Journalists should be comparing candidates’ positions on the issues

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Spot Blog’s Spotted Correspondent writes today that a new Sen. Michael Bennet ad is “unfairly misleading in its portrayal” of Ken Buck.

His proof? A column by the nonpartisan Post columnist Vincent Carroll!

He then points to fact checkers that found portions of a previous Bennet ad “wanting,” without mentioning that the fact checkers found numerous portions of Bennet’s previous ads to be true.

And the Spot doesn’t mention that fact checkers have been critical of Ken Buck’s ad too, as well as ads by outfits like the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which support Buck.

This is how News4 introduced its “Reality Check” of a recent attack ad by Ken Buck:

“Ken Buck promised to stay positive this election. That sure didn’t last long.”

In response to Buck’s claim that “Bennet’s votes are so bad he can’t defend them,” News4 found that Bennet in fact “does defend his votes on the health care, the stimulus, and the budget.”

“As for [Buck’s] claim he voted for higher taxes 24 times, that’s misleading at best,” News 4 reported, adding that Bennet has “never voted for a measure that would specifically raise taxes.”

With respect to Buck’s claim that “Bennet is legislating unemployment,” News4’s Reality Check stated that Bennet “did not, of course, pass a law to set the unemployment rate.”

“Bottom line,” News4 states, “Ken Buck is doing what Republicans across the country are trying to do, pin the country’s economic woes on their Democratic counterparts. As I’ve said here before, there’s plenty of blame to go around.”

Last night, 9News analyzed a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad stating that:

“Bennet even raised taxes $525 billion. A jobs Killer.”

9News found this…false!

9News explained: “Further, Bennet has not voted on a single measure that would have directly raised taxes or directly raised the tax rate. In fact, numerous economists, both conservative and liberal, have stated publicly that Americans are paying lower taxes this year than they did last year and not simply because they’re earning less as a result of the recession.”

9News also researched this statement in a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad:

“He [Bennet] voted to gut Medicare. ($500 billion)”

9News found this…false!

9News explained: “If anything, seniors who are on basic Medicare will now have more access to preventive services and eight million will also be spared significant prescription drug costs if they fell into the so-called doughnut hole created by Medicare Part D.”

The Spotted Correspondent, like everyone else who watches TV, has got to know that portions of most all political ads are found to be misleading or false by fact checkers. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is.

The Spotted Correspondent and I would undoubtedly prefer to watch ads by fact checkers not political campaigns. But that won’t be happening.

So journalists, and commentators like the Spotted Correspondent, are left to sort out the key issues, whether they are in the ads or not, and try to make sense of them for voters.

Accusing one side’s ads of being insulting, as if the other side’s aren’t-when we all know the entire ad game is gross-misleads voters into thinking the ads matter more than the issues at hand.

In other words, we’ll get more from comparing the candidates’ positions on the issues than comparing their ads.

33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. SSG_Dan says:

    …I doubt that he’ll left either candidate off the hook.

    • reubenesp says:

      To imply that Buck is not “extreme” is deceitful at best.

      The ONLY reason to push Bennet to completely change his ad campaign is to HELP BUCK!

      Don’t forget that the opinion writers at the Post are intentionally kept separate from the objective news reporters for a reason.

  2. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    If one candidate is running an ad that grossly distorts a quote from his opponent, taking it so out of context it’s represented to mean the opposite of what the candidate is saying, that reflects on the candidate running the ad. As it should.

    Honesty, decency and forthrightness are qualities voters look for in a senator. And, no, “the entire ad game” isn’t “gross,” there are plenty of straightforward ads that make a clear and demonstrable point.

    You sound like you imagine this one Spot blog post is the sum total voters will read (ha!). That’s insulting to voters and insulting to journalists, who cover various aspects of the race in different stories.

    Bottom line on the particular ad your story doesn’t mention: Bennet’s campaign is displaying a worrisome disregard for accuracy in some of its advertising, with an almost win-at-any-cost attitude showing through. Just because you feel “everybody does it” doesn’t mean political bloggers ought to move on, nothing to see here. I’ve heard several prominent Democrats express concern over this tack of the Bennet campaign, and you can bet it’s a concern to some voters, too.

  3. MADCO says:

    so I haven’t seen all the ads and hooey.

    But now I understand why h-man. wilson, marilou and the others got their chorus talking points.

    All lies, but really good ones.

  4. caroman says:

    Vincent Carroll is “nonpartisan” like Bill O’Reilly is nonpartisan.  Vincent Carroll is a right-wing conservative who would say Bennet’s kids are “unfairly misleading in their portrayal”.

  5. Ralphie says:

    They should.

    But issues don’t sell papers.  Or get ratings during sweeps week.

    Now Brisol Palin on Dancing With The Stars, that gets ratings.  Commentary on it sells papers.

    So, Jason, what do you expect poor journalists to do?  Bite the hand that feeds them?

    • But we know that journos at the Post and elsewhere in the for-profit media also try to take their public interest responsibilities seriously.

      The Spotted Correspondent does, I think. It’s not all about ratings.

      Our work trying to make them do better isn’t wasted.

      • gertie97 says:

        for television and radio. Nothing else matters. Period.

        Sure, the Denver TVs have local news, and they mostly do a pretty good job of it considering that most of their resources are devoted to weather, traffic reports and chasing the police scanners. Why? Because weather, traffic and crime bring eyeballs to drive the ratings.

        Newspapers, we like to think, are different, and they are because they devote more resources to covering government and politics. But they still jump on the readership drivers like Dan Maes and the UN bicycle conspiracy, and Tancredo’s latest lunacy, and Hickenlooper and the Denver cops (that crime thing again.)

        It also should be noted that papers devote huge resources to sports, and make room and spend money for crosswords, the funnies, advice columns and other non-news items. Why? Because they sell papers.

        • Good ratings aren’t always incompatible with good journalism. Look at the investigative unit at KMGH, for example.

          The fact checks get good ratings, I’m told.

          The political stories on Fox 31 have to be helping the show.

          No one’s criticized local tv news any harder than i have. check out the reports on It’s mostly ratings-driven, but not completely. A lot of TV journalists got into the biz to make a difference. So it might be dominated by mayhem and fluff, but there are plenty of TV journalists with a conscience, and you see them trying to practice journalism, or trying to care about it.

          Newspapers have been a different story, but it’s tough times. Still, if only everyone in Colorado actually read the Denver Post. Voters would be incredibly informed. Of course, I’d want them to read Pols too.

          • gertie97 says:

            But the Post won’t deliver to a big chunk of the state.

            Sure, lots of TV types would like to make a difference. They work hard and live terrible hours. But it’s still all about the ratings. Any journalism being practiced is pure coincidence.

  6. bjwilson83 says:

    by saying that at least “numerous portions” of his ads were true.

  7. BlueCat says:

    so many major party candidates are being advised not to talk about their positions.

  8. colawman says:

    Journalists should be requiring Bennet to voice his position, acknowledging his voting record. Why do we not see him running ads about his vote for Obamacare? Why does he not tout his support for Cap and Trade?  Why do we not see anything mentioned by Bennet about his stance on Card Check.  I agree Jason let’s make this about the issues.  Although you are undermining your own agenda. You want Bennet hiding his socialist agenda as much as he wants to hide it.  You are going to upset your handlers and lose your position with the Bennet campaign.  

    • ajb says:


      What dispensary to you shop at? That’s good shit you’re smoking.

      • colawman says:

        Go read up on Socialism. The ruling class are all about lining their own pockets while re-distributing the wealth of others (not their wealth, others wealth)    

        • No2Dems says:

          Yay it’s pretend time again! Question for our pretend “journalist” mr. Salzman. Why don’t you do a story on how we have had twenty straight months of record numbers of people on food stamps under Bennet and Obama? Why is Bennet allowing our tax rates to increase and the death tax be reinstated? Does Bennet think that he knows how to spend my money better then me? Why does he support legislation that constantly punishes coloradoans? Which Colorado values does he support?

          If you wanna have a job, or a home, or a pension vote Buck. If you want more government, higher taxes, and more misery vote Bennet!

          I just summed up this election maybe I can play pretend and be a journalist too.  

          • BlueCat says:

            “Does Bennet think that he knows how to spend my money better then me?”  Judging from  all the wrong and ridiculous information in your post, my cat probably knows how to spend your money better than you. Good luck spending your own money on your own roads, bridges, police, firefighters, defense, taking care of troops and vets, keeping your food supply safe, keeping your water potable, your air breathable, your airplanes flying safely, your buildings from falling down on your head, etc. etc. etc…

            Without an effective government, people like you wouldn’t last a week. Why not  take a little trip to that libertarian paradise, Somalia, and see how long you last? And I’m just making a wild guess here but I’m betting you’re in the 95% who paid lower income taxes in 2009, Obama’s first year in office, and that you are in no danger of ever reaching the level at which you’d have to worry your silly little head for a second over an inheritance tax.

            No2brains is more like it. Plenty of people are bound to think they know more than you about lots of things. Most of them will be justified in thinking so.  

            • No2Dems says:

              Obama and Bennet support a Marxist economic model. The model was and is an experiment that has failed time after time after time in different parts all over this world.

              I fully support effective constitutional government. You know the kind that made this country what it used to be and god willing will become again.

              Big government does not equal effective government. A government limited to the restraints of the constitution is an effective government.

              You don’t get it and you never will. Thankfully there are more “dumb” people like me who are realists and do not fall for the false promises of Eutopia that Bennet and the rest of the Democrats peddle.  

              • ajb says:

                What’s your definition of Marxism?

                What’s your evidence that Obama and Bennet support it?

                When do you think this country was last great?

                P.S. I don’t think you’ll find “Eutopia” in the dictionary.

              • bobster1 says:

                And you can thank George Bush for that sprawling bureaucracy known as the Department of Homeland Security.

                So where was all this concern about deficits and government spending under Reagan, Bush I, or Bush II?

                There have been plenty of big-government, deficit-spending conservatives – which is why we’re trying to dig ourselves out of the economic hole they put us in.

        • ajb says:

          You may want to check a dictionary first.

        • AristotleAristotle says:

          Another conman flushes his credibility down the crapper. “Go read up on Socialism,” says the guy who’s obviously never read a serious book about the topic.

          • No2Dems says:

            Same old arguments that are completely misleading.

            Both bush and Reagan were stuck with democrat controlled congresses for the excessive spending. Bush made his own mistakes.

            When is enough enough? If you guys do not follow the restraints placed on the government by the constitution what is the government limited to?

            Obama and Bennet are consistently choosing idealology over inteligence. They try to solve the problems of government with more government. We Americans reject the solution of bad government with more bad government.  

            • AristotleAristotle says:

              If you’re going to insert yourself in a discussion I’m having with someone else, at least try to be on topic. Or are you colawman’s sockpuppet?

              • colawman says:

                I defer to Ari, AJB, and “never even made E-7” on the meaning of Socialism. You guys have read and subscribe to all the books and theories of socialism. You spew your socialism and consent for redistribution of wealth loud and clear. I don’t need to be a student of an ideology I find abhorrent. Continue on with your teachings and studies into your chosen ideology. I find comfort knowing you are in the minority and cluster on sites like Coloradopols where your extreme views are mainstream.  

      • JLD says:

        See his support for government ownership of GM/Chrysler.  The support of his party for command econonics ala incandescent lightbulbs and his support of redistibutive policies to confiscate wealth and give it people who did not earn it.  Additionally, his upport of cap n trade speak to his command economy leanings.

        Redistributive policies, command economy directives and public ownership of major industries with the earnings being given to the government are most certainly socialist/marxist policies.  To say otherwise is to simply delude yourself.

        • MADCO says:


          So does that make President Reagan a socilist for saving Chrysler? twice


          What cap and trade?

        • ajb says:

          Government has no role in the economy? The moment we dip a toe in the economy to fix the ills of unfettered capitalism, we’re advocating socialism?

          I find it interesting that you would say that a man that made his money in the financial markets is a socialist, just because he believes that government intervention into markets is sometimes warranted for the public good.

          I’m sure you’re familiar with the tragedy of the commons. What’s your solution?

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