UPDATE: Kyle Clark is appropriately bewildered by all of this.
Take a look at the sentence below. We’re not going to provide any context quite yet, because it’s instructive just to read these words as they are written:
Liberal political activist Kyle Clark, a 9 News Denver anchor, rules against Republicans and Hughes more like a wannabe judge than a journalist.
Now, humor us for a moment. Don’t keep reading beyond this paragraph; instead, re-read that sentence and make a guess about where it appeared today. Breitbart News? The Washington Free Beacon? Whichever right-wing political blog that still exists in Colorado? Perhaps a Republican campaign’s Facebook page or Twitter account? Tom Tancredo?
Okay, if you’re done guessing or just want us to get on with it already, we’ll tell where you can find this sentence. It is from a new editorial signed by the actual editorial board of the Colorado Springs Gazette.
The Colorado Springs Gazette, which generally pretends to be an actual newspaper most of the time, wrote an editorial in which it called a Colorado media colleague a “liberal political activist.” The Gazette didn’t say that 9News anchor/reporter Kyle Clark was unbalanced in his storytelling or failed to understand some nuance of the story. No, they just hit fast-forward and used “liberal political activist” as a title for Clark, merely because he didn’t fall for the spin coming from the right:
I have nothing against @shepherdreports, the conservative writer who did the original @jaredpolis story today. I officiated Todd’s wedding. But Colorado Republicans are desperately overplaying this with misleading claims. #copolitics #cogov #9NEWS
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) September 26, 2018
The point of the Gazette’s childish partisan editorial is to express rage, sadness, confusion, and general manufactured angst over the fact that a Republican attempt to smear Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis failed to work because virtually every other media outlet in the state looked at the facts of the case and came to the rather obvious conclusion that Polis was actually the victim in this 20-year-old tale.
The Gazette editorial board can write whatever it wants, of course, and it would have been perfectly within its wheelhouse to question aspects of the story involving Polis. But instead, the Gazette goes full “liberal conspiracy theory.” Here’s the last paragraph of the editorial:
Contemporary society has no higher cause than protecting women from violence of any type. Women are rightly given every reasonable benefit of the doubt. Unless that is, a woman blames a powerful Colorado Democrat. That man gets a media pass.
If you didn’t know anything about this story, you might assume from this conclusion that the woman in question, Patricia Hughes, had recently accused Polis of wrongdoing. She didn’t. She couldn’t. She’s been dead since 2014.
As Michael Roberts writes for Westword, there’s no mystery that needs to be solved here, regardless:
But the report, accessible below [link], as well as other documents in the public record, reveal that the only person charged with a crime in the incident was the female employee, the late Patricia Hughes, whom Polis held for Boulder Police Department officers (he had called them) because she’d stolen documents either before or after she resigned in response to accusations that she’d used his credit card for her own financial benefit. She later pleaded guilty to theft, and the judge in her case mandated that she undergo mental health treatment.
Unfortunately, it shouldn’t come as as surprise that the Colorado Springs Gazette would so willingly reflect such a radical partisan bent in its pages. The Gazette’s fawning over Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton throughout 2018 has been cringeworthy in itself.
What the Gazette is trying to do here is not journalism. Not even a little bit. And that’s a damn shame.