Moon rocks mystery: Why didn't Denver Post call former governor who had them?

Yesterday, page one of your Denver Post featured a story about moon rocks given to Colorado Governor John Vanderhoof -- items reportedly worth $5 million on the black market -- that appeared to be missing.

"Appeared" being the operative word, because it took Channel 7 a grand total of one phone call to find them. Their keeper? None other than Vanderhoof, who you'd think would have been the first person on a reporter's contact list.

Channel 7's piece about the discovery is not only self-aggrandizing -- the text headline trumpets, "7News Tracks Down State's Missing Moon Rocks" -- but also amusing in its strained efforts to inflate the drama surrounding the "scoop." Dig this passage, featuring an exchange between Vanderhoof, who's 88 and living in Grand Junction, and correspondent Russell Haythorn.

7NEWS decided to call former Gov. John Vanderhoof to find out if he remembered what happened to the moon rock plaque presented to him by NASA astronaut Jack Lousma on Jan. 9, 1974.

"Well Governor, what do you know about these moon rocks? Where are they?" asked 7NEWS reporter Russell Haythorn.

"They're in my house, in my display of things," he told 7NEWS.

Eat your heart out, Mike Wallace.

As for the Post, it was forced to put a followup report about the rocks on the front page today -- one that excludes all mention of Channel 7 and attempts to pump up controversy over Vanderhoof's possession of the rocks when the whole thing seems like a silly misunderstanding.

That must've taken a lot of stones.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts