I was rushing out of town last week, and unfortunately I just missed a phone call from Joe Cole, News Director and weekday anchor at Fox 21 in Colorado Springs.
I had called Cole for a comment on a one-sided piece I posted Aug. 26, alleging that Fox 21 had erred in reporting that U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck held a "U.S. Senate unity rally" in the Springs Aug. 23.
It seemed strange that Buck would stage a "unity rally" without Buck's GOP primary opponent, Jane Norton, and no unity rally has been held between Buck and Norton to date.
Buck spokesperson Owen Loftus told me Norton supporters were present, but it was not a unity rally, which his campaign would have made a "big deal" of. He said Fox 21 had made a mistake.
I'm grateful that Cole gave me his side of the story yesterday, and I shouldn't have published my blog post of last week until I had heard his side of the story.
In any case, Cole said that Andy Merritt, the GOP Chair for El Paso County, had sent him an email describing the Aug. 23 Buck event as a "'U.S. Senate unity rally.'"
"Buck's people are saying it's not a unity rally but the people hosting it are saying it is," Cole told me. "We certainly don't want to report an error or call it something it's not, but if your folks there are calling it a unity rally, that's what we're going to go with."
"Buck's people are throwing us under the bus here," he said.
Cole also told me he reviewed segments of video that were not used in the station's story about the Buck event. Buck said he was there "to connect with Jane Norton's people," Cole said.
He added that usually Colorado Republicans are "all on the same page" in dealing with his station.
Asked for comment on Fox 21's take on unity-rally issue, Loftus told me it was a non-issue.
"It was a Republican event," he said. "We were happy with the turnout. We had a great turnout. Ken did meet with a lot of Norton supporters, so we were happy with it either way."
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