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November 04, 2007 08:34 PM UTC

Holy Tabloid Journalism, Batman!

  • by: Colorado Pols

Today The Denver Post absolutely lit into Gov. Bill Ritter over Friday’s executive order authorizing a bargaining partnership with state employees.

We’re not going to get into the mechanics of Friday’s executive order here, because the larger issue is the sad state of Colorado journalism when the largest newspaper in the state turns itself into a tabloid rag along the lines of The New York Post. Today the Post carries a FRONT PAGE EDITORIAL lambasting Ritter over his executive order – an editorial filled with ridiculous over-the-top, name-calling hyperbole such as this:

When Coloradans elected Bill Ritter as governor, they thought they were getting a modern-day version of Roy Romer, a pro-business Democrat. Instead, they got Jimmy Hoffa…

…The governor on Friday unveiled his plan to drive up the cost of doing business in Colorado by forcing collective bargaining on thousands of state employees.

We’re concerned this may be the beginning of the end of Ritter as governor…

…Had Ritter thought employees were somehow getting a raw deal, he could have waved his magic wand and changed all that. He is the governor, after all. Instead, he’s decided to prop up unions.

Now, he runs the risk of becoming Colorado’s first one-term governor since Walter Johnson in 1950.

Coloradans bought the Colorado Promise, but may end up with a trail of broken promises.

A governor with such early promise has squandered his future in order to keep his backroom promises to a few union bosses. And Colorado is the loser.

Talk about your vendettas. Ritter lost his chance at re-election because of this? That’s a bit much, don’t you think?

And comparing Ritter to Jimmy Hoffa…come on, really? Forget the New York Post, this is National Enquirer territory.

Obviously somebody high up at the Post isn’t happy with Ritter, and that’s their prerogative. But editorials are not meant for the front page of a major metropolitan newspaper, and to promote an editorial in such fashion is, frankly, an embarrassment to the paper and all who work there (particularly when they include this silly disclaimer at the end of the editorial: “The Denver Post’s editorial board operates independently of the paper’s news coverage.” Uh, yeah, right.)

Front page editorials are so universally decried as wrong that critics on both sides of the aisle have criticized their use (witness this commentary from the Independence Institute’s Dave Kopel). It’s fine if the Post wants to attack Ritter in its editorial pages, but it’s unconscionable to do so on the front page of the paper and then to include the absurd disclaimer that the editorial board and the rest of the newspaper are separate. It’s no mystery that newspapers are dying in this country when fundamental journalistic integrity is blithely ignored.


81 thoughts on “Holy Tabloid Journalism, Batman!

  1. AND, it certainly proves the point we’ve seen on CoPols many times over the last few months. Denver Post style journalism has hit rock bottom….I hope! The editors of this rag have been pro-Shrub, anti-middle class, pro-war, leave the debt to our childrens children….and generally elitest and rotten to the core.

    Nest post I’ll tell you how I really feel:-)

      1. the hysterical end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it tone of the front page editorial was in such stark contrast to the calm reasoned articles in the news and business pages.  The sane parts of the paper pointed out that the collective bargaining would be limited by being non-binding, not including the right to strike, that various government offices can pretty much ignore it and it shouldn’t have much economic impact.  if the BUSINESS pages aren’t getting apoplectic over this thing why the dramatic, frothing at the mouth, the sky is falling front page editorial? So state employees will have some limited voice in the decisions that impact them.  Run for the hills!  First the 2004 Bush endorsement. Then the 2006 Tancredo endorsement.  Now this utterly ridiculous, blown out of all proportion rant.  Have the editorial board members all gone off their meds or what?

    1. When I moved here (79), Denver post WAS liberal, and rocky mountain news was conservative. In fact, I used to read both papers so that I could get a moderate POV. Now, I consider the post to be conservative and the news to have the exact same slant. I read them only occasionally to get local news and get any real news elsewhere.

  2. I’m glad it was on the front page although I absolutely disagree with their opinion and conclusions. It is about time the Post showed us all just how liberal they are.
    Seriously, I can’t believe the knee jerk response to something like recognizing the right AND benefit to all of collective bargaining.
    When did ordinary folks begin to get health insurance?
    When did ordinary folks begin to get sick leave?
    When did ordinary folks begin to get retirement other than social security?
    When did ordinary folks begin to have a 40 hour work week?
    Who, more than any other group, helped create a middle class? Do you remember why Karl Marx said there would be no class struggle strong enough to result in revolution in the US?
    What else makes the tide rise to float Reagan’s boats better than collective bargaining? How else will teachers ever hope to improve their position?
    Disclaimer: I’ve never been in a union.

    1. Come on GITM, you don’t actually believe that everyone has the “right” to collective bargaining do you?  If it is indeed a “right”, then the Governor’s midnight Executive Order was completely unnecessary. 

      1. Every employee of a private company in Colorado currently has the right to form a union if they so choose. Colorado is now in the MAJORITY of states where collective bargaining is allowed for state workers.

  3. I’m surprised no one’s decrying the first paragraph:

    “When Coloradans elected Bill Ritter as Governor, they thought they were getting a modern-day version of Roy Romer, a pro-business Democrat. Instead, they got Jimmy Hoffa.”

    Jimmy Hoffa!? Talk about blatant irresponsibility! Hmmm — I wonder what image these fools want readers to conjure up?

    The DP Editorial Board is certainly entitled to criticize Ritter’s plan on it’s substance, but to summon a decades old stereotype on the front page, before any one has a chance to read the details is a naked abuse of power.

    I will be canceling my subscription to the Denver Post immediately!

    1. And I liked the reference to a “modern-day version of Roy Romer.”  Except I think there already is a modern-day version of Roy Romer.  His name is Roy Romer, and he lives in California.

  4. When the facts won’t back them up and the tide is strongly running for the Dems, and the progressive branch of the Dems at that, it’s a common reaction to fall back on garbage like this.

    What you read is what the wingnuts believe in their heart of hearts and they are now desperately trying to get others to drink the kool-aid. It doesn’t work but people keep falling back to this when they are losing.

  5. and of course they are trying to use their power (their monopolizing of the press) to scare people.

    I am always amazed at how the Jimmy Hoffa meme is used whenever the notion of collective bargaining matters.  And yet, the fact that the pioneers of “collective bargaining” ended child labor, gave us the the 40 hour work week, paid sick days, and safe conditions and so much more is ignored.

    Sadly people are not afraid of giving all the power to wealthy corporatists, but are afraid of giving power to the workers.
    Unions have had some bad eggs (because they are composed of human beings with the same human weakness everywhere).  But because a few bad leaders were chosen does not make the process of collective bargaining bad. 

    We have the common sense to know that because there have been some very bad corporate giants does not mean we end all factories and businesses.  Same concept: just because there are a few bad union leaders does not mean end the concept.
    Strong unions paired with strong management makes it better for all of us. 

    Why some here insist they should just trust the “boss” and never insist on the rights of due process, human decency and fair labor practices is beyond comprehension.

  6. In the Post Article about the executive order, they quote an economist who says this executive order will do very little.  I agree.  What the heck is the matter with these particular business type crazies?  Why do they create a problem where none exists?  Not sure what they hope to gain.  How dare a Governor issue an executive order seeking to create collaboration between management and workers?  Everyone knows management and workers are enemies and if we give workers any power, they just ruin the economy!!In places I have worked where there was a collaborative approach and workers and management were both valued, turnover was low and morale was high.  We wouldn’t want that among our state employees, now would we.

      1. The Editorial department of the Post should keep an eye on their ratings, I have a feeling a lot of folks will be ending their subscriptions, I will be one of them. This was a blatant attack on the Governor for a minor issue. By quoting of all people “right-wing Sen. Shawn Mitchell” and capping it off with an over-the-top fear tactic is concerning. I wonder what the Post editorial board had at stake, who convinced them to write this? The fact that “WACKO” Mitchell is quoted points us in the right direction…

      1. The right wing controlled media in this country is getting to the level of that in Middle Eastern countries. The zealots feed misinformation through the controlled media outlets, and then the people buy it. A democracy requires open and honest dialogue to work properly. We aren’t getting it, and we are seeing the effects of missing that with our current president. The right wing media is so powerful they even convinced people there was a liberal bias in the media (what a joke). It has to stop for the sake of our democracy.

          1. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation? It’s even an inside joke these days, everyone knows who has control of the mainstream media and their right-wing slant. LB, I know you’re smiling on this one, I would be if I leaned right…

            1. I’m laughing my freaking ass off.

              The Denver Post is not a conservative or right-wing paper by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read anything in the Post that I felt didn’t have a left slant to it.

  7. If a Republican governor had used an XO to advance his agenda on a hotbutton issue, y’all would go bat snot about it.

    Thanks, Post, for calling out a Democratic governor for employing the most undemocratic of strategies.

    Perhaps Ritter’s move would be defensible if he had tried and failed already to work with the legislature on this issue. It would be different if Colorado had already had the benefit of prolonged public conversation on the issue, with public testimony and discussion at the statehouse. If the legislature were controlled by hostile Republicans, and an executive order were Ritter’s last resort, it would make sense.

    But Ritter circumvented public participation with a stroke of his pen. Shame on him. Shame on every Democrat who supports such imperial use of gubernatorial power.

    The Post deserves congratulations and thanks. It’s about time the press stood in strong opposition to leaders who disdain discussion and democratic process. If only they had found their voice sooner and shouted about George Bush and his imperial presidency. Maybe now they will start.

    The Post grew a spine. That’s front page news.

    1. Gov. BO using an EO to prohibit union dues of state employees being paid by payroll deduction.  Or is my memory incorrect?

      Also, the hysterical tone of the front page editorial reminds me of the children’s story of the “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”.  If you cringe over inconsequential events like this one, you won’t have any creditability when something seriously goes wrong. 

        The Post Editorial Board should grow up.

    2. As I’ve been warning would happen, by moving to unionize state workers,Ritter has betrayed the business leaders, moderates and independents who supported him in 2006. He lost me months ago on this issue.

      Now business leaders are seeing Ritter the Red for what he is, and they will try to make him pay in 2008 and 2010.

      Ritter’s move is just unbelievable until you understand that he comes from a union family and background that have made him a union man in ways that few understood in 2006. Nevertheless, he was up against such a lousy GOP candidate in 2006 that he probably would have won anyway.

      That the Post has struck back with a perfectly legitmate and precendented blistering Page One editorial is no surprise. The Post knows political betrayal and stupidity when it sees it. It’s editorial is hardly over the top considering the governor’s radical move.

      Indeed, that is the best editorial I’ve ever seen in the Post.

      As one of the state’s major employers with years of experience with unions, the Post knows that its bottom line has been put at even greater risk by Ritter.

      Higher state payroll costs will lede, eventually, to less state public spending on infrastructural maintenance, capital spending, spending on higher education and economic development. Businesses will be reluctant to move here, and many will reduce or eliminate their operations here.

      Without a strong economy, the Post and Rocky are even deader meat than they are today.

      The Post is liberal until it knows it is under direct attack. All Colorado employers, not just the Post and Rocky, are being attacked by Ritter, the Democrats and the unions.

      Will the business community and the media shift their support to GOP legislative candidates in 2008? Will the GOP make Jimmy Hoffa Ritter their target in 2008 and call on voters to defang him with a GOP legislature?

      Will Bob Schaffer tag Udall with the union label and make it stick?

      Can the GOP use the union label to unseat any Congressional Democrats?

      Wiill this help the GOP presidential candidate in 2008 and even decide the election for Rudy?

      Obviously, the union folks are out in force on this blog, defending Ritter.

      But their movement is rejected by 93% of Colorado workers for a reason—the lack of intellectual and actual integrity in most unions.

      So the GOP will have lots of public support in this fight. 

      Ritter the Red will make Colorado Red yet.

      1. Obviously, the union folks are out in force on this blog, defending Ritter.

        Yeah, all those newly registered names are defending Ritter. Whoops, no, it’s mostly old hands doing that, while the newbies are attacking him, doubtless to disappear when this issue cools down.

        I love your bizarro world take on things, AS. It’s like you assess the situation and then post the exact opposite of what’s going on. (Well, except the first couple of paragraphs, but most business leaders are hysterical when it comes to unions so that’s to be expected.)

        1. we couldn’t be defending working class citizens… just the Governor who is sticking up for the employees of the state who happen to be working class citizens.

          1. Ok, I’ve thought about it a little more. I still support Ritter and I still think what he is doing is a reasonable approach.

            So… Once again I need to point out to you, not all business leaders will disagree with this. The fact that you disagree does not mean every other CEO will mindlessly fall into line behind you.

            – dave

            1. I’m CEO of Zappatero Early Retirement Fund and Vacation Enterprises. I support Bill Ritter and Unions! I even think Lenin was handsome, Trotsky, not so much.

            2. You can join Working America” which is a

              community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, is a powerful force for working people. We combine the strength of 10 million union men and women and millions of workers without the benefit of a workplace union who share common challenges and goals to fight in communities, states and nationally for what really matters–good jobs, affordable health care, world-class education, secure retirements, real homeland security and more.

              We work against wrong-headed priorities favoring the rich and corporate special interests over America’s well-being.

              Working America uses professional research, communication, education, canvassing, lobbying and community organizing to demand that politicians address the priorities that matter most to working people–not just wealthy special interests. Make a difference for your community, for America and for your working family.

              So cancel your subscriptions to the Denver Post (corporate special interests shrills) and join the working class.

      2. or just so drunk with the right wing kool aid you cannot see the forest for the trees.

        It’s people like you who have given us the worst of the worst in this idiot Bush, war, and the middle class being destroyed while the corporate masters cheat us all.

        Ritter did the right thing.

        The post is just another spin rag for the greedy corporatists and all their supporters.

      3. Look at this like the minimum wage battle.  The anti-labor forces lost in the street and they will lose again. Ritter stands tall with this pro-democracy move and he will be re-elected. Your number stating 93% of people reject unions is plain wrong.  Most people (in both parties) choose to join unions when the agency stays neutral, but that almost never happens. It is all about the golden rule – He who has the most gold makes the rules, but the tide is turning to grassroots democracy. Collective bargaining empowers people and should not considered a threat. Get off the holy grail that unions are bad for business.  This is a public sector executive order and there are countless good private sector companies, so get over it.  The post went way overboard with the attack on Gov. Ritter and labor.  Most people will see through it. 

      4. Just keep saying that while Ritter’s approval rating maintains it’s high level and the state legislature remains in Democratic hands in 2008. We know how fond the right is of belief-based rather than reality based thinking.  You sound just like Carl Rove in 2006.

  8. My guess is that W.D. Singleton (publisher of the Post) thinks he is the reincarnation of William Randolph Hearst.

    If you recall, we were subjected to weeks of propaganda from the Post (and the News) when the anti-freeloader bill was passed and sent to Ritter. You would have thought the world was coming to an end because all workers represented by a union would have been required to contribute a few bucks to cover the expenses of the people that work on their behalf.

    The Post has definitely gone downhill since Singleton took over. This latest nonsense is blatant yellow journalism, plain and simple. Singleton ought to be ashamed of himself.

    1. Big Money Denver  is feeling its oats.  How dare Ritter act independently…BMD is pissed.  When they buy something, it is supposed to stay bought. 

      Who’d thought that little billy ritter would have some balls….let us see what happens.  Let us see who in the Democratic party comes to his defense…..let us see what hickenlooper does….let us see what Gallagher does….my bet: nada.

      The Post and the Rocky “swiftboated” Mcbride (school board candidate) and not one Democrat rose to his defense…

      Jimmie job bob spenser was on CISO and said he was  a little disappointed that there was no opposition to the tax increase.  Said he would have liked to have seen “some opposition, ” as if he were just ordering a little more sweetner for his ice tea…….Look at the list of donners to the vote yes on A – I
      and you will see who runs Denver….Jimmy Hoffa is not on the list…jimmie joe bob welcome to the real west.

      This place is so sewed up, dickie wadhams may be able to outsource next year’s Colorado election and hired himself out of state for the big ones…

  9. I’m not sure why anyone is surprised by this XO.

    The front-page article that accompanied the editorial reported that unions gave Ritter’s campaign $213,040.  People don’t give money to politicians (Ds or Rs) without some expectation of a return.

    There are two good web sites that track campaign contributions

    http://www.followthe… tracks contributions to state races

    http://www.opensecre… tracks contributions to federal races.

    1. I give money to politicians.  The return I expect is that they will vote their conscience and represent their district to the best of their ability.  I can’t imagine I’m alone.

  10. I love watching all the Ds on this blog spin themselves around like they are competing in an dizzy bat race!  The Dever Post, the liberal, endorsing every Democrat they can in the state legislature, Denver F@#$ing Post just beat the snot out of Ritter!  I almost had a heart attack when I read the paper this morning!  I say GOOD FOR THE DENVER POST!

    If Ritter wanted to bring a “new day for labor” or whatever his touchy feely BS is for his latest labor payoff, let him and his majority party do it at the legislature.  Waiting until Friday afternoon, in hopes no one was paying attention is just plain wrong and the Post at least had the courage to call him on it.

    This is just a plain bad policy, and even the liberals at the Post know it. 

    I also am entertained by the fact that Pols is leading the charge on the Spin machine.  Why not just title your post, “Democrat Blog rushes to Defend Gov. Ritter and Big Labor!”

    1. And as correct as it is, it makes me nervous that the Post would actually get one right.  Remember, this follows the La Raza press release earlier in the week that the post masqueraded as “news”.

      At least they were up front about the fact that it was an  editorial.

      Man, I love seeing all of you libs scream like mashed cats when the media treats you for one day like it treats Republicans the other 364.  Cheers!

      1. You’d be singing a very different tune if the editorial had been very pro-Ritter, and would criticize it being on the front page. There’d be no “At least they were upfront about the fact that it was an editorial” from you.

        If you’d say the opposite if the shoe’s on the other foot, then you’re letting politics get ahead of what’s wrong here.

        1. I would say that I disagree with the vast majority of editorials written by the Post, so no, I don’t think I would be spinning quite as much as all you libs.  Welcome to the Republican world, where most the media hates your positions and hits you as much as possible.

          After living through GWB and the past R congress, I am pretty numb to bad press, particularly on the editorial page. 

          1. You think all of the “liberal media” hates your positions and hits you as much as possible, more like your positions are so Radical, Right Winged and WACKO that a majority of people don’t agree with you and maybe thats why you think everyone is out to get you.

            Especially when you consider your GWB and past R Congress comment,utter ineptitude at its best. Must be hard to defend πŸ˜‰

        2. To be honest with you, I think it’s not such a bad deal.  As long as there’s no binding salary arbitration, I’m not too worried about it.  Plus, the next ‘R’ Gov (2010?) can toss the EO out the window in his or her first ten seconds in office – which they most certainly will.

          I actually like Ritter.  I’ve worked with him on a couple of projects over the years and I think he’s a really good man. I’ll most likely vote against him depending on who runs, but he’s no boogieman.  It’s possible that this hybrid he’s proposing might actually *gasp* make government workers more productive in some way, which would truly be a miracle.

          That’s why the Post editorial really confused me.  The Post is undeniably far to the left (unless you’re prone to referring to business with moronic labels like ‘robber barons’, then, I’m sure nearly everything you read seems to the right). The editorial was also pretty silly in its comparison of Ritter to Hoffa. Ritter was a great DA and understands right and wrong – Hoffa was a crook, like his son, and understood criminally leveraging people and greed.

          BTW I’m not posting as Monkey Business, but I’m willing to teach him/her the secret handshake.

          1. then it must be on other issues.

            Things are going to have to get pretty ugly for Ritter to lose in 2010. But I certainly don’t see this as doing much to hurt him statewide. It will have to be a superb failure to do that (say, all the state workers go on strike at once – just off the top of my head). Right now, there’s no reason to foresee Ritter not being re-elected. But 3 years is a long time…

            1. I was just throwing that out there to be a smartass.  As I said, I like the guy.

              It will be interesting to see how his re-election pocketbook is affected with all this union nonsense. 

              I mean, really, I’m amazed that the unions aren’t freaking out about how they were hosed in this deal.  This EO has nothing in it that guarantees the unions anything more than a seat at some committee meetings and the ability to try to intimidate some more government workers.

              No strike, no arbitration, no financial guarantees, and an absolute guarantee that the next Republican Governor will rescind the EO, and that there will probably be a right-to-work offering on the next ballot that stands a strong chance of passing.

              Plus, just look at the outrage and chicken-little-ism it caused among the far lefties here!  Awesome!

              It was a dumb, poorly written editorial by the Post.  Par for the course, eh?

  11. The last time I saw a front page editorial was when I was living in Oklahoma in 1992.  Then, the rabid right-wing “Daily Oklahoman” of Oklahoma City ran a front page editorial on election day imploring the voters to vote for Bush (I).

    This Denver Post editorial is obviously the work of Dean Singleton.  I remember when the Post endorsed Bush (II) in 2004.  Then, Singleton had ordered all his papers to endorse Bush, and the Post board had to come up with reasons why.  I think this one may have been written by Singleton himself, judging from the tone.  Jimmy Hoffa?  Talk about hyperbole.

  12. When Coloradans picked up the Denver Post Sunday, they thought they were getting a local cowtown version of USA Today – but more boring, and with even more insipid graphic design. Instead, they got Josef Goebbels.

    1. Throwing around Nazi comparisons based on an op-ed piece in a newspaper is really offensive and completely off base. Maybe you should take a deep breath.

        1. It was a goofy comparison, but Hoffa was a crook, not a member of a cabal of the worst mass-murderers in modern history.  I’m with David.  You lose.

      1. Did no one see that I was paraphrasing Singleton’s wildly hysterical piece? I must work on being less sophisticated. Or obtuse.

        I considered using William Randolph Hearst instead of Goebbels, but Hearst didn’t seem quite nasty enough. I mean, comparing Ritter to Jimmy Hoffa: puh-leeze.

  13. Why should anyone be upset about a front page editorial in the Post, intemperate or otherwise? Discerning readers have known for years that neither the Post nor the News is worth picking up. Second, this public tantrum over a piddling issue is further proof–as if any were needed–that the Post is purely amateur hour. The sad thing, I suppose, is that no other paper in Colorado is any better or more sophisticated. Check out the Post’s “homepage” list of headlines sometime to get a flavor of how its online editors rank stories in importance. It can be very funny for those who don’t care about having a credible newspaper headquartered in the state.

    1. Here in Sarasota we have only the NYT owned Herald-Tribune.  What a joke.  My parents subscribed to the Miami Herald for many years but they stopped delivery in this town about 20 years ago.  My folks had withdrawal seizures.

      Most of the columnists in the H-T write at a high school level, and despite a wealthy and educated demographic, the letters are sophomoric if not outright idiotic.

  14. What did the Governor’s office do to the Post? This is such a personal attack there is clearly more at work here than just opposition to the EO.

    Also, did the Gov’s office know this was coming? How would you like to be Evan Dreyer and get blindsided by this on a Sunday morning? Ouch.

      1. The Post has done a major layoff of union employees.  I wonder if Singleton is really feeling it in the pocketbook and just lashed out at the first target he legtimately could do  and that was Ritter.

        There is something going on with the Denver Newspaper Agency.  The papers are not delivered even close to stated time.  The “swiftboating” of the Board of Ed candidates was bizarre because it was so out of time and space. 

        I don’t know, maybe it is not big time big money talking, maybe Singleton is losing a whole lot of money and trying to get his last licks in before everything goes belly up….maybe ur right, he is just personally pissed at something…

        1. I really LOVE “The Hub.” It’s revolutionizing journalism as we know it.

          I can’t get enough of those canned articles written by homeowner’s associations, parent-teacher organizations and Rotary Clubs.

  15. Can someone explain something to me please. How does something that doesn’t raise costs for the state, only affects state workers, and has no teeth, hurt ANYBODY? Seriously. This isn’t anti-business because it doesn’t affect business. Business is private. This is a public decision. Ritter is the executive for the state and he made an executive decision affecting state employees. I don’t get it.

    1. Although no one is explicitly stating it (except maybe AS), the ‘pubs and the other anti-union types are afraid that this will mean much more sweeping labor policy changes that will give unions greater power here. It’s like the SCHIP opponents scared of “Hillarycare.” They think it’s the first step, a signal that that’s where they’re headed. So they want to stop it in its tracks.

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