Archive for the 'Rocky Mountain News' Category

Caldara on swastika coverage

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara is outraged that the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post covered the “swastika guy” hugging nationally syndicated columnist Michele Malkin at Caldara’s anti-stimulus rally at the Colorado Capitol yesterday.


“The idea that the media would take this spun story, about some guy who stands up next to Michele Malkin, somehow that’s a story?” Caldara told me. “I looked at the photos, and there was a photo of [the swastika guy] standing next to another guy holding a sign that also said Obama but instead of a swastika, it had a hammer and sickle. That one didn’t seem to rile anybody even though many fold more died under the symbol of a hammer and sickle than a swastika. But that doesn’t get the same sort of media rage, and if you’re looking at this from a media point of view, I would hope in all honesty you would criticize the media for biting on such a transparent attack ploy.”


Reporters at Caldara’s rally saw some weird things. They saw a live pig. They saw a roasted pig. They saw a swastika. All these things are of note, and reporters were right to include them in their stories about the rally. That’s what The Denver Post did in its article.


The Rocky, according to Caldara, got its story about the swastika guy later, after ProgressNow Colorado and others posted the Malkin photo. Caldara makes this conclusion because the Rocky reporter tried to reach him after the rally had ended. The Rocky’s story references the Malkin photo on the blogs.


Should the Rocky have written 200 words about the photo? Yes.


I mean, if you see a photo of a prominent person hugging someone with a swastika in his hands, you have to wonder what’s going on. The Rocky contacted Penry, and he gave a response. The Rocky tried to reach Caldara. And the Rocky tried to reach Malkin as well, to find out the circumstances of the hug. It’s a valid question and a valid story, handled fairly and accurately by the Rocky.


Caldara disagrees. “It seemed like a low-blow story and a low-blow tactic of personal destruction that has [ProgressNow Colorado’s] Huttner’s marks all over it. To say, ah, we got a picture of some idiot next to Michele Malkin. Instead of addressing the stimulus package, let’s go after a swastika. It might be working for a certain crowd, but it certainly seems petty.”


I attended the rally with Huttner, and I don’t think it was petty to promote the Malkin photo.


Sure, as Caldara says, you could see ugly things at a rally of progressives, just like you saw at Caldara’s rally of righties. And if a person was holding a swastika and was caught on camera hugging a prominent lefty, reporters would have the right to ask questions about it.


As for the politics of personal destruction, take a look at what the Republicans tried to do to Barack Obama in the last election. Does William Ayers ring a bell?  

JOA expert quoted in Rocky article defers to law professor

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

The most obvious way that the Rocky could avoid death would be if a buyer emerged.

But MediaNews hates this idea. In fact, it announced that if the Rocky is sold, MediaNews would exercise its right, as written in the joint operating agreement, to buy the Denver Newspaper Agency, the company jointly owned by E.W. Scripps and MediaNews. If it were not a partner in the DNA, the new buyer of the Rocky would not have access to printing presses and other business services provided by the Denver Newspaper Agency.

This might scare off a buyer, if it’s legal for MediaNews to do it, that is.

In Thursday’s Rocky, Mark Fitzgerald, an editor at Editor and Publisher, was quoted as saying he thought the Justice Department could not force MediaNews to accept the new owner of the Rocky Mountain News as a partner the JOA, because the Justice Department “approved the agreement that allows MediaNews right of first refusal.” Fitzgerald also said he didn’t think the Justice Department had “standing to say that you’ve got to be a partner with somebody you don’t want to.”

I asked JOA legal expert Stephen Barnett via email what he thought of Fitzgerald’s opinion, as you can see below, he did not agree with Fitzgerald. Barnett, who’s written about numerous JOAs, emailed me:

“I think Justice would have ‘standing’ to require sale of a publisher’s interest in the JOA, and Justice pretty much did that in Honolulu. But as a practical matter — and maybe a constitutional one — it does seem wrong to require a publisher to partner with someone against its will. BUT when the partnership is imposed automatically by a right of first refusal, I think that’s a special case; that amounts to giving one paper control of both, and I think enforcing such a right would be invalid under the Newspaper Preservation Act. This question was raised in the Salt Lake City case, and Justice seemed reluctant to enforce a right of first refusal, although the question wasn’t faced.”

I then called Fitzgerald, a highly respected newspaper expert himself who knows how to size up his sources, to find out whom he believes has more knowledge about the legal intricacies of JOAs. Is it Barnett or him?

Fitzgerald said of Barnett, “He’s more of an expert on it than I. There’s no doubt about that.” He added, “He’s certainly more of an expert than I am on these matters.”

So the Rocky’s source, who came down on the side of MediaNews, has deferred to my source.

But it doesn’t mean lawyers will agree on all this, of course. I’m sure MediaNews has a lawyer on the payroll who’s ready to argue that MediaNews can refuse to accept as a JOA partner any new owner of the Rocky, thanks to the MediaNews’ right of first refusal that’s in the JOA.

But I’d like to find a legal expert, if there is one, who will differ with Barnett, who may be the most credible expert on this topic, and say so on the record.

No matter how you look at it, the first phrase that comes to my mind is, see you in court.

Rocky article discusses role of Justice Department

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Congratulations to the Rocky Mountain News for being the first of the two dailies to publish anything on specific actions that the Justice Department might take if the Rocky were sold.


The Rocky asserted as fact that Justice would review any sale of the Rocky, and it offered two views on whether Justice might force MediaNews to accept a new partner in the JOA.


Here’s what today’s Rocky story had to say: 


“The Justice Department, which approved the 2001 JOA between The Post and News, would have to review any sale transaction. Tracy Simmons, administrative officer of the Denver Newspaper Guild, said Wednesday, “I’m no attorney, but my understanding is that you can’t separate the newsroom from the (Denver Newspaper Agency) without being in violation of the JOA. “The rationale for the JOA was to preserve two independent editorial voices, and any move to compromise that raises questions for the Justice Department.” Mark Fitzgerald, editor-at- large of newspaper industry trade publication Editor & Publisher, had a different take. “I don’t think Justice would have much to say about it,” he said. “It approved the agreement that allows MediaNews right of first refusal. I don’t see any standing (by Justice) to say that you’ve got to be a partner with somebody you don’t want to.” Fitzgerald cited the case of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, which wanted to shut down in the mid-1980s. Although Justice told the newspaper’s owners that they had to look for a buyer, regulators didn’t force the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to accept that buyer as a joint operating partner.”


But the St. Louis Globe-Democrat could operate as an independent daily without the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


In Denver, the new owner of the Rocky probably wouldn’t be able to print the newspaper, unless it’s part of the JOA. So Justice, whose goal would be to preserve two newspapers, might take a different approach here and force MediaNews to accept the new buyer. accurately summarizes previous references in the Post and the Rocky to possible actions by the Justice Department here.

The strange behavior of Gunny Bob

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

I’ve been trying to convince journalists to post comments on the discussion boards under their articles online.

If more journalists would comment, we’d probably see more people opining there, with different points of view. This could raise the level of the debates on these discussion boards, and help educate people about journalism and the issues. It would also educate journalists, who need to hear more from citizens and interact with them more.

But journalists seem to have a snotty attitude toward the folks who use the discussion boards. I don’t blame them, to a degreee, but they should comment anyway. I know some journalists read them, but they don’t comment.

I also know a lot of people who read the discussion boards–but never leave a comment.

So I was surprised to find someone claiming to be Gunny Bob, a talk radio host on KOA, commenting on the discussion board under a recent Rocky column of mine. I’ve never seen a mainstream journalist’s name the discussion boards of the daiies? Have you?

I don’t mean to imply that Gunny is a journalist, but here’s what he had to say:

“Jason, during the campaigns you called into my show to express how gleeful you were that so many liberals “hate Bush.” You did this as you rode around in a farcically pedantic and sophomoric truck hauling statues of Bush and McCain embracing. You were giddy with intolerance, venom and loathing. That same embarrassing attitude comes across in your columns, as it does in Littwin’s, Campos’ and so on, as well as the paper’s frequently laughable editorials. When hate becomes the life blood of a media outlet, like Air America that outlet will fail. And you were a part of it. Your own bigotry, arrogance and hate has cost you your job and now you are blaming Scripps rather than yourself in any way. The truth hurts, Jason, but pain builds character.”

Now, it’s possible this wasn’t really Gunny, so I emailed him. He confirmed that he was the author. He seems to be a bit of a regular on the Rocky site. See his online comments in response to a blog by Rocky Editor John Temple.

I respect Gunny for commenting, even if his remarks don’t raise the quality of the online debate and even if his comment is ridiculous because he doesn’t explain why I’m a bigot.

In fact, if you’ll allow me to digress, Gunny appears to be a bigot himself, or completely clueless, judging from his recent comment spotlighted by Colorado Media Matters. Gunny said that if gays serve in the military, then more soldiers will be exposed to the HIV virus. CMM points out that HIV-positive military applicants are rejected and those who become HIV-positive during their service cannot serve overseas. Gunny’s comment sparked a national campaign asking KOA to reprimand Newman.

Oh well. My point is that it’s pretty pathetic that Gunny might be the only representative of the mainstream media who’s commenting on online articles.

A role for feds in saving the Rocky

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Rocky Mountain News Editor and Publisher John Temple described on Friday a scenario under which the government might intervene to save the Rocky Mountain News.


During Friday’s 5 p.m. hour of the Caplis and Silverman show on KHOW, co-host Dan Caplis asked Temple whether The Denver Post’s owner, Dean Singleton, “would have the right of first refusal on any offer on the [the Rocky]?”


Temple responded, “First, you know I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that Dean Singleton of MediaNews Group, the company that owns The Post, would have the right not only to match the offer but also to say that the proposed partner is not a viable partner. But then, as you can imagine, both the Justice Department and Scripps lawyers might argue otherwise. And so that’s one complicated scenario, if there were a buyer.”


This is the first time, as far as I know, that a journalist from either newspaper has identified a specific action that the Justice Department might take to save the Rocky.


Stephen Barnett, a law professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, told me in a recent interview that if a “capable buyer” emerges for the Rocky, it would be illegal for Dean Singleton to reject the buyer, based on the intent of the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970. He says the Justice Department could intervene to force Singleton to accept the buyer. He believes, however, that Singleton’s right to match the offer of a buyer, the so-called right of first refusal, is in fact legal.


It’s been widely reported (as it turns out, probably erroneously) that Singleton can reject any buyer for the Rocky. For example, The Post reported categorically Dec. 5 that Singleton “can reject a buyer it considers unsuitable.” 

Dan Caplis deserves credit for asking Temple about this “fact,” because if it were true, it makes the Rocky’s plight look completely hopeless, given that Singleton has said he wants the Rocky to fold. But it’s likely not true, which is good news for the Rocky. And the Rocky needs any good news it can get at this point.

Transcript of a portion of John Temple’s interview on the Caplis and Sliverman Show Jan. 16, 2009


Dan Caplis: Can we ask you about some of the eye-glazing technical stuff because it may tie in to some things. First of all, obviously there’s a joint operating agreement here. And, if I remember, I may have read this in your paper, Dean Singleton would have the right of first refusal on any offer on the paper? And beyond that don’t the feds have to step in and approve? Would the feds have to approve Scripps folding up the Rocky or just a sale of the Rocky? How does all that intersect?


John Temple: First, you know I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that Dean Singleton of MediaNews Group, the company that owns the Post, would have the right not only to match the offer but also to say that the proposed partner is not a viable partner. But then, as you can imagine, both the Justice Department and Scripps lawyers might argue otherwise. And so that’s one complicated scenario, if there were a buyer. As it relates to your other question, regarding the Justice Department, again, I don’t want to pretend I’m an expert because, as you know, with matters of legal issues, there are often differing views on the same question. But I would say that Scripps said when they came here on Dec. 4 that they could have closed the paper that day, if they had wanted but that they didn’t’ want to. They wanted to find a way for the Rocky to survive, but they felt it needed to survive with new ownership with new ideas and, frankly, with a different capital structure, you know, with more money.  So, I think what they said on Dec. 4 is the best answer to your question, Dan. I think they were saying, yes, they could close the paper.

More on Rocky column

Friday, January 9th, 2009

I wrote below in my last post that I’d write more about the column situation later. I think these two recent blog posts cover the issue well enough.

Posts on Westword’s The Latest Word and cover the essentials.

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

My rejected Rocky column

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

I know I’ve written some bad columns for the Rocky Mountain News over the years. But I didn’t think the column I submitted Thursday was so bad that it would be rejected.


In fact, I thought the column was one of my better efforts, pointing out a serious omission in local media coverage of a major story.


But Rocky Editor and Publisher John Temple thought otherwise, and he rejected the piece. It was the only time that’s happened since November 2004 when I started writing the “On the Media” column every other week. My editors at the Rocky have been fair during my years of freelance service. I respect them, and Temple did not fire me.


After much thought, I decided I should publish the rejected column on my own blog. That’s what any self-respecting independent media critic would do.


Also, I want to air the ideas I wrote about in my column. These ideas, from credible sources, should not be ignored at a time when any strategy to prolong the life of the Rocky, no matter how far-fetched, should be explored.
Below is the column I submitted. Its headline might have been: “Dailies Ignore Long-Shot Government Role in Saving Rocky.”

When a 149-year-old institution looks like it might die, you want to know what can be done about it. You count on journalists to provide this information.

But in the case of the Rocky Mountain News, which is up for sale and facing possible closure, we’ve seen no reporting about what the government could do to help the daily.
 It turns out that even though the Rocky is owned by a private company, the federal government can conceivably play a role in saving the newspaper.


To begin with, the federal government can force the Rocky’s parent company, E.W. Scripps, to keep the Rocky on the sales block for longer than the one month currently promised.


One month is not enough time to find a buyer, according to, among others, a financial expert cited in the Rocky itself Dec. 25. He was puzzled by the short time frame of the sale.  What gives the feds the right to meddle in the Rocky’s business transactions?

It’s called the Joint Operating Agreement, the 2001 contract between the Denver Post and the Rocky that allows them to share business operations (printing, delivery, sales), while running independent news and editorial units.
Normally, such an arrangement would be considered an illegal monopoly, a violation of federal anti-trust law. But thanks to the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970, the Justice Department allowed the Post and Rocky to combine their business departments, to preserve two independent newspaper voices. Similar newspaper JOA monopolies are allowed in other cities.

But the joint-operating arrangement comes with a price: oversight from the Justice Department’s anti-trust division. It can intervene to make sure that a JOA newspaper, like the Rocky, is not closed prematurely or unnecessarily.  In the past, the Justice Department has intervened with joint-operating newspapers to ensure that if one of the newspaper companies in a JOA wants to close its newspaper, it must make a real effort to find a buyer, before it simply shutters the newspaper. Again, the goal, as enshrined in the Newspaper Preservation Act, is to preserve two newspapers.


In 1983, for example, the owner of one of the two newspapers operating under a JOA in St. Louis wanted to close its paper. The Justice Department intervened and insisted that even though the newspaper was losing money, the company make a serious attempt to find a buyer, according to a 1999 article in the American Journalism Review. Surprisingly, a buyer emerged, and the newspaper was sold and operated for two more years.  In the past, the Justice Department’s “basic standard” on this issue has been that the “newspaper be put on the market and the price be reasonable,” according to Stephen Barnett, who’s studied JOAs extensively. He’s law professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley with a degree from Harvard Law.  

The Department has even taken steps to make sure that buyers aren’t discouraged, he said.  This view about the apparent obligation of Scripps to seek a buyer has not been reported, and it should be. It could answer the nagging question of why Scripps is putting the Rocky on the market for a time period that’s so short as to make a sale nearly impossible.


Scripps could be trying to demonstrate that a sale was attempted, to deflect possible intervention by the Justice Department.  But putting the Rocky on the market for one month over the holidays looks like it’s not a good-faith effort to find a buyer for the newspaper. If Scripps makes the decision in mid-January to close the Rocky, the Justice Department could intervene and insist the Rocky remain for sale longer.


“I think the Justice Department might, especially in a new Administration, require [the Rocky] to remain operating for a few months or something to see if a new buyer could be found,” said Barnett.  If a buyer were found, the widely reported JOA provision giving Post owner Dean Singleton both the first right of refusal and the right to reject the buyer may be illegal, says Barnett. In a view that’s not been reported locally, he believes a right of refusal in the JOA can’t trump a “capable buyer.”


He adds that the Justice Department has been lax in this area of enforcement, but has “a lot of discretion in these cases, and a lot would depend on who’s in charge of the anti-trust division” and “whether there’s time for a new team to take charge.” Stephen Lacy, a professor in the Michigan State University Department of Communication and School of Journalism, agreed with Barnett.  

It’s a long shot that the Justice Department would force Scripps to keep the “for sale” sign hanging on the Rocky longer, and Scripps has not stated that it will definitely close the paper after one month anyway. Still, readers deserve to know what can be done if a premature decision to close the paper is made.

Our chance to create the liberal media

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

It’s tim for the liberal media to become a reality–rather than just a fictitious talking point for conservatives.

Newspapers are for sale across the country, from Florida to California, and they’re available at bargain rates. A rich liberal philanthropist should take this opportunity to buy a newspaper or two, and show conservatives that liberals can run a newspaper with a strong progressive voice on the opinion page and strict fairness and accuracy in news reporting. 

The properties to choose from include the Austin American-Statesman, Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal, Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, and San Diego Union-Tribune, among others. Most of these newspapers are owned by public companies whose shareholders are howling because they’re watching their stock drop and hearing that newspapers can’t survive in the Internet age. 

And the fact is, newspaper circulation is dropping along with advertising revenue due to the double whammy of the recession and the migration of readers to the Internet, where newspaper articles are available for free. In particular, the loss of classified advertising to the Internet (see Craigslist) has been a huge problem for big daily newspapers, which once earned consistent double digit profits. 

These changes in the media landscape, coupled with the economic crisis, have led to the recent closure of brand name papers, such as the Albuquerque Tribune and the Cincinnati Post. But just because Wall Street is pushing public companies out of the newspaper business, and privately held media like the Tribune Company are facing bankruptcy or serious cash crunches, doesn’t mean the newspaper industry is doomed. 

Common sense says there will always be a need for mass-market advertising, and we humans seem to have an innate interest in the news, even if infotainment may be more effective at attracting the attention of so many of us than serious journalism. Interestingly, while paid circulation of newspapers is down, readership has actually increased dramatically, due to all the free visitors to newspaper websites. 

Long-time newspaper analyst John Morton believes big-city dailies will return to profitability when the economy improves, though he says the days of big-time profits will not likely be seen again. Also, newspapers are generating more revenue from online advertising, so newspaper websites will likely turn a profit some day. But we don’t know when. 

Adjustments to the familiar model of newspaper delivery may boost  profits as well, such as the experiment in Detroit, announced in mid-December, of delivering the newspaper three days per week…-and requiring subscribers to access the news online the rest of the week. 

So there’s plenty of hope for the business, which we rely on for the information we need to make decisions in the voting booth and to hold government accountable. 

But there’s a real need for philanthropists with deep pockets to cover losses at newspapers while they adjust to the changing information environment. Hence the need for those liberal donors. 

They can swoop down and show Fox News what the liberal media looks like. They can insist that their newspapers, unlike Fox, contain credible news reporting strictly adhering to the ethics of professional journalism. 

This includes not only basic fairness, but credible sourcing, fact checking, thorough research, and breadth in coverage and points of view. In so doing, rich liberals would be affirming the importance of newspapers…-and reliable information about local, national, and international issues…-in a democracy.  

Now is the time for philanthropists to step forward and create the liberal media, but do it within the confines of professional journalism.

link to this column here:

Why Scripps wants out

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Rocky Mountain News staffer April Washington posed a rhetorical question to Westword’s Michael Roberts that has implications that go far beyond the decision by E.W. Scripps Co. to sell the Rocky. She asked, “Why does Scripps always blink first.”

It’s a good question because both The Denver Post, owned by a private company called the Media News Group, and the Rocky, owned by a public company, are both losing about the same amount of money. That’s because their joint operating agreement stipulates that the two companies split the combined profit from the operations of the two newspapers. And it’s very likely that the two newspapers spend about the same amount on their newsrooms. Both papers subtract the amount they spend on their newsrooms from their JOA profits. Assuming their expenses are about the same, both Scripps and Media News are losing about the same amount.

Yet the Rocky is selling and The Post is not. And it was also the Rocky that blinked first and lost the newspaper war with The Post, prior to the establishment of their joint operating agreement.

As a public company, under pressure from shareholders, Scripps isn’t going to wait around long for any company that it owns to become profitible, especially of the future is uncertain or worse. It can do this, and should do this, but it probably won’t. This was explained very well by Ken Doctor, a Knight Ridder official who’s now a news analyist and blogger:

“If you look at the basic math, you can see the problem, and why such shutdowns may become more numerous. Scripps reported that it lost $15 million on the Rocky in 2008. The Rocky would then be one of those 19 top 50 market papers that Dean Singleton told us were unprofitable by mid-year. That number has undoubtedly grown as we reach the end of this seemingly endless year of pain. I have little doubt that now more than half of the top 50 are unprofitable, even with the jaw-dropping cutbacks we are seeing; ad revenue continues to plummet, and the first half of 2009 looks ominous.

It’s one thing for these companies to run operations that are close to, or just above the profit line. It’s another — their shareholders and re-financing lenders remind them — to run one that is requiring subsidy. We can call it investment, but to call it that, you’d have to peg a return to healthy profitability at some point certain — and no one can do that. So it’s a subsidy.  And that’s not what public, profit-seeking companies are designed to do. The Denver JOA — JOA, a concept overtaken by marketplace and technological change — was meant to share profits, not subsidies.”

So in this situation, with millions of dollars bleeding from the Rocky, Scripps is sitting there watching its stock fall big time and its shareholders howling. The pressure is great, with so much dreaded uncertainty in the future (and Wall Street hates uncertainty), and so Scripps moves to sell, even if it is in a better position to afford it than a private company.

The private owner of the Denver Post, Dean Singleton’s Media News, is under less pressure, assuming you can fathom how it feels to be losing more the $1 million per month. But Singleton can believe in his gut feeling that the newspaper industry is in a “major cyclical decline” and “revenue will come back” in “two to three years”. He knows, and he’s probably accurate in the short term, that he’ll lose less money if he can outlast the Rocky, and he can decide, based on this, to stick with the Denver Post, for as long as he can afford it. And he can wait with the confidence that Scripps will sell first–that Scripps, facing Wall Street pressure, will blink first, as April Washington put it.

That’s what happened. And it didn’t hurt that Singleton likes owning a newspaper in his home town so he can beat up on politicians, like Gov. Bill Ritter.

This Wall-Street-driven catastrophe is at play at newspapers across America. The public companies have less room to maneuver, even if their executives understand the public interest function of a newspaper. That’s irrelevant in the end.

So the question is what to do about the information gap that’s left behind, as newspapers and other news outlets cut staff or fold? There’s no single answer, but creative ways to increase public funding for journalism (one idea was articulated by KBDI’s Wick Rowland ironically enough in today’s Rocky) is part of the solution–as are nonprofit newsrooms and philanthropic and other for-profit ventures.

One thing’s for sure. We cant count on the public companies that own newspapers and other serious news outlets. The Rocky is the proof of that.


Schaffer’s Iraq deals given shallow treatment

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008


It took an op-ed on the Denver Post website by Lawrence J. Korb, assistant Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, to raise some questions that reporters either haven’t asked or haven’t thought to ask Bob Schaffer about his business deals in Iraq in 2006. Korb’s analysis and the context he provides might just provoke local journos to start asking these questions:

Do you think there should be a national oil law in Iraq?  If you were charged with doing political research, as reported by the Rocky, for Aspect Energy, why didn’t you know about the oil law controversy until a Kurdish official told you about it on your trip? Did the State Department or any other agency give you any encouragement, as opposed to not just giving any discouragement? Did you know about your company’s correspondence with Sen. Allard? Have you or Alex Cranberg been in touch with the IG at the State Department, who is investigating the Hunt Oil contracts?

Or even a broad question:  Do you think it was a mistake to enter into an oil agreement before a compromise on the oil law was reached?  If not, why not, and why has the State Department been wrong?

And here’s a bonus question:  If you’re elected to the US Senate, would you join Sens. Levin and McCaskill in demanding an investigation and even hearings into Iraqi oil contracts?

Why hasn’t the local media been all over this story? No editorials? No front-page treatment? This is a serious issue, especially a guy running for federal office.

Here’s the Korb op-ed again.