Censorship

Why Is the Colorado Governor's Office Trying to Censor Rural News Outlets?

A spokesman for Gov. Jared Polis objects to a news story not because it’s wrong, but because of who wrote it.

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The press office for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, has been trying to get media outlets within the state to remove two stories posted online because they object to the source.

Earlier this month, writer Derek Draplin reported that Polis had established a new office—the Office of the Future of Work—to research the state's changing economy and workforce and make policy recommendations to the governor's office. Draplin published the article in The Center Square, a nonprofit media outlet.

The factually accurate story (read it here) quotes Polis praising the creation of the office, as well as a Colorado GOP spokesperson mocking the creation of yet another regulatory bureaucracy with "undefined goals, broad powers, and a name straight from the brain of George Orwell."

The Center Square offers its state coverage up for free reprints by other media outlets as long as they are appropriately credited. This is not an unusual arrangement; as advertising revenue bleeds away from local newspapers to the internet, small newspapers don't have the manpower to cover many state or national stories on their own anymore.

But when two small Colorado newspapers, the Kiowa County Press in Eads, and the Chronicle-News in Trinidad, published the story, they heard from Conor Cahill, Polis' spokesman, who asked them to take the articles down.

Cahill did not challenge any of the facts presented in the story. He, instead, objected to them having run news stories from The Center Square because he does not see them as an objective source of information. The Center Square is a product of the Franklin News Foundation, which offers state-level journalism and opinion pieces focused on fiscal responsibility and transparency. It used to be known as Watchdog.org but relaunched earlier this year under the new brand.

Cahill's argument is that donors to Franklin News Foundation may come from libertarian or conservative backgrounds, and the fact that writer Draplin is also an editor at The Daily Caller, a right-leaning outlet, apparently taints everything The Center Square writes, even if the story is completely accurate. After the editors refused Cahill's request and The Center Square reported what had happened, The Denver Post and even the Associated Press picked up the story. In an email to The Denver Post, Cahill explains his justification for reaching out to these newspapers:

"When we looked into this group and discovered that it was not an objective wire service, but instead a branded website funded by the Koch Brothers' political organization, we were alarmed that it was being reprinted by reputable news outlets in the state. The people of Colorado deserve quality, objective news they can trust so they can make their own informed decisions. Newspapers can publish whatever they want to, anywhere they want, at their own prerogative, but the public is served best when articles by partisan organizations are placed in the opinion section or branded accordingly."

When reached for comment by Reason, Cahill simply sent back the same quote.

What's alarming here is that, again, he provides no evidence that anything written in the very brief news story is inaccurate, just written by a group that gets funding from people with an agenda might not match that of the governor's office. Cahill is also implying that an organization with a political bent cannot also produce fact-based journalism. This would come as news to publications like Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and, well, Reason.

And without question, it's most certainly not the place of the governor's press office—whose role is to push forward Polis' agenda to the media—to be weighing in on what "objective" journalism is. That's especially true since Cahill, upon repeated request, cannot actually point to anything in The Center Square's piece that is factually inaccurate.

Cahill should maybe take a break from attempting to "work the refs" at his state's smallest media outlets and read up on the Streisand Effect. Because of his attempts to control what local newspapers publish, the news story actually got even more coverage than it would have otherwise.

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  1. the public is served best when articles by partisan organizations are placed in the opinion section or branded accordingly.

    And somehow, left-wing newspapers are not partisan organizations.

    But in all seriousness, how often does this sort of thing (politician’s spokesman asks newspaper to take down some article) happen in general? I wouldn’t be surprised if the answer were “very often.” I guess they are within their rights to ask, though it’s definitely a breach of integrity for a newspaper to comply (or even fail to report the request).

    1. I’d actually guess it isn’t all that common, probably for the exact reason we’re seeing now. No one knew or cared about the original story until the Governor got his feelings hurt by the evil Koch brothers publishing stuff he didn’t like. Now he looks like a giant weenie.

      The appropriate response to the story was to do nothing and wait for it to blow over, which would’ve happened in ~12 minutes or so. Then again, these people didn’t get to be politicians by knowing when it’s smart to do nothing.

      1. Now he looks like a giant weenie.

        Hey now, lets; be fair: he looked like a giant weenie long before this.

        1. He looks like a book-burning Nazi.

          Where’s Antifa when you need them?

          1. Harassing grandmothers in walkers who are trying to cross the street.

    2. > But in all seriousness, how often does this sort of thing (politician’s spokesman asks newspaper to take down some article) happen in general?

      Often enough. All you need is a pliant editor and a town with only one paper.

      But this is the first I’ve heard of a governor’s office strong-arming a small town paper.


  2. Cahill is also implying that an organization with a political bent cannot also produce fact-based journalism. This would come as news to publications like Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and, well, Reason.

    Oof, using those three examples maybe doesn’t make the case that was intended.

    1. Only thing Rolling Stone ever published worth reading was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. IIRC they hated every single Led Zeppelin album when it was released.

    2. Took the words out of my mouth.

  3. Does Rolling Stone really help your point? I mean, they are technically capable of producing fact based journalism, but recent history is a bit spotty on them actually doing it.

    1. That’s the joke. Every publication they list have been shown to publish false information based on bad reporting. Mother Jones and Rolling Stone aren’t really news sites, then the author includes Reason.

      Whoops?

      1. Yeah, FoxNews and BrightFart are the only objective news outlets to GOP cretins like you, cretin.

        1. “BrightFart”

          You must be a Boomer, aren’t you? Or are you Greatest Generation?

    2. This would come as news to publications like Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, and, well, Reason.

      They could if they tried but they wont try, so bias is what we get.

  4. The new “Office of the Future of Work” is the kind of sledge hammer that is absolutely wrong for government and absolutely should be left to markets. I can see a case (although I don’t buy it) for headlight height, brightness, direction, etc. But work conditions vary far more than any government law or regulations could ever allow for. Take the California contractor / employer bill of recent shame, multiply by 1 million, and you still won’t be close to the number of variations, and you sure won’t have any flexibility to adjust to tomorrow’s or next year’s change.

  5. Where is the breathless “1st Amendment Under Attack” headline?

  6. one funny-lookin’ governor … maybe why he’s such a tyrant.

  7. In all fairness, kill the messenger is all the rage these days.

  8. Why Is the Colorado Governor’s Office Trying to Censor Rural News Outlets?

    Because they can, duh.

    1. [Parents sit child down, with bag of pot between them.]

      Parents (R): Where did you learn to censor the media?
      Child (D): I learned it from you! I learned it from you!

  9. . . . and a name straight from the brain of George Orwell.”

    Jesus, these people are idiots. This is obviously a name from the brain of Huxley.

    1. Lol, I was thinking the same thing actually.

  10. “Why Is the Colorado Governor’s Office Trying to Censor Rural News Outlets?”

    Because that’s what liberal fascist pigs do.

  11. The factually accurate story (read it here) quotes Polis praising the creation of the office, as well as a Colorado GOP spokesperson mocking the creation of yet another regulatory bureaucracy with “undefined goals, broad powers, and a name straight from the brain of George Orwell.”

    But when two small Colorado newspapers, the Kiowa County Press in Eads, and the Chronicle-News in Trinidad, published the story, they heard from Conor Cahill, Polis’ spokesman, who asked them to take the articles down.

    Next up: Gov. Polis creates another regulatory bureaucracy with “undefined goals, broad powers, and a name straight from the brain of George Orwell” to determine which news sources are reputable and are fit to be printed in CO newspapers. They’ll call it “The Ministry of Truth.”

    1. Nightwatch is only here to foster the ideas of peace…

  12. He, instead, objected to them having run news stories from The Center Square because he does not see them as an objective source of information.

    You’ve got to appreciate the hypocrisy of a partisan politician saying that someone else is not “an objective source of information”.

  13. Remember when “libertarian-Democrat” Jared Polis was Reason’s “Jackalope of the Year”?

    They really know how to pick ’em.

  14. LOL

    https://reason.com/2014/10/30/vote-democrat-for-real-libertarian-value/

    Vote Democrat for Real Libertarian Values

    JARED POLIS | 10.30.2014 11:00 AM

    Sure, no party or candidate will be perfect; you probably disagree with other Libertarians on many issues, but of the major political parties, the Democrats have become the party of individual freedoms.

      1. Yeah, I always view any attempt by the blue or red team to win libertarian votes with deep skepticism. While we’ve made some policy victories here and there, we’ve been a philosophical losing streak for far longer than the LP has existed (I’d say from Woodrow Wilson onward, really, though some might argue the start of the Progressives getting big in the 20s). Their argument pretty much always comes down to “well I’m less evil than the other one” and I don’t really feel like rewarding that with my vote.

  15. So, by the Governor’s definition, everything published by or released from his office should be placed in the Opinion section of the newspaper as well. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the state budget, a report on new housing starts or statistics about traffic. It’s all coming from the most partisan source possible – a sitting government official. Therefore it must be published or labeled as such.

    Oh, that would be a crazy, unconstitutional result? What a surprise…

    1. Though I will say there are days that I am sympathetic to Thomas Jefferson’s idea that newspapers by law should be divided into four sections: truth, probability, possibility, and lies.

    2. Partisan doesn’t even begin to describe Polis. He’s literally the guy who organized the funding and political machine that turned Colorado into Little California.

  16. Yeah that Streisand effect can really bite one on tender spots.

  17. Name a newspaper that is not partisan. What about endorsing candidates? They can claim that doesn’t impact reporting but the endorsement comes from the top. Do reporters really want to do a story that may be detrimental to the candidate the owners of the Newspaper endorsed? Might it be a very good career move to only do positive stories for the one they endorsed. That is an old practice but I believe every newspaper that ever endorsed a candidate lost any presumption of impartiality in their “news”

  18. > “When we looked into this group and discovered that it was not an objective wire service, but instead a branded website funded by the Koch Brothers’ political organization”

    Do you know who else was funded by the Koch Brothers’ political organization?

  19. Because Polis the left news media (Denver Post) are owned by Hedge Funds or Investor Groups that want the taxpayer to pay for research and data analysis on the best CRONY stock pics–“the future of work”. Silly

    Bezos and Bloomberg -lets not take those two rags seriously.

  20. Taxpayer funded cronyism, the Obamacarization of the U.S…..coming soon.

  21. Again, Democrat prove who the actual fascists we should fear are. Harris wants Twitter to suspend the President’s account. NYC is criminalizing using the words “illegal alien” and now Colorado wants to decide who is allowed to report news.

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