Can you hear that horn a-blowin'?

Rocky Mountain News takes credit for Civic Center clean-up

The front-page headline of the August 19 Rocky Mountain News reads, "Last Minute Makeover: Crews swarm park to finish full-blown face-lift before DNC" -- and inside, the latest edition of writer James Meadow's seemingly endless "Civic Center Blues" series, which has spent weeks outlining the area's slovenliness, jokes about how the decision to spruce things up prior to the Democratic National Convention was a "coincidence."

It wasn't, of course -- but neither did the Rocky's increasingly strained and ridiculous Civic Center salvos have anything to do with the city's decision.

In a July 23 blog about the Civic Center pieces, I pointed out that the articles -- which at that point were supposed to be part of a five-part package -- were "more about appearances than issues." That's remained the case ever since, whether Meadow was prattling on about human waste or the stuff that squirts out of pigeons. In this last linked offering, published on August 4, I wrote, "The Rocky appears bound and determined to keep foisting this literal and figurative crap upon us until the City of Denver launches a massive Civic Center cleaning, at which point the paper will undoubtedly take credit for having prompted the action."

Correctly guessing things would work out this way doesn't make me a gifted prognosticator. Anyone could see it coming. The managers at the paper took up a cosmetic cause knowing in advance that the city would sweep through the area prior to the DNC. Perhaps the efforts of city workers will be a bit more extensive because of the Rocky's obsessiveness. Still, that in no way justifies wasting a page of increasingly precious newsprint every day on reports that demonstrated little more than a keen grasp of the obvioius.

The result, for readers, continues to be a bad case of the Civic Center blues. -- Michael Roberts

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