Rocky again omitted censured DA's GOP affiliation, after reporting that "Democrat" was cleared of trespassing charges

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

A May 3 Rocky Mountain News article reported on the most recent investigation of censured District Attorney Carol Chambers without noting her Republican affiliation. In an April 25 article, however, the News identified as "a Democrat" a former legislator accused of trespassing.

The Rocky Mountain News on May 3 published an article about censured District Attorney Carol Chambers that again did not identify her as an elected Republican official -- this after the News on April 25 had published an article identifying a former lawmaker accused of criminal trespass as a Democrat. It was at least the second time the News noted former state Sen. Robert Hernandez's political affiliation while ignoring Chambers'.

The May 3 article stated that "Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers is being accused of a 'blatant attempt to intimidate' a judge, a charge that puts her back on the radar of a panel that investigates lawyer misconduct." After noting that "[t]he allegation is outlined in a letter written by James O'Connor, the head of the district's public defender's office," the article reported, "Chambers wrote several e-mails that O'Connor said were 'veiled threats' against a judge." The News further noted:

It's the second time in less than a year that she has been scrutinized by the Attorney Regulation Counsel.

In December 2006, Chambers was publicly censured for using her office to intimidate a collection agency's attorney who had sued one of Chambers' acquaintances.

Chambers had called the attorney, Jonathan R. Steiner, and left him a voicemail saying she was "looking at investigating this with the grand jury."

As it did in reporting Chambers' earlier round of legal troubles, the News omitted mention that Chambers is a Republican elected official and that the "acquaintance[]" she aided in December was fellow Republican Laurett Barrentine, an Englewood City Councilwoman and Arapahoe County Republican Party official.

In contrast to the May 3 article about Chambers, the News reported on April 25 that "Denver prosecutors Tuesday dismissed a charge of criminal trespass against former state Sen. Robert Hernandez, who was accused of moving back into his home after he was evicted." The News then noted, "Hernandez, a Democrat, represented northwest Denver until term limits forced him out of office in 2002."

Unlike the News, The Denver Post did give Chambers' party affiliation when it reported on May 3 that she was censured in December "for using her office to help a fellow Republican":

Legal observers say Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers may not be as fortunate this time around.

Chambers, who received public censure in December for using her office to help a fellow Republican, is being investigated for an e-mail she sent that one attorney called a "veiled threat."

If she is found to have violated rules of conduct again, she may receive more than the slap on the wrist she got last time, some said.

Colorado Media Matters noted that the News also identified Hernandez as "a Democrat" in a February 22 article about the trespassing charge after repeatedly (here, here, here, here, and here) failing to note the Republican affiliation of Chambers and two other elected officials accused of abusing the powers of their offices -- Jefferson County Commissioner Jim Congrove and former Jefferson County Treasurer Mark Paschall.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.