Following Colorado Media Matters items that noted prior omissions, Rocky identified website's conservative agenda


In an April 3 article about the statehouse controversy over a Democrat's email critical of charter school supporters, the Rocky Mountain News identified the website that first published the email as a "conservative political blog." The article came after Colorado Media Matters noted on two occasions that the News' previous reporting did not mention the website's conservative agenda.

Having referred to the conservative website simply as a "political Web site" in earlier reporting on a controversial email written by state Rep. Mike Merrifield (D-Manitou Springs), the Rocky Mountain News identified the site as a "conservative political blog" in an April 3 article. That article followed two Colorado Media Matters items noting the News' earlier omissions.

As Colorado Media Matters pointed out (here and here), three News articles -- one published online and two in the newspaper's print edition -- detailed the contents of an email Merrifield sent from his private account to state Sen. Sue Windels (D-Arvada), in which he stated that "[t]here must be a special place in hell" for supporters of charter schools.

The News in a March 30 print article by staff writer April M. Washington reported, "A political Web site called Face the State touched off a firestorm Thursday when it posted an e-mail written by Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-El Paso, to Sen. Sue Windels." An article posted March 30 on the News' website noted Merrifield's decision to step down as House Education Committee chairman, but it also identified Face the State simply as "a political Web site." A third article by Washington and Alan Gathright published in the News on March 31 reported on Merrifield's apology for his remarks and resignation as chairman, and stated that "Merrifield's action came after the political Web site posted his e-mail to Sen. Sue Windels."

As Colorado Media Matters noted, Face the State is a conservative website run by Brad Jones, a frequent contractor for conservative Republican political candidates. In 2005 and 2006 Jones received at least $10,000 while working as a contractor for Republican candidates, records from the Colorado Secretary of State's website indicate.

The April 3 News article by Washington reported that some Republicans have called for Windels to resign as chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. In contrast to the News' prior reporting, the most recent article noted that "[a] conservative political blog,, touched off the political storm last week when it posted an e-mail Merrifield wrote to Windels" in December.

From the April 3 Rocky Mountain News article, "Panel boss urged to quit over e-mail," by April M. Washington:

Some Republicans are calling for the chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee to step down after an e-mail she defended as private correspondence between friends.

The push for Arvada Democrat Sen. Sue Windels to resign her position comes just days after Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, stepped aside as chairman of the House Education Committee, citing his health and controversy over the e-mail.


Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, said talk of punishing an e-mail recipient is ridiculous.

"You can't punish someone for something they didn't do," he said. "It shows some lack of clear thinking ... and it shows a lack of a sense of justice."


A conservative political blog,, touched off the political storm last week when it posted an e-mail Merrifield wrote to Windels written in December. "There must be a special place in Hell for Privatizers, Charterizers (sic) and Voucherizers. They deserve it!" he wrote.

Windels said the e-mail to her was intended to be a private exchange between friends.

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