Allegations of threats and intimidation have become as much a part of the gun debate in Colorado as the blare of car horns protesting the bills outside the state capitol.
But Sen. Angela Giron reports being threatened from an unlikely quarter: the media.
Giron, a Democrat, said she received a threatening email from the general manager of her local newspaper, the Pueblo Chieftan.
Ray Stafford wrote to her on March 3, urging her to vote against the many gun bills that were to be debated in the Colorado Senate. He introduced himself as being “responsible for the entire newspaper, including the newsroom.”
Giron took that to mean that if she voted with other Democrats to pass the bills out of the Senate, she could expect negative coverage.
“It’s hard unless you come from southern Colorado to understand the influence that that paper has in the community,” she said. “I think this was an attempt to intimidate me and I think it needs to be exposed. And that’s what happened. We exposed that intimidation factor, which I think was pretty clear.”
Senate president John Morse helped expose it by interpreting what he took the email to mean on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow show last Friday.
Morse also misrepresented what the email actually said, stating, incorrectly, that Stafford wrote, “I control which stories get done and how those stories get done. And I don’t like these bills.”
“So he threatened her with how he’s going to cover her,” Morse said, “and then followed through, really. She was in the paper and on the front page for a week, practically a week straight, including with pictures that weren’t very flattering, almost deliberately.”
If Stafford’s email was meant to be threatening, it’s the most lukewarm threat that’s come to light so far. Last month Rep. Rhonda Fields was allegedly threatened by a man who promised “death to both” her and her daughter and laced his emails and a voicemail with racial slurs and derogatory terms.