Awkward. That’s the only way to sum up tonight’s U.S. Senate debate moderated by KUSA anchor Kyle Clark and political reporter Marshall Zelinger.

Ordinarily, the biased news team would simply hammer U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with loaded questions to make the Republican look bad while giving challenger John Hickenlooper a pass because he’s a Democrat.

But these are not ordinary times.

A security guard in the employ of KUSA is in police custody facing charges of first degree murder in the shooting death of Lee Keltner, a conservative protester at a rally in Denver on Saturday.

There are other media sponsors of tonight’s last U.S. Senate debate — Colorado Politics, Fort Collins Coloradoan, Rocky Mountain PBS, KRDO in Colorado Springs, KJCT and KKCO in Grand Junction and KOBF in the Four Corners.

For some reason, the Colorado media doesn’t see any ethical issues or conflict of interest in Clark and Zelinger acting as alleged impartial grand inquisitors to extract honest answers about the candidates views on critical issues including these same protests and their effects on law and order.

Hickenlooper is such a media suck-up he will probably apologize on behalf of KUSA and blame the victim.

Gardner will be his usual boy-next-door gentleman self, offering sincere sympathy for the victim’s family, while slipping a suspicious side-eye at the 9News team. As well he should.

What Coloradans really need right now is a little role reversal with Gardner and Hickenlooper putting the screws to the moderators with questions from a suspicious and angry public.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Is it okay for reporters to have armed guards? Can the public have armed guards too, also known as police?
  • Is it responsible of 9news to bring an armed, plain-clothes security guard into a highly volatile situation without verifying any of his credentials or paperwork?
  • Why did you need armed guards to cover what reporters have repeatedly described as peaceful protests against the police? 
  • Why did you need armed guards for a gathering of patriots?
  • Do you denounce KUSA for hiring an armed guard who is accused of killing one of the protestors KUSA was covering at the rally in an impartial capacity?
  • Do conservatives have a right to exercise freedom of speech without interference by 9News?
  • Did you or anyone at 9news have an existing relationship with Matthew Dolloff outside his work as a security guard?
  • Was this the first time 9News hired Dolloff?

One last question before Clark hits the mute button: Do you denounce your own taunting tweets for raising the level of tension at these protests while lowering the level of political discourse?

Do you take any responsibility for this tragedy?