No one should be shocked to learn of a ranking staffer for Gov. Jared Polis seeking media favors. He asked two Colorado newspaper executives to remove a story the governor did not like last month. We were only surprised anyone seemed surprised.
Polis belongs to the liberal Democratic establishment. As a governor, he almost certainly has aspirations for higher office. One of his companies owns JaredPolisforPresident.com.
Up-and-coming Democrats know they can count on support from most of the mainstream media. Our old friend and colleague Charles Krauthammer, a speechwriter for former Democratic Vice President Walter Mondale, told us the media’s left-wing bias seems no less obvious than the sun rising in the east.
Study after study proves Dr. Krauthammer correct. The mainstream national media are an unofficial branch of the Democratic Party.
Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzed news coverage of President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office. Major newspapers and networks covered Trump without “a single major topic where Trump’s coverage, on balance, was more positive than negative.” Harvard found 93 percent of coverage by CNN and NBC was negative. CBS gave Trump 91 percent unfavorable coverage, The New York Times 87 percent, The Washington Post 83 percent, The Wall Street Journal 70 percent, and Fox News 52 percent.
Wikileaks released about 20,000 emails to and from the Democratic National Committee in 2016. Among them were conversations that revealed journalists cooperating with party officials to help elect Hillary Clinton. Politico and CNN emails revealed a practice of running stories through the party for pre-approval.
Given all that, it seems perfectly normal for a Polis employee to seek special treatment.
At issue was a relatively innocuous story about the governor creating the “Office of Future Work.” It is the third office Polis has created this year, and the article quoted a Senate Republican spokesperson criticizing the cost. In political coverage, that kind of story is run-of-the-mill and barely makes a blip on the Richter scale of controversy — at least for anyone accustomed to media scrutiny. By no fault of his own, Polis enjoys mostly favorable coverage statewide and nationally.
Polis Press Secretary Conor Cahill emailed editors of the Kiowa County Press and The Chronicle-News in Trinidad.
“I see you have run a recent article published by The Center Square which is not a reputable news source,” Cahill wrote. “Would you consider removing it?”
The governor’s employees were unable to identify a single error or mischaracterization in the article. It fell short of cheerleading for Polis, so they simply did not like it.
The governor’s staff underestimated the journalistic integrity maintained by Colorado’s small, independent publications. Chronicle-News Editor Eric John Monson declined to remove the story. He emailed Cahill to say: “Very surprised you would make such a request.”
Kiowa County Press Publisher Chris Sorensen temporarily suspended the article, just long enough to determine whether it contained one or more errors. He restored it to publication after determining the governor’s staff had no legitimate gripe.
When the story of the failed “unpublish” requests went public, the Polis administration issued a statement claiming The Center Square is “not objective,” and is “funded by the Koch Brothers’ political organization.” That organization, Americans For Prosperity, does not fund or otherwise control The Center Square. We have found The Center Square’s coverage refreshingly objective and balanced.
The Associated Press distributed the false statement with a story that ran in The New York Times, which the Times subsequently removed from its website.
Don’t be surprised by any liberal Democrat seeking favors from the media. Cooperation, as past performance reveals, is often granted. Meanwhile, Democrats should learn the difference between the big-media pack and Colorado’s hometown journalists. By honoring objectivity and fairness, they defend the integrity of the Fourth Estate.
The Gazette Editorial Board
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