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Richard Nixon and Front-Page Denver Post Editorials

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In his November 11 column about the Bill Ritter-bashing front-page editorial that inspired this edition of the Message, Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley revealed that the broadsheet has published three other page-one salvos since 1946 -- not two, as Rocky Mountain News media analyst Dave Kopel stated in a previous piece. According to Haley, the missing offering was published in 1974 following the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

As it turns out, this additional bit of info puts the last couple of page-one Post editorials into greater perspective. Nixon’s resignation and the 2000 vote-counting debacle that led to another page-one effort were of tremendous national significance: Pupils will be studying them for as long as the United States of America exists. In contrast, the topics at the heart of the two most recent front-cover editorials – referenda C and D, which the Post supported up-front in 2005, and the attack on Ritter for issuing a pro-union executive order – are matters of more immediate concern: important, but not to the far-reaching degree of the previous two. As such, these more recent opinion essays represent a change in course, with Dean Singleton, the Post’s publisher and head of its hefty parent company, MediaNews Group, deciding that it’s appropriate to weigh in even when the topics won’t be grist for future historians.

Jason Salzman, the Rocky’s other media analyst, who weighs in from a progressive perspective, thinks this is a good thing judging by his most recent submission, whereas many of those who wrote in to Haley over the course of the past week disagree. Whatever the case, politicos who take positions Singleton dislikes should no longer assume that the Post will only rip them on the editorial pages. The rules have been rewritten. – Michael Roberts

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