Even in ordinary times, it would be considered reckless to post the home addresses of journalists on social media while criticizing their work.
But these are not normal times. For four years, the leader of the free world has vilified the free press as the enemy of the American people. President Donald Trump has accused journalists of lying and assigned ulterior motives to their work.
So when House Minority Leader Patrick Neville tweeted out photos of the voter registration information of two Denver Post reporters, it wasn’t just appalling it was downright dangerous. Neville then made a half-hearted attempt to blackout the addresses in the photos after many expressed dismay.
“The other reporter was also a Democrat. They want us to be silent on this but I think people should know this information,” Neville wrote.
Actually, it’s an easily accessible public record to determine a person’s voter registration, so we’re not so much concerned with the public knowing that both reporters have been registered as Democrat or unaffiliated in the past — everyone has a right to participate in our Democracy, even reporters.
But Neville didn’t just tweet out the information, he deliberately took a screenshot of their home addresses and sent it out to the world.
This was the act of a man who had no valid criticism to hang on a very unflattering story.
Denver Post reporters Conrad Swanson and Alex Burness wrote a story that highlighted several Colorado Republicans’ answers to the question: “What happened to the Colorado Republican Party?”
Turns out many folks are concerned about how Neville handled money donated to help Republicans seeking legislative office in Colorado. Swanson and Burness used publicly available records to show how in three years under Neville’s leadership just under $1 million in funds from various campaign organizations under his control went to Rearden Strategic. Rearden is a company owned by Neville’s brother.
Note that Neville didn’t allege the story was inaccurate. He just alleged that the reporters were biased because they currently or formerly had been registered as Democrats. If Neville wants to defend his reputation, he’d be much better producing detailed receipts to account for the money given to Rearden to help Republicans win office. And if Neville doesn’t want other Republicans to accuse him of gross nepotism, then he shouldn’t hire his brother’s company for work many companies are eager to take on. It’s certainly not the reporter’s fault that Neville made poor decisions with money donated by loyal Republicans hoping to help their party.
It pays to be in power when you can grant multiple hundred-thousand-dollar contracts to your family members. It’s unclear how efficiently or effectively Rearden used the money it was paid, but we know Republicans have not been doing well in competitive races with a few exceptions.
Neville has already been ousted from his leadership position. Good riddance.
Perhaps new leadership will bring better results.
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