Archive for the 'Fox 31 Denver' Category

Exit interview: Leaving local TV news for Politico, Stokols looks forward to never being told “that’s too inside baseball”

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Eli Stokols, who came to Denver as a general assignment reporter in 2005, is leaving KDVR Fox 31 Tuesday as one of the state’s top political reporters. He also became a Fox 31 anchor, launched his own public-policy TV show, and wrote nonstop on multiple platforms.

I had coffee with Stokols, and we talked about his ten-year run in Denver and his future job at Politico in Washington DC. Here’s an edited version of our conversation:

Why Politico?

Stokols: I’ve been looking for an opportunity to report on politics from a national platform. I don’t think that’s any secret. And, frankly, part of that is because in Colorado you get a taste of doing that, because every campaign here is nationalized. There is no shortage of great political stories to cover here, which helped me to broaden my work. You come to a point in your professional career when you need a different challenge. On some level, because I’d been here for so long and was considered one of the veterans, a lot of people come to you with information, and it gets easier. And you can find yourself not working as hard because stuff comes to you. Or you find yourself not as excited when the campaign cycle comes around because you’ve done a ton of them.

And what are you going to do there?

I’m going to cover 2016, mostly write about it. I imagine I’ll cover a lot of the presidential candidates early on.

On the trail?

Yeah. I’ll be traveling a lot. That’s going to be exciting. I’ve been joking with people. It’s about time someone gives up statehouse reporting and goes and covers the presidential race, because what America really needs is more reporters covering the presidential race. You understand going into it that it’s going be hard to come up with stories and angles, but it’s exciting. It’s probably a cliche, but if you’re a political reporter, and that’s what you’re interested in, the opportunity to cover a presidential race and be on the trail is a bucket list thing.

Speaking of the state legislature, will Fox 31 replace you?

The upshot is, this was never a position we had because management said we had to cover politics. I don’t know what they will do. [See CJR's Corey Hutchins' take on this here.] It’s disappointing. You get this opportunity, and then you leave. And you look at what you built. And I know [9News political reporter Adam Schrager] felt the same way when he left. You want it to continue. And so it’s bittersweet.

Here’s a sad question. You’ve established Fox 31 as a go-to source of local political news. Now you’re leaving, and you say you’d like to see things continue. But it doesn’t look like they’re going to. And there doesn’t seem to be any incentive for Fox to do it, in terms of ratings.

What I’ve done has never been about ratings. I think there needs to be more decisions made in local television that are not made based on ratings but are based on the greater good, the public good. And you get criticized for being a media elitist when you say this, but I will unabashedly say, as journalists, we have a responsibility to determine what the audience and the greater public really need to know about–and make fewer decisions in terms of what we do and don’t cover based on what we think they will like seeing on the news.

Bottom line, you don’t think that ratings will suffer with your departure?

No, I don’t.

What will happen to the station?

I really do think Fox 31 is moving in the right direction. The new news director, Holly Gaunt, is very smart, sees the big picture, sees things clearly within the market and within our newsroom. And [she] will continue that station’s upward trajectory. I think [Fox 31 anchor] Jeremy Hubbard is, I think, the best anchor in the market. There are a lot of talented people there. I think Fox 31 has a decision to make about what kind of footprint they make in terms of political coverage.

What’s it going to take to change viewer habits in Denver. You’ve busted your ass. Your station is very competent, but yet you’ve sat there at the bottom, or close to it. It has got to be frustrating.

I won’t say [9News] hasn’t done a lot to maintain [its top slot in the market] and earn that. Some of it is journalism. A lot of it is also branding and community involvement. They sponsor everything. They are a juggernaut, and it’s not just because of the news department. But they are less dominant than they were when I first got to the market. And there are opportunities to challenge them. At the CBA awards, it was Fox 31 and 9News that won most of the awards. They do a good job. A lot of stations do a good job, but changing viewer habits is sometimes as simple as finding that right anchor team and that chemistry. Channel 7′s morning show was killing it when they had Ana Cabrera on there. She is a special talent, and there’s a reason CNN said, “We want to take you.” And they did take her. And now their morning show is not the same. And it takes nothing away from other people who are on the morning show.

Something like that could flip it?

I think Jeremy Hubbard is that kind of talent. He’s very good. He’s only been back here in this role for a short time. There’s a real consistency with him.

There’s something really great about covering state and local politics. You get a personal interaction with people. You see them at the grocery store. You see that in DC too, but I never felt it was the same. What do you think you are going to miss about being here?

The relationships are the hardest thing to give up, because in a smaller market like this you really get a lot of access to people–except when it’s campaign season. [It is] amazing how people who are your best friends suddenly disappear during campaign season. It takes time to build something like I feel I have here in Colorado. And DC, it’s a bigger pond but there are a ton more fish in it too. There are too many journalists.

And more sharks, too.

I’m looking forward to being in a city, and writing for a publication, where there’s no question about whether people are interested in politics.

I know. I don’t blame you.

One of the most exciting things about going to Politico, and the reason I wanted to go there, is because, one, you don’t have the requirements of doing broadcast television that naturally, in some ways,degrade the depth of your journalism. They help you in some ways too.The Cory Gardner interview [during which Gardner repeatedly denied the purpose of a bill that Gardner co-sponsored] wouldn’t have been anything if it weren’t a televised interview. So it’s just different.

The big thing is, I will never be told by an editor there, “That’s too inside baseball; no one cares.” I won’t hear that. And I hear it almost every day and have for ten years. And that is one of the things that’s most exciting to me, is working for a political place like that.

And it’s true. It’s hard to get people to pay attention here. That’ll be fun.

 

Media omission: Klingenschmitt Compares Planned Parenthood to ISIS

Monday, March 9th, 2015

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who last year suggested that Rep. Jared Polis would “join ISIS in beheading Christians,” has said he’s “very proud” of South Dakota State Rep. Isaac Latterell, who wrote a blog post last month comparing Planned Parenthood the Islamic State.

“I am discerning the spirit of god on this state rep from South Dakota,” said Klingenschmitt in Tuesday’s edition of his online video series called Pray in Jesus’ Name, beginning at about the five minute mark below. “His name is Issac Latterell. And he is taking a stand to protect the innocent, and I am very proud of that.”

“Father, we ask your blessing, on South Dakota, on all of America, Father, that we would stand against terrorism in all its forms, stand against murder of innocents in all of its forms, that we would be consistent in our policy and stop funding the abortion business with American tax dollars,” he said later. “God, wake us up as a nation to stop the slaughter of innocents.”

As I reported for RH Reality Check this morning, the last time Klingenschmitt brought up ISIS, saying Polis wants “to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy,” Ryan Call denounced Klingenschmitt’s comments.

This, in turn, led Klingenschmitt, a Republican who goes by the name of “Dr. Chaps,” to say his remarks were “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor.”

Ryan Call responded to Klingenschmitt’s comments about Polis by telling KDVR Fox 31 Denver, at the time:

Call: “Gordon, as I’ve said before, does not speak for the Colorado Republican Party. His views do not reflect my personal position or the position of the party.

“But this tired, ineffectual tactic of trying to brand all Republicans based on these comments — the Todd Akin approach — it’s not going to work this time around,” Call continued. “Voters are too sophisticated. They know that one legislative candidate in Colorado Springs doesn’t reflect the views of Bob Beauprez or Cory Gardner.”

Now Call is locked in a battle with businessman Steve House over who will be the next chair of the Colorado Republican Party, with a vote scheduled for Saturday.

Neither Ryan Call nor House has denounced Klingenschmitt’s comparison of Planned Parenthood to the Islamic State.

Klingenschmitt’s comments begin at about the five minute mark here:

 

Denver TV reporter goes too far in saying Obama “doesn’t like America” and has “contempt” and “disdain” for our country

Friday, February 27th, 2015

It’s obvious to me that journalists should no longer be expected not to express opinions, even on the topics they cover.

But, sometimes, if journalists have opinions that are so extreme, so rude or out-of-step with everyday sensibilities, they should refrain from expressing them. And if they do throw out such opinions, reporters should recuse themselves from covering anything related to their extreme/rude/bombastic utterances.

To my way of thinking, Fox 31 Denver reporter Julie Hayden’s repeated comments that Obama “doesn’t love,” doesn’t even “like America” and, in fact, has “disdain” and “contempt” for our country, fall into the extreme/rude/bombastic category. And Hayden shouldn’t be covering any story related to Obama, federal political issues, and, to be safe, any partisan political topic.

Hayden, who says she once voted for Obama and doesn’t cover the president, has been trashing him on her Saturday morning radio show, “Wake Up with Chuck and Julie,” which she co-hosts with hubby Chuck Bonniwell, on KNUS 170-AM.

On her radio show last Saturday, in the wake Rudy Giuliani’s comments that Obama doesn’t love America, Hayden even presided over a debate on the topic of whether Obama likes America, with Hayden and Bonniwell taking the side that he does not.

“To me, it just seemed so obvious he doesn’t like America, and, you know, I think has disdain for it and contempt,” said Hayden a typical comment (Listen below at 20:50).

Here’s another exchange:

Caller (at 9:40 minutes): It’s not only that he doesn’t love the country. I actually think that he hates it, that he does everything he can to undermine the country at every turn.

Bonniwell: You’re absolutely right.

Hayden: I don’t disagree with you.

Asked via email whether such extreme comments are appropriate for a journalist listed as a “reporter” at Fox 31 Denver, a major Denver news outlet with a five-star reputation for its political coverage (and not linked to the partisan Fox News Network), Hayden offered these thoughts:

Hayden: I believe, like many things “extreme” is in the eye of the beholder.  I do not consider my comment  that I did not think the President likes America to be “extreme”, any more than I consider someone else saying they believe the President loves America to be “extreme.”  I have also said on the radio program that it’s my opinion that Governor Hickenlooper has shown he cares about Colorado.  I don’t think that’s “extreme”, either.  I have also said on the program many times that I supported Hillary Clinton in 2008 and was very disappointed when she dropped out.  And that I voted for President Obama.  I don’t consider those “extreme” comments and I do not think they crossed any kind of journalistic line.

I respect your question and your opinion, but I do not think it crosses a journalistic line for me to express an opinion, one way or another on the President because I don’t cover the President in my television job.  We have been fortunate at Fox 31 Denver to have Eli Stokols as our political reporter and he does a great job.

It would be a different matter if I was a White House correspondent, but that’s not the case.

I would also like to point out that whenever I express an opinion I invite and welcome people with other opinions to comment, too.  In this case, I frequently mentioned that our friend Chuck completely disagrees with me.  I think it would be wrong as a journalist and a talk show host to make it seem like there was only one side to any issue. And whatever the topic, I think we do talk about all sides and take calls and comments from all sides.  We don’t screen out any calls.

I was glad that Hayden, who mostly covers crime and general interest topics, agrees with me that she shouldn’t cover Obama, but local TV news tends to swarm around the hot stories of the day.

So it’s no surprise that Hayden reported this story the day before the 2012 election on Romney-Obama voter turnout efforts. This piece looks fair to me, but what would Hayden’s next story about Obama look like? About immigration? About women? The environment? Net neutrality!

And lots of crime stories, the staple of TV news, connect to partisan politics.

“To me it’s very bad that we have a president that doesn’t like America,” said Hayden on air (at 12:20 below). Let’s hope she doesn’t use her journalism job to do something about it.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/fox-31-reporter-julie-hayden-claims-obama-does-not-love-america

Huge loss for Denver as Stokols departs from Fox 31

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Denver journalism sustained a body blow yesterday, when Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols announced he’s leaving for a job at Politico in Washington DC.

In a piece quoting a memo from Fox 31 news director Holly Gauntt praising Stokols, Westword’s Michael Roberts reports:

Contacted via e-mail, Stokols confirms the move while stressing the difficulty of the decision to take the leap.

“For a political reporter, Colorado is fertile soil,” he writes. “I’ve been lucky to have had strong support from Peter Maroney and my bosses at KDVR Fox31 to focus on that beat year round, even when it wasn’t campaign season and a lot of producers would probably have preferred to have me chasing snowstorms or shootings.”

He also makes reference to his hosting duties on #COpolitics: From the Source, a public-affairs show that launched last year; to read his preview of the program for Westwordclick here.

“I couldn’t have asked for more in this job: opportunities to launch a weekly show that has devoted serious air time to serious, substantive conversations about politics, policy and broader issues; opportunities to anchor newscasts five nights a week, something I’ve actually had a blast doing alongside Aristea Brady on KWGN Channel 2; and opportunities to write longer pieces about Colorado politics for other outlets,” he points out.

Stokols covered the day-to-day grind of politics like a newspaper beat reporter, producing daily stories, often about political developments that are seen as too boring for television news. This quickly earned Stokols the admiration of attention-starved partisans on both sides of the aisle.

He pushed out large volumes of information on multiple platforms, making Fox 31 easily one of the go-to sources of political news in Colorado. On top of that, he freelanced long-form pieces for 5280 and op-eds for Politico.

During the last election, Stokols earned the respect of his peers for his direct questioning of Cory Gardner regarding his support of a personhood bill at the federal level but his rejection of personhood amendments in Colorado.

 

 

Watchdog reporting needed on Gardner

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Yesterday, Rep. Cory Gardner voted to halt Obama’s program to defer deportation of millions of immigrants who have children in our country.

Gardner voted in Aug. (during the election campaign) against halting Obama’s  program to defer deportations of young immigrants.

The two votes weren’t exactly identical, but they’re close enough to  make you wonder how Gardner reconciles the two. Yet, I can’t find a single reporter who asked him directly about the inconsistency.

Instead,  the Associated Press, Durango Herald, Fox 31 Denver, the Grand Junction Sentinel,  and The Denver Post all apparently relied on Gardner’s self-serving statement saying, in part, that “we owe it to generations past and generations to come to find a solution to our broken immigration system.”

It’s possible some reporters asked to speak with Gardner himself, but they didn’t report this. If so, they should have.

But it’s not too late to insist on talking to Gardner, if you’re a journalist who has access to him, to cover the basic journalistic function of calling out public officials on their inconsistencies between what’s done on the campaign trail and what happens in office.

A baby step in the right direction was provided during a Gardner interview Dec. 3 on SeriusXM’s new show, Yahoo! News on POTUS

Host Olivier Knox had the presence of mind to ask Gardner whether his “campaign talk” about making birth control pills available over the counter “can translate into legislative action.”

Gardner replied:

It needs to translate into policy action. The FDA has their approval process when it comes to prescription, over-the-counter move. I will certainly continue to support and urge, whether it’s legislative action. We’ve got to figure out the best policy option, the best way forward in making sure we have the continued fight for over-the-counter contraceptives, which I continue and will continue to support and push for. And so, we’ll be talking to the FDA and talking about how best to make that happen. It’s something Gov. Jindahl first proposed, ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, supported the move to over-the-counter contraceptions and it’s something we’ve got to encourage to happen here.

I give Knox credit here for asking the question, even though I’d have pressed Gardner to clarify his plan for implementation of a major campaign promise. Will he seek legislation if necessary? How long will he press the Administration? Etc.

Ditto for Gardner’s plan on immigration. If he’s against deferring deportations, then what’s he for? And how does it comport to his campaign promises?

I’m hoping we get this type of watch-dog attitude from reporters going forward on Gardner.

Best Local Journalism of the 2014 Election Season

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Here’s my list of top election-season journalism by local reporters:

Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols didn’t take Cory Gardner’s falsehood for an answer on personhood. And, and in the same five-star interview, he tried harder than any other journalist to get a straight answer from Gardner on the details of his health insurance plan.

Only the Colorado Independent’s Susan Greene offered a comprehensive look (with Mike Keefe cartoon) at the extreme right-wing comments of gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez. See Bob Beauprez’s Last Eight Years: Conservatism at its Extremes.

The Associated Press’ Nick Riccardi explains why senatorial candidate Cory Gardner says he favors immigration reform. And he points out that that Gardner’s actual support for reform proposals is limited and illusive.

Corey Hutchins, who writes for a variety of outlets, broke the shocking story on Medium about Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) urging a military revolt against Obama. (Reminder: Our country is at war.)

9News’ Brandon Rittiman was the first local journalist to press senatorial candidate Cory Gardner on the hypocrisy of his withdrawing support for state personhood measures but remaining a co-sponsor of a federal personhood bill. Other journalists, besides Stokols and Rittiman, deserve credit for challenging Gardner on this: 9News’ Kyle ClarkThe Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels, and The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus.

Stokols wrote the definitive piece on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners toxic impact on Colorado Republican Party’s election prospects. See The New Front in Dudley Brown’s War: Jefferson County.

Colorado Community Media’s Vic Vela provided the first comprehensive look at the Republican turmoil in all-powerful Jefferson County. See Jeffco Limps Forward in Races.

The Denver Post’s John Frank wrote an insightful piece on the potential impact on the election of the school-board protests in Jefferson County.

They err themselves, but local TV news fact checkers Shaun Boyd (CBS4), Brandon Rittiman (9News), and sometimes Eli Stokols make a huge contribution to rational electoral debate with their Reality Check, Truth Test, and Fact or Fiction pieces.

Freelance journalist Sandra Fish filled a media gap with detailed reports on election-ad spending, mostly written for Colorado Public Radio (e.g., here and here).

The Associated Press’ Kristen Wyatt was quick to expose Gardner’s hollow claim of being a leader of Colorado’s new energy economy. See Senate candidate in Colo. touts a failed measure.

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews wrote intelligently about how the outcome of the Coffman-Romanoff race, in district whose demographics reflect America’s, could portend how well the GOP does in 2016. See GOP incumbent in Colorado 6th CD in a Race with Implications for 2016.

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels told the story of how the grand fracking compromise was reached, with its implications for the upcoming election. See Let’s Make a Deal: How Colorado Came to a Fracking Compromise.

Finally, and I’m a progressive media critic being completely objective here, the Colorado Independent‘s Mike Littwin has been brilliant over the past few months, writing with humor and insight that you can’t help but appreciate, even if you love the people he lampoons or shreds.

All in all, at a time when everyone complains about the demise of local journalism, we saw some great stuff. Of course, there were epic lapses, but I’ll get into those later, or perhaps at our (bipartisan) Nov. 11 panel discussion on media coverage of the 2014 election.

Reporters continue to object to Gardner’s apparent personhood lie

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels wrote yesterday:

“Almost everyone but Congressman Gardner agrees that the federal bill is similar to state “personhood” measures that Coloradans overwhelmingly defeated and Gardner supported until just weeks after entering the Senate race in February.

More proof came the night before, when Gardner’s told 7News’ Marc Stewart  (at the 50-second mark here) that the federal personhood bill is an empty symbol, instead of the extreme anti-abortion bill that it is.

Stewart: But your name is still, though, on the personhood legislation, correct?

Gardner: Well, that’s just a statement that I support life.

Gardner’s apparent lie here completes a trifecta of false statements to Denver TV stations, including Fox 31, Channel 9, and now, Channel 7–in addition to all the other news outlets that have endured this falsehood and objected to it, rightfully, sometimes in the strongest possible terms.

 

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.

Reporters try but fail to get truth from Gardner on Federal “personhood” bill

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

In an article this morning, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols reports that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner shifted last night from repeatedly saying to multiple reporters (as documented in the video above) that there is “no federal personhood bill” to saying, repeatedly, that it’s “simply a statement.”

Stokols writes:

“The federal act that you are referring to is simply a statement that I believe in life,” Gardner said when asked about the Life Begins at Conception Act by Lynn Bartels.

When Udall repeatedly went back to the issue, Gardner stuck to script, repeating his line that his co-sponsorship of the measure is “simply a statement that I support life.”

Gardner also attempted to separate the House Life at Conception Act, which he signed on as a co-sponsor to last summer, from the nearly identical Senate version, which he claimed not to have seen, and dismissed the notion, pushed by Udall’s campaign, that the legislation could result in banning some forms of birth control.

In countering this nonsense from Gardner, Stokols cites an appeal from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, explaining that “by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.”

Here’s the audio of Paul’s brutally honest statement of support for the Life at Conception Act.

And here’s a transcript of Paul’s entire statement:

Hello. This is Senator Rand Paul. Will you help me in a bold and aggressive campaign to end abortion-on-demand– once and for all?

Since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973, nine unelected men and women on the Supreme Court have played got with innocent human life. They have invented laws that condemned more than 56 million babies to painful deaths without trial…merely for the crime of being “inconvenient.”

But the good news is Congress has the power to legislatively overturn Roe v. Wade and end all abortion-on-demand.

You see, when the Supreme Court invented the so-called “right” to an abortion, they left an opening for us in Congress to act on the question of when life begins. In Roe v. Wade, the Court ruled: We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins … the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”

The Court then admitted that if the personhood of an unborn baby is established, the right to abort, “collapses, for the fetus’ right to live is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Aendment …”

Now what the Court was saying, if you look through the all the legal mumbo jumbo, is that we in Congress have the POWER to legally define when life begins.

The same judges who wrote Roe v. Wade actually admitted this. Of course, science has long held that life begins at conception.

That’s why I’m cosponsoring the Life at Conception Act, which — by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade.

That’s why I hope I can count on you to sign special petitions for both your Senators and your Congressman. And, if at all possible, I hope I can count on you to make a generous contribution of $50 to the National Pro-Life Alliance’s campaign to pass a Life at Conception Act and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Your generous contribution of $50 or more will help pay for collecting petitions from up to one million Americans … and for briefing hundreds of newspaper columnists, editorial writers, and talk radio hosts. The fact is, with enough pressure from dedicated pro-lifers on Members of Congress from both parties, you and I can force every member elected as a pro-lifer to either end the slaughter now … or face angry voters back home.

I have to tell you from my perspective as a pro-lifer in Congress that every pro-lifer’s activism is essential in our fight against abortion-on-demand. But I have especially come to appreciate the members of National Pro-life Alliance. Their members nationwide are perhaps the most active and focused on the ultimate vision of eliminating abortion-on-demand — not just regulating it.

In fact, it is primarily because of National Pro-life Alliance members that the Life at Conception Act has an all-time record number of House and Senate sponsors. That’s why I hope you will go all out to support their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade by passing a Life at Conception Act.

You see, their goal over the next 60 days is to add as many additional cosponsors as possible and then to force roll call votes in both the House and Senate.

Your generous contribution will then also help pay for hard-hitting radio, TV, and newspaper advertising which the National Pro-Life Alliance is committed to run in target states.

By forcing roll call votes, wavering politicians will have to either vote to protect the innocent — or face hundreds of thousands of angry voters back home. If you can help, just bring public opinion to bear on my colleagues in Congress, I’m convinced that we can get this bill to the forefront of the American debate — and ultimately outlaw abortion once and for all.

That’s why it’s vital you sign the petitions I mentioned at once. And please, make this massive advertising and petition drive possible by sending a special contribution to the National Pro-life Alliance.
[Please sign the petition below in support of the Life at Conception Act.]

Why did Gardner drop CO personhood initiatives but not the federal bill?

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I can’t shake this question out of my head. Why did senatorial candidate Cory Gardner drop the state personhood amendments but remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood bill?

It would have been so easy for Gardner to uncosponsor the federal personhood bill. He’s even uncosponsored at least one bill before (not a personhood bill but still, an real-life bill!

Instead, he’s left saying, “There is no federal personhood bill,” and getting beat up for it by reporters (here and here) and Democrats alike. And rightfully so.

After months of wasteful thought, I offer you my best shot at explaining Gardner’s mysterious personhood hypocisy, as posted on The Denver Post’s website:

In contrast to state personhood ballot initiatives, the path to legislating personhood via re-defining “person” in the U.S. Constitution, like what’s mandated by the Life at Conception Act, is embraced by the national Republican Party platform. Also, 153 members of Congress, (132 in the House and 21 in the Senate) co-sponsored the Life at Conception Act, along with Gardner. The Senate sponsor of the bill is Rand Paul, widely considered a leading GOP presidential contender.

If Gardner declared the federal personhood bill a well-intentioned mistake, like he did Colorado’s personhood amendments, he’d have abandoned the all those Members of Congress. He’d also be alienating powerful anti-abortion organizations and countless GOP activists. There’s a national movement built around the concept of enacting personhood via constitutional amendment. Not so much with state-based personhood initiatives.

It would be infinitely messier, politically, for Gardner to break ranks with backers of the federal personhood bill than from local pastors and churchgoers who’ve pushed Colorado’s personhood amendments and represent the ragged fringe of the national anti-abortion movement. And by parting ways with personhood in Colorado, Gardner could still try to polish his appeal to women, who will likely decide November’s election, while remaining friendly with the more powerful anti-abortion crowd. A perfect both-ways strategy.

All that’s speculation, I know, but what else can you do when Gardner’s own answer defies the facts?

Now the question is, will this work? Can Gardner win by repeating there-is-no-federal-personhood-bill? Or will a new crop of questions that should be asked by reporters force him articulate an actual factual explanation?