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Michael Booth’s #Obamacare conflict of interest at the Denver Post/Colorado Health Foundation.

Ach, the tangled skeins of modern journalism/politics/NGOs. Let me walk you through the timeline.

  • First, it just recently came out that Senator Mark Udall’s office tried to strong-arm Colorado’s Division of Insurance back in November into retracting the perfectly-accurate statement that Obamacare caused about 250,000 people to get insurance cancellation notices.
  • Oddly enough, on 01/09/2014 the Denver Post came up with an article written by Allison Sherry and Michael Booth (this will be important later) that did its best to explain, minimize, discount, fold, spindle, and mutilate the report that a US Senator’s office was more interested in having a state government report politically palatable numbers than accurate ones. Imagine that.
  • Actually, you don’t have to imagine anything. You just have to know that Michael Booth is leaving the Denver Post for the Colorado Health Foundation.

What’s the Colorado Health Foundation? Take it away, Colorado Peak Politics:

According to Colorado Consumer Health Initiative’s project website, it’s one of the backers to help implement the Colorado Exchange.

[snip]

Colorado Health Foundation has an interest in seeing the Colorado Exchange and Obamacare succeed and thrive because the organization helped fund its implementation. In fairness to Booth, he hasn’t started the job yet (to our knowledge) and perhaps he isn’t aware of the obvious conflict of interest, but we think it would have been most appropriate for him to disclose his new role in conjunction with the article that he wrote since he’s covering the beat.

Funny how that happens so often in policy reporting, isn’t it? And yes, it’s certainly relevant if an author of an article on a particular topic is going to go work for an organization that has a vested interest in that topic. It’s especially relevant when people already have what is apparently well-founded suspicion that most media entities seem to think that the First Amendment has Always give cover to Democrats written in invisible ink.

If you click on the Colorado Peak Politics site, you’ll see that Booth put out a tweet that ended with the pious entreaty “Support journalism.” To which I say: you first, sir.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: The Denver Post is sufficiently worried about this development as to be pushing back on it here and here. I will leave it to the reader to decide how well ‘Trust us’ works as a rebuttal…

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