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Jason Salzman

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GOP Partisans Overwhelm Democrats in Denver Media

Posted: 04/19/2012 11:52 am

If you look at Denver media, you find way more partisan support for Republicans than Democrats.

I'm not talking about "conservative" media figures versus "progressive" ones. I'm talking about media types who urge people to vote Republican.

Here is my list of Denver media figures who are partisan Republicans:

Freeland Denver Post columnists John Andrews and Mike Rosen (also on KOA); Michael Brown, KOA; Ross Kaminsky, KOA; Jon Caldara, KHOW; Dan Caplis, KHOW; Steve Kelley, KNUS; Jimmy Sengenberger, KNUS.

As for partisan Democrats in the Denver media, I can't think of any. Can you?

AM 760's David Sirota, who no longer appears regularly in The Post, is a leftist, but he trashes Democrats repeatedly, even saying last year he didn't "give a shit" about who's elected president this year. KHOW's Craig Silverman, who will argue with GOP-talking-head Caplis on KHOW, wanted to attend GOP caucus meetings because of his love for Mitt Romney.

In my tally of partisan Republican media figures, I'm not even counting Denver Post columnist Vincent Carroll, who predictably sides with Republicans.

Carroll doesn't say, outright, to vote Republican or that he favors Republicans, though he routinely attacks Democrats and their initiatives.

Similarly, left-leaning Post freelance columnists Ed Quillen and Susan Barnes-Gelt don't tell us to vote Democratic or to support Dems. Same with Littwin, when he was at The Post.

In contrast, Post freelance columnists John Andrews and Mike Rosen don't hide their partisan support for Republicans.

Andrews' column can look like it's a memo to the GOP faithful, as it did in the Post in October:

"I have no foresight about how the race will go, other than to implore my fellow Republicans against overconfidence in the face of President Obama's potent incumbency and billion-dollar war chest."

Rosen is unabashed partisan Republican whose partisan support for the Republican party is boring. In a February Post column endorsing Romney, Rosen described himself "as a philosophical, principled, right-leaning, Reagan Republican."

He wrote:

"I see trillions of dollars' worth of difference between Republican supply-siders who want to balance the budget within our tax capacity, and left-wing Keynesians, like Paul Krugman, who boast trillion-dollar deficits are an economic stimulus, and want to double up. There are stark differences when it comes to energy, labor unions, social policy, education and, most important, limited government. Democrats are inherent statists."

I asked Wesword's Latest Word blogger Michael Roberts, who writes about media issues frequently, if he could think of a local media figure who's a partisan Democrat.

"You certainly have a few not-entirely conservative voices," he told me, citing AM 760's David Sirota. But he describes Sirota as "not a guy who says you must go out and vote for the Democrats."

"If there's an example out there, the equivalent of a Jon Caldara or something, I can't think of it right now."

Neither could right-leaning media-type Kelly Maher.

Reached by phone, the always-quotable John Andrews told me his Denver Post column was established when Andrews went to then Post Publisher Dean Singleton in 2004 and told him that The Post's commentary page lacked partisan Republicans.

Andrews said:

"I went to Dean Singleton and said, I see Gail Schoettler has a column in the newspaper. Wouldn't it be fair if I had a similar platform? But I haven't seen anything from Schoettler in a long time."

So now the opposite is true, I told Andrews. Partisan Democrats are needed at the Post for basic fairness.

"If your thesis is that there is an asymmetry, I would say there probably is," Andrews said. "It's partly a result of Democrats having decided that they are not going to be as out there saying their party is good. That partly accounts for the fact that you get a lot of liberal voices, but they are not saying, I'm a Democrat and proud of it."

Andrews says this is a strategy by Democrats, like former legislator Ken Gordon, to get more Democrats elected, by pretending political parties are a bad thing and "it's all about good government." But political parties enhance civil society, Andrews said.

In any case, whatever the reason, there's obviously a partisan commentator gap out there in the Denver media. You'd like to think the radio station executives in town would look to the greater good and create at least one itsy bitsy slot for a partisan local Dem, but this won't happen.

The Post is another matter. Its commentary page shouldn't favor partisan Republican over partisan Democratic columnists. More on The Post in a future blog post.

 

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