Colorado lawmakers caught spreading fake news; all legislators, Republican and Democrat, should sign the ‘Fake News Pledge’

December 20th, 2016

Facebook and Google are taking a lot of heat for allowing falsehoods, packaged as news, to viralize across the internet, but lawmakers, who legitimize this fake news by spreading it, clearly contribute to the problem.

Today, I’m calling on Colorado’s state legislators to be part of the solution, and join the fight against fake news, by signing the Fake News Pledge below.

As a longtime progressive journalist and former media critic at the Rocky Mountain News, I believe it’s critical for our democracy that citizens aren’t manipulated by bogus information.

By signing the pledge, lawmakers (and citizens) can help fight for facts and meaningful debate. There is no reason that all elected officials, from President-elect Donald Trump down, shouldn’t sign. But our focus now is members of the Colorado legislature.

The pledge reads:

Fake News Pledge for Elected Officials

As an elected official, I agree that the spread of fake news on Facebook and other social media platforms has a toxic effect on rational civic discourse. And I understand that when community leaders spread fake news, we legitimize it. By our example, we encourage people to play fast and loose with facts, and we blur the lines between real journalism and fabricated stories masquerading as news.

So, to promote informed and reasoned debate, I pledge not to knowingly spread fake news. If I accidentally do so, by sharing, “liking,” or posting inaccurate information, packaged to look somehow like news, I will remove the falsehood as soon as possible and post a correction as well as an explanation of why I posted it in the first place.

If it’s deemed unproven or false or inaccurate by Snopes, Politifact, Factcheck.org, or by a respected news outlet, information from my Facebook page will be removed as soon as possible–or detailed reasons for not deleting it will be provided.

(Legislators can sign the pledge here.)

It seems like a no-brainer that our legislators will sign our pledge posthaste.

But in doing so, some of them will have to change their ways.

I looked at the Facebook pages of all Colorado state legislators from Oct. 1 until the November election, and I found that three lawmakers spread fake news during that time.

State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park), who’s the Assistant State House Minority Leader, posted an item with the headline “WHOA! Hillary Caught On Hot Mic Trashing Beyonce’ with RACIAL SLURS! Looks like Hillary may have just lost one of her biggest endorsements.”

lawrence-on-hillary-trashing-byonce-with-racial-surs-lastlineofdefense-org

“If this is true,” wrote Lawrence on Facebook Oct. 6 when she posted the meme, “it fits in with the accusation that the Democrats only work with the African-American community when they need votes.”

But it’s not true, as Snopes determined on Nov. 5, the day before Lawrence posted her “if-it-is-true” comment.

But even if Snopes hadn’t already fact checked the linked article, Lawrence should have known the news was fake, because, as Snopes pointed out, the website, “The Resistance: The Last Line Of Defense,” which published the Beyonce’ fake news, has a disclaimer, which reads:

DISCLAIMER: The Resistance may include information from sources that may or may not be reliable and facts that don’t necessarily exist. All articles should be considered satirical and any and all quotes attributed to actual people complete and total baloney.

And even if there were no disclaimer on the website of the fake-news outlet, you don’t promote information that’s not from a trusted site, if you don’t know it’s true, especially if you are a legislator. That’s bad for representative democracy.

My review of October Facebook pages also revealed that on Oct. 15, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) liked a fake-news story, posted by a known-to-be-dubious site called Americannews.com, titled, “BLM gets Louisiana Police Chief Fired After He Exposes Obama’s War on Cops.”

woods-on-blm-fired-2016-10-15-americannews

In fact, in September, about a month before Woods liked the item, the Washington Post and other news outlets reported that the police chief was fired by the town council two days after the police chief wrote on Facebook, “Hey Mr. Bulls— president, when are you going to grow a f—ing pair. And tell it like it is. These are terrorist. That have declared f—ing war on my brother. (White police officers) enough is enough.”

There’s no evidence the BLM had anything to do with the firing.

This wasn’t the first time Woods, whose November loss means she’ll leave the state senate in January, has spread fake news on Facebook.

On August 30, Woods shared a fake news item from TheFreePatriot.org stating, “Courts Quietly Confirm that ONE Children’s Vaccine Does Cause Autism.”

The Aug. 16, 2016, FreePatriot.org story, making the false claim about autism, is actually a reprint of a 2013 Whiteout Press article, the core facts of which were found to be false by Politifact back in February of 2015, over a year before Woods liked the fake-news item.

woods-sharing-news-that-courts-confirm-vaccine-causes-autism-thefreepatriotdotorg

Politifact concluded:

“The researchers we contacted said that as far as the science is concerned, certainty had been reached at least 10 years ago with the release of a major national study debunking the link between the measles mumps, rubella vaccine and autism.”

State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs) also spread fake news during the time period studied. On Oct. 15 the Colorado Springs Republican posted a “Breaking News” item from EndingTheFed.com, with the headline, “IT’S OVER: Wikileaks Exposes The Assassination of Scalia… This Will Bring Down the Clintons and the Democratic Party!”

Klingenschmit’s comment on the post: “Anybody have a comment on this? Scalia dies same weekend after Podesta (for Hillary Clinton) sends this ‘wet works’ email? Hmmmm.”

Judging from his post, Klingenschmitt doesn’t appear to be fully convinced of the Scalia assassination “news.” But he posted it on Facebook anyway.

Does anyone think lawmakers should post “news” that’s dubious actually a rumor, especially from a site like EndingTheFed that’s known to produce fake news?

klingenschmidt-on-wikileaks-exposing-assassination-of-scalia-endingthefed

And, sure enough, the day after Klingenschmitt posted it, Snopes determined the item to be “false.” Snopes’ headline reads, “An e-mail published by WikiLeaks referenced not the literal assassination of Antonin Scalia, but what appeared to be a coordinated smear of Bernie Sanders.”

Yet, Klingenschmitt did not delete the fake news from his Facebook page, where it sits, rotting public discourse, to this day, like all the fake news I cite in this post.

More Fake News on Facebook from Colorado Lawmakers

More anecdotal evidence, outside of our pre-election analysis, shows Colorado legislators are spreading fake news.

On September 30, for example, Lawrence posted the following quote, from “Rockit News:”

“She will say anything and change nothing. Hillary can’t be trusted and isn’t qualified to be president.” Barack Obama, 2008.

“He was right then, and still is,” wrote Lawrence on her Facebook page.

One big problem. While the first sentence is Obama’s, the second was never uttered by him.

lawrence-fake-obama-quote-rockit-news-9-30-16

About a month before Lawrence posted the meme, Snopes reported:

“Barack Obama didn’t say that Hillary Clinton could not be trusted or that she was not qualified for president.”

State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Colorado Springs), who will also be leaving the legislature in January, shared a “public service announcement” in May, stating:

“For all those who think it’s nice to walk around with your pants below your butt…read the following explanation: The trend was born in the United States’ jails, where prisoners who were willing to have sex with other prisoners needed to invent a signal that would go unnoticed by the guards so they wouldn’t suffer consequences. So, by partially showing their butts, they showed that they were available to be penetrated by other inmates. Click ‘share’ if you want to join the cause for a better dressed and more educated world.”

roupe-on-sagging-pants-2016-05-25

About a year before Roupe spread this, Snopes had dutifully researched this topic, concluding Roupe’s public service announcement to be false.

Snopes: “While sagging did gain its start in the U.S. prison system, it was not a clothes-wearing style authored by imprisoned homosexuals intent upon advertising their interest in casual flings. Sagging pants became the behind-the-bars thing thanks to ill-fitting prison-issue garb: some of those incarcerated were provided with clothing a few sizes too large. That oversizing, coupled with the lack of belts in the big house, led to a great number of jailbirds whose pants were falling off their arses. (Belts are not permitted in most correctional facilities because all too often the lifeless bodies of their inmate owners have been found hanging from them.)”

In August of last year State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) posted a fake-news item stating, “Obama Begins Push for New National Retirement System.”

The linked article, based on a hearing way back in 2010, claimed the Obama Administration had begun an effort “to nationalize the nation’s pension system and to eliminate private retirement accounts including IRA’s and 401k plans.”

neville-on-obama-new-national-reitrement-system-2015-09-03-nationalseniorscouncil

Neville’s comment on the meme: “…the tyranny continues.”

But years ago, when the accusation was first hurled by the conservative National Seniors Council, Factcheck.org showed it to be false:

Factcheck.org: Is the Obama administration attempting to eliminate private 401(k)s and IRAs and create a “national retirement system?”
A: No. Obama endorses a proposal that would require businesses without retirement plans to establish private IRAs for their employees and deposit a percentage of wages into the accounts. Employees could opt out.

In July of 2015, Neville posted a fake-news meme, published by the Daily Caller, with the headline, “Satellites: Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” The linked article allegedly cites satellite data showing a “prolonged hiatus” in global warming.

“Global warming alarmists have a real problem,” wrote Neville on Facebook. “Satellite data tells the real story.”

neville-on-earth-in-21st-year-without-global-warming-2015-07-19-daily-caller

But about four months before Neville posted this comment, Factcheck.org showed it to be false, stating that the “world has now gone 30 consecutive years — 360 straight months — where every month has been above the 20th century average, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.” Factcheck.org and other news outlets specifically cited the satellite data as not proving a warming hiatus.

Lawmwkers who’ve Spread Fake News

So far, it appears that few elected state officials have been spotlighted for spreading fake news on social media. Two examples, compiled in a post on the Colorado Times Recorder yesterday, are State Rep. Tim Couch (R-Hyden) of Kentucky and California Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez.

A wider look at the role of lawmakers in spreading fake news is called for, particularly after officials connected to the Trump campaign, including his pick for national security advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, promoted Clinton falsehoods on Twitter or Facebook.

Step Up and Sign the Fake News Pledge

The issues around fake news are numerous and complex. But that doesn’t mean people in Colorado can’t do anything about it. This starts with our elected leaders who clearly add legitimacy to information they spread on Facebook.

So elected leaders everywhere should step up and sign pledge.

Lawmakers deserve to be held accountable for spreading fake news, but all of us–not just our elected leaders and regardless of where we fall on the political spectrum–can pledge not to spread fake news.

That’s why we’ve also created Fake News Pledge for Citizens. Everyone can sign it here.

In the coming months, we’ll be tracking how many of Colorado’s state legislators add their names to the pledge–along with everyday citizens. We’ll see if lawmakers from around the country sign.

And we’ll cast a wider net, looking at lower level office holders in Colorado, to find out if more of our elected leaders are spreading fake news. Stay tuned.

Michael Lund and Madeleine Schmidt provided research assistance for this post. 

Journalist would re-start real-estate blog if the right sponsor materializes

December 16th, 2016

After a six-year run, John Rebchook has shuttered his Denver Real Estate Watch blog, but he’d fire up the platform again if the right sponsor makes the right offer.

Rebchook posted Dec. 13, “With only one sponsor it does not make financial sense to continue to publish DREW, given the huge commitment of time and effort it requires.”

A former Rocky Mountain News reporter, Rebchook practiced independent journalism under a for-profit business model, funding his blog through sponsorships.

He told me that in his blog posts, he “looked at issues objectively,” and at times “some people didn’t like that, frankly.”

Does he think, based on his experience, that the for-profit model is unworkable for journalist like him covering real estate or related issues?

“My experience shows it’s tough,” he said. “I did it for almost seven years. I never made a whole lot of money at it. I went the sponsorship route, but perhaps it would have been better to have individual adveristing. But that’s tough too.”

“Somebody could do it better than I did,” he said. “It was time consuming. I was a one-person show.”

Asked about remaining real estate coverage in metro Denver, Rebchook said there’s a handful of news entities still covering beat, which, he pointed out, has wide interest.

“There’s more coverage of real estate than the marijuana business,” he said.

Rebchook is working part time at the Colorado Real Estate Journal, a trade publication for commercial real estate.

Billboard prompts CO Springs radio host to say atheists should go after Muslims not Christians

December 12th, 2016

In a ironic twist, a billboard promoting atheism has prompted a Colorado Springs radio host to attack the religion of Islam.

Demonstrating the same brazen bigotry of KNUS host Peter Boyles, not to mention Trump, KVOR 760-AM host Richard Randall said Thursday that if athiests have a “problem with religion,” they should after Islam.

Without acknowledging how un-Christian he was sounding, Randall said he’d respect atheists a “whole heck of a lot more” if they put up a billboard saying, “skip Ramadan this time of year,” and telling Muslims “they should abandon their religion.”

Christians, he said, are “a great bunch of people to pick on. Why? Because they are Christians.”

“Why would our religion [Christianity] irritate somebody?” asked Randall on air, suggesting that the atheists should have spotlighted Islam instead of a Christian holiday. “We’re not the religion throwing people off of buildings if they are gay. We’re not beheading people.”

“If they have a problem with religion, why don’t they start there [with Islam]?” Randall asked, failing to note any distinction between Islamic militants and the religion of Islam.

A caller said atheists spotlight Christmas because they aren’t “familiar with the Muslim religion [sic]”

The billboard, sponsored by the American Atheists and located along I25 in CO Springs, reads, “Atheist Christmas, The More the Merrier.” It also features a series of texts, made to appear like they were sent by teenagers, stating:

“U going to church this Xmas?”

“LoL. No way. I don’t believe that stuff anymore.”

“What’ll your parents say??”

“They’ll get over it. :-P”

A caller suggested the billboard, which is protected by free speech, should be removed by the government because it’s distracting drivers. It’s a safety issue, she said.

The bigotry of talk radio hosts would be bad enough if we didn’t have a bigot president-elect who’s proposed creating a Muslim registry. But since we do, we need to be ready to respond if Randall, Boyles, Trump, or anyone else in these hateful times goes after our Muslim neighbors.

In case we need to respond, ProgressNow Colorado has set up a “rapid response” network so we can help if needed. Sign up here.

“Remember when Americans could say ‘Merry Christmas’ without getting viciously attacked?”

December 9th, 2016

woods-says-people-who-say-merry-xmas-get-viciously-attackedWhy did State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) share a recent Facebook post asking, “Remember when Americans could say ‘Merry Christmas’ without getting viciously attacked?”

What reality is she in? The conservative-media-bubble reality, of course. Talk radio, Facebook, etc.

If you listen to KNUS 710-AM or follow Woods on Facebook then, yes, you might actually think meanie libtards are out their waiting to viciously attack you if you drop the Merry-Christmas bomb. It’s a manufactured reality.

It’s sad that Woods, who lost her seat in last month’s election, apparently believes it. And I’d like the opportunity to discuss her Facebook like, first revealed by Charles Buchanan on the Colorado Times Recorder, but she doesn’t return my calls.

Woods might say that disputes about the phrase “Merry Christmas” occur in the real world, outside of talk radio. And they do, especially about its use in public places. And they can be a bit vicious, no question, at times. But this is rare.

It’s conservatives, firing up the air in their bubble, who perpetuate the myth of viciousness, as Woods did this week on her Facebook feed.

In Trump era, what to do about Muslim haters on Colorado talk radio?

November 30th, 2016

Bigotry toward Muslims is part of the hot air on some Colorado talk-radio shows, so much so that you get inured to it and kind of accept it.

But now that Trump is about to be president, the air seems a lot hotter, and it’s impossible to ignore right-wing bigotry as fringe craziness.

How can you not worry about the safety of Muslims in our community when you listen to, for example, KNUS radio’s Peter Boyles, who’s a notorious birther and bigot?

At this moment, with Trump on the White House doorstep, can we/ should we/ pretend not to hear Boyles’ hatred? And what to do about it?

In an on-air discussion yesterday morning with a fellow bigot named Tim Furnish, Boyles denounced Islam and said Muslims are incapable of respecting the U.S. Consitution and the fundamental values of the United States, due to their religious beliefs, essentially saying there is no place for Muslims in our country.

FURNISH: There’s a real incompatibility between Islam and Western-style government democracy. There just is.

BOYLES: It doesn’t work! They don’t work!

FURNISH: They don’t work together. This incompatibility is not extremist. It is intrinsic to Islam.

BOYLES: Agreed.

FURNISH: … Islam has never come to terms with, as they say, modernity. Islam has never come to terms with the idea of a secular state that has not imposed a religion –even the majority religion–on people. Because at the heart of Islam–going back to Mohammed himself, the Quran, the Hadith, so-called sayings of Mohammed, and 1400 years of Islamic practice– is that where there is a majority of Muslims, Islamic Law must be instituted. And where there is a minority of Muslims, they should fight – at first, maybe peacefully and then later through jihad – for the imposition of Islamic Law. This tension will not go away.

BOYLES: Yeah, it’s, “First – first—“.

FURNISH: And you cannot make Western democracy work with Islamic ideals. They are incompatible.

BOYLES: “First we crawl, then we walk, then we run.”

FURNISH: Right.

BOYLES: That’s why — I mean, it’s happening before your very eyes. Hillary Clinton got all twisted up about all of the stuff, and went after Trump. Trump is telling the truth.

If you’re saying Islam “doesn’t work” with “Western-style government democracy,” and you’re agreeing that even a minority of Muslims in a country will eventually wage jihad, then you’re basically saying Muslims have no place in the United States. Worse, you are saying all Muslims are a constant threat. How else to interpret this?

Elsewhere in this interview, Boyles said Muslims aren’t the ones who are the victims of a McCarthy-like attack. It’s Peter Boyles who’s actually under attack, according to Boyles!

“Progressives,” Boyles said on air, “They hunt for victims.”

In this case, in Boyles view, progressives are hunting for people who promote “Islamophobia,” decried by Boyles as a “created term” designed by progressives to stifle criticism of Muslims.

“This is a new McCarthy-ism,” Boyles said.

But today’s attacks on Muslim haters are worse than what happened in the McCarthy era, Boyles went on to say, because the press is on the side of the Muslims, instead of supporting people like Boyles—whereas before Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly were there to “stand up to the McCarthyists,” said Boyles.

“We don’t have Big Journalism standing up as Edward R Murrow did, as Fred Friendly did,” said Boyles, who was once a respected, even beloved, media figure in Denver, if you can believe it. “We have a bunch of fill-in-the-blanks who are just desperate to lay down in front of this train. And you know what? As they say, they will come for you. They may eat you last, but they will still eat you.”

Boyles is mad at journalists for defending the basic civil rights of Muslims and exposing bigots like him.

Again, Boyles’ ugliness would be bad enough if our country didn’t have a Muslim-hating bigot as president-elect. But since we do, we have to fight back now or at least be ready to help our Muslim neighbors if people like Boyles begin organizing attacks against them—with or without the backing of Trump and our own government. We’ve reached that point.

ProgressNow Colorado has set up a “rapid response” network to, among other things, mobilize people in support of Muslims and others if Boyles, Trump, or anyone goes after them. We have to be ready. Sign up here.

LISTEN TO BOYLES’ NOV. 29 INTERVIEW FURNISH BELOW.

Advocacy journalism is expanding in Colorado. Can you trust it?

November 28th, 2016

While most people were asleep last week, the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reported Denver Post political reporter John Frank’s view, offered during a panel discussion Nov. 15, that partisan news seems to be expanding in Colorado.

The Colorado Statesman is run by a former Republican lawmaker, The Colorado Springs Gazette started a great new political experiment I’m super excited about but their lead writer on their new political vertical is a former Republican staffer,” he said. “I am very concerned about us moving toward that partisan side of news but I think there’s a reason we’re moving in that direction— it’s because I think that’s where the money is.”

Not only is the Statesman run by a former Republican lawmaker, it’s controlled by Larry Mizel, a major GOP donor and supporter of Trump. (What’s worse, Mizel and the Statesman are mum about who owns the newspaper.)

It’s pretty clear that Frank is right that advacacy journalism is expanding here.

The sad story of the demise of Colorado Health News, as told to me last year by the publication’s former editor, Diane Carman, reinforces the point.

“You step on everybody’s toes when you are an objective journalism organization,” said Carman, who was editor and founder of Health News Colorado. “Everybody got burned a little bit at some point, because we took the role of watchdog seriously. So, when you do that, it makes it really easy for people to say, ‘I’m not so sure we have the money for that this year.’ I never got the impression we were being censored. There was never an impression of that. But I do feel that if we had been willing to cross over into the advocacy world, that we would still be alive.”

It not hard to see that a news outlet of any kind, nonprofit of for-profit, that’s struggling financially is more likely to lower its journalistic standards in order to stay afloat. You don’t have to be much of a media critic to see it happening in Colorado and beyond.

At some point, news consumers will have to trust individual journalists, more than their publications. For example, I trust some reporters at the Colorado Springs Gazette and Colorado Statesman, even though the publications have mostly lost my confidence.

The same goes for advocacy jounalists and bloggers, who come clean about their orientation and/or their funding. Some of them I trust; others I don’t, based not on their claims to be accurate but on their work. Do they admit mistakes and make corrections? Do they respond to questions or have a by-line and contact information at all? Do they seek opposing views? You have to decide whether you trust these types of journalists (and, obviously, I’m one of them).

Don’t steal my liberal flag

November 25th, 2016

If you read longtime Colorado writer Ari Armstrong, you know he swims in conservative circles, but he’s frustrated with liberals and conservatives. He’s an outspoken proponent of abortion rights and drug legalization, for example, but he also opposes, generally, progressive government do-good programs. He doggedly tries to apply a logical philosophical framework to the stuff he advocates.

So you’re not surprised to find him as the author of the book Reclaiming Liberalism: And Other Essays on Personal and Economic Freedom.

Armstrong is uber uncomfortable with the current conception of “conservatism” and “liberalism,” as he should be, because he’s caught in the middle, or on the right side of the middle.

He writes that liberals and conservatives lack a “logical coherence of beliefs about ideology or policy,” and they “often engage in ad-hoc rationalization rather than true reasoning about their beliefs.”

He bemoans conservatives who ”pragmatically embrace a huge array of statist measures,” and he wants to create a version of “liberalism” that fits his own ideology, a liberalism that would mostly reflect the logic of libertarianism, without a libertarian’s “animosity” toward bare-bones government. But, still, minimal state intervention is essentially his litmus test for acceptable policy.

So he wants to steal my liberal flag and fly it himself, leaving me in the lurch, like he is now.

But I’m more or less happy with the internal logic of “liberalism,” as it’s broadly understood today—as a utilitarian set of policies that promote opportunity for individuals. (I’d tweak liberalism to be more statist and less politically correct and identity driven, but I’m broadly ok with it.)

Liberal policies shouldn’t always maximize personal freedom, because as a practical matter, this would come at the expense of liberty and opportunity for all, especially the disadvantaged.

From Armstrong’s perspective, liberalism today is inconsistent, favoring nasty restrictions on individual liberty in some cases (gun regulations, smoking bans, welfare, minimum wage, corporate restraints) while standing up for them in too few (abortion rights, speech, press).

But the core flaw with Armstrong’s readable, clear, and challenging book of essays (highly recommended) is that, as long as you accept that government should have any power at all, and Armstrong is willing to allow government to “protect individual rights,” liberalism and conservatism, even as defined by Armstrong, will never be completely logical philosophically. They will both require inconsistencies.

In fact, at the end of the day, as a practical matter, a guy who’s as free thinking as Armstrong won’t ever be satisfied with the rational basis for groupings of policies (liberalism or conservatism) advocated by politicians who have to deal with the real world.

Bottom line, my advice for Armstrong is to give up trying to reclaim liberalism. He should chill out and  accept his position as an outlier, a rogue in the conservative shark tank. Or better yet, he should jump out of the infested water and join me in my liberal tent. He’s welcome there.

Beauprez tells radio hosts he’d “very much enjoy” secretary of interior job

November 22nd, 2016

In what appear to be his most extensive comments yet on his possible appointment as Trump’s Secretary of Interior, former congressman Bob Beauprez told KOA 850-AM listeners this morning why he’d be a good fit for the job.

“This is where most of the federal land is,” Beauprez observed a day after ColoradoPolitics.com first reported that he was being considered for the job. “And I think, to get someone in that role who understands water, natural resources, land, wildlife, mixed-use of those lands and resources, I think it’s very important.  So, I’ve long thought that it might be a job that I would very much enjoy.  And I think my life as a rancher/farmer would fit the job very well.”

Beauprez, who lost his second gubernatorial race in Colorado in 2014, told hosts Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh that building pipelines like the Dakota Access project, is “something that has to happen,” but, as Interior Secretary, he’d like to find a compromise that “everybody can live with.”

“I know that the Indan tribes have had some concerns about their sacred lands,” said Beauprez. “And those, I think, are legitimate concerns.  The important thing, I think, in a job like that is to try to find a good compromise that everybody can live with.  But I’ve long thought that we needed to improve – and I’m not alone on this.  We need to improve the transportation infrastructure for our oil and gas reserves, as well.  So, building pipelines is something that has to happen.  And in the West, where we’ve got so much federal land, that land is going to be part the mix.  No doubt about it.”

Beauprez said there “has been some limited communication between myself and some of the folks that are part of the transition process.”

He said on air that he’s spoken with people “very close” to both Trump and David Longley Bernhardt, who’s apparently from Colorado and part of the Trump transition team.

Beauprez said his wife, who he referred to as his “biggest cheerleader” is supportive of his joining the Trump Administration.

Pueblo Republicans see reporters doing “anything and everything” to make Trump look bad

November 21st, 2016

Trump today called respected journalists “liars,” continuing an unprecedented attack on journalism that’s reflected in GOP circles across the country.

In an email last week citing an NBC story about Trump dodging reporters, the Pueblo County Republican Party claimed that the “liberal news media” tried to “submarine” Trump during the election, and it urged Republicans to “be even more skeptical” of the news in the coming years, because reporters are doing “anything and everything to try to make [Trump] look bad.”

“A word to fellow Republicans,” wrote Pueblo Republicans. ” A leopard doesn’t change its spots. The liberal news media did everything they could to submarine President Elect Donald Trump’s campaign.  Now they continue to do anything and everything to try to make him look bad even if it’s a lame report on going to a steak dinner without notifying them.  We have been skeptical of the liberal news media, both printed and televised, in the past but especially during the election.  We should be even more skeptical for the next four (eight) years.”

Reached by phone to discuss the comment, Pueblo County Republican Chair George Rivera said he believes news consumers should “always follow up” and “do background reseaarch” to make sure what they are reading or hearing is accurate, “whether it be on CNN or Fox News.”

Rivera, who served briefly as Colorado state senator after a Democrat was recalled in 2013, said he believes that media are often biased against the “conservative side,” based his own observations.

Will Colorado public officials be more careful about spreading fake news?

November 17th, 2016

Colorado Republicans did their part in spreading fake news and/or falsehoods on Facebook during the election, as Charles Buchanan has been pointing out on the Colorado Times Recorder.

Below, I’ve pulled together a few examples from Buchanan’s posts (See more here.), and they raise the question of whether public officials, as well as partisan entities, will be more careful, going forward, about fact checking information before they post it on Facebook.

Before and after the election, reporters have been spotlighting fake news and its possible impact on Clinton. Fake news appears to be especially popular among conservative audiences.

In the coming months, I’ll check in with public officials, Republican or Democrat, if they’ve posted or shared fake news or falsehoods on Facebook.

We’ll see if they have sufficient respect for public discourse to remove their inaccurate information, once it’s been proven false.

Here are recent examples, from Buchanan’s work:

In August, Colorado State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada), who lost her seat to Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, shared a false meme that vaccines causes autism.

In August, the Gunnison County Republican Party apparenlty shared a meme quoting that Diane Feinstein as saying, “When the gunman realizes that nobody else is armed, he will lay down his weapons and turn himself in…that’s just human nature.” Feinstein did not say that. 

Failed GOP state house candidate Raymond Garcia, who seemed outright averse to fact checking his Facebook posts during the campaign, shared a meme stating that Hillary Clinton’s great-great uncle was hanged for horse stealing. This isn’t true.

GOP Vice Chair Derrick Wilburn shared a meme claiming that Obama’s Department of Justice would no longer use the word “felon,” so as not to hurt the feelings of criminals. In fact, this was not a department-wide policy but would only apply to those who’d served time and were released, in an effort to help them succeed.

In July, Saguache GOP Chair Richard Drake shared a meme with an alleged quote from Jimmy Carter stating, “The novelty of electing ‘the First Woman President of the United States’ should not outweigh our duty in electing an honest and ethical president.” Carter didn’t say this.

GOP U.S. House candidate Casper Stockham shared a meme falsely claiming that purple lights decorated the Obama White House when Prince died but was unchanged when “5 Dallas cops died.” In fact, the purple lighting never occurred.

Failed state house candidate Garcia also shared a meme on Facebook falsely claiming to picture a topless Hillary Clinton as a lesbian. It’s not Clinton.

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Former vice chair of the Adams County Republican Party, John Sampson, shared a meme claiming to show Michelle Obama texting during the plede of allegiance. It’s not Obama.

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In September, former State Rep. Robert Ramirez posted a meme falsely quoting Obama as saying, “Muslims Built the Very Foundation of our Nation.” This is also false. Obama never said it.

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Please send me any examples of officials spreading fake news. We know there’s more where this came from