| A couple weeks ago, syndicated columnist Al Lewis wrote a devastating piece about Joe Coors, which The Denver Post didn't run.
That was a surprise, because The Post posts most all of Lewis' columns online--and usually one runs in the business section of Sunday's print edition.
Amped up by the election, I was thinking that the plain-spoken destruction of Coors by Lewis might have led to its absence from The Post's slice of cyberspace.
Lewis' column raised questions about how Coors can get away with touting his business expertise on the campaign trail when Coors "gave millions in 2002 to a con artist who promised him a 75% weekly rate of return."
But what added value to this old story was Coors' refusal to talk to Lewis, a former Post columnist who now writes for Dow Jones:
I would have let him tell the story in his own words, instead of the words in a trail of federal court documents, old news reports, and his adversaries. But his communications director, Michelle Yi, responded to my request in an email, saying that Coors was too busy with his campaign to give me an interview. "We can and will try to arrange something most definitely after the election," she wrote. [Bigmedia emphasis]
Yi's response goes down in my annals of public relations strategies as "nice try." Coors wants to campaign on his record as a great businessman, but like a Las Vegas gambling addict, he only wants to talk about the deals he won.
If I were The Post, that's the kind of writing I'd beg to have on my website, and in my newspaper. But it wasn't there. Why?
"I'm happy to answer your question," Post Business Editor Kristi Arellano emailed me yesterday. "But I'm afraid the answer won't be nearly as interesting as you would like. We get Al Lewis' column via email and it is manually dropped into our system and launched online by the editorial assistant in the business section. That individual was on vacation, and the column got overlooked. It was not an intentional decision. Rather, it was an unfortunate oversight caused by short-staffing."
I told Arellano that, yes, if Lewis' column had been spiked due to threatening calls from Coors, and intervention from Post Editor Greg Moore, it would have made a better blog post for me. (In fact, such questions about outside intervention were raised in 2010 when a Lewis column, telling the story of how John Elway called Lewis a "scumbag," was not printed in The Post. Like Coors, Elway had also lost millions of dollars in a ponzi scheme. Here's Westword blogger Michael Roberts' 2010 account of this.)
In any case, I asked Arellano if she'd run the column, and she said she'd "circle back" and post it online, adding that the column "fell through the cracks--and that should not have happened." I'll update this blog post when the column appears online.