Colorado Newspaper Runs Pro-Gun Group's Anti-Semitic Ad

A Colorado newspaper has repeatedly run an anti-Semitic ad depicting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is Jewish, as a puppet-master who controls a state senator the ad's sponsor is seeking to recall from office for supporting stronger gun laws.

The September 8 and 9 editions of the Pueblo Chieftain featured the half-page advertisement. The group responsible for the ad, Pueblo Freedom and Rights, is credited with starting the campaign to recall the ad's target, State Sen. Angela Giron, over her support for legislation that expanded background checks on gun purchases and imposed a 15-round limit on firearm magazine size. Early voting is underway with the election concluding on September 10.

The depiction of a Jewish leader as a puppet-master is widely acknowledged as anti-Semitic imagery because of its relation to conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the political process or global economy.

The ad apparently is a play on the fact that a group backed by Bloomberg has contributed a substantial amount of money in opposition to the recall effort. The recall elections targeting Giron and Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) have drawn significant outside spending both for and against the recall, including more than $361,000 spent by the National Rifle Association in favor of the recall.

The Chieftain's decision to allow the publication of Pueblo Freedom and Rights' ad follows a call by progressive groups for a local media outlet to disaffiliate from the Chieftain over its coverage of the recall election.

Daily Kos and ProgressNow Colorado delivered a petition with more than 43,000 signatures to KRDO, calling on the Colorado Springs ABC affiliate to end its “news partner” relationship with The Pueblo Chieftain in light of the newspapers biased coverage against Giron.

In a September 6 post at Daily Kos, Paul Hogarth explained why Daily Kos and ProgressNow Colorado are concerned about the Chieftain's coverage of Giron and KRDO's relationship with the Chieftain:

State Sen. Angela Giron's hometown paper, the Pueblo Chieftain, has been gunning for her recall before she even voted to pass basic gun safety legislation. The general manager threatened her in an e-mail just prior to the vote, three top staffers at the paper signed her recall petition and their “news” coverage has been chock-full of hit pieces on Giron. As kos described it, “Imagine having to deal with your own personal Fox News in your state Senate district.”

Now, we can't change the Pueblo Chieftain (whose owners are staunch Republicans), but we can do something about their supposed neutral partner--KRDO Channel 13, the ABC affiliate in Colorado Springs. With all the media consolidation, more TV stations rely on local newspapers for political news--and KRDO has such an arrangement with the Pueblo Chieftain.

Indeed, the Chieftain has run a number of questionable news items about Giron, with that reporting driving similarly shoddy coverage from KRDO.

On July 28, ProgressNow Colorado revealed that Chieftain general manager Ray Stafford, production director Dave Dammann, and assistant publisher and vice president Jane Rawlings all signed a petition in favor of recalling Giron. The Chieftain had not disclosed this fact, but later published an editorial that dismissed subsequent conflict of interest allegations. Stafford also faced criticism over a March 3 email he sent to Giron where he highlighted his position as head of the newsroom before expressing displeasure with Giron's support of stronger gun laws.