Archive for May, 2010

Gazette column spotlights need to hear more from McInnis on water

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Gubernatorial candiate Scott McInnis has said he’s knows “a little something” about Colorado water issues, which is partly why he says he got a $150,000 fellowship from the Hasan Foundation to write an “a series of in-depth series of articles” on Colorado water. McInnis’ campaign hasn’t commented on the articles or released them.

Yet, we’ve seen little digging by reporters into his views and record on water issues generally, much less the Hasan articles.

Barry Noreen, in a great column in today’s Colorado Springs Gazette, dug into one local water fight and highlighted an apparent flip flop by then Congressman McInnis on a water issue related to the so-called Southern Delivery System.

Noreen writes that some believe McInnis’ decision on the SDS issue was influenced by his future employer, Hogan and Hartson. A McInnis spokesman has said this is untrue, but there’s seems to be quite a bit of anger about this issue in Colorado Springs (See below.).  

Noreen wrote about “life-long Republican” and former Colorado Springs city councilman Dave Sarton who claims McInnis didn’t keep a promise to back federal funding for a project related to the Southern Delivery System:

Sarton and others have suggested that one such “concern” is that McInnis was on his way to a job as a lobbyist for Hogan and Hartson, a lobbying company (see my blog) that had been hired by Pueblo Chieftain publisher Bob Rawlings to fight the water project. Viewed from that angle, it looks like McInnis was beginning to represent his future employer when he was still supposed to be representing the people who elected him.

“That is an unfair and untrue accusation,” Duffy said.

McInnis campaign refused Noreen’s request to speak with the candidate, so reporters should ask him about it in person, next time McInnis passes through Colorado Springs, especially in light of today’s blog post by Sean Paige, a member of the Colorado Springs City Council and a former editorial page editor at the Colorado Springs Gazette. Paige wrote, in part:

My interest in the matter stems partly from what happened back then, which still sticks in my craw, but in part from a more recent event. About 5 or 6 months ago I attended a small meeting — a briefing for McInnis on details of the Southern Delivery System — where Sarton confronted the candidate on the issue. I saw a side of McInnis (who I had heard was something of a hothead) that wasn’t flattering. Sarton raised the issue respectfully and tactfully, from my perspective. McInnis nearly exploded. I thought for a second he was going to get up off his chair and get in Sarton’s face (I was sitting between them). Red-faced and enraged, he yelled at Sarton, saying that he never wanted to hear anyone ever again say that Scott McInnis screwed Colorado Springs.

I have a bit of the Irish myself (though I prefer to think of it as “passion” or “intensity,” rather than a temper), and I’ve worked around some tightly-wound politicians in my day. But I’ve never seen anything quite like the “intensity” I saw in McInnis — in a situation that might easily have been defused with a little diplomacy or humor. I considered rising to Sarton’s defense as the tirade subsided, but I was sitting (as mentioned) within swinging distance of McInnis. A donnybrook would have put a damper on an otherwise informative meeting.

McInnis eventually screwed his head back on his shoulders but he still refused to take any real ownership of past actions. Instead of getting a coherent explanation, or an apology for a misjudgment that might be understandable if put in context, Sarton was effectively ordered to shut up, stuff it and never say anything bad about Scott McInnis again.

Maybe the reason McInnis won’t release the water articles that he claimed to have written during his Hasan Family Foundation fellowship has something to do with this issue. It’s just idle speculation, I know, but what else can we do besides speculate, given that McInnis’ campaign won’t comment at all about the articles? That’s why a journalist should ask should him about them. Or the task might fall to a pseudo-journalist, like KHOW’s Craig Silverman, because McInnis is not making himself available to Noreen–and is in the habit lately of rejecting interviews with The Denver Post. But Dan Caplis said Monday that McInnis always makes himself available for the Caplis and Silverman show.

Silverman acts like journalist in questioning McInnis on his comment that he was “thrilled” by assembly results

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Yes, I know, a lot of you are thinking that conservatives always get a free ride on conservative talk radio.

But it’s not always so on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show, as you know if you listened in yesterday during the 5 p.m. hour (at 12 minutes 30 seconds on the podcast).

Craig grilled Scott McInnis about McInnis’ statement on the show that he was “thrilled” with the outcome of Republican State Assembly on Saturday. It made great radio, if you want to listen to the entire interview here, or you can read the partial tanscript below.

I liked Silverman’s follow-up question, after McInnis made his thrilled remark. “But Congressman,” Silverman said, “really, are you going to tell us that it’s a great day at the assembly to lose to an underfinanced person who has no history of running for anything in Colorado, a stranger to most people?”

You might say that the Caplis and Silverman show doesn’t really count as conservative talk radio, due to the presence of center-right Silverman, and you’re right to a degree. But if you add Silverman’s conservative positions, which are many, to Caplis’ all-rabid-righty all-the-time talk, you find that the show adds up to be mostly conservative talk, disguised as a right-left dialogue.

Still, the show is unpredictable, thanks mostly to Silverman, as you see in the exchange below.

Silverman: It had to be disappointing for you driving off and realizing that the assembly that told you to get to the church on time was also saying, in effect, Dan Maes you’re out choice to be the Republican nominee for governor.

McInnis: Well, Craig, that’s not what they said at all. And I think you’re a little mistaken there. The way you lose in a convention is if you get under 30 percent. What you want to do is be able to get over 30 percent, which means that the Republican Party that went to the convention validated your message and said, ok, you have enough support within our party to take your message statewide. So we actually were thrilled. I mean, look, you could be driving away from there under 30 percent-

Silverman: But Congressman, really, are you going to tell us that it’s a great day at the assembly to lose to an under-financed person who has no history of running for anything in Colorado, a stranger to most people? Here, you’re so well-known. You can’t even tell us you would have preferred that he’d didn’t get to 30 percent and you could be running alone focusing all your time and attention on John Hickenlooper? I mean, how do you expect us to buy your, hey-it-was-a-great-day-for-Scott-McInnis line?

McInnis: Well, first of all, I’m not selling Craig, so I’m not expecting you to buy. And the fact is, clearly, you lose if you’re below 30. If you’re above 30. I mean, if I were the other side, I’m sure as they walked into the locker room, they said, “Man, dog gone it, we got to fight him now.”

Ari Armstrong’s media analysis sparks response by Norton

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Ari Armstrong’s media analysis has apparently led Jane Norton to completely and unequivocally endorse Amendment 62, the Personhood measure, which would grant zygotes the legal rights of U.S. citizens.

The Grand Junction Sentinel reported May 10 that “all of the top-named GOP candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate” support the ballot question. 

You’d certainly think from reading Norton’s website that she’d endorse Amendment 62, but her campaign had never officially confirmed this to GJ Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby, despite his request to do so over a week ago, Ashby told me. (The campaign lapse could be explained by staff changes, however, Ashby points out.)

During the last two days, Norton’s campaign would not provide confirmation of her support for Amendment 62 for Ari, either.

And, as Ari pointed out in his blog, there were small but serious differences (and political ramifications) between Norton’s website statement on abortion and the text of Amendment 62.

Today, Norton’s Campaign confirmed that Ashby’s article was correct. She supports Amendment 62.

In any case, as Ashby told me, the major point of Ashby’s article was never in question, namely that in 2008 none of the GOP candidates would touch the personhood amendment and today they’re running toward it.

Denver Post corrects McInnis’ facts in radio interview

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

It’s good to see The Denver Post stand up for itself and not allow gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis say inaccurate things about its reporting.

You may recall from my previous post today that McInnis said on the Jim Pfaff show that The Post had gone through his congressional votes and found that all of them were anti-abortion.

The Spot reported a little while ago that The Post never made a claim to have gone through his congressional votes.

In fact, the Post should have pointed out that in November, The Post reported that in Congress, McInnis “earned a reputation as a moderate and a maverick on the [abortion] issue.”

The November Post article continued:

He voted against some abortion measures, supported others and once chaired the national Republicans for Choice….

The Rocky Mountain News in 1996 called McInnis a maverick on abortion.

He long had opposed partial-birth abortions and backed parental notification. But he opted to allow for privately funded abortions at overseas U.S. military hospitals, to let federal employees choose health insurance plans to cover abortions and to preserve federal funding for family-planning programs.

In 1995, NARAL tracked 21 roll-call votes. McInnis sided with their issues seven times. In contrast, Democrat Pat Schroeder of Denver supported NARAL’s position all 21 times while Republican Joel Hefley of Colorado Springs voted against NARAL’s position every time, the Rocky reported.

On the Jim Pfaff radio show, McInnis claimed to have a zero rating by NARAL.

The Spot also reported in its piece today that McInnis was wrong when he stated on the Jim Pfaff show, cited in my piece today, that The Post asked for his high school transcripts. The Spot reported:

Untrue. The Post in February asked the candidate for his college and law school transcripts as part of our routine background research.


McInnis downplays flip flopping, but talk-show host lets it slide

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Some say I’m beating my head against a church wall when I ask social conservative talk-show hosts to act more like journalists and ask tough questions of conservative candidates whom they interview on their shows.

But here’s Jim Pfaff, pro-life activist and talk-show host, doing a little bit of what I’d hope others of his ilk would do May 17 on his Jim Pfaff show on KLZ radio, 560-AM. (The segment begins at 26 minutes, 45 seconds on the podcast here.)

But overall he lets his own cause and the public down.

He’s discussing a Denver Post editorial stating that Scott McInnis has “factually challenged explanations” to various details in his history, including the fact that his name was listed on the board of an organization called “Republicans for Choice.”

McInnis dismisses political flip flopping, saying, “The critical views are where are your views today, and where have your views been recently.” He adds later: “The critical issue is where have you been in the last few years…. Scott McInnis was at one time pro-choice. That’s right. In fact, there’s Republicans, you know, that used to be Democrats or vice versa, way back when.”

What I hear McInnis saying here is that he could care less about politicians who flip flop, as long as it hasn’t been in the last “few years.”  And what’s really important is what they say “today.” But Pfaff, the anti-abortion foe, didn’t ask the obvious question: does this mean that McInnis thinks it would be okay if he flipped and became pro-choice after a few years, perhaps during his second term as governor. And what if he flips on other issues after a few years? would this be ok?

Unfortunately Pfaff also did not ask McInnis, at the end of the interview, what the difference is between a candidate who advocates a “social agenda” and one that advocates a “conservative approach in regards to social issues.” McInnis did say that winning conservative candidates will have “not just conservative economic values but have conservative social values.”

Here’s the partial transcript:

Pfaff: How did your name end up on that letter, explain that first?Let’s start at the very beginning by saying I’m pro-life. I’ll be a pro-life governor. And when I become governor I will do lust exactly like Gov. Owens did and that is we will defund the funding that Ritter and Hickenlooper would keep in place in regards to Planned Parenthood. So there’s no question about that.

Second, in regards to my record, which is the beauty of what I have…my record is pro-life. When I was in Congress, I had a zero rating by NARAL….

1998, I think was the date stamp or something on some letter. I don’t know when the letter was dated. I think the letter pre-dated that.

Two things come up. Did I meet with this group called Republicans for Choice? And my policy was always as a Congressman was, you represent the people. Now you may not agree with them but if you can meet with them people have a right to come in and express their points of views….

Apparently, there’s a letter where they list me as an advisory. Yeah, there’s an advisory. Hank Brown is on that for example. And I haven’t visited with Hank about this. The Denver Post calls up and says, did you, I said, man, how many years ago was that? It was a lot of years ago. I don’t have recollection. I told them that. I mean, I was pro-choice when I was younger, of course, when I got out of college. I struggled with it….

Pfaff: You did take a very clear pro-life track while you were in Congress, but you did hold a different position at one time and pro-lifers are going to be very concerned about that and they are an important constituency. So explain how that changed. I think that’s the best way for them to understand what’s going on.

McInnis: You know I went into office in 1982. So almost 30 years ago. So, yeah, views I held almost 30 years ago, 20 years ago, yeah. The critical views are where are your views today, and where have your views been recently. And, you know, when the Denver Post, for exmaple, originally wanted to do an interview on this stuff, I think they even asked for my high school transcripts. And in my high school transcripts, it probably shows I wasn’t a great student in algebra, although I liked math, and things like that. So they are going to reach back….

The critical issue is where have you been in the last few years. And in this article, not in the thing today, but in the article the other day that came out and said we’ve discovered a piece of stationery, not Scott McInnis stationery. There’s a group out there, we’ve discovered this stationery. Scott McInnis was at one time pro-choice. That’s right. In fact, there’s Republicans, you know, that used to be Democrats or vice versa, way back when. The key issue is, where’s the proof in the pudding. And in this article in the last sentence they said they had gone through and done an extensive look through the Congressional Record and could not find one pro-choice vote. The reason is, because he’s pro-life. So the critical issue is today, yesterday, a year ago, ten years ago,five years ago, whatever, I was pro-life, and I will govern as a pro-life governor….

Pfaff: What legislatively could we do in this state to make this a more pro-life state? Obviously we have Roe v. Wade that we have to deal with, but what can we do right here in the state?

McInnis: Great questions. We gotta win seats. We have to put up candidates that can win these seats have those values and those principle values. Not just conservative economic values but have conservative social values. I am convinced that the social agenda, excuse me, the conservative agenda, let me correct that, the conservative aganda. I am absolutely convinced that the pro-job, don’t-raise-the-taxes, the conservative approach in regards to social issues, is the path for prosperity for the state of Colorado.

Oliver on KFKA maligns The Denver Post

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

KFKA talk-show host Amy Oliver maligned journalism and an unnamed reporter on a recent show. Maybe this doesn’t surprise you, but she goes too far in repeating  off-the-record comments by a reporter bashing the Post on the radio. She said:

“The Denver Post, especially their capitol beat reporting, has been, as far as I’m concerned, an enormous disappointment. I know these guys wouldn’t say it on the record but at least one of their reporters is not excited or not thrilled about the coverage that that person has had to do regarding the state of Colorado and what’s been happening at the state legislature.”

If she’s disappointed with the Post’s coverage, she should be specific and point to the stories or issues that are disappointing her.

And she shouldn’t discuss off-the-record comments by reporters. When reporters talk to Amy “off the record,” they do not expect their comments to be announced on the radio. It’s not completely impossible that a reporter told Amy she could broadcast the gripe on the radio, but I doubt it. And if she had been given the green light to air the off-the-record comment, she should have said so.

You can here the comments on the May 13 podcast of her show here.

Journalists should question McInnis about water articles

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

When someone gets $150,000 from the Hasan Family Foundation to write a series of in-depth articles, you’d think journalists, being writers themselves, would want to see what was written.

Especially if the writer is Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis.

Yet, as far as I know, no Colorado journalist has asked McInnis to see the fruits of his writing labor.

I wrote previously that when Craig Silverman and Dan Caplis had McInnis on their KHOW talk-radio show, McInnis said he wrote a “series of in-depth articles on water” when he was a senior fellow at the Hasan Family Foundation. But the hosts didn’t ask to see the writing on this big CO issue. The foundation’s attorney told me that McInnis could release the articles if he wanted to, but McInnis’ spokesperson didn’t have time to get back to me last week.

So I’ve continued to try to fill in the journalistic gap and locate the articles.

First, I emailed Craig Silverman and asked if he’d make up for his interview lapse and ask McInnis, next time he’s a guest on Craig’s talk-radio show, if he’d make his water articles public.

Silverman emailed me back that he appreciated my suggestion, but he wouldn’t commit to asking McInnis about the water articles.

So I moved on.

My friend heard a rumor that Pueblo Chieftain publisher Bob Rawlings might have helped fund McInnis’ work on the articles…-or at least he might know where his writing is.

“I don’t know anything about that, Jason. I’m sorry,” he answered. “I’ve very involved in water issues but I haven’t funded any studies for Scott McInnis.”

Have you ever seen any articles he’s done on water?

“Well, I’ve never heard of them, but my memory isn’t as good as it used to be,” Rawlings said. “Our water guy here [at the Chieftain] is Chris Woodka, and I think probably he’s the best one to answer your question.”

So I called Woodka, who’s a well-known water wonk, but he’d never heard of articles by McInnis on the topic.

Woodka told me that John Orr is one of the few people  who reads more arcane stuff about Colorado water than he does.

I knew about Orr, because he’s the writer and editor of the highly regarded Coyote Gulch blog, a regular stop for most everyone who tracks water issues in Colorado.

“I don’t have any recollection of a water series by him so it may have been before 2003 when I started paying close attention to the issue,” Orr told me. (McInnis was a Hasan fellow from 2005  to 2007.) Neither had Orr seen any single article by McInnis.

Orr suggested I try Loretta Lohman, editor of Nonpoint Source Colorado.  She had never seen anything, either. Neither had the head archivist at Colorado State University’s Water Resources Archive.  Nor the Water Congress. Nor the editor of the High Country News.

I tried the Colorado River District, which has this slogan on its homepage: “Protecting Western Colorado Water since 1937.”

Perfect, I thought.

The receptionist put me in touch with Jim Pokrandt, Communication & Education Specialist. He’d never seen any articles by McInnis and neither had his colleague, Manager of External Affairs Chris Treese.

But Pokrandt told me that McInnis had been a keynote speaker at the CO River District’s annual seminar in Grand Junction in 2005. McInnis’ expenses had been covered by the Hasan Family Foundation, but, unfortunately, no written record of his speech was available, he said. However, he found the title of McInnis’ keynote address: “Washington in the rear-view mirror.”

Maybe this formed the basis for something in depth?

If so, it seems odd that none of the water experts mentioned above know about it. In talking to the various water experts I contacted, it became clear to me that it would be quite strange for McInnis or any serious researcher to write a stealth paper on Colorado water, not to mention a stealth series. It seems like Colorado water researchers and policy people consult each other on the technical details of this complicated topic.

I emailed the McInnis campaign, asking again for a response or to see the articles, and heard nothing back.

So I left hoping that Craig Silverman finds his inner journalist and queries McInnis about this, since Craig is the guy who’s apparently come closest to asking McInnis about it.

Or The Denver Post should push for an answer from McInnis, since a Post story first introduced McInnis’ $150,000 in Hasan income into the campaign debate. And, of course, The Post has taken the lead among news outlets in trying to get all of the gubernatorial candidates to disclose their income tax records for public review.

An interview with Westword’s Michael Roberts

Friday, May 14th, 2010

I’ve been interviewing journalists via email who’ve disappeared from the local media scene…-or who are doing very different things than they were a few years ago.

Westword’s Michael Roberts hasn’t disappeared or switched employers, but I thought it would be interesting to interview him anyway, about his own situation these days, since he’s chronicled the upheaval in local journalism, more than any writer in town by a long shot. He used to be the alt weekly’s media columnist, and now he’s in charge of Westword’s Latest Word blog.   (He doesn’t write all the posts, but coordinates the blog)

He’s still Denver’s number-one media critic, writing frequently about journalism, but he’s now writing on many more topics, even more so in last year or so, since the Rocky closed and the drama surrounding its closure subsided.

I asked Roberts via email if I could email him five questions, like the news feature they tried and quickly abandoned at the Rocky toward the end.

“Could you call instead of e-mailing questions?” he emailed me back “I write over 3,000 words per day on average; it’s nice for a change of pace just to have a conversation.” He makes the same request of his Westword colleagues in the office, he later told me. He asks them to use “human speech.”

I asked him what he’s doing:

Roberts: “My goal is 10 blogs per day of which a minimum of three are reported, meaning I’m actually making phone calls, getting quotes from people…. [The Latest Word publishes about 15 posts per day, sometimes more, with five posts written by other writers.] The idea is that it is a wide ranging mix of things. We do have other blogs here. We have a blog that focused on music and popular culture, and we have a food blog, and we also have an outdoors blog called On the Edge about participatory recreation. Everything else falls under the Latest Word blog, so I’m covering news of every description, sports, crime, lots of different topics. And so for me, media remains an interest of mine, and it’s part of the mix, but it’s certainly not a dominant part of the mix.

I asked if he was happy doing less media criticism.

Roberts: It’s a different world. There aren’t that many positions in journalism where you can just sit and focus on one thing. We are required to be multi-faceted in journalism these days and produce a lot more copy than we could have ever imagined before. Let’s say 10 years ago when I was focusing on being the media columnist as a full time job but also supplementing my media writing with other writing, including music, which I should say as an aside I don’t have time to do any music right now. I’ve been asked not to write about music and instead focus on news. Back then I probably wrote about 3,000 words a week. And that made me one of the, if not the, most prolific writers at Westword at the time. Today I am averaging over 3,000 words a day.

Does that make him one of the most prolific at Westword?

Roberts: There’s not a competition anymore, and there’s also not a prize. That right there gives you an indication of how much things have changed.

Do you find it less fun to be a media critic when news outlets are struggling so much, less fun to take shots at the media? Is it less interesting?

Roberts: I don’t think that’s the case. I think there are so many more aspects to it… all kinds of interesting questions about what constitutes journalism, what constitutes a journalist, what constitutes original work, what’s an investigation, how can we find time to do an investigations. So it’s not that media criticism is less interesting. It’s expanded and there are so many more angles to it than people would have thought a decade ago-.

I asked what had changed since he was assigned to the Latest Word blog.

Roberts: What’s changed is the volumes that they want us to put out and the focus on actual reporting. The vast majority of people who are doing online stuff are not doing their own reporting. And while it can be exhausting to turn out that level of material, philosophically I am 100 percent behind the idea that we need to actually generate original content instead of contributing one more echo to the echo chamber.

Is that supported by data?

Roberts: One of the theories is that more people will come to our blog and make it a regular stop if we give them something that they can’t get anywhere else. And there’s no question, at least here at Westword, our numbers have been growing very steadily. The overall page views for the paper as a whole have been in the range of three million a month. We exceeded that last month. Last month, which was our best news-page view performance ever- we almost hit a million just on our own. .. Of that million, the Latest Word portion of it was 800,000, something like that. The news section includes feature articles, and articles that also run in the paper and slide shows, and stuff like that. Those numbers are growing, and hopefully it means people are coming to it because they recognize they are getting original material instead of a re-hash of a re-hash.

Norton still lags in Denver Post quote tally

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

A few months ago, I documented the near absence of direct quotations in The Denver Post from Senate Candidate Jane Norton. At one point, The Post went 23 weeks without printing words passing from Norton’s mouth to a reporter’s ears in a two-way conversation. Other candidates, like Sen. Michael Bennett, were interviewed much more often.

The situation has improved, according to my latest bean count below. This time, I included Ken Buck in my quote tally, in light of his recent upsurge in attention. So I’ve got data for GOP candidates Buck and Norton, as well as Dem candidates Bennett and Romanoff.

Denver Post news articles with quotes from U.S. Senate candidates (Sept. 15, 2009 …• May 10, 2010)



+ Articles with a direct candidate quote uttered during an exchange with a reporter
++ Articles with a quote from a campaign spokesperson
+++ Articles with a candidate quote from a news release, speech, or statement

*In his capacity as U.S. Senator, Michael Bennet has been quoted in additional articles. On Senate issues during the same time period, he’s been quoted directly an additional 15 times, via spokesperson two additional times, and via statements 11 additional times.

Reporters still need to quote Norton more often. Her Democratic opponents have been quoted in twice (Bennet) or four times (Romanoff) as many articles. The public interest isn’t served by quoting spokespeople and written statements. We rely on journalists to ask candidates tough questions directly, with follow up queries, if needed. Not only are Norton’s own words too often missing, but we see fewer quotations from Norton’s campaign than from any candidate’s campaign except Buck’s, who’s arguably the least likely to win.

There’s no shortage of important issues hanging out there to ask Norton about:

… On what basis does she think that the “rights of terrorists are more important in this administration than the lives of American citizens“?
… Why does she favor the elimination of the Department of Education? (A campaign spokesman declined to discuss this with The Post in December, telling a Post reporter that Norton would address the issue after Jan. 1. That’s over five months ago, and it appears The Post hasn’t followed up.)
… Why does she support a national sales tax and flat tax, and why does she think a “simplified flat tax with exemptions for mortgages and charity” would be more viable than a pure flat tax?
… Why does she think it’s more realistic to cut funding for the new health care law than to repeal it?
… Why does she insist she was never a lobbyist when, in fact, she was head of the lobbying department of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) from 1994-1999?
… In her campaign announcement, why did Norton plagiarize a line for former President Gerald Ford?
… Why does she say she cut the Department of Health budget when in fact she did not, according to local media analyses?

The Post mentioned some of these issues(ponzi scheme, Dept. of Education, Obama’s favoritism of terrorists over Americans) in a general article discussing Norton’s recent swing to the right, but they merit a response from Norton, especially given that we’ve heard so little from her directly in The Post.

I mean, she’s talking about eliminating a major federal department, re-writing the tax code, accusing the President of caring more about terrorists than Americans, and more. Her views should be illuminated…-along with those of other candidates.

Speaking of other candidates, I should add that while the trend for quoting Norton is positive, with her last direct quotation appearing in The Post on May 2, Bennet’s last direct quotation on a campaign topic appeared seven weeks ago. He’s been quoted directly twice as much as Norton…-or more if you count his Senate related quotes…-so I’ve focused this blog post on Norton. But reporters should seek interviews regularly with Bennet.

Unasked question: where are McInnis’ writings about CO water issues?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Despite Craig Silverman’s fog-horn voice and Dan Caplis’ adolescent intonations, I like the Caplis and Silverman on KHOW radio in Denver, especially when they’ve got good guests like Scott McInnis or John Hickenlooper.

But the show gets frustrating when the hosts fail to ask the follow-up questions that pile up in your own mind as you listen in.

For example, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis was on the show April 26, discussing his decision not to release his income tax returns.

The Denver Post had pieced together some of McInnis’ income over the years, and Silverman asked McInnis, “one lawyer to another” about $150,000 that he earned from the Hasan Family Foundation after he left Congress. “How does a lawyer get in on that,” Silverman asked him. (See transcript here.)

“I wrote a series of in-depth articles on water, Colorado water. And so, that’s what that was about. And so I was pretty excited to do it,” McInnis answered him, adding later: “When I got out [from Congress], we were having a conversation, and they said, we’d be interested in doing this if you’d be interested in helping put together some articles at some point, [that] could be used in a series for education on water in Colorado. So that’s what that was about. And I was thrilled to do it. I got paid to do it. That’s pretty sweet.”

As a sometime writer, not a lawyer, I later wondered how much writing McInnis had to do for the $150,000, but Silverman let me down and didn’t ask the question.

So I searched Nexis and found no articles on water by McInnis.

I also spent some time on Google, to no avail.

I then went to the Hasan Family Foundation website, and there’s a photo of McInnis next to a short description of his “senior fellowship” and a link to a presentation titled “Colorado Water Analysis” by Muhammad Ali Hasan. Congressman Scott McInnis’ name is listed below Hasan’s. Then on the next line, you see “The Hasan Family Foundation” and below this, you find “Water Project Wing …• Congressman Scott McInnis.”

I emailed Muhammad Ali Hasan to find out if other articles were available. He cordially responded that due to my inquiry, he had added a note to his “Colorado Water Analysis” clarifying that Scott McInnis was not an author. The note stated, in part, “Analysis written and conducted solely by Muhammad Ali Hasan, under the guidance of Professor James Sadd of Occidental College.”

So now I was back to square one. What did McInnis write during his fellowship? Hasan concluded his note to me by suggesting I contact the Hasan Family Foundation attorney, Glenn Merrick.

“I think you’ll have to get those from Mr. McInnis,” Merrick told me when I asked if McInnis’ water articles were available.

I asked if articles had been turned over to the foundation as part of the fellowship, and he said he believed so, but I’d have to get them from McInnis.

I told Merrick that when he was on the radio, McInnis mentioned articles that “could be used in a series for education on water in Colorado.” What about those articles?

“Well, I think it was intended to educate an audience who had a keen interest in this topic,” Merrick said. “It was intended to allow the foundation to distribute to that audience. But I don’t know precisely who the audience is. If McInnis wants to give it to you, and he authored it, then I think that’s acceptable.”

I was left with only one more place to go for the answer to my question and that was, of course, McInnis’ office. I was thinking that I should have simply called there first.

I was wrong about that, because I couldn’t get an answer.

I called late Monday afternoon and explained what I was looking for. But McInnis’ spokesman Sean Duffy could not provide a comment or response on the matter Monday or Tuesday.

So this story ends without an answer to the question Silverman should have asked McInnis on his radio show in the first place. Where are McInnis’ articles about Colorado water? And can we take a look at them?