One would think–or, at least, hope–that political poll results appearing in a daily newspaper, would provide some modicum of non-partisan, independent credibility. But, such was not the case with this morning’s Rocky Mountain News wherein the entirety of page five of the tabloid provided the results of a poll conducted by The Kenney Group (“…a political consulting firm managing [John Hickenlooper’s] re-election campaign…”), citing, what else?, the continuing infatuation with the Hick, in spite of a number of stumbling-down-stupid missteps.
Daniel Chacon, the reporter for the News, begins the shamelessly partisan piece, by noting, “Voters gave former Denver Mayor Bill McNichols a cold shoulder at the polls over his handling of the Christmas blizzard of 1982.” This necessarily leading to: “But even though the city was paralyzed again this winter by a series of snowstorms at the height of the Christmas shopping season, most voters still feel warm and fuzzy about Mayor John Hickenlooper.”
May we back-up for a second.
Not only the News, but other media as well, have consistently raised the spectre of former Mayor Bill McNichols Jr. and the Christmas blizzard of 1982, as a valid point of departure when reviewing the Hick and the Christmas storms of 2006. McNichols’s handling–or mishandling– of the 1982 storm is widely attributed to be the reason he failed to place first or second on the mayoral primary, the following May. Please allow me to dig a bit into this assumption.
(Police Chief George Seaton, Mayor Bill, Councilman Elvin Caldwell)
In 1983, Bill McNichols had served as mayor of Denver for fourteen years. He was then seventy-three years old and would be seventy-seven at the conclusion–if he had won–of his fourth full term as mayor.
Suffice it to say, Denver saw, in the 1970s and early ’80s (while McNichols was mayor), an enormous economic boom, centered on energy, primarily oil. To this haven of prosperity, came the young, the bright, the entrepreneurial–including then-geologist, John Hickenlooper. To suggest that the comfortable, down-homeyness, easy-going administration of Bill McNichols –then seventy-three–was viewed by these newbies to the Queen City, as reflecting their gold rush enthusiasm and new age mentality, would obviously be fantasy. After all, two young, articulate, aggressive, politically savvy contenders awaited in the wings to challenge Hizzonner Bill: Federico Pena and Dale Tooley.
Denver, in 1983, was ready for a change in the city’s administration. Even though Mayor Bill had, in his first full term as mayor, convinced the taxpayers to authorize over $100Million in bonds to maintain and repair the city’s infrastructure; even though he was instrumental in assuring a viable public transit system for Denver by acquiring what was then a privately held utility, the Denver Tramway Company, and achieving voter approval to run the tramway system as a public utility; even though it was Mayor Bill who shepherded, in 1969, the urban renewal bond issue for the Auraria Education complex; yes, in spite of these and many more accomplishments, the times–1983–required new leadership, plain and simple.
It is said that on primary election night in May, 1983, when it was known McNichols had come in third in a field of seven candidates for mayor, he was surrounded by reporters wanting to know his reaction. Puffing on his ever-present cigar, he said, “What do you want me to do? Faint?”
Okay. Now, back to my point.
Folks love the Hick. If you don’t believe me, you’ve got this morning’s News as evidence of that fact. Indeed–even though the poll results included in the News were paid for out of the Hick’s campaign funds and was conducted by his (the Hick’s), in-house political consultant, The Kenney Group–the suspected bias of the poll results do not belie the general impression folks have of this businessman mayor. But, dare I suggest the News–in not giving a second thought to giving a full page to David Kenney and company, rather than seeking a more credible independent source to conduct a poll, indeed, perhaps even commissioning an independent poll themselves; dare I suggest that this is journalistic laziness; a kind of Woo-Hoo, what the hell mentality that abrogates responsible journalism to something akin to cronyism? How dare a daily newspaper have its head so far up the hindquarters– Nope, won’t go there. I, too, have come to expect less and less of journalists and newspapers.
Continuing reports that the Rocky Mountain News is becoming more and more of a burden to it’s parent and publisher, the E.W. Scripps Co. (earnings off 43 percent during 2006), may have something to do with the Rocky’s shameless pandering to a sure winner which they–the Rocky–apparently aren’t.
I don’t know. Anybody else have a problem with this?