Face the State distorted Rocky articles regarding in-state tuition, second-parent adoption

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In publishing misleading headlines that linked to August 3 and August 10 Rocky Mountain News articles, the "news" website Face the State continued its pattern of misrepresenting news content to advance a conservative viewpoint -- a pattern that Colorado Media Matters has pointed out repeatedly.

On August 3 and August 10 the "news" website Face the State linked to Rocky Mountain News articles using headlines that misrepresented the content of the pieces. The website's headline for the August 10 News article stated that Metropolitan State College of Denver had decided to "charge in-state tuition for illegals," implying that the change would affect students who are illegal immigrants. In fact, the News reported that Metro State had changed its policy and would offer in-state tuition to "Colorado residents who are U.S. citizens but whose parents are here illegally."

Face the State's distortion echoed that of several Colorado radio show hosts who, as Colorado Media Matters noted, similarly mischaracterized a related August 3 News article about state higher education director David Skaggs' effort "to remove legal barriers to in-state tuition for Colorado students whose parents are in the country illegally."

Similarly, Face the State linked to an August 3 News article with a headline suggesting that as a consequence of a new Colorado law, "Gays May Adopt Children." In fact, the News article reported that Colorado law already "permitted adoption by ... single parents, straight or gay," and the article's headline stated, "New law gives gay couples [the] right to adopt." Colorado Media Matters has noted other media outlets misrepresenting the law, House Bill 1330, which doesn't extend adoption rights to gays, who as individuals already had that right. Rather, it would "permit adoption of children by grandparents, siblings, extended relatives, common law spouses and other adults living with the parent" -- including members of unmarried or same-sex couples, as The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported.

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, for example, Denver Post columnist Al Knight similarly mischaracterized the legislation as a bill that "would authorize homosexual adoption."

Face the State describes itself as "a one-stop-shop for political news affecting Coloradans." On the July 1 broadcast of KTVD Channel 20's Your Show, founder Brad Jones stated that "if ... your [website] content is regularly incorrect you will lose credibility." As Colorado Media Matters has documented repeatedly (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), Face the State frequently publishes misleading headlines on its aggregated news articles.

From Face the State on August 10:

Metro State to charge in-state tuition for illegals

Contrary to Face the State's headline, the News reported in its August 10 article, subheadlined "Metro to charge in-state rate for children of illegals," that Metro State's new policy followed Skaggs' request that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers clarify whether state law prohibits Colorado post-secondary institutions from charging in-state tuition to the unemancipated U.S.-citizen children of illegal immigrants. The article noted that Skaggs has said he would "seek legislative action" if Suthers determines that current law contains such a prohibition:

Changing course on tuition
Metro to charge in-state rate for children of illegals
By Erika Gonzalez, Rocky Mountain News
August 10, 2007

Metropolitan State College no longer will charge out-of-state tuition to Colorado residents who are U.S. citizens but whose parents are here illegally.

In an e-mail to Metro's administration Thursday, President Stephen Jordan said he has directed admissions officials to begin granting in-state tuition to students who qualify as legal residents of the state but cannot prove the status of their parents.

Those students -- unless they were emancipated from their parents -- were previously charged higher nonresident rates, a policy that Jordan said was based on past opinions from the attorney general's office and directives from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

[...]

Last week, higher education chief David Skaggs asked Attorney General John Suthers to clarify state law on the residency status of those students. Skaggs also said he would seek legislative action to ensure that legal residents receive in-state tuition regardless of their parents' status.

"If we were to treat two U.S. citizens who have the same characteristics differently because of family lineage -- I don't think that would pass constitutional muster," -- Skaggs said. [emphases added]

Similarly, another Face the State headline repeated a misleading characterization of HB 1330, signed into law May 14 and made effective August 3, which allows for a child to be adopted by a second adult.

From Face the State on August 3:

New Law Today: Gays May Adopt Children in Colorado

Contrary to Face the State's misleading headline, gays in Colorado already had the legal right to adopt under pre-existing law, as the Rocky Mountain News reported in the article to which the headline linked:

New law gives gay couples right to adopt
By April M. Washington, Rocky Mountain News
August 3, 2007

Colorado today becomes the 10th state to allow gay couples to adopt and the 20th to extend civil rights protections to gays and lesbians.

"We've been involved in pushing equal rights legislation for 11 years in row. Today is a new day as we take two great strides toward equality," said Mindy Barton of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado.

Colorado's new adoption law is gaining widespread attention.

Adoption attorney Seth Grob said Thursday he already has received a stream of inquiries from gay couples looking to adopt one another's children. "This bill has psychological benefits by fostering the parent-child relationship with a person in many cases who has cared for their partner's child a long time," he said.

Colorado has permitted adoption by married couples or by single parents, straight or gay. But a second parent could not adopt unless the couple married, which gays can't legally do in Colorado. [emphasis added]

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