Ledger falls into leftwing trap

People make mistakes, that’s fine.  The Longmont Ledger made a couple of large ones recently, but at least they corrected it quickly.  But, as always, there’s more to the story.

In a February 10, 2010 story titled “Longmont settles open meetings suit with newspaper” there were two factual errors (in bold):  1) That Firestone suit, another of the three raised during the fall campaign, is still pending, as is another against the city’s campaign-finance rules, and 2) The City Council approved an annexation for that project in 2007, but citizens overturned that decision at the ballot box in 2008.  The original story was written by “Clay Evans“, the corrected version was by “Longmont Ledger“.  Hmm, okay.

For a paper that’s trying to be a legitimate alternative to the Times-Call, and you’d hope someone at the Longmont Ledger actually lives in Longmont, or at least pays some attention to what’s going on here – how could they miss the quite large news that the campaign finance lawsuit was settled?  Remember that $68,500figure?

But the second item is more troubling.  The wording of the original and the correction is almost verbatim of a new leftwing website in Longmont.  If you were a casual observer and had no idea what’s going on in Longmont, you could swear they are stating as fact that they got the anti-LifeBridge annexation question on the ballot!  Well, they didn’t, but the Ledger apparently fell for it.  This ranks right up there with falling for an internet hoax and spreading it around before doing a little bit of research.

But that’s not all.  When Clay Evans was considering having one of us cover Longmont City Council meetings for the Ledger, he was concerned about our leanings.  Don’t bust a gut laughing over that one, this is after all a former editorial page editor for the Daily Camera.  Not long after he’s on lefty lovefest radio KGNU (don’t bother trying to find it, dog whistles and sonar have more listeners), and now he’s getting ideas for Ledger articles from the lefty screwballs in town and their blogs?  Add to that some comments on the Ledger that were not friendly towards one of these screwballs, like around 30 total, that were all taken down.  But the Ledger has no problem leaving up comments and letters that cast all kinds of aspersions towards me, by name?  It’s getting harder and harder to take this entity seriously.

Here’s the deal:  This site, Longmont Advocate, doesn’t pretend to be a purely news site, it’s mostly commentary and opinion.  Sure, we may break some news that the paper either didn’t cover or not in very much detail, but that’s not the meat and potatoes of this site.  Another site has popped up recently (the one the Ledger got fooled by) called Free Range Longmont (might as well say their name, they’re obsessed with us and/or the many sites/projects we have involvement with).  It basically copies the concept of this site but from a leftwing perspective, and is ran from the people who were crushed in the last election.  Our MO here was apparently so successful, who wouldn’t want to copy that?

Difference being is that they want the Ledger to succeed, always talk it up, and always tear down an actual local paper, the Times-Call.  I don’t believe I’ve ever put a legitimate news operation in the position of getting this kind of egg on its face (a legitimate news operation wouldn’t allow it in the first place – I know, stating the obvious again).  This leftwing echo chamber in town, which apparently has Mr. Evans ear, just made both the Longmont Ledger and Free Range Longmont look amateurish, and frankly, quite buffoonish.

Read each at your own risk.  Or take as seriously as Mad Magazine or The Onion*.

* – no knock on The Onion, which I love and still have permission to use on this site and podcast.

(Image source: Twitter)

About Chris Rodriguez

Chris is the editor/publisher of LightningRod Blog - as well as founder/editor of Wrongmont, Longmont Advocate, Vote!Longmont, Longmont Politics, the LightningRod Radio Network, as well as being the original Longmont Examiner. Chris is a writer and talker - whether it be blogs, podcasts, music, or public speaking. When he's not heard on Air Traffic radio, he can be heard on his podcasts or seen in the local paper causing trouble.
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6 Responses to Ledger falls into leftwing trap

  1. Anonymous says:

    From Clay Evans (part 1):

    Mr. Rodriguez is correct that there were two considerable errors in the short piece he refers to, and which I wrote. I corrected those errors as soon as I was made aware of them – and I take all blame for the mistakes.

    But to clarify a couple of things:

    1) Although Mr. Rodriguez implies that the “brief” in question is similar to something written on the Free Range Longmont Web site, as the author of the erroneous Ledger piece, I can assure you that I never saw the Free Range piece – and still haven’t.

    2) Mr. Rodriguez makes much of the fact that the corrected version of the story was posted as by “Longmont Ledger,” rather than “Clay Evans,” as the earlier, erroneous version, was. Ledger policy is to run the “Longmont Ledger” author tag on everything except for full stories. The default setting, however, is “Clay Evans”; this means with some frequency “Clay Evans” will appear, for example, as the author of an obituary, when it should be “Longmont Ledger.” The policy for briefs is to use “Longmont Ledger staff and wire” or some variation thereof. When I went in to correct the piece, I noticed that the author listed was incorrect, and changed that as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    From Clay Evans (p.s.):

    Re appearing on KGNU post election. I certainly did, and I would be surprised if anyone found my remarks anything other than neutral. I provided analysis as I saw it, but in no way made any value judgments about the results of the election.

    The Wall Street Journal publishes well thought-out liberal opinion. The New York Times does likewise for conservative opinion. Both papers provide outstanding, balanced, neutral news coverage (IMO) – venue does not confer bias, in other words.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Clay Evans (p.p.s):

    I live in Longmont.

  4. It’s nice to see that Clay Evans took the time to respond to the article and that you published his comments (unlike another Longmont political wannabe site who filters comments from many readers and only post ones that agree with them).

    Since Mr Evans references me, I’d like respond to that part of his comments.

    I emailed him last year about freelance writing for the Ledger. I did not ask about submitting “political” articles for the Ledger, Mr Evans brought the topic up and asked to meet with me to discuss my writing a weekly “Council Corner” column.

    He said it was great how in touch I am with the Longmont community, but he was persistent in telling me that I express pretty strong views on some political issues and referred to it as “baggage” and had concerns if I were to work with the Ledger.

    I told him that I was surprised to see his consideration for my writing a “council notes” feature given that he had concerns about my advocacy or “baggage” in local politics.

    Regarding “editorial control” as I told him, I advocate for people and issues that I feel right about, and I don’t regret holding certain politicians accountable if I feel they are wrong (if people go back far enough in both the Longmont Advocate and Wrongmont site, they would see that right wing council members have also been criticized).

    In considering writing for the Ledger, I hoped that I could help bring balance to their coverage as I tend to think that they lean one way as well (FYI: Your first clue is that those who bash the Times Call for being conservative are also the ones who are running to the Ledger now to express more liberal viewpoints and raving about it).

    I did have concerns that if I were to write for the Ledger, I would be subject to “editorial control” and I told him that I won’t agree to change how I write. Mr Evans asked about my current writing for the online newspaper Examiner.com (which piqued his interest) and I told him that the great thing about writing for Examiner is that they don’t edit me or tell me I have “baggage” and how to write.

    Actually that “baggage” was part of the reason why I last year became one of the top neighborhood section writers for Examiner.

    I write from an insider perspective and not neutral “fluff”, because from past experience, I know there is much more to the story.

    After hearing that Clay wanted me to consider a city council column, the only reason I even considered it would that it would have been fun to see the expressions on the faces of my critics in Longmont had I done so 😉

    Another FYI: If I have a “slant” myself, it also might be due to the fact that the Ledger found it acceptable to allow letters that attempt to slander my husband and comments online that refer to him as a “dangerous sociopath”.

    Ummm…no thanks. I’ll keep my “baggage”.

  5. As long as the Ledger keeps using the leftwing fringe as a news source – as was just done again – it won’t be taken seriously. Why? Because when you attach yourself to the hateful screechers, and occasional bigots, in town that’s the standard you’ll also be held to. If you aren’t aware of their hate speech, then once again, you’re not doing your homework or paying attention to what’s going on in Longmont, so just drop the “Longmont” part from your name.

    “though he seems to believe that opinion pieces that include facts are news coverage; that’s not how we look at it in traditional journalism” NO, I make it clear I do opinion here. I don’t need to be lectured by “traditional journalism”, especially by one that just filed bankruptcy and a business that is in the toilet.

    “the Ledger will never trash the daily paper in town”..again, you are attaching the Ledger to those who are trashing the local paper. Look at your “contributors” and see what they are saying on and off the Ledger. I don’t see any distancing from those comments. The leftwing is at war with the Times-Call, starting the Ledger wasn’t exactly a friendly gesture towards them, so you either denounce what the left is doing or you are part of it.

    “incorrect information in your post”,…like what? That I questioned the “coincidence” that what you wrote was nearly a carbon copy of what was on Deranged Longmont? That there were two glaring factual errors? That the name of the author changed? That was the meat of what I wrote, none of it “incorrect”, those things were true regardless of internal editing anomalies or anything else.

  6. Dave Larison says:

    Like it or not Mr. Evans, with the introduction of the Ledger you entered the highly contentious and polarized world of Longmont politics. It has sadly degraded into a “gotcha” world with people like the venomous M. Douglas Wray stalking every word we on the right say (now images too) to paint us in the worst light possible. Sean McCoy has many times taken cheapshots at the Times-Call from his city council chair.

    You made several egregious errors in your bylined story on what is probably the most volatile local issue of all, the LifeBridge/Union annexations. Think we’re not going to jump on that? I know for a fact that your original uncorrected story was circulating around the Times-Call newsroom within a couple of hours, perhaps to their glee to see shoddy work from a competitor.

    I’m curious, would you care to run the typical Longmont Advocate opinion piece in the Ledger? I am as anti-BoCo commissioners and open space programs as they come–have written dozens of letters and commentaries in the TC and Camera over the past decade–would you welcome my next piece blasting Boulder enviros in the Ledger?

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