Joey BunchJoey BunchMay 22, 20176min880

Et tu, Dana Perino? When Fox News reported last week that “Legalized marijuana turns Colorado resort town into homeless magnet,” regarding Durango, it was Douglas County’s Dana Perino in the video atop the page.

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.”

The Durango Herald on Friday had a damning headline of its own, “Fox News story draws ire from Durangoans.”

Kolb, also a blogger for the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, also published the article on the conservative news radio host Laura Ingraham’s news website Lifezette under the headline “The Town That’s Going to Pot.”

Another conservative website, The Daily Caller, also took a hit off Kolb’s story in a staff-written piece titled “Legal Weed Blamed For Transforming Colorado Town Into Panhandler Haven.”

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.

Walsworth said folks who give money to homeless people are more of the reason than pot, along with the cities inability to enforce laws to combat it, after a scrape with the American Civil Liberties Union.

Benjamin continued:

“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.

“I was a Just Say No kid, right, Nancy Reagan’s program Just Say No,” she said of the former first lady’s initiative. “I was 8, 9, 10. I believed if my brain was an egg that would be my brain on drugs, so I never did it.”

Well, she’s not homeless.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningSeptember 6, 20165min43

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson settled her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes for a reported $20 million and a public apology Tuesday, ending the case that triggered the downfall of the cable channel's chief executive. Carlson alleged in a lawsuit filed two months ago that she was demoted and let go at Fox because she rejected Ailes' sexual advances and complained about workplace harassment.