Archive for the 'KNUS' Category

Post interview spotlights Brauchler falsehood that he was “one vote away” from getting death sentence in Aurora trial

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Excellent reporting today by The Denver Post’s Jordan Steffen, who breaks the news that three jurors in the Aurora theater trial voted affirmatively for life in prison, according to one of the three jurors, who was previously thought to have been undecided.

Steffen’s interview is beautifully written, giving you a great sense of the juror’s struggles and a journalist’s experience talking to her, but what caught my eye, as someone who listened to prosecutor George Brauchler repeatedly say he was “one vote away” from getting the death penalty, were these three paragraphs:

“There were three,” [the juror] said. “Not one.”

…Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has said he wouldn’t second-guess his decision to pursue the death penalty because of one juror’s position that led to the life sentence.

Last week, he said all of the deliberating jurors he’s spoken with have indicated that Juror 17′s account was accurate. He conceded that he hadn’t met with all of them.

More of an explanation from Brauchler would have been nice, because you have to wonder why a man of his intelligence and intensity would deliver rotten information about the jury count, without at least saying he wasn’t sure or acknowledging, as  juror 17 had clearly said after the trial, that juror 17 was against the death sentence and two jurors were undecided. That’s obviously three, not one, votes away from conviction.

Maybe Brauchler, who subsequently announced he wouldn’t challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, was just trying to make himself look good? But as a veteran prosecutor, he had to know that his misinformation could be hurting real people.

Steffen reported that the juror he interviewed ended “her silence because she could no longer bear to watch the weight of public scrutiny — what she described as a ‘witch hunt’ — fall solely on the shoulders of her fellow juror.”

Brauchler was partly responsible for the witch hunt, as today’s Post piece makes clear.



Media omission: On radio, Republican chair again takes moderate position and praises stem cell research

Monday, September 28th, 2015

On a couple of ocassions, Colorado GOP Chair Steve House has stated publicly that Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt doesn’t speak for the Republican Party. Last week, for example, after Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt called Allah a “false god,” House told 9News:

 “House: Representative Klingenschmitt has a Constitutional right to free speech,” House wrote in a statement. “However, as I’ve said several times in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of our Party, and his hurtful words do not represent our values.”

Last week on KNUS 710-AM’s “Rush to Reason,” House supported stem cell research, a view that’s also not shared by all in the GOP.

Stem cells are obtained from zygotes, or fertilized human eggs. Some Republicans, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, want to ban stem cell research because they consider zygotes to be a human life, even if the zygotes are obtained from fertizilization clinics that would otherwise dispose of them. (Even “pluripotent stem cells,” which are sometimes used in research and are derived from adult stem cells, are grown using embryonic stem cells for comparison purposes.)

As 9News reported in 2013: “This year, Congressman Coffman was asked point blank by Colorado Right to Life, ‘Will you oppose any research or practice that would intentionally destroy the tiniest living humans, embryonic stem cell research?’ With a pen he wrote, ‘Yes.’”

On the radio Sept. 22, House included stem-cell research as part of an “optimistic view of technology” that should be part of the “GOP message.”

House: I think the next decade and a half will be the greatest decade of innovation in American history. Just reading recently about stem cell research. And how they can create brain cells. They’re trying to deal with Alzheimer’s. A lot of people don’t realize that Alzheimer’s is a $174,000 cost to manage an Alzheimer’s patient. And cost is not the major factor.

Host John Rush: But the cost is there.

House: It’s such a tough disease. They’ve figured out how to have stem cells create brain cells. So now they are doing testing on brain cells created by stem cells, so they can try to figure out drugs to slow down the progression of the disease. And $174,000 for a lifetime cost and rising, Alzheimer’s by itself could bankrupt America flat-out because of aging. So there’s some really amazing stuff going on right now with technology that we haven’t talked about. It’s advancing so fast that we could do a radio show almost every week and we wouldn’t not keep up.

Steve House on KNUS 710-AM’s Rush to Reason, with John Rush, Sept. 22, 2015

Reporters should talk to Brauchler on talk radio

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Asked by Associated Press reporter Nicholas Riccardi in September to answer questions about Colorado political issues, Brauchler said: “I’d be happy to answer those things if I got into the Senate” contest.

But over the weekend, Brauchler jumped on conservative talk radio and openly talked about Colorado politics, attacking Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet repeatedly on multiple issues.

Appearing on KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger show Sept. 19, Brauchler said it was “infuriating” that Bennet supported the “ridiculous” Iran nuclear deal. On the radio, Brauchler equated peopole who urged him to accept a plea deal with Holmes to those who favored  the Iran deal.

Brauchler criticized Obamacare as hurting small business, and he also said the Dodd-Frank law was an “horrific compromise that took place during the economic downturn.”

Calling himself a “simple kid from Lakewood” and sounding like a candidate, Brauchler said the federal government has gotten too big too fast during the years that Bennet has been in office.

The lesson for reporters: when Brauchler says he’ll talk politics later, ask him again, but do it on conservative talk radio.

How long should a sitting duck present itself to journalists?

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

It’s after Labor Day, and the thin lineup of Republicans even thinking about challenging Sen. Michael Bennet would make you believe they’re scared of Michael Bennet and his war chest.

But Cory Gardner, on KNUS radio Wed., sees it this way: Republicans are actually scared of “taking fire.”

Gardner: I think getting into a race in July, you know, the year before was probably too early, or August. So, I think sometime between now and that March date — actually probably sometime between now and January is that sweet spot.

Look, any candidate knows when they announce, that there opening up to start taking incoming fire. And by waiting, getting the team in place, by getting the structure in place, they can really hit the ground running and avoid unnecessarily time being left as a sitting duck, so to speak, and taking fire.

A sitting duck? hmm.

Sounds like Gardner is talking about himself going into last year’s election. If ever there was a duck, glued down, stuck, and waiting, it was Gardner, with his far-right record across the board from global warming and immigration to abortion and even journalism. And beyond.

Gardner got in the race against Udall in March, your recall, of last year, very late by conventional standards. And there he was, a sitting duck, but also an oily one, whose feathers got ruffled at times but remained greasy enough to withstand the “fire.” And he spat back pretty well.

It makes you wonder, if Gardner had gotten in the race earlier, would he have won? If he were a sitting duck longer, would it have mattered?

One one hand, Udall’s trajectory was downward. But you also had the sense that Gardner’s reconstruction of himself from right-wing to moderate teetered toward the end, as reporters and others were frustrated but starting to cut through the grease and spit.

On balance, I think Gardner would have lost if he’d gotten in the race much earlier. And it appears he agrees.

Talk radio host laps up rumors from Jeffco school board member

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

From the beginning of the uprising by Jeffco parents and students, conservative Jeffco school board members and their allies (like failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez) have said directly or implied that community members are pawns of teachers’ unions.

Even now, facing a recall election and massive criticism that again proves the existence and power of the grassroots movement opposing him, board member John Newkirk continues to whine about unions and outsiders–and their foul play–without coughing up evidence of such nefariousness.

For example, on KNUS 710-AM Monday, Newkirk spewed out a list of grievances, vilifying unions and others, and, in the process, demeaning the community. He provides none of the specifics you’d hope to hear from a responsible person who makes such accusations. This leaves listeners, even ones who are sympathetic to Newkirk, with no choice to but to conclude that Newkirk is desperate or worse.

Here’s an exchange from KNUS Sept. 14:

HOST KRISTA KAFER: It’s been a difficult couple of years as a board member pushing for reform. Of course, they have a right to do the recall. That’s the law, and they’re doing it. Or trying it, I should say. But some of the things they’re doing to raise support for it, I have concerns, are not legal and certainly not ethical. What are you hearing?

NEWKIRK: Well, I think some of them have crossed the line. There are a lot of c4 groups, and I think by law, only 40% of c4 activity can be political. Which of course doesn’t have any place in our schools, and of course electioneering doesn’t – so I’ve had numerous constituents call me up saying, you know, there’s folks in the schools that are really crossing the line, now. You know, at back-to-school nights – they’ll have aggressive people there, some of them from our of the district, actually pursuing parents down the halls as they’re going to their conferences or back-to-school nights, pushing literature on them that they don’t want. I’ve also heard constituents complain that they’ve actually had people showing up at local high schools trying to register 16-or-17-year-olds to register to vote and even to the point where if they check that they’re conservative, then they’ll belittle them in certain ways. So, you know, that’s not part of our educational goals here, to embroil our children in partisan politics. I’ve also heard reports that teachers are wearing their pro-union signs—uh, t-shirts and buttons and even sticking signs up in their classrooms. So, no, that’s not appropriate.

Kafer didn’t ask what in the world Newkirk was talking about. Where’s the backup for these rumors and strange utterances, or fpr any specific info about these alleged activities. This leaves Newkirk sounding like a gossipy teenager with Kafer lapping it up.

Listen to KNUS 710-AM’s Kelley and Kafer show Sept. 14, 2014:

Media omission: Brauchler sees himself more like Ken Buck than Cory Gardner

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Who’s most like you, Sen. Cory Gardner or Rep. Ken Buck?

Many see Buck and Gardner as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, one wearing a smile the other seething with anger. But if you’re a Tea-Party activist in Colorado, the answer is “Ken Buck.”

So it’s not surprising that Tea-Party radio host Chuck Bonniwell would put this question to failed theater-shooter prosecutor George Brauchler, who’s considering a U.S. Senate run: Are you more like Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?

Brauchler’s answer, according to Bonniwell, was, “Oh God, Ken Buck!” Here’s Bonniwell’s story, told with co-host Julie Hayden, who’s also a Fox 31 Denver reporter:

Julie Hayden (@4:40 below): We were at a function and Chuck, in Chuck’s way [laughs]. Standing-around-drinking-wine-just-put-it-to-you way, said to George, “Okay. Who do you like better – Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?”

Bonniwell: No, that’s not what I said!  I said, “If we put a gun to your head, and said, ‘Who are you closer to on the continuum of  Ken Buck to Gardner. Shich one?  You have to choose one.  You can’t sit. And to his credit, I mean I expected a kind of weasely answer, he said, “Oh, God! Ken Buck!”

Hayden: And Chuck went, “Yea!”…He didn’t hesitate at all, nor did he mince any words. He didn’t put conditions on, like “Ken Buck on Tuesday. Cory Gardner on Thursday. No, he said, “Ken Buck.”

Bonniwell: Ken Buck.

It would be interesting to know what issues draw Brauchler to Buck. Good fodder for a future radio show.

Listen to Bonniwell and Hayden discuss George Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM Saturday:

Media omission: GOP activists raise questions about state party finances

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Republican activists blasted GOP State Chair Steve House today for failing to provide basic information about the party’s finances.

In a letter to House, Nick Lundberg, Dick Childress, Ken Clark, and Randy Corporon raised questions about numerous instances when Steve House referred to financial problems plaguing the state party, including one instance when he called the financial situation so “dire” that it should be concealed from party donors.

The letter stated, in part:

We are concerned about the fairness and accuracy of financial disclosures in state and federal campaign finance reports and the “quarterly financial statements” based on statements you have made about the party’s financial reporting…

The reputation of the Colorado Republican Party is at stake, and confidence of members, donors, and candidates will continue to erode unless the party is complying with financial disclosure requirements.

House dismissed these concerns on KNUS 710-AM today:

“I don’t think the party is on the same page, but you have to go through a process,” House told host Steve Kelley (at 38:30 hour one Aug. 26). “…Yeah, it was a little bit painful for a couple of months, but at the same time I thought it was very very enabling,”

Asked how fundraising was going by host Krista Kafer, House said (at 43 min 45 seconds here), “It’s been going great!” He added that every state party in the country “that’s not 100 percent red” has some debt right now.

“We are very comfortable with where we are,” House said. “The first thee months were records. The next two months, we beat our budget by 25 or 30 percent.

“I’m very happy with where it’s going and where the donors are in supporting us.”

Brauchler misrepresents jury decision to loving talk-radio hosts

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Journalists have been careful to report, as The Denver Post’s John Ingold and Jordan Steffen did today, that nine jurors apparently voted for the death penalty in the Aurora shooter’s trial, two were undecided, and one voted for life in prison. So the prosecutors were three votes short of the unanimous decision needed to put the murderer to death.

George Brauchler appears to present different versions of the decision, depending on the audience. If he’s talking to talk-radio hosts, who apparently aren’t concerned about the basic facts, Brauchler whines that he was only one juror away from winning the case.

“We were one vote away from getting what I thought was the just sentence on this,” Brauchler told KHOW’s Mandy Connell shortly after the trial ended. (Listen here at the one-minute mark.)

Talking to KNUS 710-AM’s Craig Silverman, Brauchler delivered similar misinformation at 36 minutes, uncorrected by Silverman.

Brauchler: It was one juror. You and I both know [former State Rep. Jovan Melton]. You know him better than I do. But it is such an outrageous blanket statement on an entire law based on the decision of one juror, who by the way found this guy sane, found the he committed this crime with aggravators, found that the aggravators outweighed any mental health issues or any other mitigators, and then hung up on that very last phase. And from that one decision, not only do you have Jovan calling the application of the death penalty racist, but you got The Denver Post backing him up and going crazy with their comments as well. And it’s an indictment of a system you can’t prove is racist….

Later in the same interview, at 53:55, Brauchler puffed:

Brauchler: But for this one juror, I think folks would have said roundly, ‘Men, you did this case perfectly.”

Yet, in talking about the decision to The Denver Post, where reporters are actually factually concerned about reality, Brauchler tells a different story.

The Post reported: “To Brauchler, [the 9-2-1 decision) is evidence that he was right to go to trial and seek the death penalty. After all, he said, he convinced at least nine jurors of his position.”

It’s a good example of why reporters are important. Brauchler apparently knew he wouldn’t get away with spinning them like he can loving talk-radio hosts.

Fact Check: Despite Gardner’s claim on the radio, people in Colorado would suffer if Planned Parenthood were defunded

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

After he voted to defund Planned Parenthood, Sen. Cory Gardner hopped on the radio said, not to worry, no one in Colorado will suffer if the health organization loses federal funding.

“We voted to take the money from Planned Parenthood and distribute it to the community health clinics around the state of Colorado,” Gardner told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Aug. 13, vowing that the investigation of Planned Parenthood in Congress will continue. “There are nine times more community health clinics than there are Planned Parenthood clinics, and so they provide more access to women and men across the state.” (Listen to Caplis belowAug. 13 and also on Kelley and Company here on Aug. 10.)

It’s true that there are many more community health centers than Planned Parenthood clinics in our state. But this doesn’t mean that throwing more money at the community health clinics would provide equal or greater access to healthcare than what’s available now.

First of all, studies have shown that the community health center (CHC) network and federally qualified health center (FQHCs) network don’t offer all types of birth control and reproductive health care. That’s why many large community health centers actually factually refer patients to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood specializes in reproductive health care–while community health centers offer a wider range of services.

So it’s not surprising that even though Planned Parenthood operates just 10 percent of all publicly funded family clinics, 36 percent of patients seeking family-planning services turn to Planned Parenthood.

Poor people on Medicaid go disproportionately to Planned Parenthood for these services, and it’s unlikely that the safety net and the health care system, as currently configured, could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. This means that defunding Planned Parenthood would weaken our country’s already weak safety net.

Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado blogged this in response to Gardner’s radio remarks (and discussed the issue with The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch here):

In Colorado, Planned Parenthood serves over 80,000 people each year. Including helping 57,000 women get their birth control, 11,000 women get breast wellness exams, and 56,000 Coloradans get STD tests. These are services people need — usually immediately. And these services are being provided by PP most often to low-income and rural Coloradans. Three-quarters of Planned Parenthood’s patients are low-income, making less than $37,000 a year for a family of four. In Colorado, Planned Parenthood has 20 health centers, many of in rural communities, like Granby, Salida, La Junta and Alamosa. Women in all communities need reproductive health care, and Planned Parenthood provides it.

Furthermore, it is harder and harder for low-income people in this country to find a provider, even though they may now have coverage because of the Affordable Care Act. According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office only 41 percent of OB/GYN’s in Medicaid managed care networks are even taking new clients. Without Planned Parenthood thousands of Colorado women, and millions around the country, would have no place to go when they need care.

Finally, you cannot write about the impacts of extracting Planned Parenthood from our communities without saying this: the debate about defunding Planned Parenthood is also about choice. Planned Parenthood is barred by law from using federal money for abortion, just as community health clinics are. But Planned Parenthood offers this option through other funding sources, while the community health clinics do not.

So, when an anti-choice politician like Gardner tells an anti-choice radio host like Caplis that our life in Colorado will be better off without federal funds for Planned Parenthood, you don’t have to dig too deep to find out there’s another side to the story.

Listen below to Sen. Cory Gardner on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show Aug. 13, 2015.

Media omission: Brauchler denies “ego” or “political ambition” as he goes on the radio attacking the Aurora murderer’s parents and The Denver Post

Monday, August 10th, 2015

George Brauchler leaped onto conservative talk radio this morning to deny that his decision to pursue the death penalty in the Aurora-shooting case, instead of saving big bucks and major trauma by accepting a plea deal of life in prison, was driven by “ego” or “political ambition.”

“People who are opposed to the death penalty are going to find reasons to accuse me or any other prosecutor for seeking it,” said Brauchler on KHOW’s Mandy Connell show this morning. “And the most likely targets are, ‘Oh, it must have been ego, or it must have been political ambition.’

Brauchler denied this, but there he was leveling his harshest tone and barbs on conservative talk radio. Home base of the Republican Party, on the morning after the verdict. You respect Brauchler for taking questions about the case, but why jump on conservative talk radio circuit and sound like a conservative talk-radio host?

At one point  on KNUS’ Craig Silverman Show Saturday, Brauchler attacked the parents of the shooter for not talking to him directly during the trial.

Then he slammed not only a Denver Post editorial as “strident” but The Denver Post editorial board itself as becoming irrelevant.

First, here’s Brauchler’s comment to Silverman, lambasting the murderer’s parents for not calling him up and begging, as Brauchler put it, “Please, God, don’t kill my son….”

To his credit, Silverman pointed out that the parents were likely just following their lawyers’ instructions not to talk to a guy who’d successfully sought the death penalty in the past and was crusading to put their son to death.

Brauchler (below at 11 minutes): There is something that sticks out to me that I find completely unusual, and that is, at no time during the pendency of this case have the ever reached out to me. In fact, I had people call them throughout the pendency of this case, and they continued to hide behind an attorney. And while I get there are legal reasons for them to maybe not talk, but as a parent myself, and I’d ask anybody listening to this, if your son or daughter was facing the potential of a death penalty, what could stop you from calling the DA and saying, ‘Please, God, don’t kill my son or my daughter.’ Instead, they went to The Post and did an op-ed piece coincidentally timed with three days after the juror summonses went out. And then mom published a book of thoughts—or whatever they were—calling into question, of course, our motives, and saying a bunch of things about mental illness coincidentally timed with the middle of jury selection, right before opening statements. I mean, again, they are not at fault for what happened here, but I can’t, as a parent, envision taking the path that they took.

Silverman: Bob and Arlene [the murderer's parents] were in the courtroom. I imagine they were following the instructions of the public defenders, their son’s attorneys. …

Later, Brauchler turned his attention to The Denver Post, saying its “strident” Friday editorial against the death penalty is evidence, along with polls showing 2-1 support for the death penalty in Colorado, that the newspaper’s “editorial board continues to demonstrate some irrelevance.”

Brauchler (@ 50 minutes 20 seconds): The Post op-ed piece [sic] was striking in how over-the-top it was to me. And I get that they had been opposed to the death penalty from the word go. But the strident language that they used to suggest that somehow I had seriously misjudged the jury. It sounds like there was one juror, and the other jurors were on board with moving forward through the rest of the trial, as was even that juror. I wonder what that their tone would have been had that one juror gone the way of the others and they had imposed death. I’m sure it would have been critical. And I think the point that The Post missed, and maybe this is the part of how this editorial board continues to demonstrate some irrelevance, is this Quinnipiac poll showing Coloradans are two-one in favor of the death penalty.

Lashing out at the murderer’s parents? At The Denver Post? On conservative talk radio? Why is Brauchler behaving like this? Hmmm.

Brauchler on KNUS’s Craig Silverman Aug. 8, 2015:

Brauchler on KHOW’s Mandy Connell Aug. 10, 2015.