Chuck Plunkett Defends Hack Masquerading As “Journalist”

Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett.

Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett.

A very strange story written by Denver Post political editor Chuck Plunkett last Friday could result in even more credibility damage to the state's biggest newspaper. As our readers will recall, a freelance local reporter named Art Kane had a contract to write stories about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Colorado for the Denver Post earlier this year. As we covered in detail, those stories were replete with factual errors, necessitating repeated corrections by the Denver Post. Kane's grant from Kaiser Health News was not renewed, and he subsequently went to work for a conservative "news" site called–writing much more straightforward political hit pieces for an outlet not concerned with things like accuracy.

And that's where, as Plunkett picks up the story Friday, things get stupid:

Arthur Kane, an award-winning journalist, posted a first-person account Friday of an encounter with the Hickenlooper campaign in which he says he was threatened with arrest.

Kane is a former Denver Post reporter and former Channel 7 investigative executive producer whose new gig is with the libertarian-leaning

Full stop. "Libertarian-leaning?" This is something we've noticed with Plunkett: the words "libertarian" or "liberty movement" are frequent code words for conservative political groups he likes–as opposed to the much more appropriate descriptor "Republican-leaning," which would be accurate even if it turns off half his readers. But that's not the worst part: as we suspect Plunkett knows very well, can be traced directly back to allies of Gov. John Hickenlooper's Republican opponent Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez. is operated by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a conservative nonprofit group. The Denver Post reported in their own profile of Beauprez that he was paid over $100,000 by a group called the John Hancock Commttee for the States since 2009 to advocate for the Tea Party and conservative causes. Therein lies the connection: The John Hancock Committee for the States and the Franklin Center were both launched in 2009 by another conservative group called the Sam Adams Alliance, which supplied millions of dollars in funding for each group. The organizations have many individuals in common, including board members and employees.

In short, a "media outlet," created by the same organization that also started and funded the group that paid Bob Beauprez to advocate for them, is now attacking Beauprez's opponent in the gubernatorial race. And the political editor of the Denver Post is openly running cover for their actions, omitting crucial details about the clear connections between these groups.

Kane told me that after seeing the governor at the public event Friday he stopped by the campaign’s headquarters and talked to spokesman Eddie Stern.

Ultimately, Kane reports, Stern asked him to leave, and when he did not, Stern began calling the police. At that point, Kane, who recorded the encounter, left.

“It’s just a ridiculous way to handle the press,” Kane told me Friday.

The answer, if you know all the details that Plunkett omitted, is simple: Art Kane is not "the press." Kane is a paid political operative on the same level as a campaign tracker, working in the service of Hickenlooper's opponents. We have no idea why Plunkett would try to blow up this story into a "journalism" issue, but it's just silly: Hickenlooper's campaign office is located on private property. If employees in that office ask for someone to leave said private property and that person refuses, as Plunkett describes having happened here, the appropriate thing to do is call the police. We would say call the police even if it's a reporter–and definitely if it's just a discredited hack working for a right-wing blog.

By putting his credibility on the line in defense of Art Kane, Plunkett debased the real journalism his newspaper is responsible for providing their readers. This may not be the first such incident for Plunkett, but it's one of the most egregious. And as we've said before, the people of Colorado deserve better from our newspaper of record.

29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Good God, this is such an embarrassment for the Denver Post. Please send Plunkett back to the Scaife right wing media empire from whence he came.

  2. Moderatus says:

    And WHAT ARE YOU, POLS? You are partisan political hacks too. Glass houses.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Actually, they are cheerleaders, which is why they should change the name to

      Mod, kind of fun watching the train wreck of Udall and Romanoff and seeing their apologists' delusions come crashing down.

      • Moderatus says:

        It is fun, especially watching their hypocrisy come back to bite them.

        • JeffcoBlue says:

          I've been reading here since '07. You two are the shittiest troll crew we have ever had at Colorado Pols.

        • mamajama55 says:

          That screenshot  of your predictions will come back to haunt you, Things 1 and 2.

          In other news:

          I'm now working with refugee kids from all over the world. Many refugee kids have never gone to school before starting school in the US..

          Here's a difference in their personal stories: Regular American kids, when asked to write a paragraph about their likes and dislikes, say that they like ice cream, pizza, playing soccer, and their pet. They dislike mean people, uniforms, and seating charts.

          A refugee kid says that he doesn't like seeing people die, and he likes being able to come to school for free. He also, at the age of 13, doesn't want to have to kill anyone. His home country recruits child soldiers.

          Put the Gardner endorsement in perspective much?

          • notaskinnycook says:

            Sounds like you're putting your talents where they're most needed. MJ. It also sounds like you're enjoying your new job. Hurray!

          • MichaelBowman says:

            I want to personally thank you for your work, MamaJ – both on and off the political field.  You are an inspiration and a reflection of the core progressive values we should all aspire to. 

            Recently Pope Francis challenged Catholics with this..

            “This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense your concern not only for your fellow man, but is also a fisher of men.

            So while Bob hides behind his locked doors in his gated communities and promotes the return of these children to their homeland, a virtual death sentence – and while the Congressman carries the water for never-enough billionaires, you are doing the real work

            I couldn't be prouder to call you friend. 

            • mamajama55 says:

              Thanks, Michael and Cook!

              I'm enjoying my new students immensely. They come from all over the world, and have fascinating viewpoints from their own cultures.

              You're right about keeping the big picture in mind, too… in our political races, Gardner, Lamborn, Klingenschmitt, et al,  are happy to gin up fear and hate for the little girls who play soccer in hijabs, the solemn little boys who won't eat pork, the Russians and Thai and Hondurans whose parents work two jobs each and make it to every parent conference, even if they don't understand a word of what's said.

              To our trolls and GOP candidates, these youngsters are just foreigners, all "other",  who should be met at the border with rage and rejection, guns and drones. The kids are just to be used as props to gin up Ebola hysteria and prayer-rug terrors, all step-stools in  the climb to political power and control.




    • gertie97 says:


      The dead govs don't claim to be real journalists.

      There is a difference, whether you'd bright enough to see it or not.


  3. Andrew Carnegie says:

    Actually it was an embarrassment for Udall.

    The Denver Post endorsed Udall in 2008, Obama in 2008, Bennet in 2010, Obama in 2012 and now Gardner in 2014.

    Udall is behind in the polls.  The national party is pulling its money and the state's largest newspaper endorses his opponent.

    The NRSC is putting $6 million more in the North Carolina race, which has been polling better for the Dems than Colorado.  They would not be doing that if they felt it was needed in Colorado.

    If you want to know what is really going on, follow the money.

    • denverco says:

      Yes , just like the Dems are doing in South Dakota and Kansas – follow the money.

    • denverco says:

      The post also endorsed bush, so what is the feeble point you are trying to make?

    • JBJK16 says:

      Follow the money?

      I offered to wager $100, $500' then $1000 with you that you are wrong.  You never replied.

      The money says you have no confidence in your candidates, your party, your claims. The money says you are a hired shill, for whom elections are about nothing more tha n bullshit partisan hackery and games.  You make me sick.

      You are the worst kind of election activist: full of partisan hackery, pontless horse shit, with a desire to suppress turnout and discourage opposition from voting. You do not believe in America and The Constitution.

  4. JeffcoBlue says:

    Between this and the nationally panned Gardner endorsement, the Denver Post has gone completely to hell with three weeks left to go. How many subscriptions have they lost since Friday I wonder?

  5. Algernon Moncrief says:

    “The aura of journalism’s lower slopes hung round him like a vapour.”

    Anthony Powell


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