Off Limits

Limp noodles: Stymied in his attempts to broadcast live from Pasta Jay's restaurant, Geraldo Rivera nonetheless showed up right on schedule in Boulder, where on Monday he interviewed Ramsey family spokesman Pat Korten--his clients are "up there at the top of the potential suspect list," the full-time flack allowed--and hosted a roundtable of pundits. Among them were former Denver district attorney Norm Early, who is now working for Lockheed, which happens to be the company that purchased John Ramsey's Access Graphics several years ago. (The Ramsey case is turning into quite a sideline for local legal experts, with defense attorney Larry Posner followed closely by former deputy district attorney Craig Silverman in tallying TV face time.)

However, Rivera was unable to interview "old friend" Wellington Webb, Early's opponent in the 1991 mayoral race who's currently at home recuperating from cancer surgery. Last week Rivera's producer called Webb's office to schedule a CNBC chat in which Geraldo could ask his pal Webb about his legal career. Just one problem: Webb is not a lawyer.

Newsweek stringer Sherry Keene-Osborn is beating the rest of the media with the first book on the Ramsey case, Pretty Baby: The Life and Death of JonBenet Ramsey, due out this Friday. Keene-Osborn's unlikely authorship doesn't end there: According to the most recent Webb for Mayor Inc. expenditure reports, filed January 31, she received $500 from the political group--no, not for Newsweek's less than laudatory coverage of Denver's airport, but for a speech Keene-Osborn wrote that Webb delivered to a trade union in Washington, D.C.

Shop 'til you drop: Timing is everything. On Sunday Southwest Plaza celebrated its fourteenth birthday with a special program inserted inside the Denver Post that boasted "Shopping as it should be!" The front page of the same Post, however, told another story: "Gunfire Kills One at Mall" read the headline over an article detailing the shooting death of an eighteen-year-old outside Southwest Plaza Saturday night.

Meanwhile, just in time for its second birthday, Denver International Airport has won unexpected kudos from Money. Because of its shopping outlets, DIA is the country's best airport in which to get stuck, according to the magazine--not exactly a high honor for a facility designed to cut down on airplane delays.

The medium is the message: The Colorado Press Association announced its awards Saturday, which led to the usual Sunday stories in each Denver daily listing winners from that paper, and that paper only. (For the record, Westword didn't enter the CPA editorial contest this year, since rules restrict it to competing against weeklies, rather than against Denver's two dailies.) More instructive than the stories, though, are the ads that the papers use to promote themselves. For example, a new Post ad touts broadsheets that are triumphing over competing tabloids (not, of course, that the News is calling itself a tabloid in these days of weekly JonBenet supermarket scoops). The lineup includes the Chicago Tribune, which towers over the Chicago Sun-Times--former employer of Post editor Dennis Britton.

Capital crimes:"If there needs to be a special counsel, I'm for it." That's how Roy Romer--sometimes Colorado governor and now chair of the Democratic National Committee--responded to the suggestion that an independent counsel be appointed to investigate questionable Democratic fundraising.

"I want to get everything out on the table," Romer said on a national news show Sunday. "We've got to clean this thing up so we can get on with running these two parties the proper way."

He can start the cleanup close to home. Last Thursday a Westword editor received a call about 4 p.m. from a telemarketer--not selling siding, not selling insurance, but allegedly selling the Colorado Democrats. "We need help," the caller said, after offering her political affiliation. "Did you see what the Republicans did to us in the last election?" Well, we saw what the Colorado Democrats did to themselves in the last election.

"And those stories about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Those are lies or rumors, just sleazy journalism."

Now, wait just a minute. She was talking to a sleazy journalist.
"Oh. That probably means you're not interested in giving $150," she continued, undeterred.

The Colorado Democratic Party insists the caller was a rogue agent. "Our script doesn't have anything about 'sleazy journalism,'" says a spokeswoman there, adding that official calls aren't supposed to start until dinnertime.

When everything is out on the table.

 
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