What's Left?

The Post denies accusations of slanted coverage.

In addition, the introductory tone of the Allard portrait is the harsher of the two. Strickland is faulted for being too ambitious, for cozying up to corporations in ways that conflict with his populist message and for being allergic to direct answers; later, his integrity is questioned in a fairly mild way by Betty Wilkins, identified as "a Democrat from Denver's Clayton neighborhood." And Allard? His voting record is likened to that of "Sens. Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, stalwarts of the Senate's far right," and his trademark openness and accessibility receives a devastating blow that hints at hypocrisy: "Despite all his town meetings, critics say his politics reflect an ultra-right-wing ideology that's out of step with moderate Colorado values. Just because he shows up doesn't mean he's listening." Yet, as Rosen notes, the next person Greene quotes -- political science professor Tony Robinson -- is not an exemplar of "moderate Colorado values," but an activist who identified himself in a Westword profile ("Welcome to the Real World," November 11, 1999) as a socialist.

In her article, Greene didn't characterize Robinson's political leanings one way or the other. But Rosen believes she gave such prominent play to someone he considers to be on the extreme left because she had a preconceived vision of the piece and didn't want anyone to contradict it. Greene scoffs at that. "I wasn't seeking out any one political perspective," she says. "In both profiles, I tried to get as wide a cross-section as I could." Regarding her use of Robinson, she says, "He's a professor at a pretty well-respected university, so I think that speaks for itself."

This justification prompts Rosen to ask, "Does that pass the giggle test? I don't think so." But at the same time, he doesn't describe the Strickland profile as a puff piece. Instead, he surmises that Greene toughened it up after her Allard article stirred controversy. Greene says no: She points out that the Strickland profile was largely written before the Allard project was published and stresses that nothing was altered to placate ticked-off Republicans.

If Moore feels burned by the firestorm swirling around Greene, he doesn't show it. He says he's pleased with the profiles of the Senate wannabes. "I thought she captured the candidates well, and there was no difference in the way they were put together than the way Time or Newsweek would have done them. People may not be used to this, but we take politics and public policy seriously here. We'll continue to do that, and I'll continue to insist that we be fair -- and we are."

This contention doesn't pass Rosen's giggle test, either. But he sees reason for some optimism down the line. "I use the analogy of an umpire. When you argue a call, you don't expect the umpire to change the call -- but it may affect his next call. So I would hope this would influence their handling of stories in the future."

Clearly, Rosen will be watching. But at least the Post is giving the rest of us a greater incentive to read closely as well.

Three's a crowd: There's no shortage of sports on the Denver radio dial, but more's on the way anyhow. On October 7, KLZ-AM/560 will become part of the ESPN family. That'll make a trio of signals, including the Fan and the Zone, that are entirely or largely devoted to sports -- and KOA, the broadcast home of the Broncos, the Rockies and the CU Buffaloes, certainly airs its share of the stuff, too.

KLZ's call letters are important to the history of the medium in these parts. KLZ-AM, which went on the air in 1922, was the city's first radio station, while KLZ-FM (now KBPI) was the initial FM signal west of St. Louis when it debuted in 1947, and it began programming rock and roll before just about anyone in the West. But since being purchased by Crawford Broadcasting a decade or so back, KLZ-AM has attracted comparatively few listeners despite a flurry of format changes. Most recently, the station specialized in music "chosen by women, for women," a unique approach for which the company wasn't rewarded. "I don't know why the women of Denver didn't embrace it," says company head Don Crawford Jr. "Qualitatively, it worked, but quantitatively, it didn't.

"We strive to be pioneers and try to do things differently instead of giving people the same old boilerplate, cookie-cutter stations," he continues. "But that hasn't worked for us on KLZ. So now we're going after the opposite demographic, and instead of being entrepreneurial, we're going with a format that's proven. It's something that's been staring us in the face for ten years, and we're finally going to try it."

This decision will cause some changes at the Zone, a Clear Channel outlet that's currently using ESPN programming between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and was broadcasting the network's highest-profile talk show, hosted by Dan Patrick, up until three months ago. But Don Martin, the Zone's program director, isn't overly concerned. "Clear Channel is Fox Sports Radio, so I'll just go a hundred percent Fox," he says.

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