Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Providing Balance to Politico's Profile of Bob Schaffer-Mark Udall Race

University of Colorado law professor Scott Moss has penned an introductory column on the Bob Schaffer-Mark Udall Senate race for Politico. Despite its generally neutral tone and the author's credible job in capturing some of the race's larger themes, the article tends to distort Udall's positives and Schaffer's negatives - which may be an inadvertent product of the author's own biases.

So here's a response in the interest of fairness and balance.

At one point Moss writes:
Udall draws Republican fire as a Boulder liberal who votes against tax cuts and other Bush programs, but Udall’s mixed political persona draws liberal ire, as well. Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District includes the famously liberal college town Boulder, “the Berkeley of the Rockies.”

But Boulder is not nearly large enough to fill a whole congressional district, so Udall also represents many conservative Coloradans in rural mountain towns and Denver-Boulder exurbs....
Note that the only criticism of Mark Udall is veiled in the language of "Republican fire." But the facts are clear: Udall himself claims Boulder as his "touchstone." And Udall has embraced the "Boulder liberal" tag.

Moss, who apparently teaches in Boulder, makes one of the biggest non-statements of the year by noting that Mark Udall is "Perhaps not as liberal as some Boulder constituents...." Perhaps. But even being a centrist in the context of "the Berkeley of the Rockies" puts the liberal Congressman outside the mainstream as a statewide candidate in Colorado. In other words, "perhaps" Udall is just a little bit out of the mainstream, as opposed to way outside the mainstream. Okay.

To the author's credit, he goes on to point out Udall's duplicity on the Department of Peace, though he missed that Udall had previously pandered to one side of the Pinon Canyon issue before his current stance.

As far as Bob Schaffer goes, Moss' article also might have balanced the critique to point out that the former Congressman demonstrated integrity by keeping a term limits pledge.

No comments: