An unusual conflict arose in news reports over an incident Friday on the floor of the Colorado House. As the Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland reports, House Democrats paused to observe the 43rd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion rights:
Roughly two dozen Colorado House Democrats took to the floor to recognize the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision.
Other House Democrats stood in silence while their collegues touted the importance of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion across the nation.
Colorado Republicans, however, would have nothing of it. More than half of the GOP House members walked off the floor, several expressing disgust at the Democrats’ comments. [Pols emphasis]
Oddly, the Denver Post’s Joey Bunch filed a very different report from the same scene:
House Democrats gathered in the speaker’s well to memorialize the 43rd anniversary of Roe. v. Wade, which could have prompted a backlash of hot words from Republican abortion opponents.
Republicans, however, wouldn’t take the bait on an issue Democrats hope to use against them in this year’s state and national elections. [Pols emphasis] An Associated Press-Gfk poll last month showed support for abortion rights at a two-year high in the wake of a mass shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.
Most of the House Republicans meandered out of the chamber for a few minutes, then returned when a proclamation honoring the Denver Broncos was read. Those who left said it was not an organized walkout…
As you can see, two reporters have characterized the same incident in starkly different terms: Goodland describes Republican actions as “storming out” of the House chamber with much anger, where Bunch seems very much interested in downplaying any emotion–to the point of praising them for “not taking the bait.”
So what really happened here? Well, our sources tell us the scene was far closer to Goodland’s description than Joey Bunch’s. In response to the conflict between their reports, Goodland clarified in a Facebook comment Saturday morning:
I was sitting on the Republican side of the House when the Democrats began their Roe v. Wade comments. I saw one lawmaker (Windholz) bow her head as if in prayer. She then shook her head several times and then got up and left the floor. I heard another lawmaker call the Dems’ remarks “disgusting.” By the time the Dems had finished their comments, most of the House Republicans were outside the chamber. They returned to pass a joint resolution on the Broncos.
Bottom line, I stand by what I wrote. I was the only reporter on the Republican side of the House to see what was going on. [Pols emphasis]
Given the corroboration we’ve heard, and what we already know of the players involved, we have little choice but to validate Goodland’s version of this story over Joey Bunch’s. And if that’s right, Bunch’s editorializing on what transpired is not just inappropriate for a news story, it appears to be factually incorrect–depicting the opposite of what actually occurred.
All we can say is, thank goodness there was more than one reporter there.