in larger type on the print edition. I was glad to see it on all four pages, and you admirably made “Sponsored Content” very large online, though an explanation of what this phrase means might be useful for readers.
  • When you Google author “Tim Peters,” who’s the bylined author of the sponsored content, along with the phrase “Colorado Politics, you get “Author at ColoradoPolitics.” Click there, and you get his story, which, to your great credit, is headlined as “sponsored content.” Still, this makes it appear as if he’s a real journalist/author.
  • But other than his identification as the author of the sponsored content, Tim Peters appears not to exist. I can’t find him on the energy company websites or on CRED’s site. A fake byline mocks the basic journalistic principle that the author of an article should stand behind it. Do you think the stories should have no byline or the byline of a person that can be reached, even if that person is an energy-company employee?
  • I’ve been told I’m wasting my time on this, and journalism has bigger problems. I would agree, but the sponsored content bugs me, because if you want journalism to survive, why put your best asset, your credibility, at risk by brazenly deceiving readers?

Thanks for considering a response to these question, or as many of them as you want to answer.

Nothing lengthy is needed, and feel free to call me if that’s easier. And if you want to respond, I can wait as long as you need to find time for it.

Much appreciated.

Jason Salzman

 

Journalists fail to note that Gardner contradicted himself on national TV

Monday, September 25th, 2017

On Face the Nation Sunday, John Dickerson had this exchange U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO):

Dickerson: …And there’s a New York Times piece in which you’re quoted as saying, “Donors are furious we haven’t kept our promise.” The picture that emerges from all of this is a rush for political reasons to support this and not substantive reasons. What are your thoughts about that?

Gardner replied with: “Well, this has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors. It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Gardner told Dickerson that “the people who are opponents of the bill want this to be about politics and not policy.”

If you’re a reporter, how could you possibly report Gardner’s answer to Dickerson’s question without noting that Gardner essentially contradicted what the New York Times quoted Gardner as saying?

Yet, multiple outlets made no mention of the New York Times account.

For example The Hill’s Rebecca Savransky reported yesterday:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said Sunday the GOP push to get an ObamaCare repeal bill passed has nothing to do with politics.

“This has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with donors.” Gardner said on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” when asked about whether there was a rush to pass the ObamaCare repeal bill for political and not substantive reasons.

“It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health-care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them.”

Locally, Denver Post reporter Jesse Paul at least noted that Gardner “brushed off a question about whether Republicans are just trying” to make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare. But he, too, failed to not that Gardner’s answer, that this has “nothing to do with politics, it has nothing to do with donors,” contradicted reporting by the New York Times.

I could see a journalist being reluctant to report the New York Times’ account, because it came from an anonymous source, even if it did come from the New York Times, not Breitbart News.

But Gardner did not dispute the NYT story, when asked directly about it by Dickerson.

And a reporter could always ask Gardner directly if the Times story is accurate–instead of simply omitting the Times’ information and letting Gardner contradict it directly. In fact, that’s still worth doing.

For the record, here’s exactly what the Times reported Friday:

As more than 40 subdued Republican senators lunched on Chick-fil-A at a closed-door session last week, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado painted a dire picture for his colleagues. Campaign fund-raising was drying up, he said, because of widespread disappointment among donors over the inability of the Republican Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act or do much of anything else.

Mr. Gardner is in charge of his party’s midterm re-election push, and he warned that donors of all stripes were refusing to contribute another penny until the struggling majority produced some concrete results.

“Donors are furious,” one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

Denver Post editor disputes GOP gubernatorial candidate’s claim that Post won’t endorse Polis

Monday, September 18th, 2017

At a Sept. 9 campaign stop in Grand Junction, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson told the crowd that the “editor” of The Denver Post informed him that U.S. Rep Jared Polis (D-CO) is “too left” for Colorado, and that the unnamed editor “can’t see [The Post] endorsing” Polis.

“This is an interesting story,” said Robinson told supporters at the meet-and-greet event. “When I announced my candidacy, the editor of The Denver Post called me. I was like, ‘Really?’ [laughter]. You know what I mean? Because they have endorsed Democrats for generations. [crowd: “Oh Yeah!”] You know what I mean? And he said, ‘Don’t write us off.’ He says, ‘We are going to endorse a candidate. And if it’s Jared Polis, I can’t see us endorsing him. He’s too left.’ [crowd: “Wow! Ohooo”]. ‘Too far out for Colorado.’ He says, ‘He may be too far out for Colorado.'”

That’s an “interesting story,” to say the least.

Asked about it Friday, Denver Post editorial Page editor Chuck Plunkett said via email that no one on The Denver Post’s editorial board, which has the job of making endorsements for the newspaper, spoke with Robinson about Polis in April, when Robinson claimed the call took place, and that The Post has “not reached any conclusions about endorsements in any of the races.”

Robinson had a phone conversation with the Chair of The Post, Dean Singleton, a few days before Robinson entered the gubernatorial race, but Singleton did not talk to Robinson about Polis at all, according to Plunkett.

Plunkett wrote:

Robinson’s account is incorrect on many levels. For one, I am the editor and I don’t even have his phone number. We’ve never talked.

Only one member of our board has talked with Robinson, and that is our chair, Dean Singleton. I have talked to Dean about the transcript you sent and learned that Robinson’s account is badly flawed.

Dean knows Robinson casually. He got a call from Robinson before he entered the governor’s race. Dean told him that he didn’t think he had a chance at winning, and suggested he might consider running for treasurer. The call came the day or so before Robinson announced, which was in late April. Jared Polis didn’t enter the race until weeks later, in mid-June.

Dean has said publicly that he doubts Polis can win the race, as he’s too liberal for a statewide contest, so Robinson must be conflating events. Dean says he didn’t talk to Robinson about Polis back in April, as the congressman hadn’t even entered the race.

Dean meets with candidates and expresses his opinions as is his right. But — and this is an important point — in doing so he doesn’t speak for our editorial board, or attempt to derail the process we take in coming to conclusions on our endorsements.

I can tell you without doubt we have not reached any conclusions about endorsements in any of the races. A long process awaits before we can get to that point.

I wish Robinson, who’s the nephew of Mitt Romney, returned my phone call or multiple emails seeking comment, but, alas, I didn’t hear back from him.

So we don’t know his side of the story, but clearly someone is confused or not telling the truth here. Or maybe Robinson talked to another Post editor–which is highly unlikely since you wouldn’t expect an editor on the news side to be offering opinions to Robinson.

But, in the absence of a response from Robinson, I’d have to say the guilty party is probably Robinson, especially because his false statement about The Post’s past endorsements punctures his credibility.

Robinson may be so upset that The Post didn’t endorse his uncle that he didn’t noticed all the other Republicans The Post has backed, including Gardner in the 2014.

In the 2014 general election, for Congress, The Post endorsed three Republicans and four Democrats. In the 2016 election, The Post backed five Republicans and five Democrats. The Post picked Obama over Robinson’s uncle in 20012.

I’ll update this post if I hear from Robinson. Meanwhile, this blog post shows, again, that you never know what a political candidate will say at a meet-and-greet.

Robinson is pictured on the right, next to  former gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, in the above photo, which I found on former Post reporter Lynn Bartels Facebook page.

It’s overreach to blame increased insurance costs on Obamacare

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Colorado gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler took to Twitter yesterday to blame Obamacare for steep increases in the cost of health insurance purchased from Colorado’s health insurance exchange.

“Thank you, #Obamacare,” tweeted Brauchler, a Republican, citing a Denver Post article.

The Post piece reported that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, all Republicans, also blamed Obamacare for the rate increase.

Trouble is, if you read the Post’s story, by Jon Ingold, you find that the cause of the rate increase is, at least in part, the Republican efforts to kill Obamacare, according to state insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar, who was quoted in The Post:

Salazar said insurers told regulators that the ongoing debate over whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and, essentially, change the rules for the individual market only a few years after the rules were first rewritten by the law, also known as Obamacare — led in part to the price increases. Insurers also cited more general market conditions in filings with the state justifying the proposed premiums.

“It was a struggle,” Salazar said. “Markets don’t like uncertainty, bottom line.”

Obviously, we don’t know what “general market conditions” contributed to the rate increases–or to what extent they were related to Obamacare. Though we do know that health insurance prices were increasing prior to Obamacare as well. And we know Republicans have so far chosen not to try to fix problems with Obamacare.

But it’s clearly a ludicrous overreach for Republicans to blame insurance increases on Obama’s health care law, after we just witnessed the spectacular crash of the GOP’s seven-year crusade to repeal Obamacare.

“Colorado Obamacare lie” should be expunged from the state legislature as well as the campaign trail

Monday, August 21st, 2017

In an editorial this week, The Denver Post coined the term the “Colorado Obamacare lie” to describe repeated statements by GOP gubernatorial candidates that Obamacare is gobbling up the state budget when, in fact, it has “very little impact” on the state budget.

Nicely done.

And the phenomenon goes beyond GOP gubernatorial candidates, to Republicans in the state legislature and beyond.

For example, last January, State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) told the “Americhicks,” Molly Vogt and Kim Munson, on KLZ 560-AM, that the Obamacare, also called the “Medicaid expansion,” is “eating every single dollar that we have,” that could be spent on other priorities.

Neville: I believe it’s time for the government to re-prioritize, and of course the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the Medicaid expansion, which the governor did several years ago, eating every single dollar that we have in increased expense.

Also last year, we got this Tweet from the Colorado Senate GOP (@ColoSenGOP), linking to a chart of state and federal Medicaid expenditures: “Maybe Colo could afford FullDayK if #Dems weren’t pouring every spare $ into Obamacare #choices #copolitics #coleg pic.twitter.com/zrS1L6v5KO.”

The Post’s reporting, followed up by its editorial, should put an end not only to this kind of talk on the campaign trail, but in the state legislature as well.

Denver Post article should stop conservatives from misrepresenting the Medicaid budget and scapegoating low-income people

Friday, August 11th, 2017

I can’t tell ya how excited I was to read, “Is Medicaid Gobbling Up Colorado’s Budget,” in The Denver Post, and reporter John Ingold did not let me down.

The piece provides a sober look at the repeated Republican allegation, documented multiple times on this blog, that if not for Democrat-led healthcare spending on children, elderly, disabled, and other poor people, there would be no budget crisis and the pavers would likely be doing their thing on every street corner.

Here are some takeaways from Ingold’s piece:

Killing Obamacare won’t free up money for roads, schools, or other wish-list spending.

We already knew this, but Ingold nails the door to the crazyhouse shut by finding out from Henry Sobanet, Hick’s budget director, that the small percentage of Colorado dollars that pay for Obamacare, also called the Medicaid expansion, can’t be used for general budget expenses.

“We could cancel the expansion, and we wouldn’t save a dollar in the general fund,” Sobanet told Ingold.

But something tells me, if I turn on the radio this morning, I’ll still hear a conservative blaming Obamacare for Colorado’s budget crisis.

Expunging “able-bodied” people from Colorado’s Medicaid rolls won’t do much for roads or the budget

That’s because, as Ingold reports, cutting “non-disabled adults” from Medicaid would free up “hundreds of millions of dollars” out of a $10 billion budget:

…Colorado could remove all non-disabled adults from the program — cutting its Medicaid population almost in half —  and the savings to use elsewhere in the budget would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, not in the billions of dollars. (The state’s total general fund budget this year is $10.6 billion.)

And if you cut non-disabled people from Medicaid, you’re left with the collateral social costs of dealing with the lives you’ve blown up, not to mention the weight on your conscience from your decision to reject this group of people, who mostly the working poor.

Colorado’s Medicaid costs are increasing, but actual-factual ways to bring down costs look to be cruel and illusive. 

Ingold reports, “Tackling bigger areas of general-fund Medicaid spending means focusing on other groups. People with disabilities and people in nursing homes, for instance, make up 10 percent of the state’s Medicaid enrollment — but account for 42 percent of state Medicaid spending.”

Who are the “able-bodied” adults whom conservatives want to kick off Medicaid?

This question is left unanswered in Ingold’s otherwise excellent article, and it’s a seriously important question, because the phrase “able-bodied” has become a buzzword among conservatives at the top of the heap, like U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, to talk-radio hosts, and others at the bottom of the heap, for attacking Medicaid recipients. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck expressed the view clearly when he told The Boulder Daily Camera: “I’m not in favor of able-bodied people with no child care responsibilities getting squat.”

I’ll write more about this later, but it turns out, in short, able-bodied Medicaid recipients are truly poor people, most of whom are actually working.

In fact, 75 percent of the adults who got health insurance under Obamacare, about 400,000 in Colorado, who make up a sizable chunk of the “able-bodied” Medicaid group, are working. For a single adult, to be eligible for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, you have to earn less than $16,00. For a family of four, it’s about $32,000.

Bottom line: This article should help fact-conscious politicians have more informed debates about Medicaid spending in Colorado. And it should help stop the stomach-turning scapegoating of low-income people that we hear from conservatives.

 

Unlike Koch gathering, Western Conservative Summit won’t try to muzzle journalists

Friday, July 7th, 2017

If you’re a progressive, you can criticize the ultra-conservative Centennial Institute for a lot of things, like being homophobic, Islamophobic, and more, but being scared of a open debate is one thing the organization is not.

Centennial Institute founder, John Andrews, began the tradition of inviting questions and discussion, and the current director, Jeff Hunt, is carrying it on.

For example, he’s enlisted a longtime Denver reporter Joey Bunch, now leading the political news site ColoradoPolitics, to ask questions of gubernatorial candidates at the July 21-23 Western Conservative Summit, billed as the “largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C.

And Hunt has put no restrictions on his questions.

Contrast that with approach taken by the conservative billionaires, Charles and David Koch, when they held a big shindig in Colorado Springs last month of Republican politicians and donors associated with the Kochs’ Seminar Network.

As they’ve done in the past, the Kochs set ground rules for reporters, whom they invited to cover the event. One rule prohibited journalists from reporting on who was there, unless they were part of a formal program or the attendee gave permission to a reporter, according to Bunch. In other words, the presence of a person was off the record, unless permission was given or they were on the program.

Bunch said no thanks.

“A reporter’s most valuable asset is his independence,” Bunch told me via email. “It’s a tall order to tell a reporter he can’t report what he sees for the price of admission. I was very appreciative of the invitation, don’t get me wrong, and I knew I was risking losing some stories, maybe big stories, but it didn’t feel right at the gut level, so I asked and my editors backed me up. I was proud of that. A lot of editors would have said, ‘No. we want the scoops.'”

Judging from the reaction to similar, if not identical, restrictions imposed by the Kochs at other gatherings, journalists differ on whether the benefits of attending such events, even with the restrictions, outweighs the downsides.

I’d rather have a partially muzzled reporter in the room with the Kochs than none, but journalists who attend such events should inform us that restrictions were placed on their reporting, as outlets such as USA Today and the Washington Post have done in the past.

But I couldn’t find any reference to media restrictions in the coverage of last month’s Colorado Springs Koch event, including in reporting by the Associated Press, Denver Post, NBC News, Politico, and others.

Emails to the Associated Press, Denver Post, and Politico were not immediately returned. I’ll update this post if I they respond.

In any case, I wouldn’t expect the Centennial Institute to try to do this, especially at a gathering of 4,000 people, of course, but at any forum.  Hunt says there are not restrictions on journalists. They even let Samantha Bee loose at last year’s Summit.

And Hunt’s choice of a journalist to interview gubernatorial candidates at its upcoming Summit is along the same lines of openness to honest debate.

At the Summit, each Colorado gubernatorial candidate will be allowed a five-minute speech, and Bunch will ask ten minutes of questions to the group. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite candidate, just as they did among vice presidential hopefuls last year, choosing former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The results will be announced later.

Among the Republican candidates, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and businessmen Victor Mitchell and Doug Robinson accepted invitations to attend so far. The only Democrat to respond is U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who’s declined.

Why did Hunt pick Bunch to do the interview segment of the program?

“We’re doing the gubernatorial race,” replied Hunt. “Let’s get someone who really knows Colorado politics.  I’ve done a number of interviews with Joey, and he’s fair, and he knows Colorado really well. And he’s real entertaining. So let’s put him up there.”

But Hunt wouldn’t put just any journalist on the stage.

He said that some outlets like CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post “seem hell bent trying to delegitimize the President instead of reporting the news.”

That’s why he’s glad Trump is fighting reporters.

“Donald Trump is teaching conservatives again how fight against the media,” Hunt said, whose Centennial Institute is associated with Colorado Christian University. “Frankly, we need to learn how to fight those types of aggressive attacks against us.”

Hunt doesn’t accuse all journalists as being unfair. He said the Denver weekly Westword is one of the “fairest newspapers” he’s dealt with so far in Colorado. He also likes 9News anchor Kyle Clark, Denver Post Editor of the Editorial Pages Chuck Plunkett, and others.

Conservatives should give journalists (mainstream, left, or right) a chance and not initially look at media outlets as if they are “out to get me,” Hunt said.

As the media world implodes, that’s also good advice for progressives or anyone.

Cutting through the spin: Gardner wants to end, not protect, insurance coverage for 400,000 Coloradans

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

Back in March, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner joined fellow Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, in stating that “we will not support a [Obamacare replacement] plan that does not include stability for Medicaid expansion populations or flexibility for states.”

Since then, Portman and Capito have added a measure of definition to this vague statement by endorsing a seven-year phaseout of Obama’s Medicaid expansion, which provided over 400,00 Coloradans with health insurance. Portman called it a “glide path” that would gradually reduce federal Medicaid funding to the states beginning in 2020.

But Murkowski and Gardner are refusing to discuss their current thinking on the Medicaid expansion. The Hill asked Murkowski twice last week if she’d agree to a gradual phaseout, and she declined to say.

In May, Gardner declined to answer a direct question from The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews about whether he supports the plan, in the Obamacare replacement bill passed by the House, to begin the Medicaid-expansion phaseout in 2020.

But Gardner did tell Matthews,“We need to have a glide path that works for the states.”

In the absence of more details from Gardner, journalists are on solid ground reporting that Gardner is on board with ending the Obamacare Medicaid program that covers over 400,000 Coloradans. The only question is the time frame, the number of years in the glide path.

And journalists are also completely justified in reporting that Gardner’s phaseout doesn’t square Gardner’s promise to defend the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, as stated in the The Denver Post’s March 6 article headlined, “Sen. Cory Gardner defends Medicaid expansion as GOP reveals Obamacare replacement.”

During the 2014 campaign, and ever since the first Ryan budget introduced a partial privatization of Medicare, the often repeated message from Gardner was that making dramatic cuts to health programs was a way to protect them for future generations.

Now Gardner is talking about a “glide path.”

These sort of policy justifications can make sense within their own inverted logic, but the plain meaning of the words are likely lost on the average voter. Journalists have the burden of making sure the facts are presented alongside the spin.

Post downplays Trump story on front page of print edition

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

UPDATE: CNN looked at the front pages of 10 newspapers across the country, including The Denver Post and the New York Times. Eight out of ten featured the Comey story above the fold in the print edition. The Manchester Union-Leader joined The Post in not doing so.

CNN had this comment on the Manchester newspaper: “And then there was the New Hampshire Union-Leader, a notoriously conservative paper, which made only passing mention of the story with a pro-Trump blurb ‘White House disputes Comey memo’ and teased to a story on B2. The other tease at the top of the front page? “Cloud eggs: They’re hot, versatile and trending.”

———

I’m still the kind of person who compares The Denver Post to the New York Times.

Today, the major headline in the Times’ print edition reads, “Trump appealed to Comey to halt inquiry of Flynn.” It occupies two columns on the upper right portion of the front page, where the most important headlines of the day are placed.

The Post’s upper right-hand headline, in contrast, states, “Judge orders inmate freed,” not an insignificant story but paltry compared to the Trump story, which has rocked the White House, the stock market, and even Republicans.

And The Post’s headline, “Trump pressed Comey to drop Flynn Probe,” filled just one column of the print edition’s front page, in the lower right hand corner, “below the fold,” as newspaper readers like to say.

A glance at The Post’s front page makes you think of hail, since that’s the dominant story, not the possible downfall of the president.

I know The Post likes to emphasize local news on its front page–as well as stories that the whole world hasn’t already heard about by the time they receive their dead-tree newspaper in the morning. And, of course, the Times broke the Comey story, so might expect some hype.

But if the story was hyped, it deserved it, for obvious reasons that, apparently, The Post didn’t understand, at least as of yesterday. I’m hoping they’ll do better as this story inevitably unfolds.

Brauchler apparently thinks twice about marrying his fate to grassroots activists at the state GOP convention

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Reporters covering the weeds of the gubernatorial race should note that GOP candidate George Brauchler is contradicting himself about how he’ll try to access the ballot.

He told The Denver Post he’d rely solely on the decision of delegates at the State Republican convention, while telling a conservative radio host he’d leave open the possibility of getting on the ballot via the petition process that upended the senatorial campaign of former state Rep. Jon Keyser (R-CO Springs).

This is the second time in two weeks of campaigning that Brauchler has made conflicting statements to The Post and talk-radio hosts. Contradicting a 2015 statement he made to The Post, Brauchler claimed last week on air that he was on juror away from securing the death penalty in the Aurora-shooting case, when, in fact, he was three votes away.

With respect to accessing the ballot, here’s what Brauchler told The Post’s John Frank just before his April 5 campaign announcement:

Positioning himself as one of the more conservative candidates in the race, Brauchler said he plans to seek a slot on the primary ballot through a nomination at the Republican Party’s convention, rather than collect petition signatures to qualify.

The political gamble is paired with a not-so-subtle dig at his expected rivals. “Every single one of them is a potential self-funder or has long family connections to politics. I’m not that guy,” he said without noting Stapleton’s ties to the Bush family. “I’m the guy who has spent his entire life in Colorado, and I’m going to get around this state and win it through the grassroots effort.”

And here’s what Brauchler said to KHOW’s Ross Kaminksy the next day, Thursday, April 6:

Kaminsky–One interesting thing, you have said that you plan to get your position on the primary ballot by going to the convention rather than getting signatures. This is a little bit of insider baseball, but I think it says something about you as a candidate, as well.  Can you explain, please?

Brauchler–And I’ll say this:  I haven’t publicly foreclosed the possibility of petition. But honestly – and this is the way I got to be District Attorney – I’m invested in the grassroots aspect of getting elected. I think we have reached a place with campaign-finance and social media where you can have people who have the means — either their own or through third-party efforts — to simply bypass the individual, face-to-face requirements of going out and earning votes. You just show up on TV, show up on the Internet, you put things into people’s mailboxes.  Now, we’re going to do all those things.  But at the end of the day, there’s only one process to get on the ballot that guarantees you are going to get around the state and do retail politics, to press the flesh, look people in the fac,e and answer their questions about who you are and what’s important to them.  And so, I’m invested in really trying to look hard at how we’re going to accomplish getting on the ballot through the assembly process.  But I haven’t foreclosed any other options.

He hadn’t publicly foreclosed the petition option? That’s not how I read The Post interview, which hasn’t been corrected.

Frank was correct that, for Brauchler, relying on Colorado’s State Republican convention would be a “political gamble”–which is probably why the Arapahoe County District Attorney thought twice about it. The outcome of convention is predictably unpredictable, as demonstrated the jaw-bouncing decision of Republicans there last year to hand the GOP senatorial nomination to Darryl Glenn, who went on to lose to Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

Well-heeled candidates like Brauchler usually try to access the ballot via both the convention and petition routes, giving them a backup if they get Glenned, so to speak. Colorado State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) eschewed the petition process and watched his U.S. Senate dreams die when he was upset by Glenn at the convention last year. Brauchler wants to avoid Neville’s fate.

But the state convention is the stronghold of the GOP’s grassroots contingent, whose support is critical to winning the Republican nomination, even in an open primary–even more so this year because Trump seems to have energized and emboldened Colorado Republicans.

So, by initially saying he’d skip the petition process Brauchler was sending a love note to GOP grassroots activists. But it turns out Brauchler isn’t ready to commit to the marriage. Honestly, I don’t blame him. They can be so difficult and hard to live with.

Listen to Brauchler on KHOW April 6: