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“This Is a Clear Example of the Media Training Your Brain.” Not.

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

It’s the kind of conservative Facebook post you might roll your eyes at and move on, except it was posted just before last week’s murder of five staffers at a Maryland newspaper.

“Look at this….!!!” wrote the Montrose County (southern Colorado) Republican Party on its Facebook page, referring to a meme showing two editions of the Wall Street Journal with two different headlines about the same story.

“Same exact newspaper, same exact date, sold in different areas depending on the level of political parties in that area,” states the meme (on your right). “This is a clear example of the media training your brain people. Open your eyes before it’s too late.” [emphasis added]

Except it’s not the “media training your brain people.”

As explained by the nonpartisan fact checker Snopes, newspapers print different editions at different times during the day, and sometimes the headlines and content changes as stories develop:

This image was passed around on the Internet accompanied by the claim that the Wall Street Journal had deliberately published one headline, “Trump Softens His Tone,” in a pro-Trump market area in an attempt to sway readers away from the the GOP nominee, and the other headline, “Trump Talks Tough on Wall,” in a non-Trump market area to bolster support for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

However, these opposing headline editions were not distributed to different political or geographic markets, nor were they intended to influence voters.

This picture shows two editions of the Wall Street Journal published at different times of the day. The paper on the left came off the press early in the day, while the paper on the right was produced later in the day. Print newspapers sometimes undergo revisions throughout their daily runs and typically employ marks to distinguish the various editions — in this case the differing WSJ editions are distinguishable by the number of stars displayed in the masthead:

You hope that the Montrose Republicans remove the WSJ meme from their website, and I’ve asked them to do so. No response.

In any case, they’re a Colorado example of a problem that’s obviously stoked by conservatives across the country, starting with Trump and his “fake news” propaganda.

They’re not only trashing the profession of journalism, which is bad enough given how much we need reporters to hold Trump and every other politician accountable.

But they’re also putting working-stiff journalists at risk. I’m not going to blame the deaths at the Capital newspaper in Maryland on the rhetoric of conservatives. But it creates a hostile climate for journalists, to be sure, which is not deserved or supported by the conservatives who are doing the attacking.

And, again,  it de-legitimizes the honorable profession of journalism.

Take Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who said last month the media wants conservatives to “fail.” His evidence for this? Zippo.

Gardner has also said, without evidence, that the “press” is biased against conservatives like him. And he blamed the media for Mitt Romney’s loss to Obama in 2012.

If you watch FOX News or follow politics at all, you know that evidence-free news-media bashing plays a leading role in the Republican playbook, going back way before Trump.

So you wonder what conservatives have to say to the journalists in Maryland, like the Capitol newspaper’s website editor, who defended his besieged profession after the shooting last week. The Washington Post reported last week:

Jimmy DeButts, an editor for the [Maryland newspaper’s] website, published a tribute on Twitter about the craft of his fellow journalists, with a nod to the struggles of many local newspapers to continue working under tough economic conditions.

“There are no 40 hour weeks, no big paydays — just a passion for telling stories from our community,” DeButts tweeted. “We keep doing more with less. We find ways to cover high school sports, breaking news, tax hikes, school budgets & local entertainment.”

DeButts added: “We are there in times of tragedy. We do our best to share the stories of people, those who make our community better. Please understand, we do all this to serve our community.”

Maybe the Montrose Republicans, Trump, Gardner, and other conservatives think they’ll maintain power by undermining journalism.

I’m hoping journalism–and our country–prevails, and I read about Trump’s and Gardner’s demise in the newspaper.

Spreaders of fake news seek public office again

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Two 2016 GOP candidates, known for posting false and inflammatory information on Facebook, are running again in 2018.

Two Republican candidates, who hurled false material on Facebook in the 2016 election, are again running for political office.

Raymond Garcia landed in The Denver Post in 2016 after he posted a Facebook item promoting a “Hillary Meal Deal, 2 fat thighs, 2 small breasts, and a bunch of left wings.”

Garcia was soundly defeated by State Rep. Susan Lontine of Denver, but he’s moved and is now challenging State Rep. Lois Landgraf, of Fountain, in the Republican primary.

Among numerous posts on Facebook, he once wrote, “OMG! This is perfect” above a fake photo of Trump attacking Hillary Clinton.

And he shared what turned out to be a deadly fake news item about the Clintons running a pedophile sex ring from a pizza joint. Still, Republicans in Colorado embrace Garcia.

The candidate isn’t worried about turning voters away with his Facebook posts.

“I couldn’t care less,” he said. “If somebody is not going to vote for me because of a Facebook post, they weren’t going to vote for me in the first place. They are liberals who weren’t going to vote for me.”

“The only time I have anything controversial on Facebook is when I’m going against a liberal. And any time I post something like that, it’s in response to something liberals have posted.

Garcia said he doesn’t understand how liberals can be so offended by what he posts and then get so upset by his responses, which, he says, are not as extreme as those of liberals.

A second Facebook offender, Casper Stockham announced recently that he’ll seek to unseat U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.

Among other extreme and inaccurate information he’s spread on Facebook, Stockham once posted fake news depicting a Target cashier dressed in a burka, with a sign in front of her stating, “Attention customers, if you order contains pork or alcohol products, we respectfully as that you you use another lane.”

“DeGette posts some things that are inaccurate as well,” he said without specifying what. “I’m more accurate with a staff of one than she is with a million-dollar budget.

“I trying to illuminate the truth as I see it. I don’t think anyone on this planet is perfect, but I do the best I can.”

Stockham says he encourages his Facebook connections to be honest on Facebook and to be kind to one another.

Stockham has posted false information about liberals leaving their trash on the ground after an Earth Day party, and he calls professional media fake.

Both candidates received 2017 fake news awards from BigMedia.org.

Garcia got a “Mr. Congeniality” award for his offensive, inaccurate, and gross posts.

Stockham got the “Who the Fuck Cares about the Facts” award, after posting fake news even though he stated it “probably wasn’t true.”

A reporter explains, in 33 tweets, why it’s so important to subscribe to The Denver Post. Please do so.

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Veteran Denver Post reporter John Ingold banged out a beautiful tweet storm Monday about why it’s so important to subscribe to The Denver Post right now.

Click here and do it now (first month is 99 cents), and here are Ingold’s tweets. (Ingold is the health and medicine reporter for The Post.)

Ingold: Friends, we are undergoing an exciting change here at The Denver Post, but it might not seem like a great deal at first. Please give me a minute to convince you otherwise… (Thread 1/?)

Starting today, we are limiting how many stories you can read online for free and asking — begging — you to buy a digital subscription. It’s a good deal: $11.99 per month. [even better is the 99 cent deal for the first month.]

But it’s also something much more than access to articles. It’s an investment in your community.

The Denver Post is not nearly as big as it was, and it doesn’t cover as much ground. That makes me sad, too. But it’s still the state’s biggest news organization, it’s part of Colorado’s history and it produces dozens of important stories every year you won’t see elsewhere.

Remember @KSimpsonDP’s heartfelt portrait of the practical flaws in Colorado’s aid-in-dying law?

Or @JBrownDPost’s searing reporting on immigrants who have to wait until they are near death before they can get dialysis?

What about our Colorado Divide series showing how rural Colorado is being left behind — a conversation that @GovofCO picked up in last week’s State of the State address? https://www.denverpost.com/tag/colorado-divide/ …

I’ve been here 17 years, and in that time laws have been passed, bad people have gone to jail, crimes have been thwarted and good lives have been saved because of the work of The Denver Post.

I’m not exaggerating this. I once wrote a story about a woman suffering from HIV/AIDS and chronic pain. She felt alone, abandoned. Years later, I saw her again and she looked amazing. And she told me that our story, photos and video saved her life — by showing her someone cared.

But here’s the thing about all these good works: As much as we at The Denver Post want to think of ourselves as a nonprofit community organization, we aren’t. We’re a business owned by a New York hedgefund that demands it gets its cut every year.

And death is on our heels.

The basics of our looming death are familiar: Advertisers are leaving print media, and pretty much every newspaper in America — including the New York Times — is seeing declines in print advertising dollars.

We and just about everyone else have tried to compensate for those losses by putting greater emphasis on online advertising. There’s a reason the company that owns us is called Digital First Media. But this won’t work.

Why? Because it does two things. First, it gives a lot of power to the tech platforms where readers find us — like Google and Facebook. And those platforms have been making decisions that stab virtual knives in our backs.

Take, for instance, Google’s latest changes to discourage websites from hosting auto-play and take-over ads. That’s great, right? I hate those things!…

…Except, annoying as they were, those ads brought in money that helped sustain our journalism.

Or what about Facebook’s newly announced changes to the news feed — designed to make you interact more with friends and family?…

…Well, they mean you’ll be seeing (and clicking) fewer Denver Post stories. Right now, Facebook accounts for about 13% of the traffic to my stories.

There’s another thing this focus on digital ad revenue does: It can warp news judgment and news values.

Think about what kinds of stories you want your local newspaper to cover. Does that list include Golden Globes red carpet slideshows? What about bizarre crimes committed by Florida Man? In a model where clicks = cash, you’ll likely see a lot of those latter stories.

Here’s an example: I’ve spent much of the last six months writing about health policy, Medicaid, CHIP, and Obamacare — big state and national issues that affect a lot of people. What’s my most-clicked story? A goofy thing about eclipse glasses.

Meanwhile, this story looking at what Colorado Medicaid is doing to reduce opioid overdoses got fewer than 1,000 clicks.

I get that it’s wonky and incremental and not at all sexy. But here’s the question: Would you rather have someone reporting on this kind of thing or not? Because that’s the choice. It’s not between fun stories and dull ones. It’s between community-centered journalism and oblivion

There might be quality publications that can make a business model based on online ads work. But they will be national ones, with enormous reader pools to draw from. Local publications don’t have that advantage.

And the hedgefunds taking over local media don’t care. They want revenue. If that means fewer stories about the local city council and more about celebrity sideboob, that’s what it means.

So what’s the solution? We need to join our community values as journalists with a business model for which those values are rewarded. We need to be able to make money *because* we (and you) care about our city. And this is where you come in.

This isn’t a charity pitch. If you pay for a Denver Post subscription, you’re getting more than symbolic value in return. You’ll be getting articles that help you make more knowledgeable decisions and be a more informed voter.

But you’ll also be making a statement that the people and the stories in your community matter, that they’re worth hearing. That you want someone watchdogging city council meetings. That you care about the consequences of state policy.

And because you’re paying for everything together, your money is supporting ALL of our work. Some months you want to read about the Broncos. Others about groundwater pollution. Either way, we’ll have you covered, and a reporter’s beat won’t depend on a few clicks here or there.

This also, frankly, gives you greater power to shape the news coverage in your community. You don’t like something we did? Great, because you’re not just a click on the website, you’re a subscriber! Call us up and give us an earful and demand that we listen.

There are a lot of great news organizations in this state and all of them are worth supporting. This isn’t an either/or. Watch the TV newscasts. Contribute to public radio. Read the alternative publications. Everybody is out there for sincere reasons.

But I can’t state this any more clearly: If you want to see a future where there’s a Denver Post in Denver, buying a digital subscription now is the best idea we have to make sure that happens.

I hope you agree, and, at the very least, I appreciate you humoring me for this tweetstorm. Thank you for reading over the years. Thank you for caring about Colorado. Thank you for thinking about subscribing: https://checkout.denverpost.com/subscriptionpanel … (Thread: End/Phew!)

Thanks everybody for the thoughtful replies to this thread! It’s so heartening to see how many people care about local journalism. Plus, an update: We’re running a special where you can get your first month’s access to The Denver Post for 99 cents:

Pols is “kind if fun” but Peak Politics makes you fall asleep, says Gardner-hating radio host

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

If you think that liking conservative talk radio and hating U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner are mutually exclusive, you would be wrong.

KNUS 710-AM co-hosts Julie Hayden and Chuck Bonniwell couldn’t have proven the point more clearly than they did last month in a segment titled, “Why We Hate Cory Gardner and Think You Should too.”

And in doing so, Bonniwell said something you don’t often hear from the mouths of righties: ColoradoPols is a much better blog than the conservative Colorado Peak Politics, which describes itself as “Colorado’s Conservative Bully Pulpit.”

Calling Pols “incredibly snarky, unfair, and everything else,” Bonniwell nonetheless said Pols is “kind of fun” and interesting reading, even though it’s a “left-wing” site.

Referring to Peak Politics, Bonniwell said, “You might as well read press releases and fall asleep, unfortunately.”

I wouldn’t even go that far, but yes, between Pols and Peak Politics, there’s no contest.

 

In excellent interview, Stephens says fellow Republicans owe us an “apology for seven years of blustering with no plan”

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Colorado Public Radio picked a perfect guest today to discuss the GOP’s failed efforts to kill Obamacare: former Colorado’s former GOP House Majority Leader Amy Stephens of Monument.

I’d been vaguely hoping someone would solicit Stephens’ opinion on the Obamacare saga, after she cosponsored bipartisan legislation to establish Colorado’s state-run insurance exchanges in 2011.

Stephens has been brutally criticized for her support of the exchanges, which she continues to maintain was not an expression of support for Obamacare, but instead an effort to allow state control of the insurance marketplace, which would otherwise have been run federal government.

Her GOP opponents think otherwise, saying her “Amycare” bill ushered Obamacare into our state.

Today, speaking with CPR’s Ryan Warner, Stephens defended her work on healthcare in Colorado, and she offered a critique of the seven-year GOP campaign to repeal and replace Obamacare, saying in part that Republicans owe us an “apology for seven years of blustering with no plan”:

Warner: …How was the exchange used against you, whether it was running for reelection at the state legislature, or later you considered running for the U.S. Senate, right?

Stephens: That’s correct. I think in part, in running for the U.S. Senate and really going to my own party was saying, you know, I didn’t do the whole, “Hey! No Obamacare!” tattooed on my arm. There were people that actually had to make decisions – right? — and be the adults in the room. And I considered that my job as a leader was to do that. However, I think that my party owes everybody, really, an apology right now. We’ve had seven years —

Warner: Your Party, the Republican Party.

Stephens: Yeah. I do think they owe people an apology for seven years of blustering with no plan. And to actually say that, you know, we have a plan. I think it’s important for all of us to say, “Where do we want to go with this? Where do we want to be? I applaud Hickenlooper and Kasich for working together […]

Warner:  So, let me say, that the governors of Colorado and of Ohio – Kasich, a Republican and Hickenlooper, a Democrat came together with a plan to stabilize the insurance markets

Stephens: Right. I’d say that’s not the only answer, but I think it’s a good first start. It’s a fair first start. I wish the governor had perhaps come to some of our — our Governor, Hickenloopoer — had come to perhaps some of our own Republicans to perhaps work on that. I didn’t hear of that happening

Warner told his listeners he wanted to interview Stephens, in part, to get the “long view.” If you’ve been part of the history of healthcare in Colorado, or even if you haven’t, you should listen here.

Colorado’s Senate GOP spokesman calls fact-check journalism “largely phony”

Thursday, August 17th, 2017

paige on Ingold article 8-2017Colorado’s Republican Senate spokesman, Sean Paige, isn’t shy about expressing himself on Twitter.

So I was surprised that he wouldn’t explain why he took to Twitter to call into question the “objectivity” of John Ingold’s excellent Denver Post article, “Is Medicaid Gobbling Up Colorado’s Budget?

“What’s wrong with The Denver Post article?” I tweeted at Paige, who’s the former Deputy Director of Colorado Americans for Prosperity. “This is one of the most serious topics facing #coleg #copolitics.”

He disappointed me by tweeting back, “I’ll leave the faux media critic shtick 2 U and share what critiques I have with the paper. But I thought the piece was flawed.”

I eventually got more details on Paige’s thinking, because someone passed along a Facebook post by Paige, in which he explained his problems with the piece and with journalists.

Basically, he seems to hold them in very low regard, calling fact checking by reporters a “largely phony” activity carried out mostly by “left-leaning journalists not correcting but counter-spinning points of view they disagree with.” (Now I feel much better about him calling me a “faux media critic.”)

Ingold’s Medicaid piece is an example of the left-leaning, counter-spinning work of the press, writes Paige:

Paige: “The ‘reporter,’ who in this case becomes an advocate disguised as an ‘analyst,’ takes on the question of whether the Medicaid expansion that accompanied Obamacare is really, in fact, devouring a bigger share of Colorado’s budget. But instead of just reporting the facts and the truth — which of course is taking a bigger bite out of the budget, squeezing dollars that could be going to schools, roads, etc. — the writer [Ingold] works to soften that harsh but factual conclusion by mounting a defense of the program and putting the problem in a context that makes it appear like a non-problem. He’s doing what Democrats do, in other words, every time a non-Democrat asks and impertinent question about the blob that’s eating the state budget.” [emphasis added]

So Paige is openly advocating for shallow journalism. He wants Ingold to write that Medicaid costs are increasing and stop there!

Ingold’s sin was to dig into the budget Medicaid numbers, instead of just regurgitating the budget pie charts.

He determined that none of the money being spent on Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion can go to “roads, schools, etc.,” as Paige wants. You’d think this would be important information for Paige, as are the other facts reported by Ingold: The Medicaid budget has, in fact, increased, from 17 percent of the general fund in 2000 to 26 percent today. But how to cut it? Ingold reports that if you took the advice of many conservatives and took away Medicaid from “able-bodied” poor people (most of whom incidentally, are already working), you’d save hundreds of millions of dollars out of a $10 billion general-fund budget.

Ingold tells us where a disproportionate amount of Medicaid spending goes: “People with disabilities and people in nursing homes, for instance, make up 10 percent of the state’s Medicaid enrollment — but account for 42 percent of state Medicaid spending.”

These nonpartisan facts didn’t stick in Paige’s brain, because he accuses Ingold of doing “intellectual contortions” to avoid “reaching a politically incorrect conclusion.”

Since Paige cites no factual errors, it appears he thinks Ingold contorted by failing to report on, as Paige puts it, “the trap [Obamacare] set for the state, by creating the potential for a fiscal crisis when ‘the feds’ either can’t or won’t continue with that arrangement and Obama’s check bounces.”

All of Paige’s hostility toward Ingold seems to stem from Ingold’s decision to leave that dubious notion out of his article. Seriously? Every time reporters write about a federal program with a state impact (military, national parks, roads, BLM, EPA) they should discuss the possibility of Uncle Sam’s check bouncing?

Paige, who didn’t return a call for comment, concludes his post with a broad slam at fact checking, which is one of the most honorable missions of journalism in our age of degraded discourse.

Paige: “I believe ‘yes but’ stories, like the dishonest ‘fact-checking’ exercises that have become such a trend among media outlets, are just another way for opinionated journalists to have the last word, while pretending to be honest brokers of information.”

I have to say, I’m glad he’s not my press secretary. But if he were, and I were his honorable Republican boss, I’d tell Paige to immediately stop blaming Obamacare for Colorado’s budget problems and, instead, come up with reality-based solutions. I doubt a specific list of Medicaid cuts would be among them.

Former state representative will consider removing fake news from her Facebook page

Friday, July 21st, 2017

marsha looper posts fake news about muslim rape 7-17Former state Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan) shared a fake news item on her Facebook page recently, with flat-out falsehoods and exaggerations about a rape that did not occur, as alleged, in Idaho

The Idaho Statesman reported:

The incident touched off months of turmoil in Twin Falls after the story was spun into a fake news account that exaggerated or flat-out falsified many of the details, including that a knife was present, the attack was perpetrated by a Syrian gang of adult men, that a rape had occurred and that the attack was celebrated by the perpetrators’ families as city officials orchestrated a cover-up.

Snopes also determined the item to be “mostly false.

See Looper’s post, from “SilenceIsConsent.net,” above.

Looper, who left office in 2012, told me today that she’d review the fact checks of the item and, if she agrees, remove it from her Facebook page.

Reporters should be clear about who’s backing the baker who discriminated against a gay couple

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

In wide coverage of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a Colorado case in which a bakery refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, reporters are almost universally failing to mention that the powerful legal organization backing the bakery has a long history of opposition to same-sex marriage, LGBT equality, abortion, and other rights that are under attack by the Christian right.

The organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has a stated mission to “to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family,” as pointed out in an excellent Colorado Independent article yesterday.

But it’s actually more fair, in view of prevailing social norms and values, to label ADF as anti-LGBTQ organization that’s fundamentally opposed to the civil rights of gay people. That’s what the organization is about–and it should be described as such in the context of this case, especially because ADF is trying to present itself as defending the rights of the baker, Jack Phillips, to express himself as an artist and religious devotee.

“The government in Colorado is picking and choosing which messages they’ll support and which artistic messages they’ll protect,” Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Denver Post yesterday. An ADF legal counsel, writing in today’s Denver Post, ludicrously referred to Phillips’ bakery as an “art gallery of cakes.”

ADF has no demonstrable interest in protecting artists. In fact, ADF has been on a crusade against homosexuality since its founding by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and others in 1994. The organization’s anti-choice and anti-LGBT stances, including its efforts to overturn state laws banning discrimination against LGBT people, are widely documented, including the fact that ADF has backed efforts to criminalize homosexuality abroad. As illustrated here, ADF sits at the center of America’s network of Christian right groups.

In a 2015 handbook designed to help religious entities discriminate without facing legal repercussions, ADF equates bestiality and incest with being LGBTQ–or even with participating in adultery, and using pornography.

“We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female,” states the handbook. “These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.”

The handbook continues: “We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)”

Here in Colorado, the face of ADF has long been Michael J. Norton, who left ADF recently to start the Colorado Freedom Institute, but he apparently continues to represent the group on occasion.

Norton, who drafted a 2006 amendment that voters added to the Colorado Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, testified frequently at the state capitol and has been an outspoken advocate for anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ campaigns.

As I blogged previously, in Colorado, ADF was embraced by 33 Republican state legislators in 2015 to push for an investigation of Planned Parenthood. The lawmakers, who appeared to be led by State Rep. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, included State Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa and State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton.

In the Post’s opinion piece today, ADF’s lawyer writes that Phillips should “have his cake and freedom too.” Actually, it’s gay people who should have their wedding cake and freedom too. But they won’t, if ADF succeeds in blocking their basic human rights.

 

State senator alleges that local chamber “refused” to read his statement at annual breakfast

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

scott on gj chamber

Jon Caldara’s sniffling Denver Post op-ed last month, decrying fellow Republicans who voted to save rural hospitals via a budget maneuver, prompted ColoradoPols to write a post headlined, “World’s smallest violin plays for legislative loser Jon Caldara.”

But, in case you missed it, Caldara took heat from fellow Republicans too, such as State Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa), who wrote a letter to The Post in response to Caldara, who heads up the conservative/libertarian Independence Institute.

Crowder pointed out that doing nothing would have resulted in “demise and closure of a vast number of these rural hospitals.”

Crowder took issue with Caldara for thanking Republicans who voted against the measure, which reclassified the “hosptital provider fee” as a business under TABOR.

Caldara: Let me thank the courageous Republican senators who stood up to leadership and the pressure cooker of the takings coalition and voted no: John Cooke, Chris Holbert, Kent Lambert, Kevin Lundberg, Vicki Marble, Beth Martinez-Humenik, Tim Neville, Ray Scott and Jim Smallwood. Heroes all.

Crowder: The lawmakers Jon Caldara thanked for voting against the bill all happen to represent metropolitan areas, where hospitals are big business. But that isn’t true for rural hospitals, many of which are just trying to stay open. Closure of these facilities would mean real hardship for rural Colorado.

But Republican state senators who voted against the reclassification of the HPF were doing more than rejecting the painful cries from rural hospitals.

They were turning their backs on pretty much the entire business community, with deep ties to Republicans, which stood together in favor of the HPF reclassification. Recall this list of biz groups that backed the HPF reclassification last year.

So, it’s no surprise that State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), is apparently a persona non grata at the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce these days.

In a recent Facebook post, Scott wrote that the GJ Chamber “refused” to read his statement at their annual breakfast because, Scott wrote, he’s “chopped liver or they wanted to see how many would notice.”

Scott posted his rejected statement, which stated that “cities and counties put immense pressure on legislators to help fulfill their budget demands especially in the 44 counties that are distressed as Mesa County is. It was so hard to say no to many times but the reality is the state budget has been a runaway train for 12 years are we are tasked with holding the line.”

Scott, who was unable to attend the Grand Junction Chamber’s event, went on to blame Democrats for the budget problem, but he didn’t mention that some of his fellow Republicans, like Crowder, inched toward a solution. While Scott’s success was getting thanked by Caldara in The Denver Post.

Reporters shouldn’t wait to tell the story of Trump’s impact on GOP gubernatorial race

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

“I want to point out something important. Everybody that stands before you moving forward, who says that they want your vote to be the Republican nominee for fill-in-the-blank, you must insist on finding out whom they voted for for president.”

That might sound like a progressive media critic urging reporters to find out where conservatives candidates stand on Trump, but it’s actually GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler speaking at a celebration of Trump’s first 100 days in office.

“And I’m here to tell you I voted for Donald Trump,” continued Brauchler, saying how impressed he was with the turnout. “…If you listen to the news, you think we’re on the verge of some sort of Constitutional crisis. This tells me we’re all in pretty damn good hands right now in terms of the United States of America.”

Later Brauchler, who’s the Arapahoe County District Attorney, told a conservative radio host that Trump’s first 100 days have been “productive.” And he bashed the media as “biased” and, with Trump’s help, making “mountains out of molehills.”

Mountains out of molehills?

By grabbing onto Trump like he’s doing, Brauchler is embracing the conventional wisdom that bedding down with the right is essential to winning the GOP primary next year.

But remember that Dick Wadhams (or was it Jack Graham?) finished second behind Darryl Glenn in the 2016 GOP U.S. Senate primary last year. And who knows what impact the open primaries will have on the Republican primary, which is looking to be a crazy clash of dynasties and cash.

So, yeah, the GOP Trump base seems energized, but it’s still surprising that when Brauchler looks across the state, all he seems to see is Trump. During his KNUS 710-AM interview (below), he said Colorado Republicans see “steady progress forward on a lot of things that people care about.” And, Brauchler said on air, “within the party, when you go to the Lincoln Day dinners…you can’t find a Trump naysayer in the group.”

Not a Trump naysayer! And this was the day Trump leaked classified information to Russians in the White House.

So how far will the GOP primary candidates go in their courtship of Trump voters?

Reporters should take a cue from Brauchler and not wait until the September to tell this dramatic and high-stakes story.

Listen to Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM May