Some important things in Washington are double plus un-good. You may recall that term from your high school English class, when you were forced to read George Orwell’s classic cautionary tale 1984. In that book, a new and “more efficient” language was developed by the all-powerful government to make things easier to control. Something really bad? Well, double plus un-good, to be sure. In Orwell’s hellish future, all kinds of governmental actions were now normal. Lies, when told boldly enough, became truth, and questioning the leadership of the nation was a “thought crime” and deeply unpatriotic. Truly double plus un-good.
It’s not often you see the Democratic Party intentionally driving traffic to Fox News. But the right-leaning network’s coverage of this week’s surprise announcement by GOP gubernatorial front-runner Walker Stapleton evidently created enough of an impression of “chaos” — Fox News’ word — in Colorado Republican ranks that it rated a press release from state Democratic spokesman Eric Walker.
You’ll recall Stapleton on Tuesday withdrew the petitions he’d submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office to land a spot on the GOP primary ballot. He accused the firm that gathered signatures for him of engaging in “fraudulent conduct” and lying about it to his campaign as well as to state officials. Stapleton said he instead would try to qualify for the primary by seeking support from GOP delegates at the state party assembly in Boulder this Saturday.
The announcement was startling enough to make the national news cycle and land on Fox News’ radar, which in turn got Walker’s attention. His press release was headlined, “Fox News Calls Stapleton’s Petition Fraud a ‘Political Earthquake’ in Prime-Time National Report,” and led with, “Stapleton’s petition fraud scandal is making national news. Watch this segment on Stapleton’s signature fiasco from Fox News’s flagship prime-time broadcast, Special Report with Bret Baier …”
Of course, to whatever extent the Stapleton camp hoped to garner praise for doing the ethical thing — Tuesday’s announcement was an about-face; the campaign previously had stood by the petitions — there was no mention of that angle in Walker’s mass e-missive.
When Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg made the media rounds in advance of Mark Zuckerberg's congressional testimony this week, it was a telling sign that Dana Perino was chosen to question her for Fox News Channel.
Personable but plucky Colorado political operative Laura Carno wears a lot of hats, all tipped to the right. One of them involves serving as face and voice for right-to-arms group Coloradans for Civil Liberties, whose take-no-prisoners motto unflinchingly advocates, “Restoring freedom one round at a time.” And she regularly touts that priority far and wide.
Coloradans for Civil Liberties runs the FASTER program, which helps train faculty and staff at participating Colorado school districts in the use of firearms in crisis situations.
Canady told host and conservative provocateur Laura Ingraham his organization is against armed teachers and prefers that a law officer be based on each school campus to fend off another calamity like the one in Parkland last month.
But Carno said relying on one campus officer to get to the scene — to say nothing of a police force that could be blocks or miles away — could cost valuable time: “The faster you stop the shooter, the fewer people die.”
Watch the full debate (it’s brief) above.
Last month, a committee in the Democratic-controlled Colorado House of Representatives killed Republican legislation that would have let concealed-weapon permit holders carry guns on school grounds.
My Dec. 6 blog on the Alabama Senate race opened with, “Alabama Judge Roy Moore is in the first post-Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, et.al. sex scandal election.” His loss in a state that Republicans have held a near total lock on since the early 1990s was a powerful demonstration that character counts.
Former congressman and gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo didn’t take long to respond to establishment GOP consultant Karl Rove’s tirade on Fox News early Tuesday evening after Rove called Tancredo a “disgraced former congressman” on national television.
A coalition of civil rights groups and left-leaning organizations on Friday demanded an apology from the Colorado Republican Party for "viciously attacking" the Southern Poverty Law Center on Twitter, but the state GOP's chairman called the request ridiculous and doubled down on the party's criticism of the watchdog group.
Durango leaders, however, didn’t think much of the reporting beneath the video by Fox News’ Joseph J. Kolb, who was in town for a soccer tournament, Shane Benjamin reported for the Durango Herald on Friday.
Kolb’s lead source on the speculative relationship between pot, homelessness and Durango’s downtown? A homeless guy.
“Legalized marijuana has drawn a lot of kids here from other states and the impact has not all been good,” said 58-year-old Matthew Marinseck, who Kolb reported was holding a cardboard “help” sign.
Kolb said some panhandlers just straight up ask for pot.
Official sources, even in Kolb’s piece, however, don’t back up the premise that pot and panhandling are partners in southwest Colorado.
“Panhandlers like Marinseck may not exactly pose a threat to pedestrians shopping at the boutiques, souvenir stores or microbreweries in downtown Durango,” Kolb reported. “But they don’t exactly evoke the wholesome image the business district wants to project.”
Tim Walsworth, executive director of Durango Business Improvement District, spoke about homelessness in the Fox News piece, but made no mention of marijuana’s role in the prepared statement he gave Kolb.
So the lead source in a national story connecting pot to panhandling is a homeless guy in Durango.
“The reporter had an angle, and he took the information he got to fit his angle,” Walsworth said. “I told him I did not believe marijuana was the cause, and that was not quoted at all.”
What’s more, the reporter barely identified himself as a reporter, Walsworth said. He left a voicemail that may have included “something Fox,” but he really presented himself as a concerned citizen who was in town for the soccer shootout and wanted to learn more about the panhandling issue, he said.
“(He) certainly never said I am doing a story for Fox News, which just calls into question his credibility,” Walsworth said.
On second thought, let’s cut Perino some slack here. The video atop the article taking pot shots at her home state was unrelated, apparently a report connected to the 4/20 marijuana observance in April.
The former White House spokeswoman for George W. Bush said she never tried pot.
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck goes behind the scenes and names names in his new book, “Drain the Swamp: How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think," and on Tuesday readers got to see what all the fuss is about.