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

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.

 

State senator, who falsely accused a Boy Scout of misquoting her, now claims media “panders to its liberal base”

January 1st, 2018

marble on media 3Colorado State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), who falsely claimed last month that she was misquoted by a Boy Scott, stepped up her complaints about the “liberal media” in a Facebook post last month.

“As the liberal media panders to its liberal base, they continue fanning the flames of hatred and racism against conservatives of all colors and American principles and values,” Marble apparently wrote last month in a Facebook post obtained from a source.

Specifically, Marble called KMGH-TV, Channel 7, “lame.”

Marble didn’t return an email seeking an explanation, but her attack on the media may stem from frustrations over press coverage of a speech she gave to a group of Boy Scouts in October.

marble on media 2Marble insisted that Denver media outlets were wrong to point out that she’d delivered a falsehood to a den full of Scouts, after one Scout told her that he was astonished that Marble had, as the Scout put it, “blamed black people for poor health and poverty because of all the chicken and barbecue they eat.”

Marble responded to the scout, fifth graderAmes Mayfield, that he she’d made no such statement.

“I didn’t, that was made up by the media,” Marble told Mayfield in the den. “So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down. I didn’t do that. That was false. Get both sides of the story.”

In fact, Marble made the following statement during a 2013 hearing: “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race. Sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up. Diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup, and you just can’t help it.

“Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down South and you, I mean, I love it. Everybody loves it.”

The Scout was eventually booted from his den, but allowed to continue with another group of Boy Scouts.

marble on media 1

Colorado Fake News Awards 2017

December 21st, 2017

Maybe we can’t stop Trump from promoting fake news, but we can at least try to stop our own leaders from spreading it. That’s the BigMedia Blog’s goal in bestowing Colorado’s first annual Fake News Awards to lawmakers and public figures.

Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado! Award — State Sen. Ray Scott

It’s bad enough that State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) called the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel “Fake News,” but doing so while 1) promoting Sentinel articles he agreed with and 2) refusing to remove actual fake news from his own Facebook page earns Scott the award of Crusader for a Fact-Free Colorado. Scott refused to remove from his Facebook page a fake news item titled, “WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS…Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL! Breaking News.” He also refused to delete a tweet with this ridiculous (and fake) quote from Ronald Reagan about Trump: “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.” And that’s not all! Just for good measure, Scott recently promoted an ad designed to look like news (sponsored content) from Grand Junction Sentinel.

Who the Fuck Cares about the Facts? Award — State Rep. Patrick Neville and Casper Stockham

Sometimes we ask people to remove fake news, once determined to be false by outside fact checkers, and lawmakers ignore us (e.g., former State Rep. Shawn Mitchell, former State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada). Other lawmakers talk about it with us in a civil manner and we agree to disagree (former GOP State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of CO SpringsRepublican State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton) And still, others say, essentially, who cares if it’s false? Take, for example, Republican State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. Told about a falsehood on his Facebook page, he tweeted that we should “stop being such a #snowflake. End the #fakeoutrage #growup #moveoutofmomsbasement.” Meanwhile, the fake news remains on his Facebook page. A similar who-the-fuck-cares attitude toward the facts was revealed by failed GOP congressional candidate Casper Stockham, who posted a falsehood about a Muslim Target cashier refusing to sell pork, even though Stockham himself wrote that the meme is “probably not true.” It wasn’t. But there it sits on his Facebook page to this day.

Warriors Against the Fake News Darkness Awards

It’s been a depressing year on the fake news beat, but there’s hope on the home front. A growing number of Colorado officials are removing fake news, once they are alerted to the fact that it’s rotting on their social media feeds. Yay for these current and former lawmakers from both parties, who posted fake news and then removed it: State Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Roxborough Park), State Rep. Susan Lontine (D-Denver), former State Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan), U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Denver), former State Rep. Kit Roupe (R-Calhan), Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, Former Democratic Mayor of Denver Wellington Webb, and Elbert County School Board Member Scott WillsJoshua Hosler, Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, also gets credit for removing fake news from his Facebook page, once he was alerted to it.

Let Me Deceive You — State Rep. Dave Williams

Despite the fact that immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than the rest of the U.S. population, you’d think they were responsible for 83 percent of crimes committed on American soil if you only got your news from the Facebook timeline of state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colo. Springs). Williams, who is a strong opponent of sanctuary city policies and even pushed a bill that would have punished politicians who enact them, almost exclusively highlights crime committed by immigrants. The only exceptions, making up 17 percent of crime-related posts on his timeline over the past 14 months, are an accusation that Hillary Clinton broke the law, a few posts expressing condolences after mass shootings, some promotion of his law to crack down on squatters, and an erroneous claim that an Antifa member stabbed an innocent man. Williams’ vastly disproportionate focus on immigrant crime deceives his Facebook followers into believing that undocumented immigrants are dangerous, when in reality, they’re more likely to be law-abiding citizens, and may actually cause crime to decline in their communities.

Mr. Congeniality Award — State House Candidate Raymond Garcia 

A failed GOP candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives, Raymond Garcia’s offensive, inaccurate, and downright cringe-worthy Facebook timeline earns him the satirical title of Mr. Congeniality. His social media activity often reveals bigotry, like when he called Harvey Milk a pedophile and suggested that black people should feel guilty for slavery. He also repeatedly attacks Hillary Clinton, whom he refers to as “Hitlery”, and once even posted a poorly photoshopped image of her in which Donald Trump appears to grope her with the caption “OMG this is perfect!!!” What a charming fellow!

The “Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming” Fake News Award — State Sen. Tim Neville

Global warming is a big priority for us fake news cops, so naturally we were alarmed when we saw State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) spreading fake news headlined, “Satellites: Earth Is Nearly in Its 21st Year Without Global Warming.” The linked article cites satellite data allegedly showing a “prolonged hiatus” in global warming. The mainstream scientific community, as reported by Factcheck.org, has found no hiatus in global warming on Earth. Yet, Neville has refused to remove the falsehood from his Facebook page.

Madeleine Schmidt contributed to this post.

Looper deletes fake news from her Facebook page

December 15th, 2017

Earlier this year, former State Rep. Marsha Looper told me she’d consider removing a fake-news item from her Facebook page, if she could confirm my determination that it was a falsehood.

To her great credit, she did so. It’s gone from her Facebook page.

The fake meme depicted wild exaggerations and falsehoods about a rape that did not occur in Idaho.

Looper, who left office in 2012 and now sells real estate, should get high praise from all of us, on every side of the aisle, for doing her part to fight the truth-free trend that’s threatening to undermine rationality in the public square.

And it’s not just Looper who has the integrity to own a mistake and remove fake news after posting it. A growing number of officials are taking a bipartisan stand for truth.

Gardner cancels interview with journalist but keeps his appointment with right-wing radio host

December 8th, 2017

I was really looking forward to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) appearance yesterday on Colorado Public Radio, especially after reading the outpouring of questions submitted in response to CPR journalist Ryan Warner’s request for queries for Gardner on the tax bill.

Here are the 100-plus questions, from Warner’s Twitter feed. They give you hope for representative government in these dark times.

But alas, Gardner canceled, leading Warner to Tweet:

I’m grateful for all the questions you’ve shared for @SenCoryGardner. His office says they must reschedule. Stay tuned.

You have to take Gardner at his word that he had a real conflict, but it’s worth noting that our senator did not cancel his radio interview with arch conservative Jimmy Sengenberger, over at KDMT, this morning at around 7 a.m.

Sengenberger started off by confirming Gardner’s previously announced position against backing Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who faces accusations of child molestation. Sengenberger told Gardner he “appreciates” Gardner’s stance.

“Thank you. Thank you,” said Gardner.

Then the tax bill.

“Where do we go from here?” asked Sengenberger, pulling out his big guns.

“I was very excited about the passage of the tax relief bill. Every income bracket, every income level in America will see tax relief as a result of this bill legislation. It’s going to grow the economy, create a million jobs, and most importantly for the people of Colorado, this will lead to higher wage growth. We’ve seen for far too long, over the past decade, stagnant wages, people working harder than ever, and they are not bringing home more money. As a result of this legislation, businesses bringing investments back into the United States, more competitive around the globe, we’re going to see those dollars come back into the United States and it’s going to result in competition for workers. And as a result we’ll see wage growth. That’s a very powerful tool of economic growth and economic activity, and that’s what we’re going to see…This makes us competitive again.”

Help! Journalistic intervention needed. But alas, no Warner-type person exists in the KDMT studio.

Instead, we have Sengenberger. All he could come up with was a trickle of a question about whether the individual tax cuts would be made permanent.

No doubt they would at some point, said Gardner, and the interview continued with this:

Sengenberger: “How much of an impact do you think this could really have on wages and other forms of investments that businesses might want to make, Sen. Gardner, in their businesses?”

Gardner: “Well, I think significant. If you look at the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, their estimates in Colorado for net increase in income for the average family is over $3,000…”

Sengenberger’s response: None. (Complete acceptance of trickle-down economics and of the Tax Foundation as nonpartisan, when it’s in fact right-leaning)

He moved on to praising Gardner for the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate.

“That one could affect a large swath of people, myself included,” Sengenberger told Gardner.

“This simply says to people, ‘You have a choice,” responded Gardner. “You can either buy insurance or not. It’s about freedom. It’s about opportunity….

“[This bill] doesn’t take anybody’s health care away. That’s simply a hysteria out there that is just not founded in reality.” [emphasis added]

Nothing from Sengenberger about the truly nonpartisan Congressional estimates that 13 million people will lose health insurance as a result of the repeal, and premiums will rise by 10 percent more than anticipated.

Instead, Sengenberger’s follow up question puts an exclamation point on why we can’t afford for journalism to die in America.

“How optimistic are you at being able to get this bill through Congress by the end of the year, if not by Christmas?” asked Sengenberger.

“You know, I’m very optimistic….” said Gardner.

Listen to Gardner’s interview on KDMT 1690-AM Dec. 6.

Former Colorado lawmaker refuses to remove factual error on Facebook page

November 26th, 2017

Former Colorado State Sen. Shawn Mitchell, a Republican, is refusing my request to correct an error on his Facebook page.

Mitchell stated on Facebook that “an Antifa dude” opened fire in a church. In fact, the shooter had no connections to Antifa, as has been widely documented by Factcheck.org, Snopes, which called the allegation “fake news,” and other fact checkers.

Mitchell wrote on Facebook Nov. 5:

I am so sick of the blind, morally twisted pygmies who feed us news.
An Antifa dude shoots up a church. A liberal neighbor assaults, batters, and seriously injures a conservative senator. A deranged Bernie supporter shoots up a Republican baseball practice.
Does anyone notice a pattern here? Yet, in all of this, the media is unwavering that conservatives are the dangerous ones, just one brain twitch away from enslaving women, minorities, and shooting adversaries.

Mitchell is worried about the “twisted pygmies who feed us news,” and he posts this obvious falsehood?

Mitchell did not respond to my polite request that he clear up this factual error on his Facebook page.

Colorado Senate press secretary warns of “harassment” and copyright violation if you quote his personal Facebook page

November 21st, 2017

paige on violation of copyright and harassmentU.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona is a “media whore.” Fact-check journalism is “largely phony.”

Those quotes, which I included in recent blog posts, come from the personal Facebook page of Colorado Senate GOP spokesperson Sean Paige.

Going forward, he wrote on his Facebook page, he does not want people like me, who are not his Facebook friends, using quotes like those.

No doubt Paige does not want me to quote his polite request to stop quoting his Facebook material, but here I go anyway:

Paige: “Please note that these are my private and personal thoughts, which I post on this invite-only Facebook page for friends and associates–and which aren’t meant to reflect the views of clients I may have in the professional realm. I’m forced to add this because social media bottom-feeders, in a desperate bid for cannon fodder, relevance and clicks, have been stealing content from this page and republishing it on partisan attack blogs without my consent or permission, which I deem not just a violation of copright and an act of harassment, but a despicable effort to curtail and chill my privacy rights and rights to free speech and expression. So if you are here uninvited, with such aims in mind, please unfriend this page and stop misappropriating and misusing what I post here. Surely there must be better, more honest ways for you to get attention.)” (emphasis added)

When Paige complained on Twitter a few months ago about my quoting his Facebook posts, I responded by asking him if he thought Clinton’s private emails were out of bounds or Obama’s comments about Pennsylvanians who cling to their guns. Or Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) comment that he was unsure if Obama was an American in his heart.

Paige didn’t respond, but he’s gotta know, as a spokesman for politicians, how journalism and public debate works. Private information gets out. If it’s verifiable and relevant, it gets published. Trump gets mad but that’s life.

You sympathize with politicians and people like Paige who are scrutinized, but it’s tough to keep your thoughts private these days, especially when you blast them out at private fundraisers or post them on your personal Facebook page, which has hundreds of friends.

But now Paige, who did not immediately return a call for comment, is taking a different tack, with new accusations about people who quote his stuff:

An act of “harassment.” Not. It’s closer to bearing witness. In my case, I just quote him and try to explain it or challenge it.

“Curtail and chill” his privacy rights and rights to free speech and expression. Nope. I’m interested in debating him freely and letting his speech blossom into the sunlight.

“Violation” of his copyright. Again, no. Sharing is the way of social media, but Paige actually has an important point that copyright protections exist. But, per fair-use standards, you’re allowed to reproduce portions of copyrighted material for criticism and commentary. So my selective quoting of his Facebook page is ok.

If Paige is serious about trying to keep his stuff personal, he should de-friend all his Facebook friends, except the ones who won’t pass on his posts to me or others. But the person who shares my Facebook posts the most is my mother! She even prints them out and puts them on her fridge for all to see! So if I were Paige, I’d have a hard time keeping my posts under wraps. I mean, I’d never de-friend mom.

 

Former Denver Mayor Webb shows integrity in removing fake news from his Facebook page

November 15th, 2017

webb fake news 11-17Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb gets serious praise for removing fake news from his Facebook page, which falsely quoted Trump as saying:

“If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They believe anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific.”

Webb not only removed the post, which had received hundreds of “likes” and “shares,” but he left a note on his Facebook page copping to his mistake and apologizing.

What more could you want from a community leader?

For this, I officially dub him a Warrior Against the Fact-Free World.

It’s great to remove fake news in silence, but Webb went further by acknowledging his error and thus showed by his example how we can all fight fake news. Anyone can make a mistake and post fake news, no matter how hard we try not to. Webb’s action encourages others to act responsibly if they’re in the same boat.

Contrast how Webb handled the situation with the many Colorado officials who refuse to remove fake news, defined as social-media post that looks like news and has been proven false by Factcheck.org, Politifact, Snopes or a credible news outlet.

Current or former lawmakers who’ve refused to remove fake news include former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs, State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, State House Republican Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock,  State Rep. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, and former State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada (most recently here). They are all Republicans.

On the positive side, a growing number of officials, from former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo on the right to Webb on the left, have readily removed fake-news, once they become aware of the rot on their social-media feeds. Yay for that.

Man up and accept fake news?

October 24th, 2017

neville patrick on kaepernick saying he'd stand for anthem if he could play againRep. Patrick Neville, the leader of the Colorado House Republicans, has called me a “snowflake” for politely asking him, in a blog post last week, to remove news from his Facebook page that’s been retracted by CBS and the Associated Press.

Before being hit with the snowflake accusation, I thought Neville and I would quickly agree that he should cleanse the Kaepernick “news” from his Facebook page. It was thought to be accurate when he shared it Oct. 17, but not anymore.

But, alas, no, he didn’t agree. Instead, he tweeted this at me:

Neville: @BigMediaBlog needs to stop being such a #snowflake. End the #fakeoutrage #growup #moveoutofmomsbasement

So I’m a snowflake because I don’t want to see falsehoods on the Facebook page of one of the state’s top Republican lawmakers? Neville Screen shot 2017-10-24I need to man up and accept fake news?

On Twitter, Neville called my blog post “fake news,” and he wrote that on Facebook he was “agreeing with and sharing someone’s post” about Kaepernick.

Neville referred to an an “update” on the Kaepernick “news” that he posted, saying there “are conflicting reports now on whether Kaepernick would or wouldn’t stand for the national anthem.”

But, again, both AP and CBS retracted the Kaepernick news, so it’s false to assert that “Kaepernick tells CBS he’ll stand during national anthem.” So the news is demonstrably false, even if you don’t want to accept Snopes’ identical conclusion.

I reached out to Neville again for this blog post, and I’m still hoping to hear back from him. It’s unusual for him to back off from any debate, especially with snowflake like me.

Tancredo removes fake news from Facebook page

October 23rd, 2017

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, the Colorado Republican who’s considering another run for governor, Tancredo fake photo of Obama honoring Cosby weinstien 2017-10-20-09-31-39-529 has cleansed his Facebook page of the fake news that Obama honored Harvey Weinstein, among other Democrats accused of sexual assault.

The item depicts Obama giving medals to Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, and Bill Cosby.

A headline across the top reads, “I DIDN’T KNOW THERE WAS A SEXUAL PREDATOR AWARD. THANKS DEMOCRATS.”

Tancredo, who ran for president in 2008, told me he had doubts about the Facebook meme before he posted it.

“When I looked at it, I thought, ‘What would Obama be giving Weiner an award for? So I should have paid more attention to that one,” Tancredo told me. “It’s well done, but these days, who can tell?”

The falsehood no longer appears on Tanc’s page.

Tancredo told me he once removed one item from his Facebook page after hearing Rush Limbaugh state it was false. But he isn’t inclined to believe Snopes or the New York Times.