Last night, the political reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain, Patrick Malone, forgot his job for a minute and suddenly thought he was an activist or an editorial writer, not a reporter. In crossing the line, Malone asked Speaker Frank McNulty, who blocked the civil unions bill, if he was "concerned at all that this seals your legacy as a bigot"?
We get it. You support civil unions. That's fine. But so what: do your bloody job. You're a journalist, not an Op-Ed writer.
Malone didn't even couch the question as asking McNulty to respond to critics who called him a bigot. He straight up said blocking this bill makes you a bigot, does that bother you?
Civil unions, and gay rights more generally, is a "tender and sensitive" issue as Mitt Romney has said. Due to its emotionally charged nature, reporters need to be careful in how they address the issue. Malone, in this case, threw caution to the wind and, along with it, his responsibility as a reporter to be objective and fair.
When Senate President Brandon Shaffer filibustered his own redistricting bill last year, did Malone ask him if he's concerned his actions would seal his legacy as an enemy of the Colorado constitution? After all, redistricting is one of the few responsibilities for the Legislature laid out in the state constitution and Shaffer was directly dodging that responsibility.
No, Malone didn't ask that.
While we would have loved to see Malone ask Shaffer that question, it wouldn't have been appropriate. Reporters aren't supposed to ask loaded questions.
And in this case, Malone did just that. Let it be a cautionary tale to other reporters.
(Photo via Malone's Twitter account)