Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Single Minded

It's tough to end an interview with this question: "Oh, by the way, were you ever a neo-Nazi?" It's tough, but it's tougher to suffer through what can happen if you don't ask that question.

We learned that the hard way a few months ago, when we ran a light-hearted story on the Denver Lair, a group of self-proclaimed pick-up artists. Although our reporter did extensive research on the Lair movement nationally and spent a couple of nights with the local boys, no amount of googling turned up the fact that back in high school, before he got interested in picking up girls, our cover boy, Matt Buschbacher, picked up some solid credentials as a neo-Nazi.

We learned about young Buschbacher's unusual interests when former Westword staffer David Holthouse, now working at the Southern Poverty Law Center, let us know that Buschbacher had surfaced in his investigation of military men with Nazi leanings. (Buschbacher was a Navy SEAL -- a fact we worked hard to verify, since men tend to lie more about their military service than they do about their dating lives.)

Today when you google Buschbacher's name, the June 1 Westword cover story comes up, then Holthouse's SPLC story , then Westword's July 13 story reporting on the SPLC story.

So Channel 7 must have skipped the standard google search when it used Buschbacher for a seemingly innocuous (and definitely out-of-date) piece last weekend that talked about how Denver is the country's top town for singles -- an award handed out by back in July.

But someone must have recognized the neo-Nazi pickup artist, because by Tuesday, the story had been pulled from 7's website, where we'd found it Monday.

I called Channel 7's news director to ask why Buschbacher had disappeared, but he did not return my call. If he had, this would have been my first question: "Oh, by the way, were you ever a neo-Nazi?" -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun