Radio Interviewers Should Have Questioned Coffman After Comparing VA to ISIS

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

On Friday, after Rep. Mike Coffman suggested that if leaders of the Veterans Administration were put in charge of ISIS, they would be too incompetent to keep track of beheadings, neither of the radio hosts who conducted the interview questioned Coffman about whether the Congressman’s comments were appropriate.

Instead, Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, the co-hosts of KOA 850-AM’s Colorado’s Morning News, reacted this with:

Tubbs: I don’t know what they’re putting in your orange juice back there.
Zesbaugh: [laughing] He’s on a roll! …It felt like a little stand-up there from the Congressman for a little bit.

Asked whether he thought he took Coffman’s comments too lightly, Tubbs emailed me:

Tubbs: “I was surprised by the Congressman’s remark at the very end of our interview, thus my comment. If someone is concerned with what Congressman Coffman said, they should contact his office.”

Tubbs, who’s a serious advocate (on and off the air) for American troops, was right to express his surprise at Coffman’s comments, which have been criticized by the Veterans Administration.

But he also should have questioned Coffman directly about the appropriateness of the remark. Tubbs has shown he’s not shy of asking tough questions, once asking Coffman,who was avoiding reporters at the time, about Coffman’s comment that Obama is not an American “in his heart.”

As it is, in part because Coffman wasn’t questioned during the KOA interview Friday, we’re now only hearing from a Coffman spokesman who told Buzzfeed that Coffman’s VA-ISIS comments were, “a controversy only with liberals and the Washington outrage machine. His sarcastic point was obvious – the VA is an organizational disaster.”

During the KOA interview, Coffman said:

Coffman: It’s too bad we can’t take VA leadership and export it and give it to some of our adversaries around the planet. Let them suffer under the VA’s leadership. Can you imagine if the VA was in charge of ISIS? They’d probably say, “Well, you know it wasn’t quite 2,000 that we beheaded – it was really 24 is the accurate number. We’re sorry that, in fact, they were all our own terrorists that were beheaded because they got missclassified in the system as Christians. I mean, that would be [chuckles] the VA, that would be the VA in charge of ISIS.

Yesterday, the Veteran’s Administration issued a statement saying Coffman’s comments “do not belong in our public discourse.”

“Veterans and VA employees find [Coffman’s comments] highly offensive,” said the VA’s statement on the matter. “(VA) Secretary (Robert) McDonald has spoken to Representative Coffman,”

Tubbs and Zesbaugh should have Coffman back on their morning show to discuss the controversy over the Congressman’s “sarcastic point,” as his spokesman put it.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    The 2 newsreaders are wage slaves who must serve Clear Channel's corporate political goals first and foremost. They can't question even the most heinous comment from people like Coffman. Nor can they stray from the philosophies repeated daily on the air by Rosen or Limbaugh, even as Limbaugh has financially decimated Clear Channel and its various owners. Jason asks April and Steffan to sign their resignations by urging them to question Coffman. 

    • scarter says:

      What advertising agency thinks that these talk shows attract the kind of listeners who would buy anything but prune juice?  I'm surprised that they have any sponsors left.

      • mamajama55 says:

        When I worked construction (yes, I've had a checkered career), all we ever listened to in the trucks or on site were these right wing talk shows. And I would do my best to counter their arguments, and would sometimes get to put on progressive talk , which back then was pretty much Alan Berg….but, y'know….I wasn't taken seriously.

        But these were guys in their 20s and 30s, now in their 40s and 50s, so plenty of years left.

        Not all of them were right wingers – there were some independent minded  people there – in fact, most were. But talk shows helped the time go by the best, so this is what we listened to.

  2. gertie97 says:

    They're partisan hacks, Jason. The goal is to feed the demographic the station seeks by feeding raw meat. This they do. I can't understand why you won't get this.

  3. mamajama55 says:

    It's still worthwhile to point out what real journalists should be doing – since these people co anchor a show called Colorado Morning News. Just because so many ignore the standards doesn't mean that the standards are ridiculous, nor that "news anchors" should not be held to them.

  4. gertie97 says:

    They're not real journalists. Radio news does not exist any more, except on NPR and its affiliates. The others are all hacks, no matter what spectrum they're coming from.

  5. Voyageur says:

    I know we live in an era of manufactured outrage and faux indignation.   But I actually found Coffman's Swift-style satire amusing.  The notion of wishing VA style incompetence upon our worst enemies actually has historical roots.  Hermann Goering probably did more to help the allies win World War II than any other person, mainly by gathering strings to a great many power sources, including the Luftwaffe, and screwing them all up.  Albert Speer's competence, in contrast, cost many American lives.  

    Guys, once in a while, we ought to just laugh at something and not try to grind a political axe with it.   I'll happily back Morgan Carroll as a brilliant woman and a reasonable politician, but I don't have to hate Mike Coffman to do so.

  6. notaskinnycook says:

    I don't hate him, I just think he's a dull tool and sympathize with my mother, who has to put up with him as her Congress-critter. She still misses Ed.

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