Ambush in the Public Interest

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

votersbelieveliesIn an online Denver Post op-ed yesterday, I urged reporters to seek out and interview hiding politicians. I gave some recent Colorado examples, like Rep. Mike Coffman hiding from reporters after he said he wasn’t sure Obama was an American.

On Twitter, former CU regent Tom Lucero, a Republican, told me I left out instances of Democrats hiding from reporters, but he won’t provide me with any examples, saying he doesn’t want to do my “job.”

Too bad, because I’d like to see his examples, and I’m sure they exist. But I couldn’t think of many in recent memory (I mentioned Udall)–and my piece focused on Colorado reporting.

In any case, I wish Lucero would work with me, because if journalists did this more often, it would benefit all of us.

The ambush interview shouldn’t be relegated to showboaters like Bill O’Reilly and consumer reporters, like (mostly) the investigative units at 9News and channel 7.

In my piece, I quoted Eli Stokols, who told the Columbia Journalism Review in March that among Colorado reporters, “There seems to be a reluctance to hold people accountable for policy positions.”

I wrote in The Post:

What’s not to like about that suggestion, regardless of where you sit on the partisan spectrum? But how to do it?

One simple way is to not let public officials hide out and avoid answering questions. Journalists should track them down and force them to respond.

For example, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is under fire for telling conservative radio-host Mike Rosen he did not support a proposed law to bolster Colorado’s public pension program when, in fact, he did support the legislation.

What are other examples from any politician in Colorado?

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    Eli did okay against Gardner, but I really came to respect Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman last year too. They say Clark is arrogant, but I think he just doesn't take any shit from liar politicians like Gardner and Coffman. And I like it.

  2. Zappatero says:

    Has anyone asked Michael Bennet to clarify his votes on TPA, TPP, what benefits they will bring to Coloradans, and what urgency there is to pass more trade laws while American corporations are doing better than ever?

  3. Zappatero says:

    A better one for Bennet might be "Did the campaign contributions totaling more than $53,000 from companies who stand to benefit from these newest trade deals affect your decisions on how to vote? If they did affect your vote, would you define that as "political corruption"?

    From the story:

    Bennet, Murray, and Wyden – all running for re-election in 2016 – received $105,900 between the three of them. Bennet, who comes from the more purple state of Colorado, got $53,700 in corporate campaign donations between January and March 2015, according to Channing’s research.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    Governor Dick Lamm (D) made it into the hall of shame for his "duty to die" comment in 1984. The press jumped on it, and hounded him about it for decades. He always maintained that he was misunderstood, and that it his remarks were "taken out of context." He  also made statements in 2005 that were virulently anti-immigrant, anti-bilingual, anti multicultural understanding, if not downright racist, although that was considered acceptable at the time. He only got limited pushback, no "ambush" interviews that I recall. Lamm became something of a right-wing hero after that.

    He currently teaches Public Policy at DU. I'd bet that his students still give him a hard time about some of his previous speeches and remarks.

    • Canines says:

      Folk song by Tom Paxton:

      "Come And Grow Old With Me In Colorado"

      Governor Lamm spoke to old folks in Colorado, little darling
      Did you hear what the governor had to say?
      If you're growing too old in Colorado, little darling
      You should die and get out of the way

      Come and grow old with me in Colorado, little darling
      We'll grow old together me and you
      And when we grow too old in Colorado, little darling
      We'll do what the governor wants us to

      We'll stick our heads in the oven in Colorado, little darling
      We'll go out together, you and I
      We will each strike a match in Colorado, little darling
      We'll blow ourselves Rocky Mountain High

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