Dec 8, 2021 - Business

9News' Kyle Clark raises an uncomfortable truth in the Colorado media

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert represents the 3rd District.
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

9News anchor Kyle Clark is admitting an uncomfortable truth — and challenging local news outlets to find a solution.

The intrigue: In a commentary for his prime time "Next" show, Clark acknowledged that his NBC-affiliated TV station covers U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Rifle) differently than any other elected official in Colorado.

  • "We hold Congresswoman Boebert to a far lower standard," Clark said. "If we held her to the same standard … we would be here near nightly chronicling the cruel, false and bigoted things Boebert says for attention and fundraising.”

Background: Boebert took to the U.S. House floor in November to make Islamaphobic remarks about Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, calling her a member of the "Jihad squad."

Why it matters: The double standard that allows Boebert to avoid scrutiny is unfair to other elected officials "who display human decency," Clark said. He prodded local journalists to find a corrective approach.

  • The commentary drew national attention — landing the local anchor on MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," CNN and SiriusXM radio.

What he's saying: Clark didn't reply to an email we sent him, but he acknowledged in the interview with Maddow that he doesn't have a solution.

  • "Even if we are not sure what the answer is, we need to acknowledge the double standard so we can do something about it," Clark noted.

The other side: Boebert's congressional office didn't respond to Axios' requests for comment, either.

The reaction from local media has also been limited — at least publicly. Clark told CNN that he heard a lot of private agreement from fellow journalists.

  • Bernie Lange, assistant news director at KKCO and KJCT in Grand Junction, told a local media newsletter that he thinks coverage of Boebert's comments is "counterintuitive to the greater good," but his station has not discussed it in the newsroom.

Our thought bubble: The question of fairness is one we take seriously at Axios Denver as part of our clinical coverage of politicians in both parties.

  • We decide coverage of what elected officials are saying on a story-by-story basis, always anchored in our reader-first approach that focuses on why a story matters and the big picture context that informs the news.
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