Archive for the 'Fox 31 Denver' Category

Former GOP state chair, charged with voter fraud, does the right thing and resigns from radio show

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

The morning after voter fraud charges were filed against KLZ 560-AM morning host Steve Curtis, there he was, on the air, interviewing William Gheen, who’s on a “mission” against illegal immigration.

But things changed during the day, as you know if you were one of the lucky people listening to KLZ’s afternoon show, where Dan Meurer announced the resignation of the former GOP state chair:

Dan Meurer: All over the news is our morning show host Steve Curtis. So Steve has been brought up on charges, as we all know. And Steve resigned this morning. And basically that’s all we are going to say about it. It’s all we really know. And as a friend of Steve’s I wish him the best of luck. Prayers are with him. And there we go.

In an email today, Don Crawford of KLZ’s owner, the Crawford Broadcasting Company, confirmed Curtis’ resignation.

It appears that Curtis resigned on his own volition, because Crawford Broadcasting was prepared to keep him on the air until he was found guilty, according to Fox 31 Denver:

Curtis’ bosses at Crawford Broadcasting in Dallas said Curtis is innocent until proven guilty and it has no intention of taking disciplinary action unless and until he’s convicted.

Crawford Broadcasting clearly should have suspended Curtis, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings, because the serious nature of the allegations stripped him of his credibility.

Strangely enough, a couple years ago, Crawford Broadcasting quickly suspended interviews with Tom Tancredo, after the former Congressman teamed up with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to try to oust GOP state chair Steve House. The temporary Tancredo-interview-ban led to the resignation of Randy Corporan, who hosted KLZ’s morning show prior to Curtis’ tenure there.

Crawford’s innocent-until-proven-guilty approach to Curtis was not used by Clear Channel, the owner of Denver’s KHOW 630-AM, when it immediately suspended host Peter Boyles after he reportedly grabbed the lanier of producer Greg Hollenbeck during a violent exchange. Boyles was immediately suspended and later fired.

Listen to KLZ’s announcement of the resignation of Steve Curtis:

This post was updated with the email from Crawford.

Local TV reporter Julie Hayden retired after Fox 31 Denver told her she had to stop co-hosting her conservative radio show

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

On her radio show over the weekend, veteran journalist Julie Hayden said she’d had “dreams” about leaving local TV news, and finally the “universe conspired to give me a kick in the fanny.” And so she retired last week from Fox 31 Denver.

Most of the reasons Hayden gave on air for retiring are what you might expect to hear from a 58-year-old local TV news reporter. But others appear to be mysterious, like the universe.

Hayden’s parents, who were both declining, died during the last month, Hayden said in a touching moment during her KNUS 710-AM show Saturday, as she explained why she began thinking seriously about leaving the station. She also said she wants to spend more time with her son, and she has the opportunity to do other work on her terms. And the grind of the news business gets old, she said.

All that makes sense, but the mysterious part was the on-air explanation offered by Hayden’s co-host and husband, Chuck Bonniwell:

Bonniwell: And also, they suddenly discovered after 10 years you’ve got a radio program and that everybody in the news is on it. And they said, ‘Hey, you can’t do the radio program.’ And you said, ‘Wanna bet? [laughs] Wanna bet?’

Hayden: Yeah, the gen–.

CB: And we’ve also got an establishment Republican politician, who hates to be criticized, is calling everywhere we work and trying to get people fired. So, that’s fun! It’s always fun! It’s always exciting. There’s nothing but excitement.

As she often does, Hayden laughed off her husband’s comment, when he tossed it out there on air. It seemed as if she was about to respond to what he said, but, as he’ll do, Bonniwell talked over her.

So I called Hayden and asked if it was true that she’d been told to drop the radio program. I’d long ago questioned Hayden’s dual jobs as journalist and weekend opinion monger, and it’s true, if you follow Colorado politics closely, you’ve heard about the show. So it’s odd that the show would suddenly be a problem. But a source confirmed that station management told her she had to quit her radio work.

Asked about this, Hayden said:

Hayden: “Lawyers being involved in everything, I had to sign what is essentially a boiler-plate routine departure agreement that says I won’t talk about the specifics. I can neither confirm nor deny anything there.

And, the million-dollar question: Who was the “establishment Republican politician” referenced by Bonniwell? Or, more likely, because an establishment Republican is involved, that’s a multi-million-dollar question.

Hayden wouldn’t say.

It’s not as if there’s one establishment Republican who gets grief on Hayden’s and Bonniwell’s show, which is called, “Weekend Wakeup with Chuck and Julie.” With Chuck leading the way, the show goes after U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), and many others.

Did a Republican apply pressure on Fox 31 Denver to get Hayden off the radio air?

Fox 31 Denver General Manager Joan Barrett didn’t return a phone call.

But if there was a dispute between Hayden and her bosses at Fox 31 Denver, Hayden doesn’t seem to care at this point.

“But I will tell you it was all positive,” said Hayden, who emphasizes that she left the station on good terms with a three-cake party. “It just became clear that this was where I wanted to devote my time and energy. And I had a wonderful career in the TV news business, and I loved most of it. But for me, it just wasn’t that fun anymore. The business has changed. I had changed. It became totally clear that it was time to do some of the things I’d been talking about doing, rather than just talking about doing them.”

“Chuck put it well,” Hayden said on air Saturday. “And I don’t want to offend anybody, but [being in the local TV news business at her age is] kind of like being a 40-year-old stripper.”

Hayden, who also reported for Channels 2 and 7 over her career in Denver, told me she’ll sell advertisements and write stories for Bonniwell’s Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle and “not have to stand by the side of the road in a blizzard and say it’s snowing. Not that that isn’t fun sometimes,” she said. She will also spend more time on the radio show and help at her daughter’s media company.

I talked to Hayden Tuesday just after she’d had breakfast with her college roommate.

“It was depressing how long it had been since we’d seen each other,” Hayden said.

“If I’d still been [working at Fox 31 Denver], and my old college roommate called, I would have had to say, ‘No, I can’t get together.’ But now I can.”

So if it’s true that an establishment Republican played a role in pushing Hayden out, it might be one of the best things the GOP has done in Colorado in a long time.

Transcript of discussion between Julie Hayden and Chuck Bonniwell Feb. 26 on KNUS 710-AM regarding Hayden’s retirement from Fox 31 KDVR-TV Denver

JULIE HAYDEN: You know, Chuck put it well. It’s kind of like being – and I don’t want to offend anybody – but, a forty year old stripper. You know? When I’m – I’m 58 years old and I’m a general assignment reporter and I have loved my career. But at a certain point, it’s just like, “You know, this is not as fun as it used to be, standing in the cold in the snow — in the blizzard by the side of the road, um, you know, it’s – it loses its luster after a while. And it was clear to me it was time. And I’ve been thinking about this a long time, too, you know, “Retire from doing the daily grind of the news business.” And, not to mention –.

CB: Well, you’re going to be in the daily grind of the news business, except with a small local paper!

Hayden: Yeah, so what I’m going to do is focus more time here at the radio station, focus time with Chuck’s newspaper, my daughter has a video production company and I’m going to be working at that. So, I have a lot of things going on. And, um, I’m really excited. Um, and it’s always nice, I think, in the TV business is such a – oh, a non-loyal one. It’s not – to me, it was a true joy to be able to go out on my own terms, rather than being like a 70 year old person in a walker where they slash my salary, and said, “You know, Julie? I think it’s time for you to go.” So, [a] lot of changes in my life, but –.

CB: And also, they suddenly discovered after 10 years you’ve got a radio program and that everybody in the news is on it. And they said, “Hey, you can’t do the radio program.” And you said, “Wanna bet?” [laughs] Wanna bet?”

Hayden: Yeah, the Gen–.

CB: And we’ve also got an establishment Republican politician, who hates to be criticized, is calling everywhere we work and trying to get people fired. So, that’s fun! It’s always fun! It’s always exciting. There’s nothing but excitement

[introducing the new producer]

Hayden: So, that’s it. For me, — just to kind of wrap it up – I do believe that, you know. I’ve had these dreams and plans and wanted to be leaving the TV news business for a while. So, the universe conspired to give me a kick in the fanny, and say, “What are you waiting for?” You know? “Go on! It’s time for some new adventures and some new things.”

Reporter does his best to find out if Gardner will hold town hall meeting

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George made journalism proud today as he pressed U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to answer the straight-forward question of whether he’d be hosting an in-person town hall meeting.

But, exhibiting the same allergy to direct questions that Gardner’s had before, the junior senator from Colorado flat-out refused to answer the question, leaving it open to be asked again (and again) until it’s answered. (Click here to see St. George’s interview.)

St. George: As you know, there’s been protests outside your office. There’s a protest outside this hotel, people wondering, during this week of recess, why aren’t you hosting a town hall?

Gardner: Well look, we’ve had a number of opportunities to engage with a number of Coloradans around the state. And we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s through this opportunity to visit with the Governor’s Agriculture Forum. I just spoke at the Colorado Space Coalition. I was out at Ft. Morgan and Burlington earlier this week. We’ll be in northern Colorado today and tomorrow. And so it’s a great opportunity to hear from Coloradans, and I appreciate the people who are expressing their points of view, whether they support what the President has done or whether they oppose what the President has done, it is very good to hear what’s going on.

St. George: But no town hall? Will you commit to doing a town hall sometime in the future?

Gardner: In my time in Congress, we’ve held over 100 town halls. Last year, we were across all 64 counties in the state. We’ve met with protesters. My office has met with protesters. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll hold a number of tele-town halls in the future. And I hope that people will go onto our website and join them.

St. George: Is a tele-town hall a way to avoid that confrontation, because as you know, some of these town halls are getting heated. Is that why people like yourself are choosing telephone town halls?

Gardner: Well, I think it’s a great opportunity to reach people across the state. And we try to do it as often as we can. We do it at different times in the day. Sometimes we do it in the morning. Sometimes we do it at night, just depending on when people are able to answer the phone. That’s why we want to vary the time of day that we do this at. And we can reach out to more people. We take positive questions. We take negative questions. We take them all. It’s a great way to hear what’s on people’s minds. In addition to the many meetings we’ve held with people across Colorado. The office outreach that we’ve had. The time to meet with protesters throughout the state, individually at these forums as well. It’s very important.

St. George: So as of right now, no plans to hold a town hall?

Gardner: Look, we’ve had a number of tele-town hall opportunities. We’ve had a number of opportunities to go to open forums–

St. George: But no in-person town halls?

Gardner: We’re going to continue working on meetings where we can meet people across the state. That’s what we’re doing today. That’s what we’re doing tomorrow. We’ll continue doing it throughout the week.

If Gardner’s dodges look familiar, it’s because they are. This is how he treats reporters on a regular basis, insulting them with non-answers. You recall this exchange with the Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols during the 2014 election campaign.

Stokols: You don’t support the personhood amendment at the state level anymore. Why keep your name on that Life At Conception Act at the federal level?

Gardner: There is no such thing as the federal personhood bill.

Stokols: Cory, the people who wrote that bill, Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California, Paul Broun of Georgia, they say–Personhood USA says–that that is what the Life at Conception Act is.

Gardner: When I announced for the Senate, that’s when this outcry started from the Senate campaign of Senator Udall.  That’s what they are trying to do. This is all politics. It’s unfortunate that they can’t focus on–

Stokols: But the facts are —

Gardner: No, the facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill. There is no federal personhood bill.

Gardner has never given a straight answer about the Life at Conception Act.

Will he try to pull off the same trick with town hall meetings? With Obamacre? You’d have to guess he’ll try, but unlike the few months leading to his election in 2014, there are long months or years ahead for reporters to demand real answers.

Key state senate race starting to get media attention but more is needed

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

With a few of our more bigger badder news outlets (CPR, Denver Post, Fox 31 Denver, and KMGH-TV Denver 7) finally getting around to covering Arvada’s state senate race, which is the most important contest this election, the simple point should be made: follow-up stories are needed.

The candidates, Republican Laura Woods and Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, aren’t being challenged sufficiently on their stances on the issues (See some of their positions, on abortion to guns, here) or on the politics of the race. Some outlets have returned to the races a few times in coverage, which is good, but more attention is required. Some of our state’s most prestigious news entities have essentially dropped the ball on the race.

I’m not saying Aurora’s congressional race, our ballot measures, or other races aren’t important too, but if political journalists want to help voters understand what’s at stake this election cycle, they should turn their attention repeatedly to Senate District 19—and, to a lesser extent, other key state senate races.

Here’s a video to emphasize the point.

Under-the-radar race gets TV coverage because… it’s so important

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

If you’re paying attention to politics in Colorado, you know that few people have any clue about the most important political contest in the state: the state senate race in Arvada/Westminster, where Republican Laura Woods is battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger.

But the importance of the race apparently isn’t a good enough news hook for many reporters to give it the coverage it deserves, which is a lot.

So Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George gets our collective thanks for assembling a TV story about, as he labeled it, the state senate race in Arvada that could be “the most important race you’re not watching.” That was his hook! How great is that?

“At first glance this race doesn’t look very important,” says St. George in his piece, showing Woods and Zenzinger knocking on doors. “…the most important race you likely haven’t talked about….if Zenzinger wins this re-match, Dems may be in complete control [of state government]….

“While this race dominates the headlines,” narrates St. George, flashing images of Clinton and Trump. “This one in Arvada may end up impacting your life more come next year.”

Political insiders know this, yet coverage of the state’s most important race remains spotty (unless you get behind the paywall of the Colorado Statesman–or read the Colorado Independent), so few people know about it, much less where the candidates stand on the issues. St. George provided a bit of this info on the KDVR Fox 31 Denver website, listing, among others, these comparisons of the two candidates.

St. George reported:

In terms of the issues:

Abortion
Woods: Pro-life
Zenzinger: Pro-choice

Gun control
Woods: Against
Zenzinger: Supports common sense measures

Minimum wage increase
Woods: Against
Zenzinger: Supports

(For background, Woods is against all abortion, even for rape and incest, and, on guns, she’s against all criminal background checks prior to gun purchases.)

As we get closer to the election, more reporters will almost certainly inform voters just how important this race is. Good to see St. George leading the way.

Thanks to journalists who refuse to take the same non-answer for an answer

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Journalists take a lot of hits these days, but we’re all glad they’re out there asking questions.

The final days of the Republican senatorial primary give us an opportunity to thank journalists for asking candidates a question multipile times when the question isn’t answered.

This primary season, we added interviews with former State Rep. Jon Keyser to BigMedia’s video of reporters who refuse to take the same non-answer for a real answer. (The video also includes interviews with Rep. Mike Coffman and Sen. Cory Gardner. Tip of the hat to, among others, 9News’ Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman, former Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, and New7’s Marshall Zelinger and Marc Stewart.)

Fox 31 Denver fills Stokols’ political reporter position

Monday, January 25th, 2016

In the nine long months after political reporter Eli Stokols left Fox 31 Denver, it looked like the local TV station’s surprising reputation as a go-to source for political news, cultivated by over a decade of obsessive work by Stokols, was going to be completely lost.

Serious politics coverage at Fox 31 essentially vanished overnight. It was an unbelievable fall, and depressing. (Not to say Fox 31 didn’t have some good pieces and journalists, but the unfilled hole was huge.) But on the positive side, it showed the impact one talented reporter can have on a news outlet, especially a TV station, and on an entire state.

That’s why it’s great that Fox 31 has hired a reporter, Joe St. George, to take over Stokols’ political beat, showing that the station’s commitment to politics coverage didn’t start and stop with Stokols–as can be the case at local TV outlets.

Joe St. George arrived at the station last month after covering politics in Virginia for over three years and, before that, for a stint in Iowa. So he’s got nothing comparable to Stokols’ experience, but he seems to be hard-working and, jeez, all of the people of Colorado are glad to see him given the chance, though they don’t know it.

“Joe’s passion is in political reporting,” said Fox 31 News Director Holly Gauntt.  “He did a lot of good political reporting at his former station and has a good reputation there. It’s rare. He’s one of those guys who breathes, eats, lives, sleeps politics, so I snatched him up as soon as I found out about him.”

Gauntt says it will be tough for St. George to replace Stokols, whom she described as “the best political reporter in the state. (It’s true St. George is no Eli Stokols, but he’s closer to Stokols than Dan Quayle was to Jack Kennedy.)

St. George’s “number one priority” will be politics, including, eventually, the type of in-the-weeds blogging produced by Stokols. St. George will do that once he develops the contacts and knowledge required, said Gauntt

“I think politics is hugely important,” said Gauntt in response to my saying that Fox 31 deserves a ton of credit for hiring a new political reporter and giving Stokols the space to focus on politics when he was here–because many local TV outlets don’t have any political reporters at all. “Some of it’s not for broadcast. You can’t get too far into the weeds, but that’s the beauty of websites and blogs and all of that.”

For his part, St. George says he’s “very lucky” to be covering politics for a local TV station in his third swing state.

“I would never have left Virginia if I didn’t have an equally exciting opportunity to cover politics in a state like Colorado,” he said.

St. George has “followed Eli’s work for years” and hopes to work on multiple platforms like Stokols did.

“While not every politics story is a great TV story, it has a place online if it doesn’t have a place on television,” said St. George, who hopes to start blogging soon. “I consider myself not just a TV journalist but a multi-screen journalist.”

Stokols hoped his former station wouldn’t drop serious political reporting after his departure.

“I’m glad to see that Fox31 remains committed to covering Colorado politics and policy debates in its newscast and across additional platforms,” wrote Stokols when asked for a comment about St. George’s hire. “I look forward to following Joe’s coverage from afar.”

Toward the end of his run in Denver, Stokols started an interview show that aired some of the most dramatic TV news video of the 2014 election in Colorado. Gauntt has no immediate plans to launch such a show (which would compete with interview-type shows aired by local TV news competitors 9News and, now, Channel 7). But she’s open to the possibility down the road, she said.

9News shows other Denver TV stations how to air a successful political interview show

Friday, October 16th, 2015

9News, Colorado’s NBC affiliate, is showing the world (Or, let’s hope, at least other Denver TV stations) how to air a longish-form political interview show–and make it interesting and important in the new media landscape.

This week’s interview with Hillary Clinton, which will be aired Sunday on the program, called Balance of Power, shows how it’s done.

The show’s primary host, Brandon Rittiman, landed the interview, he says, in part because having a regular public affairs show “makes us a better sell to get these interviews.”

Rittiman: “They decided that they wanted to do some local affiliates after the debate, and out of the blue sky, after talking to their people back and forth for a long time, they called… We have this hole, this home, for content. It makes us a better sell to get these interviews… It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a regular show on politics and public affairs. And there stations that don’t want to make that resource commitment, because it’s difficult. But it does have its rewards. We got news content yesterday that we might not have gotten otherwise.”

9News rushed the entire interview online, to get maximum love from the 24-hour news cycle, with Rittiman, who’s 9News’ political reporter, pushing it out on social media. And the station aired some of the Rittiman’s questions, which mostly had Colorado connections, on various newscasts. On Sunday morning, the interview will air in its regular 15-minute Balance-of-Power slot on 9News prior to “Meet the Press.”

Rittiman: If you turn on your TV to 9News and you watch a newscast, you’ll get great information, but that’s not the same as having it out in the longer form conversation. It’s not the same as giving a Colorado voice to the presidential election. The two are symbiotic. We get good content for newscasts out of Balance of Power, and Balance of Power gives people a great place to go beyond the soundbite type story.

And it’s clear that long-form TV interview shows, like Balance of Power, are more than just junk food for the political chatter class. They make a difference in the policy debate and in elections, as was demonstrated last year and continues to be evident. In the shrinking media universe, with tightly controlled campaigns, they can actually affect elections and policy.

And simply having a regular political interview show helps a TV station from forgetting about politics in the midst of exciting storms and animal sightings.

Unfortunately, Balance of Power is the only local political TV interview show that remains standing in Denver. Fox 31’s excellent “#CoPolitics at the Source” died with the departure of Eli Stokols. Aaron Harbor’s locally-themed shows usually appear only around election time. And Channel 6’s “Colorado State of Mind” most often focuses on policy not policymakers and candidates. Channel 12’s Colorado Inside Out talks about, not with, public officials and newsmakers.

Rittiman says 9News is committed to airing Balance of Power at least through next year’s election, and points to its regular Sunday time slot as proof of this. Until earlier this year, it was a here-and-there kind of feature. The show is promoted on air on 9News regularly, which is key, and it’s featured on the station’s website.

You might laugh at calling Balance of Power’s 10-15 minute interviews “long form,” but, hey, that’s what it is compared to what’s out there today. As Rittiman says, you can go “well beyond soundbites” in 15 minutes.

And, mostly, it’s hard to argue that anything longer than 15 minutes has much interest to people beyond the chatter class.

“How many people will watch a half-hour discussion about a local or state-level political issue? If people aren’t watching it, did we really help the community that much?” asks Rittiman. “Did it really help voters that much? I would argue that it doesn’t, if you’re not reaching a substantial audience.”

You can make a good case that any interview on the record is important, even with no audience, but Nielsen ratings from February, which was the last month of Stokols’ Fox 31 interview program, show Balance of Power being watched on over 4 percent of Denver TVs, which is impressive. It eclipsed Stokols’ show. Harbor’s program showed no audience at all, which makes me feel like an alien because I watched it sometimes.

“I don’t know if it’s Donald Trump. I don’t know what it is, but I’m getting the sense that politics is beginning to have a bit of a renaissance on TV,” says Rittiman. “Maybe because the presidential race is turning into a quasi-TV reality show. I don’t know.”

“If you put in the work to understand the issues, and the processes involved, and to convert it all into English that people can digest and use to grasp the arguments, you connect with people,” says Rittiman. “And we’ve proved it here at 9News. People want this stuff.

“I don’t think there’s anyone sitting at home who thinks, ‘Oh, you know, I don’t care about the way the world is run.’ As an industry, we think, ‘This is complicated. We have to hand hold people to help them understand this.’ Hand holding pays off. That’s all I would say to that. And people are grateful for it.”

 

Trump comment should put media spotlight on Coffman’s position on raising debt limit

Friday, August 28th, 2015

The Donald, whose trick to political success is never playing defense, continued his offensive stance (pun intended) this week telling Bloomberg TV that congressional Republicans should fight to stop an increase in the debt limit.

And in doing so, The Donald sounded almost exactly like … Rep. Mike Coffman.

You may recall that the last time Republicans fought an increase in the debt limit, the economy teetered and America’s credit rating was actually factually downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time, mostly because of the political sparring, not the state of our economy.

But no mention of these little problems by Trump and Coffman:

First, The Donald this week:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday said he thought it was “worth the fight” for congressional Republicans to threaten not to raise the U.S. debt limit as a way to pressure the Obama administration to agree to spending cuts.

“I would say that it’s worth the fight,” Trump said on Bloomberg TV. “Honestly there is so much fat in Washington that if you had the right people in there you could cut it.”

Next Coffman in 2013, as reported by Fox 31’s Denver’s Eli Stokols at the time:

But Republicans, having agreed to put off decisions about spending cuts, now view the looming debt ceiling as leverage — and they’re promising to use it….

Coffman: “I don’t think going over the fiscal cliff would have been a huge deal. Temporarily, the markets would have been aggravated until the next Congress could have passed new tax cuts and ironed things out.

“But the real big deal is what’s upon us and going past the debt limit. I have to see a way out of this, real spending cuts, before I vote to raise the debt limit.”

Sounds a lot like Trump, doesn’t he? So did Sen. Cory Gardner.

As I reported before, the two sound a lot alike on immigration (here and here) as well.

I know reporters don’t have time to hook every national political development to our humble locale. But they should give it their best shot, because the stakes are so high.

Republicans and Democrats increased the debt limit over 100 times (Bush and Reagan did it) until 2011, when disaster struck.

Trump gives us a chance to air the issue out again, in advance of the crisis and in front of the public.

.

Reporters need to hold Gardner accountable on his birth-control promise

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Yesterday, Senate Democrats, including Colorado’s Michael Bennet, introduced a bill that Sen. Cory Gardner should have co-sponsored as well–at least if you believe what Gardner said during last year’s campaign.

Last year, Gardner repeatedly told reporters that oral contraception should be available over the counter — and be covered by insurance policies.

In one one exchange, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols specifically challenged Gardner to explain how his proposal for over-the-counter birth control could be less expensive than what’s offered to women under Obamacare, which requires insurance companies to provide birth control for free

Stokols: You say it’s cheaper… Politifact says that’s ‘mostly false,’ that under the Affordable Care Act, two-thirds of women get their birth control for free.

Gardner: Well, they’d still be able to find an insurance policy and use their insurance to pay for it. That’s why we need to fix Obamacare.

That’s what the bill introduced by Sen. Patty Murray of Washington would do. It would not only make FDA-approved contraception available over the counter but mandate insurance companies to pay for it, like they’re required to do now.

But Gardner’s bill, introduced last month, simply allows FDA-approved contraception to be sold over the counter–without requiring insurance plans to cover it. Insurance companies could decide to cover the pill out of their love for women. But not likely.

Or, under Gardner’s bill, women could use health savings accounts and flex accounts, if they have them, to buy contraception. But those are savings accounts, set up voluntarily by individuals!  They are not the insurance promised by Gardner repeatedly.

Reporters need to go beyond allowing Gardner to write off these real-life concerns as partisan politics.

As Gardner told The Denver Post yesterday: “It’s unfortunate they have decided to bring partisanship to an issue that could have brought support on Capitol Hill but we are pleased they are following our lead.”

The substantive differences between what Gardner advocated on the campaign trail and what he’s offering women now should be spotlighted by reporters who allegedly love to hold elected officials accountable.

A comparison o f Murray’s birth-control bill versus Gardner’s tells you all you need to know about Gardner’s broken campaign promises.