When last Friday’s wildfire report came out, it was obvious KDVR’s Eli Stokols fuc messed up, but it’s been the talk at the Capitol ever since.
Stokols has worked hard to build a reputation as one who breaks stories and gets exclusives, but in his zealous desire to climb the press ladder he sometimes exchanges veracity for speed. Yet, last Thursday night the story Stokols wrote was just plain wrong.
From what we can gather from various sources, the story on the report, and the report itself, it becomes quite obvious Stokols never actually saw the report. Instead, he was played by members of Governor John Hickenlooper’s staff who were more worried about spinning a story than whether Colorado was in the best position to fight wildfires. Here’s how Stokols starts:
A report to be published Friday will stop short of concluding that a state-run fleet of air tankers will help Colorado lower the risk of a catastrophic wildfire, FOX31 Denver has learned.
While this is factually true, the true story of the report was the recommendation of spending $33 million dollars to lease a larger fleet than even Senator Steve King had requested; and, at $33M, close to three times the funds King wanted as well.
From there, Stokols breaks hard left and just starts printing talking points for the Hick administration:
“Weather conditions and ground crews are the two biggest things,” said Doug Young, a senior policy advisor to Gov. John Hickenlooper with 15 years of experience on wildfire issues.
“With air tankers, it’s more psychological. When you see flames coming across the bend at your property, you want to see those planes in the air. But the reality is the fire is being fought on the ground.”
How awful and error-filled was Stokols’ report? When KRDO wrote up its story on the report, they thought there must be two reports to account for how different the actually report was from what Eli reported:
Gov. John Hickenlooper said earlier in the week that he wanted to study the idea before deciding whether to support it. On Friday, however, the release of two reports cast doubt on the governor’s support.
First, one of the governor’s senior policy advisers, Doug Young, said a fleet of aircraft wouldn’t necessarily be more effective than firefighting crews on the ground.
A reference to Doug Young was made in no other stories beside the KRDO story and Stokols’ story.
We wonder. in light of the actual report, if Eli is feeling any hubris from taunting King with this tweet:
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) March 28, 2014
There is no problem in making a mistake. The real problem arises when one refuses to admit they made one. We here at the Peak called Eli paparazzi earlier this year for an underhanded story, if he continues to put out garbage like this he’ll prove us right.