7News offered website as information source without disclosing its GOP ties

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In reporting on the defeat of the so-called "Make My Day Better" bill in the Colorado Senate, KMGH 7News' website directed readers seeking "more information" on the issue to a Republican-operated website. But 7News did not identify ColoradoSenateNews.com as a GOP website and did not include links to any nonpartisan sites providing coverage of the measure.

KMGH 7News featured on its website a February 26 Associated Press article about the defeat of House Bill 1011 -- the so-called "Make My Day Better" bill -- in the Colorado Senate, and at the end of the article included a link directing readers seeking "more information" to a website operated by the Republican Senate minority. However, nowhere on its website did 7News disclose that the GOP operates ColoradoSenateNews.com or provide links to any nonpartisan sites.

As the AP article reported, "A Senate committee on Monday killed a proposal to expand Colorado's 'Make My Day' law to protect the use of deadly force in self-defense in stores and other workplaces." The article further reported, "Sponsor Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, criticized 'Denver Democrats' for siding with criminals and said he would try again next year."

While the AP article presented Republicans' and Democrats' views about the proposal, 7News referred readers looking "[f]or more information" to a February 26 article on the GOP-sponsored website ColoradoSenateNews.com. The article featured only comments from Republicans who supported HB 1011.

Denver Post editorial board member Dan Haley recognized ColoradoSenateNews.com in his February 26 column (an online version appeared February 25) as a "new website" that, "judging by its domain name, purports to cover all of the Colorado Senate." However, as Haley pointed out, the site "is actually operated by the minority-party Senate Republicans and contains Senate news as viewed through their prism." Haley noted the site is being used "as a one-stop shop for reporters and constituents."

From the Associated Press article "Senate Panel Kills Expansion Of 'Make My Day' Law," posted on KMGH 7News' website:

DENVER -- A Senate committee on Monday killed a proposal to expand Colorado's "Make My Day" law to protect the use of deadly force in self-defense in stores and other workplaces.

The law currently protects the use of deadly force in self-defense only by people who are in their homes.

The new proposal, called "Make My Day Better," passed the House 34-30 with bipartisan support. But the Senate State, Veteran and Military Affairs Committee permanently killed the measure on a 3-2, party-line vote, meaning it cannot be revived for the rest of the session.

The committee's Democrats said they feared disagreements between customers and shopkeepers could escalate into violence. The committee's two Republicans voted for the bill.

Sponsor Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, criticized "Denver Democrats" for siding with criminals and said he would try again next year.

"The Senate vote shows a blatant disregard for our right to protect ourselves from criminals without fear of prosecution," he said in a statement.

Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver, said store owners could end up shooting teenagers they were fearful of just because they were talking too loud, wearing their baseball hat backward or listening to the rapper Snoop Dogg. Or he said a shooting could break out over shoplifting.

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