We’ve been informed by a media watchdog journalist that it is our duty as a blogger to regularly check stories upon which we have based past posts to make sure that a correction is not added to the very bottom of the story at a later date.
Specifically, the Denver Post ran an article on Jan. 14 about a meeting held by U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman that was reported by media outlets as a town hall meeting, but it really wasn’t and that phrase has disappeared too.
We wrote a post that contained some details from this article on Jan. 16, and a day later the Post corrected one tidbit of information.
We were informed about the correction eight days later by said media watchdog journalist, and then he raked us over the coals for it.
However, a conservative local blog, Colorado Peak Politics, pushed back against 9News and the subsequent snowballing coverage, calling it a “fake news story.” To substantiate its claim that Coffman didn’t leave early, the blog leaned on a report in The Denver Post that directly contradicted 9News. The Denver Post didn’t have a journalist at the meeting, and the paper erroneously reported that Coffman stayed for the duration of the scheduled event. An anonymous author at Colorado Peak Politics used the error in part to support the blog’s “fake news” allegation.
The Denver Post corrected its error three days later. (The correction notes that “Coffman left his 90 minute constituent meeting early.”) But the Post error was enough to give Coffman-friendly forces cover to label a credible news report as “fake news.” And the use of that error by a website with a point of view—to justify a charge of “fake news” against a credible outlet—wasn’t an isolated incident.
Our beef, and we have many, is that Coffman was accused by 9News reporter Nelson Garcia of leaving the meeting early, and only agreed to meet with a few people at a time.
We’re pretty sure Garcia referred to it as a town hall meeting too, but have no way of proving that because he also made changes to his original story, and updated it on Jan. 16 with comments from the congressman’s office that it was not a town hall meeting.
Also, Coffman only left the 90 minute meeting six minutes early.
Also, Coffman used those 86 minutes to meet with constituents five at a time, instead of one-at-a-time as originally advertised and scheduled.
Also, the “constituents” appeared to be orchestrated activists.
— Nelson Garcia (@9NewsEducation) January 14, 2017
But, we’re to blame for calling it fake news because a Denver Post reporter who never attended the event got a fact wrong and a correction was printed three days after the story was written.
We’re going to stand by our belief that Coffman was the target of a partisan, political set-up, and the media fell for it.