Jessica Peck Corry of the free-market think tank the Independence Institute asserted in a Denver Post column that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper "appear[s] only willing to connect with the public through canned media appearances" in promoting his Better Denver tax and bond package, and reported that Independent Thinking producer Amy Oliver had her invitations to the mayor to appear on the KBDI Channel 12 show turned down. But while Corry noted that the Independence Institute "host[s]" the program, she failed to identify Oliver as the Independence Institute's director of operations and a conservative talk radio host.
In an October 17 Denver Post "Colorado Voices" column suggesting that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper "is eluding voters" as he campaigns for the Better Denver tax and bond package, Independence Institute policy analyst Jessica Peck Corry identified Amy Oliver only as the producer of the KBDI Channel 12 public-interest program Independent Thinking, which Corry said was "hosted" by the Independence Institute. However, Corry did not note that Oliver is actually the free-market think tank's director of operations, not a KBDI staff member, and also hosts a conservative talk radio program.
Corry stated that Oliver invited Hickenlooper, representatives of Better Denver, and members of the city council to discuss the tax and bond package on the show, but that her invitations were declined.
From Jessica Peck Corry's "Colorado Voices" column "The mayor is eluding voters," published October 17 in The Denver Post:
Where in the world is Mayor John Hickenlooper? You likely saw him on a TV commercial last night or maybe marching down the 16th Street Mall accompanied by giant red letters last week, but catching him -- or any of his fellow city officials -- in person these days has been about as likely as getting a World Series ticket at face value.
As Denver voters consider multiple ballot initiatives that could have an important impact on life here, Hickenlooper, members of the City Council, and high-ranking city staffers appear only willing to connect with the public through canned media appearances.
The public should be exposed to a vigorous debate before making such an important decision. But while Hickenlooper has eagerly lent his voice to the campaign, its website and its campaign materials, he has been largely silent when asked by outside groups to engage in public forums or debates.
According to Amy Oliver, producer of "Independent Thinking" -- a Thursday night public-interest program on Denver's KBDI-Channel 12 (and hosted by my employer, the Independence Institute) -- she and Hickenlooper's staff exchanged e-mails and phone messages but her request to have the mayor appear on air was ultimately denied. Instead, staff members referred her to the "Better Denver" campaign.
Invitations turned down
Oliver says she contacted the campaign office four times and has yet to receive confirmation that anyone will appear on the show. Likewise, her efforts to invite City Council members on air were also turned down.
Silence from the Hickenlooper camp marks a shift from previous years, when the mayor came on-air multiple times to talk about contentious issues. An open seat will be left on the show's set should Hickenlooper ultimately choose to take part.
In addition to being operations manager for the Independence Institute, Oliver is host of 1310 KFKA's The Amy Oliver Show. Colorado Media Matters has documented numerous instances in which Oliver has dispensed misinformation to promote conservative viewpoints on her program.