Seeing the Round Corners

HEADS UP, the new day for Seeing the Round Corners “GOING LIVE” is Tuesday each week. 

January 17, 2022

The pitiful face of an abused, scared pit bull dog was the impetus for today’s column. That may be a bit of a strange opening for a commentary column, but not if you have ever looked in the eyes of a dog it a shelter hoping, pleading for a forever home. The only thing more gut wrenching is the homeless human bring wondering aimlessly on today’s city streets. 

When former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper ran for governor in 2010, he vowed to end homelessness in Colorado. The former governor might not have made good on that promise, but his efforts were admirable and he greatly improved the plight of the homeless during his eight years as governor. 

During election campaigns, politicians are known for making promises they cannot deliver on even if not intentionally, but the bottom line is the same. Watching legislation on various ways to deal with homelessness as it was introduced and made its way through the legislative process, it seemed those in charge of various agencies and departments were the ones most vocal in opposing the legislation – each time it occurred, this writer wondered why. 

Drive the streets of Denver and view the tents now erected on Denver’s streets that house the homeless who either will not go to the City’s shelters or got tired of finding no  rooms available, more so in winter than in the earlier months. 

This week’s “column from the archives” first appeared in September of 2007, four years before Hickenlooper was sworn into office. Readers are encouraged to read and give thought to the time since 2007 – have things changed in these 15 years? The homeless have voted with their tents, and one has only to look at the tents set up along Denver’s city streets to see how the vote went in the legislature and continues to this day!!!

NO GLAMOR IN POVERTY September 28, 2007

A recent e-mail “nudged” me to resurrect one of the many started but unfinished columns lurking around my desk.

Media bias is a sore point with most journalists, and it can be in many forms, whether it plays out as presenting one side of an issue/story, or just touching superficially on a deep-seated, centuries-old issue such as poverty. 

When Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed New Orleans in 2005, the coverage was extraordinary, especially considering the horrendous circumstances the media was working under. Watching the coverage from safe, dry and cool surroundings, it is doubtful anyone not there can really comprehend the nightmarish, inhumane conditions left in the wake of that hurricane – all in the hellish heat of August, the hottest, most humid month of the year in New Orleans.

It will take a long time for the vision to dim of the dead at the Convention Center in New Orleans that was shown over and over. Those dead were in the thousands forgotten by their own city officials who never notified federal emergency officials of the more than 6,000 people at the New Orleans Convention Center.  City Hall is no more than twelve blocks from the New Orleans Convention Center, a fact seldom if ever pointed out by the media.

Just how much are the people living in poverty forgotten by the national media? Why does it matter?

A study by the Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting organization (FAIR) compiled statistics that revealed just how large a segment of the American population lived below the poverty line in 2005 (the year of Hurricane Katrina) – 37 million Americans. The federal poverty line was defined as $19,971.00 for a family of four. More than one in six children lives in poverty at any given time, according to University of Michigan economist Rebecca Blank. 

That number jumps to 90 million Americans in a different study that criticizes the method of determining the federal poverty line. Need it be pointed out that when the population in America reached the 300-million number, that’s nearly one third of the population living in poverty!


To illustrate the tilt toward ignoring the obvious by the media, the FAIR study made this observation: “Driving home poverty’s low rank as a news priority is that fewer nightly news segments were dedicated to poverty than to millionaire pop star Michael Jackson and his legal problems.” In 2005, the same year as Hurricane Katrina occurred, the networks ran 44 stories on Jackson compared to 22 on the millions living in poverty.

Even when stories are presented by the networks about poverty and poor people, poor people are seldom if ever seen on-screen, thus ignoring actual input and prospective from those living in poverty.


FAIR found CBS the “prime culprit” of such coverage, often having poverty issues discussed only by experts. In 2005, stories on the President’s proposed budget cuts to farm aid and block grants to fight hunger and homelessness, “only elected officials, think tankers and food-bank executives were quoted.” How credible can such stories be when those in poverty are left out?

CBS was again found bias by FAIR in segments on those living in poverty by failing to raise the issue of what part government policies played in predatory lending, the difficulties in finding child care and increasing economic polarization. 

FAIR cited a 2006 CBS segment on the increase in heating oil prices, wherein the reporter noted, “Congress didn’t appropriate a penny more than last year for low-income heating subsidies.” The segments ignored identifying who in Congress was to blame or why the subsidies were not increased. Such segments always include interviews with the elite such as Robert Kennedy, Jr., but how often do they include those actually living without enough heat because of the price of heating oil or electricity, or going without food to keep from freezing to death.

In the more recent scandal involving Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig (a three-term Senator), Craig was pretty much thrown to the wolves even by his own party after a somewhat suspicious arrest in June at the Minneapolis Airport. The media kept Craig’s arrest and resulting speculation about his resignation in the news cycle for far greater time than it should have, regardless of his sexual orientation. 

Throughout the endless coverage from every possible minute detail, there was only a minor attempt at an explanation as to why a policeman with the rank of “Police Sergeant” would be on bathroom duty at the Minneapolis Airport – the policeman’s explanation of what prompted the arrest was weak at best, with Craig trying to explain away his guilty plea to a reduced misdemeanor charge, hoping he could just make it go away. 


Does the arresting policeman have a history of making such arrests – by that I mean, did he make the arrest indiscriminately, or did he recognize Craig? It is not that unusual for such to occur in the zeal by someone after their fifteen minutes of fame. If previous “sexual-related activities” were so frequent in Minneapolis Airport bathrooms, were their witnesses present at the time of Craig’s arrest? To my knowledge, that has never been mentioned by the media. Craig’s position now is that he is only guilty of failing to consult an attorney before entering his plea. 


Closer to home, Republicans in the legislature have endlessly hammered the property tax freeze as a tax increase since it was first introduced in the 2007 legislative session. Republican legislators are downright “rabid” about their anti-tax position, but how many can provide facts to support their claims that funds for schools and highways can be found without imposing new taxes. Funny thing is, the media seldom if ever, “presses” for specific ways (pardon the pun). 


Senator Josh Penry, R-Garfield/Mesa, is endless in his rhetoric that oil and gas royalties from the Roan Plateau is the solution to funding schools rather than imposing the property tax freeze. No one in the media has taken Penry or other Republican legislators to task on what to do in the interim, because oil and gas leases have yet to be approved, and so, there is no date certain when that will happen or when all those mega bucks Penry is so fond of touting will start rolling in. Yet, the news reports (Penry’s rhetoric always with his picture) are shown over and over, but the media never pens him down for specifics such as dollar amounts or a date.

   “Shallowness,” along with bias in coverage does come to mind.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at