The day after 9News broke the story about U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) exiting early out the back door of a library filled with people wanting to ask him about Obamacare, Blair Miller, a reporter for Denver7 News, tweeted, "Gotta give the competition credit for a good story: Congressman Coffman leaves frustrated crowd."
It was a well deserved tip-of-the-hat to Nelson Garcia, who broke the story for the NBC affiliate.
Who could possibly argue about the news value of catching a Congressman on video slipping out the back door early with a room of people still waiting to see him? It doesn't matter who tipped Garcia off, where Coffman was going, why the people were mad. Coffman's exit, spotlighted with police tape, was undeniably news.
Yet, ColoradoPeakPolitics bloggers and others are claiming the story was "fake news," an accusation Denver writer Corey Hutchins shredded in the Columbia Journalism Review last week. Hutchins stated the obvious, calling Garcia's story a "credible news report."
But in case anyone sides with conservatives on this, the best proof of the news value of 9News' story is U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman's own respoonse to it!
Coffman said in a subsequent interview that the library was "the wrong venue for the event," which the Congressman described as a "protest."
"So what I'm trying to do right now is get a very large venue and just really get the word out for people to come. Probably at least it would handle 300 people, not in a library."
Coffman admits the venue was too small and more people want to see him. That's about the best acknowledgement of the importance and validity of Garcia's story you could imagine--and that's without adding the public's interest in knowing that Coffman slipped out the back door early.
So, when will Coffman hold his big meeting?
Are conservatives going to try to say that journalists aren't justified in asking that question either?