Denver7′s Zelinger responds to baseless criticism of his work on Keyser forgery story

May 27th, 2016

It’s a basic part of a reporter’s job to respond publicly to criticism. Yet, many don’t do it

So, in case you missed it last week, it was good to hear Denver7′s Marshall Zelinger responding to hostile questioning from KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis.

Caplis was upset with Zelinger’s reports on the forged ballot-access signatures of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser. Caplis accused Zelinger of doing the work of Democrats generally and pulling a “punk-ass move” by seeking a mid-afternoon interview with Keyser at Keyser’s home, after Keyser and his campaign didn’t respond to numerous requests for interviews. Zelinger responded directly to Caplis’ accusations. Here’s the audio.

https://soundcloud.com/bigmedia-org/marshall-zelinger-defends-his-reporting-on-colorado-senate-race

State GOP Chair boots blogger seen as “risk” to Colorado RNC delegation

May 26th, 2016

UPDATE: Colorado GOP Executive Director Shana Banberger responds: “Mrs. Porter has explicitly declared herself to be a member of the media and has been acting in that capacity for more than a year. After consulting state party and RNC rules we determined that should Mrs. Porter wish to attend the convention as a reporter she is required to be credentialed as press by the RNC.”  Porter had told House that she wanted to attend the convetion “so I can support our delegation and offer email updates on the presidential nominee, platform items, proposed rules changes, etc.” Asked via twitter if he plans to do “any radio work or blogging or tweeting from the RNC in Clevelend, KVOR radio host Jeff Crank, who’s a guest of a Colorado delegate, replied, “No. I am just going as the father of a delegate.” See more details here.

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Colorado Republican Party Chair Steve House has booted Republican activist and blogger Kathryn Porter from the group of Colorado Republicans who are going to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveleand July 18 because House thinks her blogging poses a “risk” to the Colorado delegation.

Porter, whose work appears on the Politichicks blog and was among the first to report details on efforts to oust House as GOP chair, was slated to attend the RNC as a guest of delegate Mike McAlpine, Porter said, under rules which allow each delegate to take a guest.

But in an email to Porter, House wrote it’s his “job to protect the delegation” and Porter’s “actions as a media representative in the past year and especially the past month and a half clearly represent risk to this delegation that we do not need to take at this critical convention in Cleveland.”

House, who did not immediately return an email seeking comment, apparently sees Porter’s reporting as being in a risky class by itself, because conservative talk-radio host and GOP activist Jeff Crank is also attending the RNC as a guest of a Colorado delegate. Aspen Times journalist Melanie Sturm is a delegate, as are talk-radio hosts Jimmy Sengenberger and Randy Corporon.

In 2012, The Colorado Statesman had reporters embedded with the Republican delegation. But today, every member of the delegation could be reporting on anything at any time.

In a post on her GoFundMe page, where Porter is raising money for her trip to the RNC in Cleveland, Porter wrote:

The real risk is a chairman who behaves like a dictator, usurping authority that does not belong to him….

As an elected member of the Colorado GOP State Central Committee, I voted for Steve House. I have been critical of House, but at times I have also defended him.

I will defend the GOP when they are right, but I will not hesitate to call out my party when they are wrong. Integrity matters. Because of this, our chairman is using me as an example in order to silence others who dare speak up.

I will not be intimidated. I will not be silenced. I will not be marginalized.

I will be in Cleveland.

Among Porter’s Politichicks blogging is a piece, picked up by Drudge, which included a quote from Steve House in which he appeared to oppose Donald Trump. Another piece by Porter contained an interview with a woman who claimed to have had an affair with House.

On KNUS 710-AM this morning, host Dan Caplis called Porter’s work “great reporting” and Porter’s “banishment” an “awful moment for the Colorado Republican Party.” Caplis said House’s message is, “You criticize me and you will be banished.”

“On a moral level, it really is slandering you,” Caplis told Porter, adding that “the Truth makes [House] look bad.”

 

Republican County Chair Jokes about Obama Being a Monkey

May 25th, 2016

Delta County Republican Chair Linda Sorenson shared an image on her Facebook page last week depicting Ronald Reagan nursing a chimpanzee. The photo is sandwiched by the phrase, “I’ll be damned… Reagan used to babysit Obama.”

Sorenson told me in a very brief phone interview today that it was a joke.

“I really don’t care if people are offended by it,” she told me of the post, which was sent to me by a source. “Un-friend me. Stop looking at me on Facebook.”

A similar photo was among a group of images exchanged via email among Ferguson, Missouri police and a city official, according to a 2015 report in the Washington Post, which obtained the emails as part of a public records request. The three officals involved were fired. The Post reported at the time:

City officials in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday evening released the full, unredacted content of racially charged and religiously insensitive e-mails sent by the city’s former court clerk as well as two former supervisors in the police department.

The e-mails, released to The Washington Post in response to a public-records request, were sent and received by Mary Ann Twitty, who was Ferguson’s court clerk, as well as former Ferguson police captain Rick Henke and former police sergeant William Mudd. All three were removed from their jobs after the Department of Justice discovered the e-mails, which prompted an internal investigation by city officials. The unredacted versions show for the first time which employee sent which e-mails.

Woods writes that Colorado should ignore Obama guidlines to stop discrimination against transgender students

May 24th, 2016

State Sen. Laura Woods wrote on Facebook Sunday that Colorado should ignore President Obama’s mandate that public schools allow students to use the bathroom corresponding the gender they identify with.

But ignoring the federal rule, as advocated by Woods, would apparently run counter to Colorado law, which, since 2008, has allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. There has been no assualts resulting from the Colorado policy.

Woods wrote on Facebook May 21:

Woods: So, the U.S. Department of Education is now dictating school bathroom policies? This is absurd. Their new policy will completely undermine local control. Plain and simple, this is none of their business and totally beyond Congressional intent in the enactment of Title IX. Therefore, it is a policy Colorado should ignore.

In making its decision earlier this month, the Obama Administration determined that forcing a transgender child to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on his or her birth certificate would amount to sex descrimination.

Obama’s guidelines ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” according to the administration.

Woods, who represents the Westminster area and who doesn’t return my calls, is being challenged by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. The outcome of the race will likely determine which party controls state government.

Keyser says “liberal media is not going to give up”

May 19th, 2016

U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser has proven to be a horrible media critic, threatening a reporter with his dog and saying the media is out to get him, without offering any evidence for his anger.  In fact, I can’t identify a single question from reporters that’s been unfair to Keyser or unreasonable given the facts on the table.

If anyone doubts this, I offer the following exchange between Keyser and KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis, beginning at 28:50 May 18 Hour 2 here.

Caplis: Obviously you’ve been getting a lot of questions over the way you handled an interview with a particular reporter from Channel 7. Give folks your perspective of that conversation through your eyes.

Keyser: The interview that you’re talking about, it actually took place during the middle of a debate. We were in a debate, a candidate debate. We took a five-minute stretch-your-legs break, and then of course this guy  [Denver7's Marshall Zelinger] came and shoved a camera in my face. We were in the middle of the debate!

You know, I think it takes a lot of discipline to stick you your guns and say, ‘Here’s what I know. I know that I’m on the ballot. The Secretary of State has looked at that. A judge has looked at that again and again.’

And it takes a lot of discipline to not give the left what they want, which is — it’s not the 24-hour news cycle anymore–it’s something that will feed into the 24-minute news cycle.

They wanted me to misspeak, or they wanted to have me say something that they could run with or that would hurt me later. But I was focused on not stoking that fire, because, frankly, that is a very serious thing. And we wanted to make sure that we had the truth, that we knew exactly what happened. And that takes a little while sometimes. Now that doesn’t satisfy 24-minute news cycle.

But, you know, I think it was important that I stood in there, and frankly, we got to have a Republican who can stand there and take the punches, because the liberal media is not going to give up. They are not going to give me a free pass. That’s for sure. So, I’ve got to be able to stay on message, stay disciplined and be able to take the punches. And I’ve shown again and again that I can. I’ve answered more questions in the four months that I’ve been running for the United States Senate than Michael Bennet has in 4 years…

Caplis: This reporter who went to your home during the day?

Keyser: Yeah, certainly I think there are boundaries. And like any dad, I’m protective of my family. And if it seemed in that interview that I was agitated or somewhat upset, it’s because I was! It’s because I’m a dad. I’m very protective.  He scared my kids. My baby cried for another hour after they left. Nobody’s jumping out of Michael Bennet’s bushes to ask him questions.

Colorado Springs GOP primary turns the Legislature’s smiles into snarls

May 18th, 2016

A mailer  in Colorado Springs includes actual factual photos of state house candidate Larry Liston cross-dressing, but the attack letter fails to mention that Liston’s step into a dress was all part of a joke.

As reported by the Megan Schrader at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

One page of the letter includes two photos of Liston from Hummers, a skit put on by the minority party in the House chambers every year skewering the majority party. It also includes a link to a story about criticism Liston faced for calling unwed mother’s “sluts.” Liston later apologized for the statement. Another link in the letter takes readers to the 2011 voting log on Senate Bill 200, which created the state exchange for the Affordable Care Act and shows Liston voted for the legislation.

Liston said those are “gross misrepresentations.”

[Former State Rep. Amy] Stephens said there is a “long-standing House and Senate agreement” that anything in Hummers would not be used for or against someone in political campaigns.

“It’s just reprehensible that this would be violated,” Stephens said.

The mailer appears to be the work of GOP consultant Jon Hotaling in support of Rep. Janak Joshi (R-Colorado Springs), who’s facing a primary challenge from Liston. Hotaling defended the letter in the Gazette’s story.

Hotaling, who has ties to Jeffco State Senators Tim Neville (SD-16) and Laura Woods (SD-19), as well as failed GOP candidate Tony Sanchez (SD-22),  reportedly orchestrated similar dirty tricks in support of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s primary victory in over KVOR talk-show host Jeff Crank.

In that 2006 race, a mailer linked to Hotaling and his brother accused the ultra-conservative Crank of supporting the “homosexual agenda.” Crank still talks bitterly about the race.

On his radio show Saturday, Jeff Crank said, “I think Joshi is hanging out with the wrong people. I think he’s hanging out with the wrong crowd.
His campaign manager is known for these dirty, divisive tactics.”

“This kind of stuff is tearing our party apart,” said Crank on air, calling Joshi and his backers the “Pharasies,” slimy holier than thou characters from the Bible.

Colorado Springs Republican Bernie Herpin, appearing on Crank’s show Saturday, said Sen. Kent Lambert has admitted to signing the Liston mailer. But the mailer wasn’t Lambert’s idea, Herpin said. .Listen to Herpin on KVOR 5-14-16 here.

Keyser fails as media critic

May 18th, 2016

Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser is adopting the Douglas-Bruce style of media criticism.

You recall Bruce, who authored Colorado’s TABOR amendment, once kicked a newspaper photographer at the capitol. Keyser didn’t kick, but he threatened a bite or two when he told Denver7′s Marshall Zellinger:

Keyser: “He’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are. He’s huge. He’s a big guy. Very protective.”

At last night’s Denver Post debate, Keyser continued to be a low-information media critic. After complimenting The Denver Post for its coverage of his campaign’s forged ballot-access signatures, including one from a dead person, Keyser said:

Keyser:  “But frankly, there are a lot of media outlets in this state that have really done lots of heavy lifting, carried the water, for liberals on this to disguise Michael Bennet’s record and get us talking about anything that doesn’t involve Michael Bennet…

There’s big problem here in the media, because, there’s a double standard that exists. You know, frankly, I don’t know of anybody jumping out of the bushes to ask Michael Bennet questions about Iran or his support of closing Guantanamo Bay…

If he continues to criticize the media, Keyser would do well to focus on very specfific facts and stay away from misniformation and dogs and threats. For example, no one needed to jump out of the bushes to ask Bennet about Iran, because he took questions about it.

If Keyser keeps going after reporters like he’s doing, he risks creeping into the media’s doghouse. And no candidate wants to be there.

Humans not contributing to global warming, Glenn again says

May 17th, 2016

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn reiterated his belief last week that humans are not contributing to global warming.

Asked about the issue by KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger Show May 7, Glenn, an El Paso Couty Commissioner, said:

Glenn: Climate change, we can debate that until the cows come home, for lack of a better way of stating that. The bottom line is, I do not believe that man is contributing to that factor. We need to stand up for energy independence, and Colorado needs to lead the nation.

Sengenberger: I think this issue is so overblown. But it is something that is very important to Millennials in particular, because they have gone through a college process and a K-12 education where this is something constantly ingrained in them. How can we appeal to Millenials, to young people, in your mind on the issue of energy, to say, ‘We need to be developing our energy infrastructure in this country and in the state of Colorado, not harming it.

Glenn: I agree. And it’s an extensive conversation.  You mentioned education. As conservatives, we cannot just concede education over to the Democrats. We really need to be actively involved. And that’s why I’ve been such a proponent of school choice and the other options that are out there, because the left is clearly out there driving the agenda, trying to shape the minds of the next generation.

Glenn’s position contrasts with the consensus view among scientists worldwide that human activity is contributing to climate change. Interestingly, Glenn’s stance has so little credibility that some journalists argue that it should be ingored as a legitimate opinion in news articles.

Glenn hopes to prevail in Colorado’s June 28 GOP primary and take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who believes climate change is already affecting Colorado and who hammered his GOP opponent in 2010 for denying that humans were causing climate change.

A predatory lender’s empty threats to abandon its growing business in Colorado

May 16th, 2016

If you followed the debate over a bill allowing a predatory lender to charge millions more in high interest rates, you know that the key question, at the end of the day, was: Will OneMain holdings leave Colorado if it can’t make even more money here?

In a Denver Post op-ed over the weekend, I addressed this question by comparing last year’s debate about predatory lending to this year’s.

This year, the bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora), was quoted as saying that OneMain will pack up its money bags and leave Colorado unless it’s allowed to make more cash:

“I’m running this [legislation] for progressive reasons,” Melton told The Durango Herald last month. “If we don’t do something about this now, then we’re going to lose that last company, which means the only option we’ll have left is payday lenders.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Trouble is, Melton essentially said the same thing last year, when a similar bill was under consideration, and, lo and behold, OneMain didn’t go anywhere.

“This is one of those issues where you almost have to hold your nose and still vote for it, because if you don’t, the branches will close, and the only option you’ll have is payday lending,” Melton told The Herald last year. [BigMedia emphasis]

A year has elapsed, and OneMain is still in Colorado, and payday lending is not the only option. In fact, OneMain’s business has grown, even as some branches have closed, following a merger and an industry trend toward online (and more efficient) business.

So now that House Democrats have killed the predatory-lending bill, who expects Colorado to “lose that last company,” as promised by Melton? Last year’s threat is probably the best yardstick we have, meaning it probably won’t be going anywhere.

And if OneMaind doesn’t leave, and the company or its supporters trot out a sob story next year about needing to flee Colorado because profts are so intolerably low here, we’ll know what to tell them.

 

Keyser coverage should focus on key point even Republican allies aren’t standing up for Keyser

May 13th, 2016

UPDATE: Everett and Holbert continue going after Keyser.

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Never afraid to withhold his opinion when it comes to U.S. Senate candiate Jon Keyser, Rep. Justin Everett (R-Littleton) unleashed these Facebook posts this week:

Everett: “Sadly this is classic Keyser, saw this quite a few times in the year we served together in the legislature. Again, this guy is not ready for prime time…

A couple things here:
#1 – Again Keyser is not ready for prime time and his validity as a candidate will dog him for the rest of the campaign
#2 – Clearly the Secretary of State has a flawed review process; I may be working on legislation to address this next year
#3 – Go through the caucus and assembly process. Less expensive and you’ll KNOW if you’ve made the ballot.”

Everett was a supporter of Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), another GOP U.S. Senate candidate who failed to make the Republican GOP primary ballot.

But Everett’s attack highlights the absence of any GOP support for Keyser in the copious media coverage of his refusal to answer questions about forged signatures on his ballot-access petition.

What you do see are Republicans like Everett and Rep. Chris Holbert, who wrote on Facebook of Keyser:

Holbert: “Sweat, shuffle around nervously, evade the question, and blink a lot nervously. Nailed it!”

The GOP response is key, at least for now, because it’s Republicans who will determine whether Keyser faces Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November.

And the signs, beyond the attacks from Keyser’s expected GOP critics, aren’t looking good–as in there are literally no signs of GOP support for Keyser.

The Republican audience at yesterday’s debate at the Foothills Republican Club didn’t respond well to Keyser’s spin, as reported by The Denver Post’s John Frank:

The debate’s first four questions involved the petition issue, and Keyser refused to answer all of them.

“Here’s the important thing. I’m on the ballot, and I’m going to beat Michael Bennet,” Keyser said in a line he repeated five times in two minutes.

The response drew groans from the crowd and a shot from GOP rival Darryl Glenn who said the issue is important to the candidate’s integrity.

“If you are going to stand for the rule of law, if you are going to raise your hand and support the constitution, then you need to follow the law,” Glenn said to applause. “That’s the issue.”

So at this point, it looks like no one is supporting Keyser, not even any of Keyser’s allies. That’s a key point that journalists should document in more detail as we move forward.