During the coronavirus pandemic, longtime Westword reporter Michael Roberts has been publishing several stories a day, covering everything from the Aurora Walmart that was recently ordered closed over unsafe practices to Governor Jared Polis's latest safer-at-home update to a visit last weekend to Daniels Park, a Denver Mountain Park, and nearby Castle Pines...where Roberts didn't see many people wearing masks or following recommended social-distancing practices.
After he shared his observations in "COVID-19: Rich Colorado Town Doesn't Give a F*ck About Masks," plenty of readers didn't bother to mask their feelings about his story. Says Clark:
You people ought to be ashamed of yourselves, shaming entire communities. If we have civil unrest, I'm holding Westword accountable. Shame on you! why can't you hire a real reporters who do investigative journalism, instead of tattletales?
What an idiot. You don’t need masks outside! If it was as bad as the fake news media was saying, then every flu season we’d be wearing masks. All just fear propaganda.
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I live in Colorado Springs and don't know anyone in Castle Pines. I also have followed the stay-at-home directive and use a mask when in an enclosed public location such as a grocery store. I said that to say this: Your story about Castle Pines was the most self-righteous, smarmy clap-trap I have read in a very long time. I initially thought it was meant to be humorous, then was astonished when I realized it was meant to be serious.
As you reported, wearing a mask is just a guideline and not required for a recreational visit to the park. So your indignation is nothing more than personal, and of no consequence as far as I can tell. Thank God for that, because we don't need more self-appointed 'Brown Shirts' informing on their friends and anyone who doesn't follow the rules as they see them.
This article reminds me of Orwell's Animal Farm. I noticed you didn't have the intestinal fortitude to question anyone about their lack of a mask. Had you done so I'm sure you might have learned something worth reporting. Finally, your condescending, uninformed characterizations referencing 'the rich' and 'macho,' neither of which you could have known for a fact, show a juvenile understanding of good journalism and completely negate any possible value in this 'article.' No one will be shamed by such a clearly biased, sad presentation.
What Michael doesn’t know, and was apparently too busy to find out through something called “investigative journalism” (I would settle for curious opining at this point), is that many individuals who live in Castle Pines not only care about and respect masks and their usage, they have been dedicating their time to sewing and providing masks to local nurses who work at surrounding medical offices, urgent cares and hospitals including UC Denver. He couldn’t know. Because he never asked. He simply spent an hour on some trails and let his own personal twisted views leak out.
People in Castle Pines have always been this way. They think their shit doesn't stink. I worked there for a bit of time, and they were some of the worst, most entitled, assholes ever. This in no way surprises me.
The conclusion made based on one-day observational samples of single small geographic locations that may have an inherent bias of where people who aren’t taking face masks seriously are congregating without also providing figures for a comparison group of middle- and low-income areas that are statistically significant is not only irresponsible, but unethical, shameful and disrespectful, not to mention ignorant and anti-intellectual. One could easily conduct such an exercise in an economically underprivileged area of the metro area to fit the exact opposite conclusion.
When rich people are being stupid, it’s not hatred of the rich...it’s hatred for stupidity.
Then there's this from Roger Hudson, a member of the Castle Pines City Council:
Doing a drive-by of Boulder and my city of Castle Pines and writing this is extremely poor journalism. Just because Michael used the word “demographics” in his story doesn’t make his story representational of anything of substance. It would be like me coming to your house and finding a sink full of dishes or dirty clothes in the hamper and determining you were a slob.
FYI: Daniel's Gate Park is a City/County of Denver mountain park and is used heavily by many residents from a larger surrounding area than just Castle Pines.
Come on. You guys are better than this.
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And Edward concludes:
Your article on Castle Pines is the worst piece of journalism I have ever seen. You incite hate, with false characterizations. I am done with this paper.
Will you be out and about this weekend? Feel free to share any observations about mask wearing (or lack thereof) and social distancing (or lack thereof) with us at email@example.com.
And in the meantime, if you missed Michael Roberts's piece on his time in Castle Pines, read it here.