While Marianne Goodland has proved herself to be an out-and-out liberal hack, two pieces by the Denver Post's Tim Hoover in the past few days have us wondering if the Democrats have hired him as their new spokesman.

On two contentious issues, SB 200 (health care exchanges) and the budget negotiations, Hoover has reported from the Democrat sidelines, covering their spin as fact. 

On SB 200, Hoover wrote a piece on Friday on Representative Amy Stephens' recent amendment that the bill only go into effect after Colorado has been opted-out of Obamacare which only quoted Democrats and never once mentioned any substantive reason why conservatives were upset with the possible implications of the un-amended bill.

It simply rattled off the Democrats' messaging that the amendment was a “poison pill,” and portrayed Amy Stephens as destroying the bill under political pressure:

“A bill setting up health care insurance exchanges cleared a Senate committee Thursday, but its future is in doubt after a Republican co-sponsor — facing Tea Party pressure — backed an amendment that Democrats said would gut the bill…”It's a poison pill,” Boyd said, adding that Stephens' surprise amendment violated an agreement the pair had that they would support only amendments they both had agreed to.”

A fair reporter would have at least tried to get a Republican or conservative leader on the record explaining why the additional language needed to be inserted. Stephens may have been unavailable for comment but there are plenty of people willing to speak out on the need to ensure SB 200 didn't become a backdoor Obamacare implementation device. 

A poison pill is used to kill a bill, so that it has no chance of success. That is simply not what Stephens' amendment is all about. It's about forcing Hickenlooper and Democrats to decide: healthcare exchanges or Obamacare?

We've pretty clearly laid out the case that Hickenlooper has stated he is willing to opt-out of Obamacare and that Obama has said it's fair game for states to opt-out. So the amendment is not a poison pill — it's forcing Democrats to decide. 

Apparently Tim Hoover agrees with Democrats that tough decisions are poison to them.

By not reporting both sides of the story, Hoover made an editorial decision to only let one side sell their case to his readership. He needs to be called out on that.

The second offending piece of reporting is Hoover's coverage of budget negotiations, allowing Democrats to spin the negotiations as failing due only to some last minute gambits by Speaker McNulty.

As we pointed out earlier this morning, Hoover makes a thinly veiled attempt at letting Shaffer's version of events stand above McNulty's. He does this by letting McNulty deny Shaffer's statement, only to reference unnamed sources denying McNulty's version in the same paragraph:

“I am tired of the goal line moving,” said Shaffer, who added that he refused to have what he considered another unproductive meeting and so left the restaurant. “The goal posts have never moved,” McNulty responded. “What is important to us has remained the same – a responsible budget that doesn’t rely too heavily on one-time funds. McNulty said he’d raised the issue during the Monday meeting, despite what Shaffer says. Others at the meeting Monday said it was so out of hand, there was no clear dialogue.”

Hoover not only lets Shaffer's twisted tale of timing stand, but forgets to mention that he himself reported on the Republican demand weeks ago back on March 17.

The DelGrosso amendment to have local government and school district employees contribute the same amount to their own pension fund as state workers are being forced to has been discussed publicly for weeks now.

It's not a last minute moving of goal posts and Hoover knows it. He reported on it. 

Hoover also editorializes and tries to sell the argument that Democrats are making, namely that the proposal to let schools and local governments make their employees contribute more to their own pension fund will result in no economic benefit and less revenue to the state:

The amendment does not actually help balance the state budget and would only provide relief to school districts and local governments.

He then goes on to say some school districts support the Republican proposal, with no direct quotes, but makes sure to say that unions see this as a “Wisconsin-izing” of the budget:

Some school districts and local governments have expressed support for the proposal, though some unions have called the amendment an effort to “Wisconsinize” the state budget.

It's always a fair reporting trick to tell readers that unnamed governments support a proposal, but to include politically charged messaging to balance that reporting on the other side of the political divide. 

These two pieces are bunk and Hoover needs to know it.