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May 22, 2017 02:09 PM UTC

FOX News Just Makes Stuff Up About Durango, Colorado

  • by: Colorado Pols
FOX News reporter Joseph Kolb.

Locals in the picturesque southwest Colorado town of Durango wondered what “Durango” FOX News was talking about, as the Herald’s Shane Benjamin reports:

The story, headlined “Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet,” was the most-read U.S. story Wednesday on

It was written by Joseph J. Kolb, a Fox contributor who was in town for a soccer shootout last weekend, according to those he interviewed. For his 850-word piece, Kolb quoted five sources: a man holding a cardboard sign; a gift shop manager; an anonymous hotel clerk; Durango Police Chief Kamran Afzal; and Tim Walsworth, executive director of Durango Business Improvement District,

In an interview Wednesday, Walsworth took exception with Kolb and his story, saying the reporter barely identified himself, omitted comments that didn’t fit his angle and based the article on a few opinions. The result was a superficial glance at an issue in a community the writer was passing through, those who talked to him said.

“I question the credibility of the reporter,” Walsworth said.

And he wasn’t the only one:

“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets,” [gift shop owner Caleb] Preston was quoted as saying. “The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”

Preston said he didn’t say those exact words, and his comments centered around the idea that panhandling has risen to the forefront of public discourse; not that the problem has become worse. [Pols emphasis]

The consensus seems to be that FOX News reporter Joseph Kolb was determined to write a story about how legal marijuana had turned Durango into a “haven for recreational pot users” regardless of what local sources actually told him. And sure enough, Kolb’s portrayal of Durango is nothing any of us who have been there would recognize:

The picturesque town near the New Mexico border, once a vibrant, upscale community dotted with luxury hotels, is being overrun by panhandlers – thanks, in part, to the legalization of marijuana.

The town suddenly became a haven for recreational pot users, drawing in transients, panhandlers and a large number of homeless drug addicts, according to officials and business owners. Many are coming from New Mexico, Arizona and even New York.

So folks, let us reassure from personal experience that Durango is very much still a “vibrant, upscale community,” and the luxury hotels are busy in all four seasons. We recommend the historic Strater Hotel downtown, though it’s far from the only choice. There is absolutely no appearance along Durango’s Main Avenue that the place is being “overrun” by homeless folks in town for pot or anything else.

In short, the entire story is textbook FOX News cockamamie bullshit. We sincerely hope this misinformation doesn’t do anything to harm Durango’s tourism economy–and to help make sure it doesn’t, we’re booking a weekend at the Strater. We encourage you all to do the same.


20 thoughts on “FOX News Just Makes Stuff Up About Durango, Colorado

    1. Have you been to Durango?

      I've traveled to Durango twice this year spending a total of four days there and I stayed in a downtown hotel. I didn't see one panhandler or vagrant on the streets morning, noon or at night. 

      Have you checked the real estate listings for Durango. The prices are so high people on average salaries can no longer afford to buy homes in that community. It is becoming more upscale than ever before.


      1. Durango is a total cesspit …

        Moderatus (and all other right-thinking Republicans) should stay the hell away . . .

        . . . far away

        . . . far, far away

    2. Whoa!!!! Moldy cites something!!!

      Too bad it shows you to be a judgemental prick.  But it's progress.

      So, Moldy, os it better to be a middle aged traitor to America who lives in his Mother's basement than be homeless?


      Now get me my ACA and Russia articles Moldy.  Chop chop.

    3. Moddy – here's a little advice:

      “As adults we try to relax from the never-ending quest for reason and order by drinking a little whiskey or smoking whatever works for us, but the wisdom isn't in the whiskey or the smoke. The wisdom is in the moments when the madness slips away and we remember the basics.”
      ~ Willie Nelson

  1. Did you contact the reporter or just make up your own version that is counter to the report. I bet he would stand by the story if you bothered to get his response.

  2. Someone posted the Durango article to a Facebook page I admin, saying they hope this doesn't happen to OUR nice little town (one of the worst in the area for heroin and meth addiction). I shared the link to this story, then added this as an appeal to reason. (Feel free to share or write up a version of your own, if you like!)


    I think it's been obvious for a while that the general public is no longer all seeing the same news coverage. It's human nature to want to only see and hear things that we already feel in tune with, and the media companies have taken full advantage of that.

    My suggestion is to treat news sources like you would the water supply at your sinks. All cold water is okay sometimes, but other times, a mix is a lot more usable. All HOT water is actually dangerous for you! 🙂 So learn to get a good mix, and you will be in good shape!


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