The press office of Colorado governor Jared Polis asked two local media outlets to take down a negative story about the governor because he objected to the news service that wrote the piece.
The Kiowa County Press and the Chronicle-News both republished a story written by the Center Square, an outlet which covers government accountability issues like taxation and spending.
The governor's press office contacted both outlets asking them to take down a story headlined, "Polis creates ‘Office of Future of Work,' third new taxpayer-funded office this year." Polis's office said it was not objecting to the story itself but to the organization that created it, claiming the entity was funded by the Koch brothers.
Neither paper removed the story.
The Center Square is a project of the nonprofit Franklin News Foundation, which does not disclose its donors.
"When we looked into this group and discovered that it was not an objective wire service, but instead a branded website funded by the Koch Brothers' political organization, we were alarmed that it was being reprinted by reputable news outlets in the state," spokesman Conor Cahill said in a statement to the Denver Post.
"The people of Colorado deserve quality, objective news they can trust so they can make their own informed decisions," the statement said. "Newspapers can publish whatever they want to, anywhere they want, at their own prerogative, but the public is served best when articles by partisan organizations are placed in the opinion section or branded accordingly."
However, earlier this year the governor's office shared an article by the same outlet about job growth.
"Now this is where it gets awkward, because Governor Polis himself shared a Center Square article — one that was favorable to him," KUSA anchor Kyle Clark noted.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' office put pressure on two small-town newspapers to take down an article that wasn't favorable to the governor, but was accurate. pic.twitter.com/c9xULHNOul
— Next with Kyle Clark (@nexton9news) September 26, 2019
"It was an article about three months ago talking about job growth in Colorado — very positive," Clark continued. "It appeared on the Montrose Daily Press website, and the governor was happy to share it on his Facebook page."
(Disclosure: The Washington Free Beacon has republished stories from the Franklin News Foundation and its affiliates, and this author has previously written for the foundation.)