Archive for the 'Fox 21 Colorado Springs' Category

Fox 21 news director says “Buck’s people are throwing us under the bus”

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

I was rushing out of town last week, and unfortunately I just missed a phone call from Joe Cole, News Director and weekday anchor at Fox 21 in Colorado Springs.

I had called Cole for a comment on a one-sided piece I posted,  alleging that Fox 21 had erred in reporting that U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck held a “U.S. Senate unity rally” in the Springs Aug. 23.

It seemed strange that Buck would stage a “unity rally” without Buck’s GOP primary opponent, Jane Norton, and no unity rally has been held between Buck and Norton to date.

It seemed strange that Buck would stage a “unity rally” without Buck’s GOP primary opponent, Jane Norton, and no unity rally has been held between Buck and Norton to date.

It seemed strange that Buck would stage a “unity rally” without Buck’s GOP primary opponent, Jane Norton, and no unity rally has been held between Buck and Norton to date.

It seemed strange that Buck would stage a “unity rally” without Buck’s GOP primary opponent, Jane Norton, and no unity rally has been held between Buck and Norton to date.

Buck spokesperson Owen Loftus told me Norton supporters were present, but it was not a unity rally, which his campaign would have made a “big deal” of. He said Fox 21 had made a mistake.

I’m grateful that Fox 21′s Cole gave me his side of the story yesterday, and I shouldn’t have published my blog post of last week until I had given Cole a bit more time to respond.

In any case, Cole said that Andy Merritt, the GOP Chair for El Paso County, had sent him an email describing the Aug. 23 Buck event as a “‘U.S. Senate unity rally.’”

“Buck’s people are saying it’s not a unity rally but the people hosting it are saying it is,” Cole told me. “We certainly don’t want to report an error or call it something it’s not, but if your folks there are calling it a unity rally, that’s what we’re going to go with.”

“Buck’s people are throwing us under the bus here,” he said.

Cole also told me he reviewed segments of video that were not used in the station’s story about the Buck event. Buck said he was there “to connect with Jane Norton’s people,” Cole said.

He added that usually Colorado Republicans are “all on the same page” in dealing with his station.

Asked to comment on the unity-rally issue, Loftus told me it was a non-issue.

“It was a Republican event,” he said. “We were happy with the turnout. We had a great turnout. Ken did meet with a lot of Norton supporters, so we were happy with it either way.”

Fox fails to challenge Norton

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

In my post yesterday about Fox 21′s mini profile of  Jane Norton, I didn’t mention that Fox committed a journalistic lapse when it failed to ask Norton why she believes that Faisal  Shahzad, who’s now admitted to trying to blow  up a car bomb in Times Square, should denied basic due-process protections given to all Americans.

“If they treat him like a criminal, rather than a terrorist, I think that’s wrong,” Norton told Fox. ”You don’t keep America safe by reading terrorists their Miranda rights.”

Fox should have gotten Norton’s response to the kind of argument supported by Glenn Beck on this topic. Beck said,  ”He’s [Shahzad] a citizen of the United States, so I say you uphold the laws and Constitution on citizens,” adding, “He has all of the rights under the Constitution,” and “We don’t shred the Constitution when it’s popular; we do the right thing.”

Norton’s missing years II

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

If you’re a reporter, and you’re writing a few sentences about U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton’s career, what do you leave out from list below?

  • 1986-1987 — Norton served in the Colorado House of Representatives.
  • 1998-1993 — Norton worked in the Department of Health and Human Services under Presidents Bush and Reagan.
  • 1994-1999 — She was Head of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at Management Group Management Association (MGMA).
  • 1999-2002 — She was Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health.
  • 2002-2006 — She was Colorado Lt. Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.
  • 2007 — Named executive Director of the Denver Police Foundation.

Fox 21 in Colorado Springs described Norton yesterday this way:

Norton served in both the Reagan and first Bush administrations. She was also a representative in the state Legislature before becoming Colorado’s first woman Lieutenant Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.

Even for a short TV profile, descriptions of Norton should include her jobs that occupied the longest period of her work life (her years at MGMA and in Washington DC), as well as her noteworthy position as Colorado’s Lt. Governor. Both her private and public sector history should be spotlighted. That’s the most even-handed way to describe Norton.

In the example above, Fox 21 selected a few of Norton’s jobs from random periods in her career. If the random approach is used, we should hear about her five years in the private sector with MGMA as well as her public service.

Reporters want to keep things simple, and you can predict that many people will have no clue what Norton did when she headed MGMA’s ”Office of Strategic Releationships.” So a reporter might ask, why confuse people? Well, here’s what MGMA’s Office of Strategic Relationships is: the lobbying department. Norton headed up MGMA’s lobbying department–a fact readily confirmed by the folks at MGMA.

As for MGMA, it’s an association of medical professionals.

Fox 21 isn’t the only Colorado media outlet that’s failing to describe Norton’s career fairly. There’s plenty of time for reporters to give us a full picture of Jane Norton, even in the most truncated of bios.