“This isn’t fake!” writes lawmaker about an article from a newspaper he once called “fake news”

March 13th, 2017

Ray Scott cites sentinel non fake news 3-17

State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) calls the Grand Junction Sentinel “fake news“–until he finds a Sentinel story he likes. Then the fakeness is conveniently forgotten.

“Denver water attorneys against farmers,” wrote Scott on Facebook last week, referring to a Sentinel article by Charles Ashby about a bill stalled in the state legislature.

“This isn’t fake!” wrote Scott on Facebook.

Scott’s hypocrisy is so brazen yoScott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsu honestly wonder how he could possibly justify trotting it out on Facebook.

But there Scott is, like Trump, undermining journalism by making sweeping and unsubstantiated accusations about the Sentinel one week. and then he’s using a Sentinel article he likes to promote himself and his agenda the next week. (The publisher of the Sentinel may sue Scott for damages.)

So crazy.

But as I’ve noted before, prior to his fake-news outburst last month about the Sentinel, Scott regularly posted Sentinel articles on Facebook–when he agreed with the reporting or found it useful.

And the truly sad part of all this: Scott still has actual fake news posted on his Facebook page! I doubt you’re surprised, but still. He’s not responded to numerous emails and phone calls from me asking that he remove it, like other lawmakers have.

Maybe Scott thinks his fake news, which informs us that “Hillary sold weapons to ISIS,” is real? I don’t think he even believes it, to be honest. But you’d think he’d remove it from Facebook, just to take the spotlight off his own ridiculous double standard.

FACT CHECK: Gardner misleads constituents during telephone call

March 7th, 2017

During his conference call with constituents last week, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) boasted about being bipartisan when, in fact, he was just being a manipulative partisan Republican.

Asked why he’s voted with Trump 100 percent of the time, Gardner told constituents on the call that most of his Trump votes were for cabinet posts, and Gardner believes any president should be allowed to select his own team, unless extreme circumstances dictate otherwise.

“I think it’s important that the president have the people around him that the president nominates,” said Gardner on the phone call.

Gardner then patted himself on the back, and made himself look all bipartisan, by saying he “voted to end debate” on whether Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was fit to serve.

Gardner during his telephone town hall last week: “In fact, if you look at my vote on Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s Attorney General, I received a lot of heavy lobbying to vote against the cloture vote and cloture’s a fancy way of saying, ‘To cut off debate and allow the nomination to reach the floor.’ There was a lot of people who wanted me to vote against Loretta Lynch and to say that – vote against her nomination from even coming to the floor, and even though I disagreed with many of the positions that Loretta Lynch has taken and took as Attorney General, I believed that the president had a right to that nomination making the floor, and so I voted to end debate. And so again, elections have consequences. Had it been Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders who were elected to president, I’m sure I wouldn’t have liked the – some of the positions that the cabinet members took, but the elections have consequences, and those officials would have been confirmed.”

But instead of a pat on the back, Gardner deserves a spanking for talking out of both sides of his mouth, because after he voted to end debate on the Lynch nomination, he actually voted to reject Lynch.

Thumping his chest in 2015 at right wingers who were apparently applying the “heavy lobbying,” Gardner even shot off a news release after his vote against Lynch.

Gardner on Lynch nomination in 2015: “On topics from the President’s executive actions to when exactly federal law trumps that of the states, Ms. Lynch declined, both in person and via letter, to provide satisfactory answers that would have helped me determine how exactly her confirmation as Attorney General would affect the lives of Coloradans. With too many unanswered questions, I am unable to support her confirmation.”

Unless they happened to possess crazy knowledge of U.S. Senate rules and Gardner’s votes, folks on Gardner’s conference call last week may have thought Gardner really believes a president should be able to select his cabinet members when, in fact, he seems to believe this for Trump but not Obama.

Gardner’s intent was clearly to manipulate his constituents, and reporters should call him out on this tactic.

 

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

March 1st, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Hayden: Yeah, the gen–.

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

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

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

Asked about this, Hayden said:

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

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

Hayden wouldn’t say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hayden: Yeah, the Gen–.

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

[introducing the new producer]

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

Will constituents be excluded from Gardner’s telephone town halls?

February 27th, 2017

Gardner's telephone town all web pageOn a new page on his official web site, announcing a series of “telephone town halls,” U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) writes, “To join our conversations, complete the form below and we will call you before each event starts.”

But if Gardner selects specific people who sign up on his website for telephone town halls, he may be breaking U.S. Senate rules.

“[Gardner’s] communications director told me that they and other U.S. Senators have a company that sets up telephone town halls according to senate rules that require participants be selected randomly from voter rolls,” CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd reported Jan. 30.

I had no luck locating the rules referenced, and my phone call to Gardner’s office routed me directly to voice mail and was not returned. A call to Vakeo, which apparently operates Gardner’s tele town halls, was not returned.

But a Google search yielded numerous references to the “random” selection of participants on telephone town halls organized by members of Congress, like Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).

The selection of participants for Gardner’s town halls, the next of which is set to occur March 1, is important, because Gardner is telling constituents who are demanding an in-person town hall to go to his website and sign up for the telephone variety instead.

“We will add you to the next tele-town hall,” Gardner told a woman last week, as shown in a video she posted online. “It’s no problem” (in the top video here at 1 min 15 seconds).

But it is a problem if participants for the telephone town halls are selected at random, because this would exclude some.

Since Trump’s election, Gardner has relied on secretive or expensive private meetings and one telephone town hall to reach his constituents, and he has apparently abandoned in-person town halls. Last week, Gardner ignored a reporter’s question, put to him five times in a row, about whether he’d hold an in-person town hall.

Constituents who sign up to be on Gardner’s telephone town-hall list, must agree to this statement, as written on Gardner’s telephone town-hall page, which was apparently added recently to his website.

By clicking the button below, I provide my signature expressly authorizing Senator Cory Gardner and Vekeo to contact me and send me information regarding their office, telephone meetings, upcoming events or other opportunities via live, automated or prerecorded calls, text messages or emails to my telephone number and email address that I entered above. I also agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. In compliance with applicable ethics rules, we can only accept telephone meeting registrations from constituents of Senator Cory Gardner’s District.  I represent that I am a resident in Senator Cory Gardner’s District. I understand that my telephone service provider may impose charges for these contacts and that I can revoke this authorization at any time (see the “Events, Sign-Ups and Cancellations” section of the Terms of Use for more details).

“I want to hear from you,” Gardner wrote on the telephone-town-hall page of his website. “Get your questions ready and join me for live, interactive events.”

But unless Gardner’s communications director gave inaccurate information to CBS4, Gardner won’t necessarily be calling you–unless you’re selected at random.

Are Colorado Republicans really guaranteeing that people who have health insurance now will continue to have it under an Obamacare replacement?

February 23rd, 2017

Last week, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes asked Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) if he could guarantee to his constituents that they’d “have coverage if you have it now.”

“The answer to that is no, right?” asked Hayes.

“Yes,” replied Sanford. “The answer is, we don’t know with precision.”

Colorado Republicans need to be asked the same question, because over the past months they’ve repeatedly implied that no one will lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. But am I hearing them right? Is this a promise?

For example, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stated KOA 850-AM Feb. 17, “And let me just say, nothing will be repealed unless it’s concurrently replaced.”

If nothing means nothing, then no one will lose their health care coverage, at a minimum, much less all the other benefits of Obamacare (e.g., coverage for under-26 family members, pre-existing conditions, no caps on coverage).

Coffman’s office sort of confirmed his stance to 9News this week.

9News: Coffman’s office told us he wants to keep the changes Obamacare made for pre-existing conditions, the ability for parents to keep children on their plans until age 26, and maintaining coverage for people who gained it under the ACA—including the Medicaid expansion, which has been criticized by some of Coffman’s fellow Republicans.

But that’s a aspiration, not a promise, and Coffman’s constituents want to know if Coffman would vote for a still-unkown Obamacare replacement that would throw people off the health insurance rolls.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) expressed the same promise in the form of an aspiration, as he likes to do when dealing with a tough question.

Gardner: “What we have to do is create a bipartisan health care plan, health insurance plan, to make sure that we can do better than Obamacare,” said Gardner on KOA 850-AM Jan. 13.

Is he saying his constituents won’t lose their insurance? I think so, but he needs to be asked point blank–and repeatedly, because that’s often what it takes with Gardner (e.g., Will he vote for Trump? And will he hold a town hall? And what about the federal personhood amendment?)

In some communications, Colorado Republicans are stopping short of promising that their constituents won’t lose their health insurance, but they’re guaranteeing that elements of Obamacare won’t be lost.

“…[U]nder the Republican replacement plans, no individual with a pre-existing condition will be denied insurance coverage or see their rates spike,” wrote Congressman Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton in The Denver Post Jan. 13.

That’s a serious promise.

But the larger question remains. What exactly are you saying? Will you vote for a bill that doesn’t guarantee health insurance for all Americans who have it under Obamacare? If not, how many are you willing to throw off the rolls or put at risk of losing their coverage?

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

February 22nd, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stokols: But the facts are —

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

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

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

Radio host should call crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Petraeus to Clinton

February 21st, 2017

Last week, the Trump Administration decided against offering the job of national security adviser to former CIA director David Petraeus, after the retired four-star general indicated he wanted to have authority over personnel.

Patraeus was Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Aurora) favored candidate for Trump’s national security adviser–despite Patraeus’ resignation from the CIA as the FBI was gathering evidence that Patraeus leaked classified documents to his biographer with whom he was having an affair.

“I’ve worked with general Patraeus,” Coffman told KNUS host Krista Kafer Feb. 14. “I know he had a misstep, obviously, in terms of working with classified information. Much less than what Hillary Clinton did [laughs]. And he was certainly disciplined for it. But I think he’s well-trusted here on Capitol Hill, and I think by the American people as well. I think he would do a great job as the national security adviser to the president.”

(Listen here at 5 min 20 seconds.)

Kafer should have pointed out that unlike Clinton, Patraeus faced felony charges for his leaks, eventually agreeing to a plea-deal conviction.

FBI Director James Comey, who’s no friend of Hillary Clinton, and other experts have stated that Patraeus’ actions shouldn’t be compared to Clinton’s use of a private email server. She faced no charges, much less a conviction. And she didn’t hide documents in the attic. CNN reported on Comey’s testimony on this topic in July:

Comey pointed out that Petraeus not only shared the classified information, but also hid the documents in his attic and then lied to investigators.

“So you have obstruction of justice, you have intentional misconduct and a vast quantity of information,” Comey said. “He admitted he knew that was the wrong thing to do. That is a perfect illustration of the kind of cases that get prosecuted.”

He added: “In my mind, it illustrates importantly the distinction to this case.”

Kafer should have called crazy on Coffman’s comparison of Patraeus to Hillary Clinton.

First Amendment attorney says Sentinel could have a viable case against State Senator over “fake news” accusation

February 15th, 2017

The publisher of the Grand Junction Sentinel is serious about suing State Sen. Ray Scott over his public claim that the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news.”

But, he told Denver writer Corey Hutchins, “we’re going to have some cooling-off period before I file anything.”

Hutchins, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project: This particular publisher, it should be noted, is no stranger to a courtroom. Before taking the helm of the Sentinel in 2009, Seaton was a commercial litigator. “This is what I used to do,” he told me. “I practiced law in Kansas City for 13 years, so I’m accustomed to resolving business damage in the judicial system. So I don’t view this really as any different.”

The publisher says he has already seen people on Facebook pledge to cancel newspaper subscriptions after the lawmaker’s comments.

“What I consider actionable is the attack on the Sentinel as fake news,” Seaton says. “I can take the criticism that we’re too far right, or we’re too far left, or our reporter was sloppy, or our editorial misunderstands the issue, that I can handle. What I can’t abide is an attack on the essence of what we do.”

Hutchins quotes Denver First Amendment attorney Steve Zansberg, as saying that “Scott could be liable under libel law if he made statements that are provably false and made “with the requisite knowledge of their falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.”

Does this mean Donald Trump is in line to be sued by CNN and others, which the President has attacked as fake news outlets? I hope so.

 

State lawmaker who called a real newspaper “fake news” apparently shared real fake news on Facebook

February 14th, 2017

Scott Nov. 6 Wikileaks fake newsState Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), who’s said the Grand Junction Sentinel is “fake news,” apparently posted actual fake news on his Twitter feed and Facebook page this year and last year.

In October on Facebook, the lawmaker shared a PoliticalInsider.com item, with the headline, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.”

As Snopes determined weeks before Scott shared this post, WikiLeaks did not confirm that Clinton “sold weapons to ISIS.” Other credible outlets came to the same conclusion, and it turned out that this Clinton/ISIS falsehood was one of the most popular fake news items prior to the election.

Yet, this fake news post, which I obtained from a source, sits on Scott’s Facebook page to this day, while he’s accusing a real news outlet of being fake news.

Scott did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Ironically, four days after accusing the Grand Junction Sentinel of being fake news, Scott shared a Sentinel story on his Facebook page, apparently thinking the newspaper’s content was real enough to share with his friends. The story was headlined, “Groundwater Appeals Bill Clears Senate Panel,” and it quoted Scott as backing the legislation.

In fact, it appears that Scott shares stories from the Sentinel on a regular basis, sometimes criticizing them, sometimes praising them. Scott shared Sentinel stories, for example, with the headlines, “Congressman Tipton, GJ legislator Scott say they still back Trump” and “Single-payer health care measure has Democrats battling Democrats,” and “Trump backers rally in support of energy jobs.” Scott wrote, “Thanks to those who attended,” when he shared of a GJS article July 31 headlined, “Colorado lawmakers listen to praise, gripes about caucuses and primaries.”

Scott was a regional field coordinator for the Trump campaign, which may be where he learned Trump’s mind-boggling trick of accusing real news outlets of being fake while spreading fake news himself.

On Twitter, Scott has shared fake news as well. In December, Scott tweeted a photo of Trump shaking hands Ronald Reagan, with the quote, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with a president.”

The photo is real, but not the quote, according to Snopes and other credible outlets.

In light of all this, here’s some advice for Scott:  Sign the Fake News Pledge.

It’s a promise 1) not to post fake news, defined as false information “packaged to look like news,” and 2) to post a correction and explanation on Facebook if fake news is accidentally posted. The Pledge’s arbiters of fake news are Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or a respected news outlet. If Pledge signers disagree with the specified arbiters, they do not have to remove anything from Facebook. But they are obliged to explain why they disagree with the fact checkers.

I’ll be following up with Scott to see if he’ll sign.

 

Coffman announces Obamacare telephone calls and “meetings” but no promised town hall

February 14th, 2017

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman announced yesterday that he plans to hold “series of meetings,” beginning Feb. 20-24 and continuing in March. about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare.

Absent from his plans is a town hall meeting in a “very large venue” that can “handle 300 people.” He promised to hold such a town-hall-style event after his early exit from a jammed constituent meeting last month,

In place of a public town-hall discussion is a “listening tour,” which involves  1) an undefined number of “meetings” with select “healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups” and 2) “several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.”

Coffman did not offer an explanation for backing out of his plans for a big old town hall meeting, but the replacement he’s chosen offers the Aurora Republican the opportunity to screen his audiences and weed out potentially angry questions.

In other words, Coffman can’t slip out the back door of a telephone call. But he can to the equivalent by screening callers. Ditto with meetings with healthcare providers; he’s picking both the groups and the venues.

So in terms of accountability, Coffman’s proposal doesn’t fulfill his promise to do right to all those people he left in the library Jan. 14, when he slipped out the back door early. And reporters should have asked him about it.

Here’s the entire news release issued by Coffman’s office yesterday:

Coffman Announces ACA ‘Listening Tour’

Feb 13, 2017 Press Release
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) announced that during the district work period scheduled for Feb. 20-24, he will undertake the first phase of his planned “listening tour” regarding the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coffman will use this series of meetings to gain the perspective of as many constituents, patients and healthcare professionals as possible.

“During this district work week, I look forward to meeting with many healthcare providers and patients advocacy groups. My objective is to personally hear from them on how the ACA has affected the healthcare system, medical professionals, and most importantly, how it has affected patients access to medical care. I will use their input not only to review my own plans on how to proceed, but also to communicate their concerns to my congressional colleagues—Additionally, I want to communicate again that no repeal will take place without first having a replacement.”

The ACA, which was signed into law in March 2010, dramatically impacted the health care of millions here in Colorado and across the country. Due to the ACA, thousands of Coloradans who were perfectly satisfied with their health insurance had their policies changed or in some cases even cancelled. In 2017 alone, health insurance rates rose more than 20% in some areas, and 14 counties in the State now have just one health insurance provider servicing their area. The ACA, did allow for some consumer protections to be codified into law, some of which Coffman strongly supports, such as preserving the pre-existing condition protection and ensuring those under Medicaid expansion access to health insurance coverage.

Coffman will commence the second phase of this listening effort in March when he plans to hold several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the Affordable Care Act.

More information on the tele-town halls will be made available in early March in the Congressman’s website: www.coffman.house.gov.