Sep 142008
 
Authors: Sean Reed

Journalists are supposed to be bastions of fair treatment and responsible reporting. But sometimes, they can be real rat bastards.

On Friday, The Denver Post released the latest in a nearly yearlong string of punches directed at Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter. And it was a doozie — sort of.

The article in question outlines possible reasons for the dissolution of the relationship between Ritter and former campaign manager Greg Kolomitz following Ritter’s election to the state’s highest office in 2006.

This story, of course, comes on the tails of a recent announcement that Kolomitz, who was under investigation for the misuse of campaign funds, will not be charged with any wrongdoing.

The investigation focused on the use of approximately $200,000 from funds raised at inauguration parties to pay for campaign debt. In the state of Colorado, it is illegal to use inaugural funds for campaign debt.

When the misuse of these funds came to light, Ritter blamed Kolomitz and took a personal loan against his house to repay the debt. Ritter also accused Kolomitz of overpaying himself to the tune of nearly $83,000 from the same fund, which the former aide repaid shortly afterward, admitting that he “used poor judgment,” according to the Post.

Now, the more recent article attempts to explain why Ritter would turn his back on a man with whom he was “virtually inseparable” during his campaign.

The article, appropriately written by Post staff writer Karen E. Crummy, boils down to nothing more than that — a “crummy,” poorly sourced and incredibly biased hack-piece.

The story focuses on what Kolomitz, the primary source, says are the two events that led to the deterioration of his relationship with Ritter and, ultimately, to the allegations against him for financial misconduct.

One suspected event involved Kolomitz’s treatment of staff volunteers during a Colorado Obama campaign stop in which he chastised volunteers, led by Ritter’s son August, for allegedly laying down on the job. The governor supposedly sent him an e-mail after the event expressing his “disappointment” with manner in which he handled the situation.

Another event that involved a conversation between Kolomitz; Sheila MacDonald, the campaign’s political director; and a female staffer over the perception of an inappropriate relationship, however, is the more interesting of the two — but not for the reason you’d think. Nor is it the best part that the woman in question now works for his office. And if you think it is because of her identity, you’re in for disappointment, because the Post does not reveal her name.

The best part of this portion of the story is the Post’s reasoning for not printing her name.

According to the story, her name is not revealed “because The Post [was] unable to independently verify the conversation Kolomitz described.”

Now, I may be reading into this too much, but it just seems like common sense that if they can’t verify the meeting in question took place, the name isn’t the only thing they shouldn’t be uncomfortable publishing.

But then again, what’s a hack piece if you don’t have unreliable information about a potential inappropriate relationship?

This is, of course, yet another link in a chain of negative pieces written by The Post about Ritter spanning back to a front page editorial written last year lambasting the governor for his recognition of state employees’ right to collectively organize.

This piece is just further evidence that the editorial staff down in Denver isn’t too fond of our leadership.

Far be it from me to criticize a fellow paper for displaying their outright contempt for a public official, I’d just prefer they keep it on their opinion page and out of their news content.

Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a senior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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