Brad Jones, founder and managing editor of the conservative "news" website Face the State, said on a recent broadcast of KTVD Channel 20's Your Show that "if ... your [website] content is regularly incorrect you will lose credibility." However, Colorado Media Matters has documented numerous examples of misleading and "incorrect" information on Jones' site, and Face the State provided more misinformation in the days before and after Jones' Your Show appearance.
On the July 1 broadcast of KTVD Channel 20's Your Show, Brad Jones, founder and managing editor of the conservative "news" website FacetheState.com, stated that "if ... your [website] content is regularly incorrect you will lose credibility." In the days preceding and following Jones' comments, Face the State posted content featuring false or "incorrect" information promoting conservative points of view. Most notably, in a headline for a link to a June 29 Rocky Mountain News article, Face the State falsely stated that Denver Public Schools proposed "$24 million more per year" in tax increases. In fact, the article to which Face the State linked reported Superintendent Michael Bennet's comment that "it's too early to tell if DPS will pursue a tax hike."
Jones reportedly has called for higher "journalistic standards" in political reporting, and Face the State describes itself as "a one-stop-shop for political news affecting Coloradans." But as Colorado Media Matters repeatedly has noted (here, here, here, here, and here), Face the State frequently publishes misleading headlines on its aggregated news articles, employs the well-established conservative tactic of using the noun "Democrat" as an adjective instead of the grammatically correct "Democratic," and perpetrates other distortions to advance conservative viewpoints and denigrate liberal positions and political figures. Following are some recent examples of Face the State's content in the days surrounding Jones' comment on Your Show.
1. Headline falsely attributed to Denver Public Schools the intent to request tax increase
On June 29 Face the State featured a banner headline asserting that Denver Public Schools (DPS) "wants [a] tax increase" and linked to a June 29 article in the News with the sub-headline "Proposed: $24 million more per year."
Stick it to The Voters: Denver Public Schools Wants Tax Increase Along With City
Proposed: $24 Million More Per Year
Contrary to Face the State's misrepresentation, the News article reported that DPS recently learned that the state-imposed ceiling on how much of a tax increase it can request from voters is higher than it had previously thought -- $24 million per year rather than $7 million per year. The article noted that according to Bennet, the superintendent, DPS had yet to decide whether it would pursue the option of a tax increase:
Denver Public Schools leaders discovered this week they have another option to bring in more operating dollars -- a tax increase.
In addition to closing schools and trying to resolve their ballooning pension debt, the district can ask voters for another $24 million a year before they hit their tax limit.
That's more than triple the $7 million that DPS officials had mistakenly calculated as their ceiling under state law.
DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet said it's too early to tell if DPS will pursue a tax hike.
2. Headline suggested DPS "would ignore" Supreme Court ruling in desegregation case
On June 29 Face the State suggested in its headline for a link to a June 29 News article that Colorado school districts would ignore a June 28 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling that race-based school desegregation plans are unconstitutional, saying that it would be "business as usual" for Colorado schools following the ruling.
However, in the Colorado-focused article -- "Ruling unlikely to have much impact here," which accompanied a larger Associated Press article (accessed through the electronic edition) about the decision -- the News reported that Colorado schools "are unlikely to be affected by" the ruling because they are already compliant with its prohibition on the use of race as a factor in integration plans that assign students to schools based on their race:
Colorado schools are unlikely to be affected by Thursday's ruling, although some Denver programs were created to foster voluntary racial integration.
Those schools -- known as "magnet schools" -- house special programs aimed at drawing students of all races from across the city.
But even magnet programs no longer consider race in admissions, after a federal judge ended mandatory busing in Denver Public Schools in 1996.
3. Headline used "Democrat" rather than "Democratic" to refer to state Democratic Party's legislative agenda
As Colorado Media Matters has noted, Republican Party officials, politicians, and their allies in the media frequently use "Democrat" instead of the adjective "Democratic" as a pejorative reference to matters or people of, or relating to, the Democratic Party. Media Matters for America has pointed out that the ungrammatical conversion of the noun "Democrat" to an adjective was the brainchild of Republican partisans, presumably as an attempt to deny the opposing party the claim to being "democratic" -- or, in the words of New Yorker magazine senior editor Hendrik Hertzberg, "to deny the enemy the positive connotations of its chosen appellation." In an August 7, 2006, article, Hertzberg pointed out that the word "Democrat" is a noun, and using it as an adjective defies the rules of English grammar.
Face the State has used this tactic numerous times (here, here, and here), and did so again July 3 in a banner headline above a link to a Gazette of Colorado Springs article about Democratic plans to introduce environmental legislation in the 2008 state legislative session.
"California-Style" Enviro Standards on Next Year's Democrat Legislative Agenda
4. Headline called Ritter's school financing plan "unconstitutional" -- though courts have not ruled that it is
On July 6 a banner headline misleadingly referred to "Gov. Ritter's unconstitutional tax increase," although no court has ruled a mill levy freeze proposed by Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter to be unconstitutional. The headline, which appeared above links to a July 6 Alamosa Valley Courier article and a May 2 Rocky Mountain News article, presumably refers to a plan proposed by Ritter and passed as part of Senate Bill 199 that would freeze property tax, or mill levy, rates as a means of redistributing sources of public education funding.
Costilla County set to vote on mill levy increase?? But not for Gov. Ritter's unconstitutional tax increase ...
Ritter signed SB 199 into law on May 9. Colorado law previously stated that mill levy rates must decrease as property values increase in order to prevent property tax revenue from increasing. As Colorado Media Matters has noted, opponents of the measure have claimed that the measure violated the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) provision of the Colorado Constitution, which mandates that jurisdictions approve tax increases.
The Valley Courier article to which Face the State linked described a Costilla County proposal to request a mill levy increase to fund library expansion. The article did not mention SB 199 or Ritter.