Talk radio host appropriates Cinco De Mayo as “Cinco De Drinko” and more

May 18th, 2017

The voice you hear in the audio below is Jimmy Lakey, morning host at Fox News Radio (KCOL 600-AM) in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

He offers an insulting take on Cinco de Mayo, calling it “Cinco de Drinko,” and mocking other aspects of Latino culture. He tones it down before his guest GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler appears. Lakey is a former GOP congressional candidate.

Lakey once compared Michele Obama to Chewbacca, and howled with laughter when a caller compared her to the the main character in Planet of the Apes.

Post downplays Trump story on front page of print edition

May 17th, 2017

UPDATE: CNN looked at the front pages of 10 newspapers across the country, including The Denver Post and the New York Times. Eight out of ten featured the Comey story above the fold in the print edition. The Manchester Union-Leader joined The Post in not doing so.

CNN had this comment on the Manchester newspaper: “And then there was the New Hampshire Union-Leader, a notoriously conservative paper, which made only passing mention of the story with a pro-Trump blurb ‘White House disputes Comey memo’ and teased to a story on B2. The other tease at the top of the front page? “Cloud eggs: They’re hot, versatile and trending.”

———

I’m still the kind of person who compares The Denver Post to the New York Times.

Today, the major headline in the Times’ print edition reads, “Trump appealed to Comey to halt inquiry of Flynn.” It occupies two columns on the upper right portion of the front page, where the most important headlines of the day are placed.

The Post’s upper right-hand headline, in contrast, states, “Judge orders inmate freed,” not an insignificant story but paltry compared to the Trump story, which has rocked the White House, the stock market, and even Republicans.

And The Post’s headline, “Trump pressed Comey to drop Flynn Probe,” filled just one column of the print edition’s front page, in the lower right hand corner, “below the fold,” as newspaper readers like to say.

A glance at The Post’s front page makes you think of hail, since that’s the dominant story, not the possible downfall of the president.

I know The Post likes to emphasize local news on its front page–as well as stories that the whole world hasn’t already heard about by the time they receive their dead-tree newspaper in the morning. And, of course, the Times broke the Comey story, so might expect some hype.

But if the story was hyped, it deserved it, for obvious reasons that, apparently, The Post didn’t understand, at least as of yesterday. I’m hoping they’ll do better as this story inevitably unfolds.

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

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

Candidates may not like the focus on family ties in gubernatorial race, but they’re a big part of the story for reporters

May 12th, 2017

Steve Barlock, the former chair of the Denver Trump Campaign, announced he’s considering a jump into the governor’s race and immediately took a shot at fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson and likely GOP candidate Walker Stapleton.

“I am interested because I want to stop a Bush and stop a Romney,” Barlock told Fox 31 Denver’s Joe St. George, explaining why he wants to be governor.

Barlock was referencing the fact that Walker Stapleton, who’s expected to run for governor, is the first cousin of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, with “Walker” as the lineage connecting Walker Stapleton to the Bushes. Stapleton is currently Colorado’s Treasurer.

Robinson, an investment banker, is the nephew of Mitt Romney. His mother is Romney’s older sister.

The intersection of the Republican dynasties on the Colorado campaign trail is definitely grabbing attention, as it should. With an outlier in the White House–and voters mad at the establishment–it’s fair for reporters to point out and analyze the impact of family ties. It’s obviously hugely relevant.

You can expect that the candidates won’t like it, as Robinson indicated during a May 5 appearance on KCOL 600-AM.

“I’ve done a lot on my own. And I want people to realize that I am Doug Robinson. And yes, my mother is Mitt Romney’s older sister. And that is part of my heritage. But the Denver Post led with that. They didn’t even have my name. Mitt’s nephew.”

I couldn’t find The Post coverage that Robinson refers to. The lede of the online Post story about Robinson’s campaign launch reads, “Mitt Romney’s nephew Doug Robinson is running for governor of Colorado.”

Robinson shrugged off the focus on Mittens, telling Lakey, “I come from a place of wanting to make this state better and put a vision out there of where we can go.”

Listen to Robinson on KCOL May 5 here:

Bennet defends journalism, saying Trump has “hard time” distinguishing between reality and “somebody shooting their mouth off on the internet”

May 11th, 2017

Colorado’s Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet took the fight against fake news to the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday, saying Trump resorts to “talking about ‘fake news’ when he doesn’t like [journalists’] reporting” and that Trump has a “hard time” distinguishing between “something that is real” and “somebody shooting their mouth off on the internet.”

Bennet did not suggest, as I would have done, that Trump sign the Fake News Pledge for elected officials, but it’s great to a politician stand up for journalists, who are almost as unpopular as politicians themselves. Which is exactly why Trump attack them.

Bennet made the fake news remark as part of a blistering attack on Trump, focused on his firing of FBI Director James Comey but touching on Trump’s overall disrespect for American institutions of government.

Watch Bennet here.

And here are his comments on journalism and fake news:

Bennet (at 5:30): And [the American people] remember his attacks on the free press as well, when he doesn’t like their reporting and his resorting to talking about ‘fake news’ when he doesn’t like their reporting. Mr. President, I have had to talk to so many high school students. and middle school students in Colorado over the last four or five months about this whole question of fake news and what the importance is of edited content to our society–and again to the rule of law. The importance that middle school students and high school students place on edited content on curated content, their ability to distinguish between something that is science or something that is real, something that is edited versus somebody shooting their mouth off on the internet. The president has a hard time making that distinction as well.

Gardner wants everyone to drop the “hyperbole” about GOP health-care bill, but radio host fails to ask him what hyperbole

May 9th, 2017

U.S.  Sen. Cory Gardner told a conservative talk-radio host Monday that he wants people to “drop this hyperbole that we continue to hear” about the problems with GOP health care proposal and put in place a health care system that will work.

KNUS 710-AM host Steve Kelley didn’t ask the simple question of what “hyperbole” Gardner is referring to. Kelley played Gardner a series of audio clips of Democrats saying among other things, that the bill would cause Americans to suffer and die, how it would adversely impact the most vulnerable, and how it would give the rich a tax break.

So where’s the hyperbole Gardner is talking about?

The fact that an estimated 24 million people will lose their health insurance by 2026, in the likely event that this bill is comparable to the last one?

The fact that the latest Obamacare repeal doesn’t protect people with pre-existing medical conditions (like diabetes, cancer, even pregnancy)?

The fact that the rich would enjoy a tax cut of over $600 billion?

Where’s the hyperbole that’s bothering Gardner? (listen to him here on May 8, hour 1, at 13 min)

But you wouldn’t expect a conservative talk radio host to put these types of questions to Gardner, and the senator knows it.

That’s probably why, when the New York Times called his office last week to discuss the health care bill, Gardner didn’t return the call.

That’s also probably why Gardner has appeared on over 15 conservative talk radio shows in Colorado this year.

And why he’s appeared at exactly zero town halls.

Contrary to blogger’s claim, reporter sought comment and clarification and utterances of any kind

May 8th, 2017

In a blog post April 29, ColoradoPolitics.com reporter Joey Bunch criticized Western Wire, a news service backed by the oil and gas industry via the Western Energy Alliance, for a post that, Bunch wrote, “left an impression” that last Saturday’s climate protests were canceled due to snow.

Bunch reported:

The article goes on to cite a Facebook post about the event in Colorado Springs being cancelled. The story, however, makes mentions of Denver, including a forecast of 12 inches of snow in the metro area, but never says whether its event is cancelled or a go.

I e-mailed [Western Wire reporter] Johnson to ask about the “Denver-area climate marches” the article refers to, and why an industry site is doing a weather story and sending it out to reporters who might be thinking about covering the event.

He replied that the story specifically cites the Colorado Springs event. “And where exactly in the story did we dissuade reporters from going?” he wrote about the story e-mailed to reporters.

The Western Wire article failed to mention the Colorado Springs march was moved to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. beginning at Colorado Springs City Hall.

Many advocates would cry and wail about Bunch’s post in anonymous tweets, but to his credit, Western Wire’s Matt Dempsey responded directly in a post titled, “Our Friend Joey Bunch Missed The Mark.” He claimed Bunch “missed the point of our reporting entirely.”

I agree with Bunch that Dempsey’s post created the impression that the Denver demonstrations were at least threatened with cancellation, if not cancelled. But Dempsey claims in his post that he had actually wanted reporters to attend the rallies. “After all, the giant snowstorm that hit Colorado highlighted the supreme irony of the anti-fossil fuel activists’ campaign,” wrote Dempsey in his blog post. And he pointed out that Western Wire’s post linked to updated information about the Colorado Springs rally.

But I can’t figure why Dempsey concluded his post this way:.

It also makes us wonder why Joey didn’t just ask for a clarification in his email, instead of seeking comment for a critique of our story. Western Wire, like any other news outlet, is open to readers asking for clarifications or corrections. But that’s not what happened here.

The question to Joey is: Why not?

This is funny because Bunch sought (and got!) a comment from Western Wire. He’s a reporter, not a reader who might seek a correction or clarification. He asked for Western Wire’s thoughts or utterances of any kind–including clarifying variety. That’s what journalists do when they send you an email with questions and an explanation of what they’re doing.

Bunch provided me with the questions and background information that he emailed to Western Wire prior to writing his story. Here it is.

Did you guys try to confirm that with anybody yesterday? You really come away from your story thinking the thing was cancelled. I’m going to blog about the event, and it’s a side note that an industry wire service was seemingly dissuading reporters and attendees from going the day before. I’m not sure what the point of a weather story on Western Wire was all about.

But Dempsey says Bunch should have followed up again, if necessary, to determine Western Wire’s intentions. Dempsey told me, via email:

Our point is that Joey made a bad assumption by asserting that the Western Wire news story suggested the event was cancelled, and that somehow by posting it online and emailing it that we were discouraging reporters from attending.

Instead of trying to understand what the story actually said, he was in a rush to get comment for a rebuttal story of his own.

Following his story we felt a need to weigh in through a commentary piece. Our aim was to be respectful while still making our point.

Bunch is more worried about the journalism practiced at Western Wire.

“I’m not offended at all by Matt Dempsey’s opinion of me, and I don’t know any reporters who are taking it seriously,” Bunch emailed in response to my request for a comment. “I’m not. It’s the disregard for journalistic principles of fairness and accuracy in both blogs that bothers me as a person who’s been doing this for 30-something years. It doesn’t speak well for Western Wire as a news source or the Western Energy Alliance, if it continues to stand behind it.”

Dempsey continues to stand behind his post, maybe not understanding how serious it is to claim a journalist didn’t do the most basic aspect of his job–when in actuality it seems Dempsey didn’t do his by not giving Bunch the info he needed.

Woods posts fake news on Facebook

May 5th, 2017

woods trey gowdy 5-17Despite the example set by Trump, it seems that public figures in Colorado are being more careful about posting fake news on their Facebook pages than they were prior to the last election.

And to their credit, some officials in Colorado are removing fake news, if they are convinced it’s inaccurate.

But former State Rep. Laura Woods (R-Westminster), who lost her state senate seat in November, apparently hasn’t gotten the memo about how fake news rots civic discourse, not to mention representative government.

She apparently posted this fake news item, provided to me by a source, last week, headlined, “Trey Gowdy Breaks Silence After 2 of His Investigators Were Found Tortured and Killed-Proud Patriots.”

Woods apparently commented, “OM gosh…The Clintons’ trail of dead bodies is unbelievable. Hopefully Attorney General Sessions will take them down.”

It appears that Woods refused to remove the fake news, even after a someone on her Facebook feed pointed out that it was debunked by Snopes.

Woods doesn’t return my calls, but I invite her to sign the Fake News Pledge for Citizens here.

But it appears she may have found her own way to deal with Fake News, with a site offering right-wing radio host Mark Levin, right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, and others:

woods alt news site

Brauchler’s early support of vouchers raises questions for reporters

May 3rd, 2017

Education is a motivating issue anywhere in soccer-mom country, but in Colorado its force is compounded by the lingering impact of the emotional 2015 Jefferson County School Board recall election, in which voters overwhelmingly tossed out conservatives.

Republican Bob Beauprez’s outspoken alignment with the losing school board members, including his support of vouchers, during the 2014 gubernatorial election was arguably a key factor in his loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper. And Republicans have lost a string of state legislative races in Jeffco, with the winning Democrats standing against public school privatization.

So along comes the 2018 gubernatorial race, and reporters should note where Republican candidates come down on vouchers, charters, and education issues. Will they distance themselves from the positions of the losing Jeffco School Board members? Or will they align with them?

Republican candidate George Brauchler, the Arapahoe County District Attorney, has already spoken up for vouchers, agreeing “100 percent” with KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis last month that vouchers benefit kids and empower parents, particularly in low-income areas.

Caplis (11 min 30 sec below): I’m a big believer without even increasing the budget, kids would be benefited immediately by healthy education competition, and by empowering those poor and middle income parents with true purchasing power in education through vouchers, etc. Where do you come down on school choice?

Brauchler: I 100 percent agree with you, in every place, specifically inner cities and socio economically depressed areas. Every place you offer parents the opportunity at a charter school or choice, you see a mad scramble to be part of that successful system. And our family is no different. I got four kids, 14, 12, 9, and 7. They are all in charter schools. They’ve all gone to charter grade schools. Two of them are still there. I am a big believer in choice. And they are figuring out a way to put a better product on the field and turn out students with a better education, better scores than the big establishment system. That’s not an indictment of the entire big establishment system. That is a challenge. That is that kind of competition that you and I have talked about that give you a better product. I am a big believer in choice…big-time public school system, which I am a product of, my wife’s a product of, my kids are going to be a product of it, has got to look internally, but also externally at a better way to do what they are doing.”

I can’t find campaign statements by other Republican candidates on public school privatization, but it’s likely they will be coming soon–with Democrats likely to continue to oppose vouchers. In any case, it’s clearly a key issue for reporters to track, given the Jeffco history and the stakes involved.

Listen to Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show April 5:

El Paso GOP official removes fake news from his Facebook page

May 2nd, 2017

hosler fake news apil 2017Setting an example for Republican and Democratic officials, Joshua Hosler, Vice Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, removed a fake news item he shared on Facebook, after he learned it was fake news.

The item, produced by ConservativeWorldDaily, alleged that the Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, banned the teaching of Islam in Public Schools. Hosler removed it, he told me via Facebook messaging.

In deleting the item, Hosler joins other officials, such as State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park) and former State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Colorado Springs), who both removed fake news from their Facebook pages last year in the wake of a BigMedia.org investigation. U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder) deleted a tweet with unsubstantiated information. Other officials, such as State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), did not remove fake news from Facebook.

BigMedia.org’s “BigMedia Factcheck,” which posts facts on the Facebook pages of officials to alert them to the presence of fake news on their Facebook pages, spotlighted the fake-news item in Hosler’s Facebook news feed, and he subsequently removed it.

The Facebook item shared by Hosler is not true, as explained by Factcheck.org:

No, the Supreme Court hasn’t decided that students can’t be taught about Islam in public schools. On April 11, fake news websites began publishing a bogus story that said “[t]he court ruled 5-4, with Justice Gorsuch casting the tie-breaker, that the only Islam taught to our children in public schools will be the history of Radical Islam and what they can do to help stop it.”

It alleged that newly installed Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion, and then provided a faux excerpt that was filled with errors: “We should [sic] be teaching any religions in this country besides standard Judeo-Chritianity [sic], as our founders wanted, and we certainly shouldn’t be filling the children with lies about Islam being a ‘religion of peace’ when they see the carnage on the news almost every day.”

Suspicious Facebook users have rightly flagged the bogus story as potentially fake, using the social media site’s improved tools for reporting a hoax.

Hosler once ran for a State House seat held by former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt but was defeated.