It's still about two months until the Democratic National Convention gets underway in Denver, but you'd never know it from the pages of the Rocky Mountain News. The venerable tab is going to extremes to get the letters "DNC" into every story possible. Note that columnist Penny Parker included pleas for convention-related tips in two consecutive columns, published on June 17 and 18. And the June 23 story about an early Sunday morning shooting near 18th and Market in LoDo used the DNC as a hook, as if the gunplay was only of interest because of its proximity to the spot where Dems will gather in August.
Here's the Rocky's lead:
Denver police killed one man and critically injured a second in an early Sunday shootout in LoDo, six blocks from where 50,000 people are expected to descend on the city for the Democratic National Convention in August.
Talk about a forced reference. Violence has been a late-night problem in LoDo for years. Check out this 2004 Westword feature about trouble at Let Out (the term used for the time when clubs announce last call before closing) for evidence aplenty. More recently, in December 2007, Anthony Chavez was arrested in Mexico for shootings the previous month in front of Hush, a nightclub at 15th and Market -- and when Channel 7 reported about the bust, station personnel managed to present the facts without noting that the area would be thick with Dems nine months later. Can you imagine?
Sure, the DNC is a huge story, and the press is right to treat it that way. But acting as if every crime that takes place between now and Barack Obama's acceptance speech is somehow related to the convention is to engage in something akin to hysteria -- and that's a Rocky road. -- Michael Roberts