Anyone notice something off about The Gazette — and its editorial board?
No, not that they fear-monger and ignore the truth. That’s business as usual (and we’ll get to that in a minute).
I’m talking about the board’s focus on places that AREN’T Colorado Springs. Last month, they published an in-depth opinion piece about the “epic crime wave” … in the Denver metro area … after talking to Denver’s police chief. Was Chief Vince Niski (you know, OUR police chief), busy that day? Then Feb. 6, they devoted two full pages to the Denver police chief’s rant on the state’s “soaring crime rate,” pointing the finger at fentanyl in (Denver’s) Union Station, China, Mexico and the Denver (yes, Denver) Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety.
All that follows an editorial about how Aurora’s police department just can’t find good people to work for it. (Possibly because the Aurora Police Department failed to do anything about the murder of Elijah McClain at the hands of police and EMTs, and it took a grand jury to indict them? Or that the union rep said that having a police force that mirrored the community would include drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes. But I digress.)
They also wrote in November about the district attorney in Pueblo having trouble hiring prosecutors. They didn’t focus on Michael Allen, OUR district attorney.
And it doesn’t stop there.
On Jan. 27, the board wrote a negative editorial about a school district participating in a Black Lives Matter week focused on educating students in different perspectives. According to blacklivesmatteratschool.com, the principles for the week included expanding students’ empathy and their understanding of restorative justice, loving engagement, diversity, globalism,
Now, The Gazette’s editorial boardsaw this news as alarming. Taking it out of context, they quote the organization’s literature, saying the movement wants to disrupt nuclear families. It does say that. But the premise continues: “… by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, and especially ‘our’ children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.”
The G’s editorial board, somewhat incoherently and quite hysterically, claims this is segregation. And they use this school district as an example of these segregated policies because it only has three Black students, and the rest, they imply, shouldn’t have to discuss what it means to be Black.
Here’s the thing: That district isn’t in Colorado Springs. It’s in Denver.
Seriously? Is the Indy the only locally focused paper now?
And that brings me to the misinformation The Gazette’s ed board and leadership spreads. Misinformation is something we expect from internet trolls and the Russians. It doesn’t belong in our daily paper.
Here are some examples:
On Jan. 30, a Gazette editorial intimated House Bill 19-1263 allows drug dealers to sell fentanyl without repercussions, that police can’t even arrest them because the bill makes fentanyl distribution a misdemeanor.
That’s not true, according the bill’s co-author, Leslie Herod of Denver. Herod told the Denver Channel the law only makes possession a misdemeanor. Distribution is still a felony. She says, “The district attorneys need to start charging people with distribution if there is any intent to distribute. That is the current law. The fact that they are not doing that has nothing to do with the [L]egislature. It has everything to do with who folks choose to arrest and who folks choose to prosecute. If you are distributing fentanyl, you should be prosecuted.”
And someone needs to hand Vince Bzdek, The Gazette’s editor, an elementary-school math book.
In a column originally published Jan. 22, Vince wrote this: “In 2018, we collected about $240 million in tax revenue, but hospitals lost about $500 million over a six-year period in the cost of marijuana-related ER visits, and marijuana-related traffic accidents cost the state another $136 million … So even if you don’t factor in the increased costs of regulation and law enforcement that come with pot, you’re $300 million in the hole.”
Anyone see the mistake?
I’ll spell it out for you, Vince. The tax revenue is from a single year, 2018: $240 million. The hospital loss is $500 million over SIX YEARS, which equates to $83.33 million a year. The state spent another $136 million over that same SIX YEARS for traffic accidents related to marijuana, or $22.7 million a year. By my calculations, that makes the state $134 million in the black for marijuana revenue.
(It’s also interesting that Bzdek chose 2018 as the year to gauge tax revenue. That’s pre-pandemic, and revenue from marijuana sales increased over the past two years.)
To be fair, Vince is only repeating an op-ed by Colorado Medical Society Board President Dr. Mark Johnson, former head of the JeffCo Public Health Department. He took Johnson at his word when Johnson said emergency room docs were seeing an “epidemic” of cannabis-induced psychosis.
If he had gone to Google, he would have found a study at the U.S. National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health. That study says “cannabis is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause a persistent psychotic disorder. More likely it is a component cause that interacts with other factors to result in psychosis.”
It also says more info is needed, as age IS a factor in cannabis-caused psychosis, but other factors also come into play.
Or he could have found this National Center for Biotechnology Information study that says, “There has been debate in the literature as to whether cannabis use is a causative factor for schizophrenia or whether the association between the two rather represents some shared vulnerability to both.”
I’m not sure if Vince is lazy or if he’s just following the directives of his boss. Either way, it’s bad journalism.
All of this points to one thing: The Gazette wants to play to the right ears — and those ears aren’t in Colorado Springs. The Gazette and its ownership are working to get the attention of the General Assembly, and as a consequence, they’re spending a lot of resources on the other side of Monument Hill. But that they are being less than transparent about their motivations shouldn’t surprise anyone.