(Needless to say, we agree – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Rush Limbaugh’s 1950’s-era comments last week, calling a woman a “slut” for believing that her health insurance should cover birth control, came from the mouth of…Rush Limbaugh, an unelected publicity hound/entertainer of the first order.
And Limbaugh’s extremism got all kinds of coverage, locally and nationally.
Then ColoradoPols broke a story yesterday about extreme comments at home in Colorado, by elected Republican legislators at a rally on the west steps of the Capitol.
Pols posted videotape of GOP speakers, including Sen. Tim Neville comparing Nazi Germany to the Obama Administration. Other video clips consisted of, as described by Pols:
“Sen. Harvey declaring that a program of mandating contraceptive coverage is “not a slippery slope, but a cliff” to “genocide somewhere down the road.” Sen. Lambert called the policy “mind control,” and read from a right-wing column warning that the same authority could be used to force the purchase of “euthanasia pills.” Not to be outdone, Sen. Renfroe said that it could to a situation “where England was when their king decided he needed to rule the church.”
Reporters who didn’t make it to the rally should go back and cover these comments, handily posted on Pols, to air them out. That’s what journalism is about.
It’s obvious to me that the statements by elected GOP officials deserved more attention from the local media than Limbaugh’s comments, weird as they were. They’re elected officials. Maybe they’re publicity hounds too, but still.
Candidates like Joe Coors who make extreme comments in secondary media outlets, like talk radio, also deserve media scrutiny when they go off. There’s not much public-interest value in reporting that KNUS talk-show host Steve Kelly thinks Obamacare is leading to a government takeover of the individual, but when Joe Coors, who’s running against Rep. Ed Perlmutter, says it, it’s news.
Here’s what Coors said on KNUS’ Kelley and Company yesterday:
Kelley: How big an issue is [Obamacare] in this race?
Coors: It’s huge…. Governments that have controlled health care in their countries basically own the individual. And we cannot let Obamacare legislation dictate our lives in any matter shape or form, and I’m very much opposed to it and would certainly vote to repeal it or defund it or whatever I could do when I get back there. [BigMedia emphasis]
Kelley: You make a great point. Yeah. Think about that. If someone could make a decision on your health and decisions on your health, they have total control over you.
Coors: Yes, sir.
A reporter might ask a veteran getting VA coverage if he or she feels the government owns him. Or a Brit, or to a lesser degree a Canadian or someone on Medicare, for that matter. And what does government control over healthcare have to do with mild-mannered Obamacare anyway?
With depleted staff, reporters at legacy news outlets can’t be everywhere and do everything like they could before, or at least try to. They should throw out any hesitancy to use material from places like Pols or talk radio, if the material is verifiable and newsworthy.
For example, I was just listening to a podcast of Grassroots Radio Colorado from Monday, in which Sen. Neville describes how he prepared his comments about Nazi’s and the Obama Administration for the rally.
I was doing some research last night, and I was putting my notes together [for his speech at the rally] and of course you pull things apart. You don’t like this. You don’t like that. And you know I was looking at the rise of Hitler in Nazi Germany and the parallels I was seeing were pretty scary.
What’s scary to me is how many of us, including smart reporters, are ignoring this stuff.