Paper Publisher, Reid Pal, Defends Integrity by Making Things Up

John Ransom
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Posted: May 25, 2011 12:01 AM
Paper Publisher, Reid Pal, Defends Integrity by Making Things Up

Dean Singleton, the publisher for the Denver Post, and famous Harry Reid pal, went on the radio on Monday to answer the chorus of critics, like myself, who think the Post purposefully slanted their reporting during a Republican primary in Colorado in 2010.

It’s my belief that Singleton helped craft the coverage in order to damage Scott McInnis who was the GOP front runner in the race.

McInnis subsequently narrowly lost his bid to become the Republican nominee for governor.   

Last week the Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel issued a report that largely sided with McInnis’ version of events, and subtly chastised the Post for a rush to judgment.      

Singleton presented no new evidence of wrong-doing by Scott McInnis when he appeared on the Caplis and Silverman show on Monday.

Oddly, Singleton defended the paper’s coverage of the story, which started to appear about three weeks before voting began, by making up new charges without providing any evidence to back it up.

Instead of proving his own point, I think Singleton has proved mine.

Thanks, Dean :-) 

In other words, Singleton purposefully slanted the story again to distract from the fact that the Post violated the trust that any paper must have to maintain itself in the community.

You don’t have the story right? Throw more mud.

It worked last year.

“The Post's publisher, Dean Singleton, defended the paper's reporting in a radio interview Monday afternoon and even insinuated that the emails used to clear McInnis's name might have been forged by McInnis himself,” reported Eli Stokol at KDVR .

"’He didn't produce them [earlier] because they probably didn't exist," Singleton said in an interview on the Caplis and Silverman show.’”

Hey, with leadership like this it’s a wonder the Post ever made it out of bankruptcy.

The reporting in question from the Post centered on whether Scott McInnis, who then held a commanding lead in the race for the GOP nomination for Governor, came clean about allegations that he plagiarized portions of work he published during a fellowship he received from a prominent Muslim foundation, the Hasan Family Foundation.

The charges influenced the outcome of the election.

At issue wasn’t whether McInnis was responsible for plagiarism.

McInnis admitted that some portions of work in question had been plagiarized.

Critics at the Post, however, jumped on his explanation that a researcher had used someone else’s text without properly citing it; that the plagiarism was unintentional and that he was unaware of it.

"It's unacceptable, it's inexcusable, but it was also unintentional," McInnis said at the time according to the HuffPost Denver.

“McInnis was paid $300,000 for a fellowship during which he wrote the essays. The former congressman blamed a research assistant for failing to cite the original author, Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs.”

"While I do not believe that this was a deliberate act, it was a serious mistake,” McInnis said in his prepared statement as revealed by HuffPost.

Was McInnis guilty of laziness? Probably. Was he guilty of the personal dishonor of plagiarism? Nope.

But that’s not the way the Post guided the story. 

They next day the newspaper hammered McInnis again charging him with plagiarism in another case, this time involving a speech he made as congressman. However, the Post forgot to check with the original author of the material, who later told the media that he wrote the speech for McInnis, therefore there was no plagiarism involved.  

Oops.

A footnote at the bottom of the article says “Library director Vickie Makings, political editor Curtis Hubbard and staff writer Sarah Horn contributed to this report.”

It’s a good thing they did. Otherwise reporter Karen Crummy, who I know from the past is always professional, might have blundered into a more truthful story.

To make the point more compelling, the Post quoted a Democrat from Denver, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, calling on McInnis to drop out of the race.

“Earlier Tuesday, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, D-Denver,” wrote the Post, “called on McInnis to immediately drop out of the race, saying he ‘lacks the integrity’ to be governor.”

Imagine that: A Democrat being quoted demanding that the leading Republican drop out of the race. It’s hard to believe that political editor Curtis Hubbard didn’t have to insert a laugh track over that quote.    

Then barely 48 hours after first breaking the story, the Post went up with more drama. They published a poll they commissioned showing McInnis losing ground with GOP voters.

They didn’t actually poll the race between McInnis and his challenger for the GOP nod.

They would have made too much sense.

Instead the polled an imaginary race.

They polled McInnis versus Tom Tancredo. Tancredo, by law, had no way of entering the Republican primary. He wasn’t on the ballot.   

That’s in keeping with other practices by the Post: If you don’t have a real race to poll, you can always make one up.

Or why not go to the accusers and help them make up a story too?   

Both the researcher, Rolly Fischer, and the Hasan family disputed the McInnis account included in his apology. The record, as demonstrated by the Supreme Court, now shows however that the Post didn’t treat their accounts with the circumspection they ought to have done.

“While both Mr. Fischer and Ms. Hasan provided contradictory accounts to the press at the time the issue was raised by the Denver Post,” concludes John Gleason, Regulation Counsel for the Colorado Supreme Court, “a more thorough review of their archived material [emphasis added] demonstrates that both had forgotten several specific communications with Mr. McInnis that had happened several years before.”

Their archived material.

Is Singleton claiming that McInnis created new material and then surreptitiously inserted it into the archives of Fischer and Hasan?

Because, if he is suggesting that, that would be sensational; I suggest that he write that story himself.

As I said in my original column at Townhall Finance on Monday, the case is almost a treatise on why the public no longer trusts their newspapers and local TV stations to be fair and accurate. If there were any more red flags on the case, they would have had to include the hammer and sickle.

The centeral problem with the reporting in this case was that the Hasan family has no credibility.

Although the writing in question had been completed years ago, the Hasan Foundation only published McInnis's work on its web site in 2010 when he was running for governor. But yet when the plagiarism story broke the foundation cliamed that all long they were "deeply disappointed by the quantity and quality of McInnis' work."

Do they always publish work which they are deeply disappointed in?

Here's the truth: The Hasan's were licking their wounds over the defeat of their favorite son Ali Hasan, who ran for Treasurer early in the year. His candidacy was cut short when he failed to garner enough support at the state assembly to make the ballot.

They counted on McInnis’s support and didn’t get it. Family patriarch Dr. Mailik Hasan even said as much.  

They didn’t pay him $300,000 for the fellowship; they paid $300,000 for an endorsement they didn’t get is my guess.

McInnis subsequently reached a deal with the Hasans to repay the money.

But now that the court’s attorney regulator has chimed in, if I were McInnis, I’d ask for the money back.

As should the readers, advertisers and sponsor’s of the Denver Post.

It’s one thing for a newspaper to help throw an election and subvert the democratic process; it’s another thing for them to have the gall to make the rest of us pay for it.