Search Results for: boyles

GOP leader says Colorado Republicans are separated by a wide “chasm”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

KNUS' Steve Kelley put some good questions to GOP Rep. Kathleen Conti Friday:

Steve Kelley: What's the state of affairs of the Republican Party of Colorado?

Kathleen Conti: Well, the Republican Party is—you know, we have just a strong chasm. You know, there’s those on the far right. And there’s those on the not-so-far right. And it seems to me sometimes that our chasm is a little bit wider than those on the Democratic side….

Kelley: Is the Republican Party [as Peter Boyles says] an ugly baby right now in Colorado?

Conti: I certainly hope not….

Conti raises a good question, and Kelley should get into it with her on a future show. Which party in Colorado has a wider chasm?

Conti is the Republicans' Minority Caucus Chair in the State House, so she knows what she's talking about. Her party consists of a sharply divided "far right" and "not-so-far right." Those in the center and left-leaning are so scant as to be irrelevant. 

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Post’s Singleton says GOP “dead” in CO, Udall will win big, next CO Attorney General will be Dem, and more!

(Hmm – promoted by Colorado Pols)

I can see the veins bulging out on the necks of conservatives across Colorado when they hear that Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton thinks the Republican Party is "dead in Colorado" and that he doesn't expect to see another Republican president elected in the United States in his lifetime.

If that's not vein-popping enough, Singleton went on to say that Udall will win big in 2014, Colorado's next Attorney General will be a Democrat, and there's no one in the United States of America who won't take his phone call.

That's what Singleton told KHOW's Peter Boyles March 1 during the 6 a.m. hour:

Boyles: The Republican Party, for all intents and purposes, is dead.

Singleton: I think it's in trouble nationally. It's not in trouble locally. I mean, Republicans control 30 State Houses.

Boyles: But I'm talking about in Colorado.

Singleton: I think it's dead in Colorado.

Boyles: I think it's dead in the country.

Singleton: It's not dead–

Boyles: You think we'll ever have another Republican President in our lifetime?

Singleton: Ahh, no.

Boyles: I agree with you.

Singleton: And it really doesn't matter whom the Republicans put up. Republicans, in my view, won't win another presidency in our lifetime.

Listen to Dean Singleton tells Boyles GOP is dead in CO 3-1-2013

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Tancredo fits nicely in the talk-radio bubble as he trashes immigration reform proposals

I was looking forward to hearing former Rep. Tom Tancredo on talk-radio radio, after Obama’s announcement yesterday, and he didn’t disappoint.

He appeared on KNUS’ Kelley and Company, KHOW’s Peter Boyles show, and KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado, where he called the Senate immigration deal a “Republican suicide pact” that “opens the door for millions who will not vote for us.”

On KLZ, Tancredo said Republicans are “smoking the substance I haven’t tried” if they think a softer immigration stance will move Latino voters to the GOP.

He got into more detail with his immigration soul mate Boyles this morning, and here’s an entertaining taste of their conversation.

TANCREDO: The Republican Party, I don’t know, it’s on its last legs, I think.

BOYLES: I do, too. It’s on life support, right now, and it should be.

TANCREDO: Yeah! Honestly, for so long, it has tried to play this game of stealing the page out of the other guy’s playbook, and just being a little bit, you know, a ‘Democrat Lite’ on a lot of issues, and spending like crazy.

BOYLES: You see that now they are going to make a deal on immigration.

TANCREDO: Of course, I saw it! Absolutely, I see it, and they think, they think–

BOYLES: –It’s going to help them.

TANCREDO: –that it’s going to help.

BOYLES: Yeah.

TANCREDO: You know, Pete, get this! In this last election, Romney only got 27% of Hispanic votes. Everybody goes, “Oh, my God! There, it [just] goes to show you, you’ve driven the Hispanics away!” The Republicans – do you know who got the lowest percentage of Republican votes in recent history in a presidential race? Bob Dole!

BOYLES: Yeah.

TANCREDO: Twenty-one percent!

BOYLES: Right.

TANCREDO: And what was the immigration issue then? None! Was he a hardliner on immigration? Absolutely not! It’s because he was a lousy candidate!

BOYLES: Exactly.

TANCREDO: We had the same situation, right?

BOYLES: Agreed. I agree.

TANCREDO: [Hispanics] don’t vote for Republicans because they are big government people, for the most part. Hispanics, God love them, I wish we could convince them, what they’re doing is trying to – Many people who have just come here, immigrants, are voting this way, are voting to put in place a situation here in America exactly like the one from which they ran.

BOYLES: I agree.

TANCREDO: You know what I mean? And that’s what we have to explain to them! And, when you ask Hispanics, over and over and over again, in poll after poll after poll, “What do you think the most important issue?” They never say immigration, unless you give it to them as one of the list, they don’t even put it on the list!

Tancredo’s appearance on Boyles’ show sounded a lot like the conversations elsewhere in radioland. That is, one sided. Shocking, I know, and also a shame because the Republican talk-show hosts might learn something if they popped the bubbles that surround them and talked to someone with different views than their own.

They might learn, for example, that Tancredo is right, insofar as Hispanics aren’t all about immigration, or even mostly. And Tancredo is correct that Hispanics wouldn’t like Tancredo or GOP talk-radio hosts, even if they favored a path to citizenship.

But here’s what Tancredo doesn’t understand. Hispanics are a lot like the rest of the American voting population whom Republicans need to win, and those people want immigration reform too, just as they want basic health care, reliable government, a safety net, good schools, basic opportunity, and so on.

Post’s style guide on usage of the phrase “illegal immigrant” raises questions

As an addendum to a shrill column by Ruben Navarette arguing that the term “illegal immigrant” should not be replaced by a phrase like “undocumented worker,”  The Denver Post Perspective section published The Post’s guidelines on how Post journalists should use the terms.

Unfortunately, the explanation apparantly only appeared in the print edition.

I was going to ask The Post to put it online, and I’m thinking its omission from the website was just an oversight, but before I did, I thought I’d put it out there for people to see. You can see it on Bigmedia.org here.

My question for The Post, which argues for the use of the term “illegal immigrant” to describe people without documentation, is this: what constitutes sufficient proof that an individual doesn’t have proper documentation?

If someone admits not having proper documentation? If immigration officials or police make this determination? If someone can’t produce documentation immediately? What’s the evidentiary standard?

It’s one thing to label the group of people who are presumably in the United States illegally as “illegal immigrants,” but it’s another to presume any single individual is an “illegal immigrant.”

Last year, Post City Editor Dana Coffield told me that The Post only refers to someone’s immigration status “when it becomes part of and material to the public record”–unlike talk-radio host Peter Boyles who dehumanizes himself and all of us by implying or asserting that someone with a Spanish surname is an “illegal.”

Anyway, I’ll ask The Post my question about its style guide next week, and I’ll include a few of the best questions from my readers, if you have any. Shoot them my way, if you do to tips@bigmedia.org.

Follow Jason Salzman on Twitter @bigmediablog

Why does CO Senate candidate think Obama should have been scratched from Georgia ballot?

(The Mike Coffman two-step? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Talking to KHOW’s Peter Boyles June 5, state Senate candidate John Sampson said it was unfortunate that a Georgia judge decided not to scratch Obama’s name from Georgia’s presidential ballot for the upcoming election.

Sampson said the judge should have issued a default decision against Obama for failing to appear in court in person to defend himself in a case brought by some of America’s five-star birthers (though Boyles not among them).

Yet Sampson was on KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado July 5 saying he had no position on Obama’s eligibility, even though he previously said he thought Obama’s  name should be off the Georgia ballot and he was hired by the birthers to testify against Obama.

Sampson told KLZ he was hired by the birthers to testify; he was an expert witness with no opinion. He described his court testimony this way:

Sampson: “I did the Joe Friday routine, ‘it’s just the facts, ma’am.’ There was no opinion in that. I was asked to do a job. I did a job. And regardless of what people think, or what their opinions are, it doesn’t change the facts.”

All Sampson knows, he said, is that:

Sampson: Mr. Obama is using his social security number that was issued to somebody residing in Connecticut in March of 1977. And there is no connection ever documented between Mr. Obama and the state of Connecticut. So, the question is, how did it come to pass that he’s using that number?”

Snopes and others have debunked Sampson’s claim, and Worley should ask Sampson about the facts.

But who could possibly believe Sampson’s claim that he’s all about the facts on Obama’s SS number, and he has no opinion on Obama’s eligibility to be president, especially when Sampson stated his opinion on a previous radio show, claiming Obama should be, shall we say, purged, from the Georgia ballot?

I’m hoping KLZ host Jason Worley delves into this next time he sits down with Sampson.

Gardner’s partial defense of Coffman’s birther comments raises more questions for reporters

The story continues about Rep. Mike Coffman’s apology for saying Obama isn’t an American “in his heart.”

And when an apology drags on, questions rise up, like did he really want to apologize? Did he mean it? Who’s pressuring him? What’s wrong with him? Etc.

You recall that after 9News aired “Coffman’s Birther Moment,” Coffman first said he misspoke, and he apologized, but not fully, because he was defensive. Coffman stated:

COFFMAN: “I don’t believe the president shares my belief in American Exceptionalism. His policies reflect a philosophy that America is but one nation among many equals,” the statement read. “As a Marine, I believe America is unique and based on a core set of principles that make it superior to other nations.”

Then Coffman wrote a letter to The Denver Post with a full-out, nondefensive apology.

Later, when confronted by 9News, he apologized five times in a row, saying the same apologetic words unapologetically in response to five different questions, including, “Is there anything I can ask you that you’ll answer differently?”

Two days later, Coffman said on KHOW that “to some extent” he’d apologized for political reasons.

On KHOW, he also said of the birthers: “God bless those people; they’re well meaning people,” and he said, “I understand their passion.”

Meanwhile, Peter Boyles called Coffman’s apology “weenie”, and KNUS Steve Kelley was thinking the same thing, though he didn’t put it that way.

So, on June 8, to his credit, Kelley asked Rep. Cory Gardner what he thought about it:

KELLEY:  Listen, we haven’t spoken since – and I don’t want to drag you into this unnecessarily, but Congressman, your colleague Mike Coffman and his comments.  And I guess it speaks to on some level this whole idea of investigation and you know, qualifications and birther and Fast and Furious  – it’s all kind of bundled together which really causes one to question anything that goes on in this White House.  Have you talked to Congressman Coffman?  We cannot get him to get back on the air, here, and it frustrates me to no end.  I don’t know that he needed to apologize as vociferously as he did.  A comment on that, please.

GARDNER:  Well, you know I certainly talk to Mike Coffman and understand his frustration with the president.  I believe the President, as does Mike  Coffman, that the President is a citizen of the United States, born in this country.  I think what you saw was somebody who is extremely frustrated with the failed policies of this president that is actually making our economy worse.  You know, this country needed the president to succeed in 2008 when he was elected.  We’ve now seen forty months in a row where unemployment’s been at or above eight percent.  The jobs numbers that came out last week where unemployment actually increased.  Mike Coffman, myself, and others are all extremely frustrated with the failure of this president’s policies to move the country in the right direction.  And so, you know, I think he did what he felt was necessary, and I think he did the right thing.  But again, the issue in November is what we are going to do to move this country in the right direction.

Gardner is defending Coffman in a similar fashion as Coffman defended himself immediately after the story broke, saying Coffman did the right thing by apologizing, but implying that the underlying frustrations that Coffman has toward Obama might somehow explain or justify Coffman’s birther moment.

And Gardner’s apology/defense, which includes the line, “he did what he felt was necessary,” also harkens back to Coffman’s statement on KHOW, where Coffman acknowledge that his apology was motivated partially by political necessity.

The evolving apologies and strange behavior by Coffman, and his current position, which is one of silence and avoidance of reporters, points to the need for journalists to air out this issue fully with Coffman, when this becomes possible.

Obviously, this will happen at some point, probably sooner rather than later, and when it does, the full details of Coffman’s response to the 9News story, when it broke last month, as recounted above, should be covered.

CO Senate Candidate believes Obama should have been scratched from Georgia election ballot

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you’re a connoisseur of conspiracy theories, you know that consparicists take great pleasure in each other. They thrive in the closeness they achieve through their shared beliefs, especially because everyone else thinks they’re crazy.

That’s why talk radio is such a beautiful medium for conspiracists. The voices and emotion on talk radio, and the familiarity of the hosts and guests, create  a sense of  intimacy doesn’t exist on blogs or other media.

This is the kind of environment, as others have pointed out, that validates fringe beliefs, where the embattled can feel good about themselves.

As a case in point check out this discussion yesterday between KHOW’s Peter Boyles and John Sampson, a private investigator who’s also running for Colorado Senate District 25.

Sampson and Boyles were both selected by The Denver Post’s Curtis Hubbard as top birthers in Colorado. Sampson got the number five spot; Boyles hit pay dirt, snagging number one.

BOYLES: Well, so, congratulations on being number five.  You certainly deserve more than that.

SAMPSON:  Well, you know, I’ll leave you to be number one.

BOYLES:  You know, Terry [Lakin] … I mean, every one of you guys… I mean, I’ve tried to make this point.  Sampson, Hollister, Wolf, Doc Lakin … All you guys risked a hell of lot more than I ever did.  I just get up at three o’clock in the morning and do a radio show.  But Terry lost everything.  Phil Wolf took an enormous amount of heat.  Hollister took huge heat.  You’ve taken heat.  And, you know, and, you guys, well, set aside.

SAMPSON:  Well, we swore an oath to defend the Constitution, Peter, and that’s where my core value is.

BOYLES:  Long story short, I’m, I mean, like Sheik was saying, you know, we’re number one, but, truly, looking at you four guys, I don’t even belong on the list.  But…

SAMPSON:  Well,  you’ve been carrying the water, also.  I mean, you’ve been persistent covering this issue where others… where angel fear to tread… you know, it’s…

BOYLES:  It’s “Fools rush in.” [laughing]

SAMPSON:  Yeah.  Fools rush in.

See what I mean by embattled people feeling good about themselves? This is what talk radio does best.

The birthers are on the run (witness Rep. Mike Coffman), but there’s obviously a different reality on Peter Boyles’ radio show.

But Sampson is candidate for public office, and so media types should pull out some of the things he’s saying, extract them from the false reality of talk radio, and subject them to rationality.

In a previous radio interview, Sampson said, “I have not and do not have sufficient evidence that would warrant me to make a statement as to whether or not he is eligible or not eligible.”

But yesterday Sampson said on the radio, straight up, that he thought a George judge should have found President Obama ineligible to appear on the November ballot in Georgia. Sampson said that because the President of the United States did not make a personal appearance to defend himself against lunacy, Obama’s name should have been scratched from the ballot.

Discussing the Georgia case yesterday (And you can find a summary of it here, including a link to Sampson’s testimony at the trail.), Sampson had this exchange with Boyles:

SAMPSON:  And from what I had been told, the judge was indicating clearly, unequivocally, that he was going to issue a default judgment–

BOYLES:  Yes, against–

SAMPSON:  Against Mr. Obama.

BOYLES:  Yeah.

SAMPSON:   Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

Sampson said some other strange things on the show that merit scrutiny.

In a discussion of how Obama could have been issued a Social Security number that belonged to a Connecticut resident, which is what Sampson believes, Sampson, with no hint of humor in his voice, threw out this “rampant speculation:”

SAMPSON: You know, there’s been some rampant speculation that Bill Ayers and his wife, given their prior affiliation with the Weather Underground knew very well how to obtain counterfeit or false documents.

Sampson also believes there’s convincing evidence, even though he says we don’t know for sure, that Obama’s Selective Service records have been falsified:

SAMPSON:  Okay.   However, the Selective Service record that also has that Social Security Number of 042-68-4425 was purportedly filed by Mr. Obama in 1980.  But then again, you know, Zullo has very convincingly shown me, and has shown a bunch of people either in presentations or behind closed doors how he recreated that postal cancellation stamp, and there are problems with it.  But, you know, we don’t know.  We simply don’t know. And that’s where it’s a little problematic.  At some point, hopefully, the truth is going to come out, and we’ll see what happens.

As you can imagine, there’s much more where this came from. And if you like conspiracy theories or not, you should listen to it, especially if you happen to be a reporter and it’s your job to let the public know about Colorado Senate candidates.

Should elected officials talk to all journalists, progressive, conservative, or rabid?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: An early version of this post inaccurately attributed a Tomasic quote to Sirota. This might explain why Gessler avoids progressive journalists like me. My sincere apologies.

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Secretary of State Scott Gessler recently made an appearance Colorado’s flagship Tea-Party radio show, KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado.

I was jealous because Gessler’s office won’t talk to me, and it’s possible that even my audience of three people is bigger than KLZ’s.

But it made me feel a little bit better when I found out that Gessler’s also boycotting the Colorado Independent and AM760’s David Sirota show, as I’ll explain below.

Still, it raises the question of whether it makes any difference that a conservative elected official, not just Gessler but any of them, boycotts progressive media outlets. Or whether a progressive office holder should feel obligated to talk to conservative media types.

If I were Gessler, I’d look at the actual work of the journalist or media person who’s requesting the interview. If their work shows them to be unfair, inaccurate, and generally unconcerned about civil discourse, then an elected official can justify not talking to them.

For my part, I normally try to be fair, but I’m even more careful if I actually talk to someone.

I asked progressive columnist and talk-show host David Sirota for his thoughts on this broad topic. According to John Turk, producer of the David Sirota Show on AM 760, Gessler spokesman Rich Coolidge told him last week, just after Gessler appeared on Grassroots Radio Colorado, that Gessler had “no interest” in coming on Sirota’s show to talk about possible voter fraud.

Sirota emailed me:

My view is that the best elected officials are those who make themselves available to the widest possible audience of their constituents. In Colorado, though, that’s the exception (Ed Perlmutter is one for instance), not the norm. Here, most politicians see themselves – and carry themselves – as if they are part of an elite country club. They typically only make themselves available to their friends in the media who they know won’t ask them a single substantive or hard-hitting question – those who will simply propagandize for their agenda and kiss their ass in a very public way. I’m not surprised by that. I’m a journalist, and genuine journalism is a threat to those in power who are either ashamed of their behavior or who shouldn’t have to answer to anyone. Most of the politicians in the state know that regardless of party, I don’t pull punches and will ask them tough questions, and so many of them avoid my show. I see that as a badge of honor.

The Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic has also gotten the cold shoulder from Gessler. Tomasic offered these thoughts in an email:

The question of officeholder responsiveness matters mostly in its relationship to accountability.

It seems obvious that when people elected to office are willing to go on public record regularly on topics big and small and to field unscripted questions, it’s always a good sign for the city or state or country they’re serving. As any fair-minded person in a position of authority knows, explaining your actions means making the case for them. If you can do that well, you gain legitimacy for those actions and support for them and cooperation to bring off your grand plans.

The energy it takes to explain yourself, even in fraught political or business environments, is worth it.

Our secretary of state is a longtime controversial figure. It’s my opinion that he revels in it. He’s a courtroom attorney. I like that about him, the fact that he’s a fighter, if for no other reason than he’s fun to write about. Unfortunately, in office, it seems clear he is increasingly adopting what has become a familiar approach to the media on the right, which is to malign the media and retreat into a silo of friendly outlets while delivering an occasional stock quote to the paper of record. That just seems like a short-haul strategy to me.

Gessler is not a  representative from some very conservative district.

He is a state officeholder. The topics he deals with every day as secretary of state are enormously important for all the citizens of Colorado. He oversees voting, campaign finance rules– really basic stuff that is of equal interest to citizens all across the political spectrum. For that reason alone, he is a person of interest for everyone reporting about politics in this state: newspaper people, broadcast people, bloggers, etc, and he has a crack staff of communication experts at his disposal. Use them, I say! Let’s hear more every day from spokespeople Rich and Andrew at the secretary of state’s office. Turn those guys loose! “Free Rich!” “Free Andrew!”

Granted, the media is a player in the political process and dealing with the media as an elected official can certainly be like navigating a mine field. It’s only my opinion but, as someone who has watched this politics-media tug of war with keen interest for years and who has watched big political stories unfold from the inside, as an editor and reporter, I can say that the subjects of those stories would have nearly always fared better by talking to the reporters writing the stories.

I’m reporting on the war over voting laws that has taken the nation by storm in the past two years. Gessler has put himself on the frontlines of that war, proposing major changes to our state election rules. So I’ll keep asking questions. Maybe some day soon, I’ll get a response.

Meantime, I’m developing a cordial and, I must say, fruitful relationship with the secretary’s office conducted via the Colorado Open Records Act. It could be worse.

I’m ready to join the “Free Rich” campaign, and I’m thinking about offering myself up for the dunk tank at the first “Free Rich” fundraiser.

But as Tomasic illustrates, part of the trick of journalism is to find ways to get information when you can’t get it mouth-to-mouth. Who else knows? What documents are available? Getting blacklisted for interviews, even in an apparently partisan manner from the Secretary of State, is how it  goes.

And obviously both parties do this. Gov. John Hickenlooper won’t go on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show, the hosts allege on air. Though he’s on KOA’s Mike Rosen’s Show monthly.

Rep. Scott Tipton isn’t talking to the tea-party-leaning radio program, the Cari and Rob Show. But Tipton’s Democratic challenger Sal Pace will go on the show.

KHOW’s Peter Boyles likes to say no elected official will go on his show anymore, though I heard Rep. Chris Holbert and Sen. Ted Harvey on Boyles’ show Feb. 15 to discuss their gun bills.

Mitt Romney skipped over all the major Denver media last month, eliciting an admirable Howard-Beale-like outcry from Fox 31 political reporter Eli Stokols.

It’s always been this way, you’d say. But the changes in the media make the situation worse for real people (who stopped reading this blog post before the first paragraph, even though I put “rabid” in the title to lure them in).

With the major media in decline, and more small outlets lining up along ideological lines, many people are less likely to hear from elected officials they disagree with.

Progressives, for example, who consume news from progressive news outlets, won’t be hearing from Scott Gessler directly any time soon, it appears.

That’s not good, and you have to think it will get worse, because, politically, Gessler can write off the left, talk to his conservative base, and try to reach moderates through other means, which may or may not include The Denver Post in the long run.

Under this scenario, how does the partisan divide do anything but get wider?

To be fair, and this is my attempt at ending on a hopeful note, I should tell you that even after Gessler’s office rejected my own interview requests, Gessler was willing to speak with me when I approached him after a speech  he gave at Colorado Christian University. I told him I was a liberal blogger, and he still spoke with me.

In the semi-public setting, maybe he felt a responsibility, as an elected official, not to turn away from me?

But,  like Westword, I didn’t ask him the right follow-up question. Who knows if I’ll get another chance?

Should we ignore the crazy talk-radio hosts in our back yard?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

[Note to Pols readers who agree that it’s worth airing out the misinformation on talk radio: If you want to help me hold the shows accountable, please get in touch at tips@bigmedia.org.]

The media frenzy around Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comment last week, referring to a woman who believes birth control should be offered as part of her health insurance plan, makes you wonder whether we should ignore the right-wing whackadoos on the radio.

Obviously, insults run deep on the conservative airwaves, and you might think, about anything Limbaugh says, what else is new?

Limbaugh hit a nerve last week, but Rush-like comments aren’t uncommon from radio hosts in Colorado, too. And all over the country.

Should the major media, or the minor progressive media critic like me, ignore them, given the tiny audiences (mostly) who listen?

The Denver Post’s Joanne Ostrow wrote a good piece a couple weeks ago laying out different explanations for why conservatives dominate on talk radio and TV.

But she didn’t address the question of whether they deserve the attention of reporters, like her or me.

Should progressive journalists listen to their shows, shine the sun of the blogoshphere on what they’re saying, and hope the attention stops their insensitivity/hate/insults from infecting others and spreading underground? The assumption here is that educating the wider public about this stuff is a good thing.

Or does the light of day simply allow the worst of conservative talk to gain strength? The assumption being that publicity help these jokers get more people to listen to them.

But before we get to those questions, here are possible explanations, offered by Ostrow for why talk  radio and TV is dominated by conservatives: 1) the right is more hate-filled, and the angrier the rhetoric, the more people gravitate to it in the talk format, and 2) conservatives own more radio conglomerates, which provide the infrastructure that the left lacks.

I’m not sure what the reason is, but I tend to agree with Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers Magazine, whom Ostrow quoted her article as saying that the conservative audience is more alienated, more monolithic in its beliefs, and therefore more easily targeted than the liberal audience.

Ostrow reports that even though most of the radio airwaves are filled with righties, Denver’s David Sirota pulls a cumulative weekly audience of 115,000 on AM760, beating KHOW’s Peter Boyles by 2,000 listeners. But Sirota trails KOA’s Mike Rosen by 30,000 listeners.

At the end of her piece, Ostrow writes that even the best known talkers actually has very small niche audiences.

That would include Rush Limbaugh. In other words, their voices are loud and shrill, but few real people are listening.

Unless, of course, a righty talker like Limbaugh ignites a media frenzy like he did last week. Then his audience is massive.

So this leads back to the question, should we ignore our local Colorado yappers when they get ugly (e.g., Democrat Donna Brazile as “ignorant slut,” and Michele Obama as “Chewbacca,” kill all Iranians, Katrina victims who didn’t leave deserved their fate, etc. )

Or is the silent treatment the best way to fight back?

If you follow my blog, you know I’m on the side of listening and exposing them. That’s why I follow these talk shows and write about the misinformation, omissions, and rudeness you find there (not all the time, for sure, but too often).

I like to think that pulicizing the latest talk-radio outrage, and possibly educating some people about it, undermines the audience for it in the long run, though maybe a few more people are drawn to it in the short term.

Limbaugh’s idiocy last week proved my point. Now more people are educated about birth control, women, and Rush. More will dismiss the Limbaughs of the world when they say insulting or outrageous things about women who expect birth control to be covered by their health insurance. (OK, I know, Republican Greg Brophy stands behind the substance of Limbaugh’s comments, but still.,)

Limbaugh and his anti-woman cause lost ground last week–and advertisers.

And eventually Limbaugh and his allies in Colorado will lose their audience and their jobs, as they become more and more irrelevant, right? Or is that wishful thinking?

Tancredo assumes Gessler under some pressure to declare Obama ineligible for CO ballot

A Worldnet Daily article Tues. reported that there’s a “movement in Colorado petitioning Secretary of State Scott Gessler to remove Obama’s name from the ballot in November.”

Did this mean that activists here are trying to pass a law, like the one in Georgia and other states, requiring all political candidates to prove eligibility for office or get booted from the ballot?

In a case that had given gasps of air to the dying “birther movement,” an administrative law judge ruled Friday that Obama is a natural-born citizen, meeting the citizenship specifications for president and also meeting Georgia’s ballot eligibility requirements under a new state law pushed by birthers.

A handful of other states have similar laws. Was it true that Colorado could be added to the list?

I called Rep. Tom Tancredo, who has his finger on the birther pulse in Colorado, to find out.

“I have not heard about [a formal petition drive],” he told me. “When you say attempt to do so, I’m assuming that the Secretary of State has gotten messages, emails and calls from people saying do the same thing.”

I also spoke with John Sampson, a Colorado resident who was subpoenaed to testify in the Georgia trial. His testimony, as well as that of other witnesses, was thrown out because, according to the Georgia judge, the plaintiff’s attorney failed to establish Sampson and others as experts. Read his decision here.

Asked about the Worldnet story reporting that a “movement” was brewing here to pass a law similar to Georgia’s, Sampson, who’s running for Colorado Senate District 25, told me. “I’m vaguely familiar with it, but I’m not involved with it.” He had not further information.

I’ll continue to try to locate the folks, if any, who are pushing Secretary of State Scott Gessler to declare Obama ineligible for the Colorado ballot. Please send them my way, if you know who they are.

Meanwhile the Georgia decision in favor of Obama sent birthers in Colorado howling about (how did you guess?) conspiracy, with KHOW’s Peter Boyles and author (Where’s the Birth Certificate?) Jerome Corsi speculating this morning on Boyles’ show that the Democrats’ deep and wide influence in conservative Georgia got to the judge.

Radio hosts find Senate candidate’s link to Georgia birther trial, but let him deny his birtherness

(Exactly what the Colorado Senate needs! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Conservative talk radio is all aflutter about a trial underway in Florida to determine whether President Obama is eligible to appear on the election ballot there.

A Georgia law requires all candidates to prove they’re eligible for office, and this means presidential candidates must prove they’re U.S. citizens.

Such laws, now on the books in a handful of states, are the cutting edge tactic of the dregs of the birther movement, which will not accept that Obama is a U.S. citizen.

The case has a local connection in the name of John Sampson, a former immigration officer who retired in 2008 and also a candidate for Colorado Senate District 25, facing Sen. Mary Hodge.

Sampson told his story to an adoring audience on KLZ’s Grassroots Radio Colorado on Friday.

Sampson said on the radio that he was retained by a leader of the birther movement, Orly Taitz, whom he met in Lake Charles Illinois in November 2009, to investigate President Obama’s Social Security number, and he determined that Obama’s Social Security number was issued to a Connecticut resident in March of 1977.

Sampson tried hard but can’t find evidence that Obama was a citizen of Connecticut, ever.

“Why is [Obama] utilizing a Social Security number that was issued to somebody who was apparently living in Connecticut at the time it was issued?” Sampson asked on KLZ Friday.

Sampson flew to Georgia to present his evidence at the administrative court hearing, compelled, he says, by a subpoena to do so. He testified in court that there is “credible evidence to warrant further investigation” into Obama’s Social Security number and birth certificate. He also testified that he’d investigate Obama’s passport history.

Sampson was in court when another person who was subpoenaed failed to appear. That would be Obama, whose lawyers contend the President is under no legal obligation to testify.

As a souvenir for his trip to Georgia, Sampson got his photo in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a step up from the publicity he’s used to getting in the birther underground. He makes an appearance in Jerome Corsi’s Where’s the Birth Certificate, for example, he said on the radio. (See a video of Sampson testifying in Georgia here.)

Asked on Grassroots Radio Colorado why the birth certificate released last year by Obama did not put the matter to rest, Sampson responded by saying another expert at the hearing said birth certificate was fake.

Sampson also said his own research raised “concerns” about the legitimacy of Obama’s birth certificate, as well as Obama’s Social Security number.

“I’m not prepared to tell you whether he was born in the United States, not born in the United States,” Sampson stated on KLZ. “I’m not what you would consider a birther, per se. This is an issue of constitutionality. This is an issue of whether or not the provisions of the Constitution requiring a natural-born citizen to be President of the United States have been violated or not.”

Hmmmm. I wondered what he meant when he said, “I’m not a birther, per se.” But the radio hosts weren’t thinking along the same lines, and KHOW’s Peter Boyles, who’s sharp as a knife on this issue, and proud of it, wasn’t there to clarify things.

In any case, Sampson explained on the radio that the Georgia hearing continued without Obama. The administrative law judge is scheduled to rule Feb. 5 on whether the sitting President meets Georgia’s citizenship requirements, and at that point, the Georgia Secretary of State will determine if he’s eligible to appear on the ballot–again.

Asked by a caller, who turned out to be yet another conservative talk show host, Jimmy Sengenberger, whether the birth-certificate issue was worth raising, with unemployment and other issues plaguing the country, Sampson pointed out he was hired to investigate the Social Security number and subpoenaed.

Sampson also said: “I am a very firm believer in the Constitution. In June of 1981, I raised my right hand for the first time of many and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. And to paraphrase what Lt. Col. Allen West has said, that oath did not come with a statute of limitations or with an expiration date. And that’s the only reason I’m involved in this. I have not and do not have sufficient evidence that would warrant me to make a statement as to whether or not he is eligible or not eligible.”

This satisfied Sengenberger and the Grassroots Radio guys, who told Sampson he was 100 percent behind him. The hosts seemed to be satisfied that Sampson is not one of those nutty birthers, who pissed off Ken Buck.

But would you be satisfied? I thought a birther was someone who doesn’t believe Obama is a citizen. That’s what Sampson believes, even if he says he’s not a birther per se, when he testifies that he doesn’t know if the President is a citizen. Same thing. A birther.

I mean, the entire birther movement is about not being satisfied with the citizenship documentation provided by Obama. Where’s the birth certificate?

And when the birth certificate is produced, you have to guess, though we don’t know for sure, that Sampson, like his fellow birthers, will find some other reason not to know for sure if Obama is one of us.

I wish KOA had continued to allow Caldara to waste his time on the radio

(Well, there’s one – promoted by Colorado Pols)

I’ve always thought Jon Caldara was wasting his time, in terms of advancing his political agenda, by spending three hours a day, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., doing his KOA talk radio show.

You’d think he could find a better way to advance evil for three hours every do, wouldn’t you?

Now Caldara, who’s the President of the libertarian Independence Institute, will have those three hours back, since KOA terminated his radio talk show, in favor of a faceless national feed.

I asked Caldara if he thought the radio show was the best use of his time. (He’s said it didn’t pay much.)

“Talk radio is complementary to what I do as an activist,” he said. “There’s a synergy.”

I asked for specifics on the synergy, but he couldn’t define it, except to say, “I learn more on talk radio than most things.”

I asked Caldara how big his audience was.

“The average size was about 230-250 pounds,” he said. “There’s a lot of fat asses listening to AM radio. What was great was the coverage, because it blasted around the western United States.”

As such, Caldara’s show amped up the right-wing buzz machine sometimes, and being a talk-show host might have shined up Caldara’s image a bit, making him part of the “media.” Maybe this impresses right-donors, but not sane people and progressives. They know aimlessly blasting radio waves doesn’t help you win very often, which might be part of the reason the GOP likes to form circular firing squads, as Caldara likes to say.

I don’t mean to trash Caldara as a talk-show host. He was funny and pretty well informed without getting lost in the mud below the weeds. He connected well to his three listeners (four, if I checked in).

Too bad he didn’t have more guests on the radio, because his direct questions can be revealing.

This sounds a bit like I’m writing Caldara’s media obituary, which I’m not. Caldara still has his KBDI show, Devil’s Advocate, which should be interprested as literally “advocating for the devil,” as opposed to taking an opposing view. And Caldara has other media projects too, like Complete Colorado and the Colorado News Agency, that he controls at the Independence Institute.

I asked Caldara if  losing his slot on KOA would hurt him politically?

“I don’t think so,” he told me, “because my radio presence isn’t going to go away.” (He’ll be subbing for Rosen, Boyles, and others, and he’ll have a Sunday evening show on KHOW.  Plus he’s “entertaining offers from Playgirl” and “tweeting in his pants right now.”

Asked for the name of the KHOW show, Caldara replied, “Home Gardening Tips with Jon Caldara.”

Had enough? Maybe so if you hate Cadara’s political agenda, but these days, anytime we lose a local voice it’s bad. It’s a shame KOA dumped Caldara.

Callers and Guests Badly Needed at “Battle of Talk Show Hosts” event

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Talk radio is, basically, an entertainment medium, and it was proven Wednesday night on the stage of, appropriately enough, the Comedy Works in conservative Greenwood Village, where Denver’s top talk-show hosts squared off in hyped “battle.”

You’d expect to get plenty of meaninglessness from a two-hour event featuring 10 yappers skilled at yapping plus two moderators.

I mean, what were they thinking? How could a panel of 10 normal people converse intelligently in such a setting much less 10 talk-radio hosts?

And sure enough, it was pretty stupid-and enjoyable, to an extent.

The ten talk show hosts were brought up on the comedy stage five at a time.

The first group was:  Rick Barber (KOA), Peter Boyles (KHOW), Jon Caldara (KOA), Craig Silverman (KHOW), and Brownie (KOA).

KOA’s Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh presented them with a “lightening” round of questions to which they had 15 seconds to respond.

The in-depth segment gave the yappers 30 seconds for their answers.

Asked what talk radio show he listens to, Caldara said, “What kind of loser listens to talk radio?” (Barber and later David Sirota admitted to listening to no talk radio, and Rosen said he enjoys his own podcasts the most, which may explain his re-use of old newspaper columns.)

To the question, should marijuana be legalized, Caldara said, “Of course. It makes Craig Silverman’s voice bearable.”

Silverman replied that he was “distracted” by the light bouncing off Caldara’s bald head.

Things got testy when Caldara joked that Boyles wanted to hurt illegal immigrants.

“You’ve been funny all night, but that’s offensive,” Boyles shot back.

Round two featured five more white men: Dan Caplis (KHOW), Thom Hartmann (Syndicated nationally and my own favorite talk-show host), Tom Martino (KHOW), Mike Rosen (KOA), and David Sirota (AM 760).

This group was more interesting because they actually disagreed more often than not, as Sirota and Hartman are on the political left.

Asked who they favored for president, Caplis said Cain or Romney, Hartmann sort of said Obama, Martino said Cain, Rosen said Romney, and Sirota said he did not “give a shit.”

Mike Rosen thought the smartest thing Obama did as President was “pick Joe Biden as his vice President, which makes Obama look smarter.”

To the question, is Obama a socialist, Sirota said, “He and half the Democratic Party are corporate socialists.”

Similarly, Sirota is ready to administer drug tests to welfare recipients as soon as bankers are tested for drugs.

At one point, Michael Brown kneeled at the crotch of Silverman, as if he were bowing to him, after Silverman said he planned to register as a Republican to ensure that the GOP picks moderate prez candidate.

“That’s how Brownie got a job from Bush,” said Caldara, who unfortunately gets my vote as the winner of the battle. The 15-second format suited his shallow worldview and potty mouth, as he acknowledged after the event.

The lightening rounds kept coming:

In 15 seconds, if Obama’s Jobs Bill isn’t the answer, what is?

Fifteen more seconds for, how would you solve I70’s problems?

What has the Tea Party accomplished, if anything?

Does global warming exist?

Has the war on terror made us safer?

Do you want to build a wall on the southern border?

Is America in danger of losing the title of the most powerful nation in the world?

Sometimes, the guys got an extra two minutes to discuss this stuff, not just the 15 seconds.

Yes, it was ridiculous, but hey, it wasn’t American Idol. It was much better. You could be entertained and learn something, which is right in line with modern politics.

But in the end, the second annual battle of the talk-show hosts proved my mantra that the best talk-radio shows have plenty of guests (and callers) on the air to take the focus off the yapping hosts.

With no guests and no callers, it gets boring, like this event did. I may like talk radio, but no way will I be attending next year’s battle.

Bored with your TV Routine? Check out Colorado’s Public Affairs Programs on TV

This falls in the category of small-minded media criticism, but when you consume the same TV and radio shows over and over again, the small stuff can start eating at your brain.

That’s what the introduction to KBDI Channel 12’s otherwise excellent public affairs show, “Colorado Inside Out,”  has been doing to me lately. The weekly show starts with:

“Welcome to Colorado Inside Out, the public affairs roundtable that brings together informed journalists, pundits, and activists to break down the issues that matter here in Colorado.”

What’s so bad about this, you might wonder. It has something to do with hearing the phrase, “informed journalists, pundits, and activists” over and over, especially since the line doesn’t give viewers any information that’s not immediately clear once the show gets started and the camera hits Westword’s Patricia Calhoun and the smirking Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute.

I reached the tipping point the other night, as I watched Calhoun deliver the intro, when she was subbing for regular host Raj Chohan. Calhoun has been around a long time and has managed to fight off staleness, and she looked like she was handing us petrified wood.

I dropped an email to Colorado Public Television Producer Dominic Dezzutti, and he said he’d been thinking of changing the opening line.

“The more elaborate open is an artifact of when the show was initially transferred from Peter Boyles to Raj Chohan,” he emailed me. “Frankly, it’s been an idea in my head recently to change or cut it.”

This puny criticism aside, Colorado Inside Out is the best of  bunch of excellent public affairs shows on local television. It manages to be both informative and entertaining.

Colorado Public Television’s regular lineup and specials reflects its commitment to public affairs programming.  Other shows on Channel 12 include  “Studio 12” and “Devil’s Advocate with Jon Caldara.”  (I have to admit that I enjoy this show, even though it absurdly presents the Independent Institute’s Caldara as the moderator, and it’s under-written by Caldara’s right-leaning organization.)

Other local public affairs prgrams are: KRMA Channel 6’s “Colorado State of Mind,” 9News’ “Your Show,” and  HarberTV’s  “Aaron Harber Show,” which often addresses national topics.

Fox 31’s “Zappolo’s People” addresses lots of public affairs topics, too.

Check them all out.

Denver radio fixture Steve Kelley joins right-wing lineup at KNUS

Steve Kelley, who hosted KOA’s morning radio show for 19 years, is now hosting a morning-drive program on right-wing KNUS (710 AM) weekdays 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

The show, Kelley says, will take a more in-depth look at topics than KOA’s morning show, which he called a “news carousel ,” but his show won’t be “riding the horse until its legs drop off,” like Peter Boyles can do on KHOW during the same time slot.

“I don’t think you can do justice in a two-minute interview, and KOA is bound by the format,” said Kelley. “I like it. I’ve been in that format. It’s a fast-moving, fast-paced kind of thing. But I’m not doing that.”

He says his show, Kelley and Company, isn’t designed to be political. But he’ll “respond to something that’s edgy,” like an “outrageous comment by Maxine Waters,” which was at topic on the air this morning.

Also today, Kelley lashed out Obama, saying, among other things, “We don’t need a 10-day drum roll for your big jobs plan” and “this president has already played more golf than President Clinton and Bush.”

Still, he says he’ll try to present both sides of political issues, in contrast to the programming currently on KNUS, whose weekday lineup includes Bill Bennett, Dennis Miller, Dennis Prager, Mike Gallagher, Hugh Hewitt, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, and nary a left-leaner.

The hard right view is what you’d expect from KNUS owner Salem Communications, whose founders, Stuart Epperson and Edward Atsinger II, are major funders of evangelical and right-wing causes.

The company owns 95 radio stations, including one or more stations in all but two of the top 25 U.S. markets, according to the company website.

I asked Kelley if there was pressure to push a conservative agenda on his show?

“No, certainly not from management,” Kelley says, acknowledging that it’s a conservative station “without question.”

“I think they like me because I tend to have a more conservative approach. I would call myself a common-sense conservative.”

Kelley’s KOA job ended when he moved to television to anchor Fox 31’s morning program. But at the end of 2008, his contract wasn’t renewed in the wake of the merger between Channel 2 and Fox 31.

What’s Kelley been doing since leaving Fox?

“I’ve been living off the government teet, which was very very difficult,” he says. “I didn’t want to take unemployment for six months. I just thought other people could use it more than I can. I thought I’d land somewhere. It was devastating financially, and then I decided to do this unemployment thing.”

A lawsuit against Fox was settled out of court.

“Ninety-eight percent of all lawsuits are settled out of court,” Kelley says. “I was determined; this one’s not going to. I felt wronged and lied to, and I needed to clear my name. The Settlement was significant, but not nearly what I lost. It cost me, I’m not afraid to tell you, well into a million dollars. It’s tough.”

Kelley had hoped to return to KOA, which he considers “family,” but there were “no openings that I fit.”

“It was KNUS, though, that continued to say, we really, really want you. We need a morning show here. The more and more I kept putting this off, it was pretty clear that it’s good to be wanted. And these guys, hey, it’s a blank page. We want you to do what you want to do. I couldn’t do that on KOA.”

“Anything that occurs to me. Hey, did you see this. Let’s talk about it.”

During a recent recent morning, the show aired a piece on I70 traffic, an interview about Rockies pitcher Nicasio, a stock update from an advertiser, a mention that Anthony Weiner “has been erased from the menu at the Queens Deli,”  a story about a mayor who had a 20-ton boulder dumped on his ex-wife’s lawn. Weather. Traffic.

“It’s still a cake that’s not fully baked. We just put it in the oven. We’ll see how it comes out. I think within 6 mmths or a year we’ll see if this finds an audience.”

“What really is most exciting is the chemistry,” he said speaking of  on-air colleagues Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells. “You can’t force chemistry. You just can’t. I’ve been part of shows where the egos are so big.  The chemistry makes work enjoyable. And I haven’t felt that in a long, long time, certainly not in television. It’s sad.”

Post buries news that Hancock’s phone in use during some possible prostitution appointments

The Denver Post buried a key paragraph in its front-page story today showing that Michael Hancock apparently did not use his cell phone to call a prostitution ring.

The Post reported toward the end of the story that Hancock’s cell phone was actually being used during five of the nine possible times Hancock was allegedly engaged with a prostitute.

If you’re Peter Boyles, you’d probably say the cell phone was part of the sex.

Then Boyles could talk about phone sex in the pre-Twitter days, and experts like Scottie Ewing could be summoned for their opinions on what Hancock and the prostitute could have been doing with the cell phone.

Maybe that’s joke, and maybe it’s not, but it gets at the problem with this story. You can’t kill it, unless you’re a responsible journalist and you say, enough is enough.

Boyles won’t say this. That’s why he’s still looking for Obama’s Social Security number, education records, etc., etc., etc. And he’ll keep looking and talking as long as people listen.

But the mainstream media, like The Denver Post, which hyped this rotten story unfairly, should back off of this drama now and stop the strange front-page play that it’s been giving it.

You can imagine more developments coming, like interviews with prostitutes who of course should be asked what Hancock was doing with his cell phone during sex.

And you can imagine others coming forward with who knows what.

But with the alleged crime itself being such a petty matter, and the issue of lying about it now as resolved as it will ever be, it’s time to refrain from giving future developments more legitimacy than they deserve, as the Denver media has been doing so far.

Lou Dobbs and Peter Boyls mindlessly bash Denver Post

In an interview on KHOW’s Peter Boyles show Oct. 8, former (but thankfully let go) CNN fixture Lou Dobbs said, “We’re at a crossroads in this country. We’ve got so many people so uniformed they don’t even know what the hell the issue is, let alone what can be done about it.”

Then Dobbs and Boyles together went on to demonstrate one reason for the confusion out there.

They were discussing Boyles’ favorite topic, illegal immigration, and Boyles got mad at The Denver Post for not identifying the suspect in a vehicular homicide case as being an illegal immigrant. Boyles did some of his own research and asserted that the suspect used nine different names and three places of birth.

“Now The Denver Post isn’t going to tell you who this guy is,” Boyles said. “The Denver Post actually did an editorial saying Denver is not a sanctuary city. Just Google sanctuary city, and Denver comes up! And they have endorsed the sanctuary mayor for governor. So none of this is surprising. They don’t list an address, which leads some of our retired ICE guys to think he doesn’t have a license. He’s been arrested so many different times, and in Jefferson County they’re prosecuting an old man for shooting at an illegal. He used eight different names in Jefferson County.”

Then Boyles says to Dobbs: “And no one cross pollinates any of this, Lou.”

Dobbs: Well, they don’t think. They don’t work. They don’t research, and they don’t understand what’s happening in this great country. The Denver Post at one time didn’t have an agenda. It was a newspaper of breaking news, doing investigative reporting. It now pursues a political and ideological agenda.”

Boyles: I agree.

Dobbs: Not unlike the Los Angeles Times, or the New York Times, or the Washington Post. Their commitment is to their agenda, not the public’s right to know, not to the national interest, not to oversight of the government that is operating right now without checks or balances.

I wanted to ask Dobbs what agenda The Post’s news operation has and how he figured out what it is, but he didn’t return my email. Neither did Boyles.

But I’ve looked l and there’s no data supporting Dobbs’ and Boyles’ view that The Denver Post has a “political and ideological agenda,” despite what talk show hosts say. And data aside, I couldn’t tell you what its agenda is, and I’ve at least perused it most days of my adult life.

Boyles seemed upset when the Rocky Mountain News closed, and he hosted some memorable programs with staffers. Everyone agreed the closure would hurt Denver.

Now he’s pushing The Post down off the cliff, even though he relies on the newspaper for so much of his show’s content that you have to wonder what he’ll talk about if he succeeds in killing the newspaper.

Anti-Churchill talk-show hosts have differing opinions on McInnis

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

It seems like an age has gone by since the Denver media, gamely led by the bygone Rocky Mountain News, was in full-bore media frenzy over a CU professor named Ward Churchill.

And who was leading the frenzy, calling for the firing of Churchill after it was determined he committed plagiarism, and sometimes even before this was determined? Denver’s top-rated talk show hosts. Those guys.

KHOW’s duo of Caplis and Silverman was out in front of the pack.

The Rocky Mountain News reported in 2007 that Dan Caplis cut a vacation short to broadcast the Churchill firing. Caplis told the Rocky at the time: “This is the people’s victory, and talk radio played a part in it. But that’s what we’re here for. We shouldn’t be bragging about it – we just did our job. If we don’t do our job, bad guys like Churchill win.”

Asked today whether he thought McInnis should withdraw from the race, Caplis responded:

“Fair question…. The same standard should apply to a candidate for any higher office as applies to a university professor. Plagiarism is extremely serious. Now we just have to see what the facts are. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to talk to Scott on the show today. Absolutely the same standards should apply to a candidate as a university professor.”

Caplis is an arch conservative who considered a gubernatorial run himself. For a talk-show host like Caplis, who openly supports McInnis and opposed Churchill, you might say, if you were Ward Churchill, that the chickens have come home to roost.

I asked his co-host, centrist Craig Silverman, if he thought McInnis should withdraw. Silverman first questioned McInnis about what he did for the Hasan Family Foundation after the paid fellowship was mentioned in the Denver Post, eliciting the response from McInnis that a “series of in-depth articles on water” were written.

Like Caplis, Silverman called for Churchill’s firing, but strictly due to the plagiarism issue, not because of his inflammatory essays.

“I have lots of thoughts on the subject,” he told me. “I’m going to formulate them and let them spill forth on my radio show [KHOW, 630 AM] between 3 p.m. and 6. We are going to be talking about it big time, as Dick Cheney would say.”

UPDATE: Silverman later said on the radio that the plagiarism is devastating to McInnis. He suggested Caplis should throw his hat in the race.

KOA talk show host Mike Rosen was also on the Churchill war path, saying over and over and over that the case against Churchill had nothing to do with free speech and everything to do with plagiarism, an act of unforgivable academic misconduct.

In an Aug. 3, 2007 column in the Rocky, Rosen wrote: ” The party line of Churchill apologists is that he was really fired for expressing his beliefs and that the findings of CU faculty panels that investigated his serial academic fraud were merely a ruse. Nonsense. Churchill is a proven liar and cheat.”

Via email, I asked Rosen if he thought, in light of his previous criticism of Churchill, that McInnis should step aside. Rosen said:  

“No. Not comparable.  Churchill’s behavior was far more serious.”

You might think that KHOW talk-show host Peter Boyles, who polluted the air with the Jon Bonet Ramsey case, would have been one of the anti-Churchill leaders, but he was more restrained at the time.

Today, when I asked him if McInnis should go the way of Churchill, he told me, “That’s a great question. You know, I read Crummy’s piece, and I’m not trying to dodge ya, I don’t know enough about it other than what I read in Crummy’s piece. Nobody’s better than Crummy.”

He went on to say:

“The worst campaign I ever saw was Bruce Benson, until I saw Pete Coors, until I saw Bob Beauprez, and this one is the icing on the cake.”

Hypocritical talk radio hosts trash journalism at their own peril

Sometimes it seems that if you flutter from radio station to radio station in your car, like I do, and you light for more than a few minutes on a conservative talk show, you inevitably hear the host slamming journalism, not just The Denver Post or a specific story, but journalism in general.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with criticizing The Post. I do it all the time. But it’s the sweeping condemnations of journalism that are destructive and unnecessary, like the unsubstantiated claims that The Denver Post has a liberal bias.

I mean, just this morning, as I was driving to work and considering a blog post on this topic, I hear KHOW’s Peter Boyles agree with a caller who compared today’s journalists, like those at The Denver Post, to Catholic Church leaders who tried to stop the Gutenberg press because the Catholic Church didn’t want the masses to have their own bibles and their own access to the scriptures.

“Sure they are,” said Boyles in agreeing that journalists are like the self-serving Popes of yore who tried to put the lid on information and shut down the printing press.

Is that a stomach-turning and untrue analogy or what? The Post isn’t trying to stop ordinary people from learning on their own or publishing whatever they want on the Internet, whether it’s true or not.

The Post is actually trying to give us the credible facts (not always accurate, but mostly) to help us be involved in public life in a meaningful way and to figure out stuff like who we want to vote for.

Boyles brought up this topic because Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton was on KHOW’s Caplis and Silverman show earlier this week saying, essentially, that people should be wary of all the untruths on the Internet. He argued that his newspaper is a credible source of information, versus much of the Internet.

And Boyles opinion of  Singeton’s radio appearance, as uttered on his show this morning: “That was bad.”

It was actually great to see Singleton defending journalism, and it raises the question of why don’t journalists defend themselves more often? Rocky Editor John Temple did it occasionally in his weekly column, even if his style was on the snooty side sometimes.

It’s ironic, of course, that talk radio hosts trash journalism, because they rely on it day after day for their shows. It’s hard to imagine how Boyles would fill his three hours if he didn’t have The Post to beat up on.

That’s the point I tried to make in an op-ed in Today’s Ft. Collins Coloradoan. KCOL’s Gail Fallen and Keith Weinman were perfectly happy to pat gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis on the back, as he condemned The Denver Post for doing its job and asking him to release his income tax forms.

Did the talk show hosts point out that The Post was performing the basic function of journalism, to get the facts on the table. Of course not.

Maybe they don’t care, but how great would it be if talk radio hosts changed course and defended journalism, instead of letting their callers and guests misrepresent the what reporters do and the role they play and have played historically in public debate?

Boyles knows better than to compare journalists to Popes. You can do better, Peter.