A Tiger's Tale

Finally, the Denver JOA faces some real opposition -- but it's probably too little, too late.

But there's no denying that the Jabs affair has made for some memorable spectacles. For example, Jabs, who guested on KOA yakker Mike Rosen's March 29 talk show, said he was playing with the idea of buying a publication of his own -- possibly even this one. Look on our masthead next week, and if my title has been changed to "Wild Animal Wrangler" or perhaps "Cage Boy," you'll know he was serious.

The fun continued after the Post's Chuck Green, among Singleton's most ardent defenders, responded to Jabs's musings with "Plotting by Jabs not Jake," a hilariously mean-spirited March 30 attack in which the Chuckster implied that Jabs wasn't suited to run a publication. But the old journalism maxim "Always fact-check Chuck Green" was proved wise again, because the column contained at least one hefty error. Green wrote that Jabs threatened to remove ads from the Post and the News if either paper wrote about a mid-'90s sexual-harassment complaint against him and did so after the Post printed an article anyway -- but because the News "spiked the story," it got to keep all his moolah. However, according to Neil Westergaard, who edited the Post at the time (he now oversees the Denver Business Journal), Post reporter George Lane learned of the suit before the News did and completed a piece in time for the next day's first press run; the News then "chased" the story with a brief in a later edition, and both papers printed followups one day later. But whereas the News's placement downplayed the report, the Post's coverage was teased on the front page with a color photo of Jabs, who'd been out of town when the story broke and couldn't be reached for comment. Westergaard says Jabs withheld ads from the Post for "a few months"; Jabs maintains he did so for "years."

Whatever happens with the lawsuit, the bad blood between Jabs and the Post promises to keep boiling for quite a while. In a March 30 letter prompted by Green's column, Jabs wrote that when it comes to terrorism, "even Libya's Muammar Qaddafi has to tip his hat" to Singleton. Yet at the press conference, he insisted that his reasons for pursuing the suit weren't personal and had more to do with his sympathy for smaller advertisers. "It won't hurt me that much," he said. "I'll just buy more TV."

Fred Harper

Speaking of which: On April 3, two days after Jabs supposedly ended his relationship with the dailies, the home page of the News's Web site, rockymountainnews.com, included an American Furniture Warehouse ad inviting surfers to "Register to Win...A Chance to Star With Jake in a TV Commercial!"

If you're chosen, don't tell Jake where you entered -- or you might wind up as tiger food.

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