A third Colorado newspaper has come forward saying it was pressured by Gov. Jared Polis’ communications office into removing a critical news story from its website.
The editor of the The Mountain Jackpot News in Teller County says he was contacted by Polis Communications Director Maria De Cambra, who “aggressively” asked him to remove a June 7 news story headlined “Anti-Teller County Bill Signed by Governor Polis,” Denver’s FOX31 first reported.
“When we ran it, we got a request to take the article off our website, like immediately,” editor Rick Langenberg, also the author of the story, said in an interview with FOX31.
“They were fairly aggressive about it,” he added. “In my opinion, they were upset about the headline.”
The story detailed legislation that Polis signed that "would bar federal agents from using local jails to hold suspected undocumented residents longer than their sentence requires."
Langenberg could not be reached Sunday by The Center Square.
FOX31 also reported that Polis’ office denied it wanted the whole news story removed, saying De Cambra only wanted part of Langenberg’s story corrected. FOX31 did not report which part of the story the governor’s office wanted corrected.
The Polis administration did not respond to a request for comment asking if it wanted the whole story, which was not written by The Center Square, to come down or part of it to be corrected.
The Mountain Jackpot News is the third paper to receive requests from Polis’ media office to have a published news story removed from their websites.
Last week, The Center Square reported that Polis Press Secretary Conor Cahill asked editors at the Kiowa County Press and The Chronicle-News in Trinidad to remove a story written and reported by The Center Square detailing a new office created by the governor.
The Center Square is a non-profit newswire service that covers state government and statewide issues in Colorado and 17 other states. It allows other media outlets to republish its stories.
The Center Square news story Polis’ press office took issue with was titled, "Polis creates ‘Office of Future of Work,’ third new taxpayer-funded office this year."
“I see you have run a recent article published by The Center Square which is not a reputable news source,” Cahill emailed to editors at both papers. “Would you consider removing it?”
“No. I see no issue with the story,” The Chronicle-News Editor Eric John Monson responded. “Very surprised you would make such a request.”
Chris Sorensen, publisher and editor of the Kiowa County Press, responded to Cahill’s emailed request saying the story was suspended and asked if any factual errors needed to be corrected.
Cahill did not answer the question, but instead responded with a link to an opinion piece by a left-leaning advocacy website inaccurately characterizing The Center Square, according to emails obtained by The Center Square through a Colorado Open Records Act request.
Sorensen told The Center Square that he later republished the article when Cahill failed to offer evidence of factual errors in the story.
Polis’ press office never requested corrections on the story and never responded to inquiries from The Center Square asking if there were errors.
Polis’ Facebook page previously shared a Center Square story on job growth in the state that was republished on the Montrose Daily Press website.