Today's tax-day Tea Party protests are predictably hypocritical: I don't seem to remember any conservative talk-show hosts leading State Capitol rallies when the George Bush administration pushed through the free-spending Troubled Asset Relief Program just a few short months ago. Still, the presence of folks like KHOW's Peter Boyles, who's on the scene at this writing, and KOA's Jon Caldara and Bob Newman, both scheduled to speak at the noon hour, violates no journalistic tenets that I can see. After all, they're paid to express their opinions, not maintain an even keel.
More problematic is the enthusiasm with which KOA's Colorado Morning News, an allegedly nonpartisan program, is hyping the bash. During the 6 a.m. hour, for example, hosts Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh eagerly pointed listeners toward a page on the station's website featuring a link at which they can make their own virtual protest sign.
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Granted, KOA's objectivity is open to question. Note an April 8 More Messages blog in which Kris Olinger, who oversees KOA and other Clear Channel Denver AM properties, offered a somewhat dubious rationale for why the station used to skip the Democratic response to President Bush's weekly radio addresses but now airs the Republican retort to President Barack Obama's talks. (A radio pro with whom I've spoken since the item's publication dubs her explanation ludicrous.) Still, such blatant side-taking when it comes to the Tea Party trades CMN's credibility for a few more website hits.