DENVER – In a new editorial published Tuesday in the Denver Post, the Colorado state senator whose exchange with a Broomfield Cub Scout led to national headlines about the boy being kicked out of his den blamed the press and the Scout’s mother for causing the hoopla surrounding the incident.
State. Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said she didn’t blame the boy, 11-year-old Ames Mayfield, for asking her the questions about her 2013 comments about African-Americans, saying, “I believe there was an element of manipulation involved.”
“He has the same First Amendment rights the rest of us do,” Marble said in the editorial, while she also called the Scouts “an outstanding and upstanding organization.”
But she said “the same sadly can’t be said for The Denver Post,” while also excoriating “the reporters-turned pontificators” who run The Post’s editorial page, which had accused Marble of lying to the Scout group about her 2013 comments in an Oct. 16 editorial -- two days before subsequent stories from Denver7 and The Post.
(The Post was also the first to report on Marble's editorial Tuesday.)
She said that op-ed breathed “new life into that false narrative” and said The Post’s actions were “another example of why so many Americans don’t seem to mind when President Donald Trump pushes back against biased bullies in the press corps.”
On Oct. 18, Denver7 reported the story about Mayfield a few hours before The Post’s daily report on the matter was published, and had received comment from Marble, who said, “I can’t answer that,” when asked if she felt her original comments, in which she mentioned that there were “problems in the black race” like diabetes and sickle-cell anemia, were insensitive.
In the 2013 comments, she continued from there by saying there was “better barbecue and better chicken…down South.”
The story garnered national headlines across the country, and elicited praise from former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who asked Mayfield to call her in 14 years because “this is exactly the kind of courage we need in Congress.”
Marble wrote Tuesday that her comments “somehow got twisted by the PC police into a case of racial stereotyping, by inserting words or meanings that furthered their narrative but weren’t true.” She went on to say that the story’s repetition has made it a “political myth.”
But that's not quite the case. As The Post reported in 2013, Rep. Rhonda Fields, who is black, said she was "highly offended" by Marble's remarks while in a Capitol committee room. The Post also reported Marble's response, in which she said her comments "were not meant to be disparaging to any community."
Mayfield asked her about the comments at the Oct. 9 Scout meeting, to which she replied, “That was made up by the media. So, you want to believe it? You believe it. But that’s not how it went down. I didn’t do that. That was false. Get both sides of the story.”
But Marble on Tuesday pushed against how the story came to light.
“The questions asked by the Scouts that day were no different from those I get at other venues. I enjoy the opportunity to answer them. Taped snippets of my comments were posted by a politically-motivated mom on YouTube and shared with a progressive hit group, in obvious hopes of reviving the controversy,” she wrote.
“Those looking to exploit the moment for political gain must have been hoping that some easily manipulated members of the ‘mainstream media’ would willingly play their part. And they have, with The Post leading the park.”
Marble continued by saying her critics “aren’t interested in any explanation that goes against their narrative.”
“All they want is to politically damage those who stand firm on conservative principles. Any explanation I offer will be unacceptable to them, given how wedded they are to one narrative,” she wrote.
The boy’s mother, Lori Mayfield, said the boy was “devastated” after his den leader threatened to kick him out. The Boy Scouts have said they were working to find another den for him in the Denver area, something Marble wrote she was supportive of.
“As an outstanding and upstanding organization, the Scouts no doubt will find a fair way to resolve the issue and move on,” Marble wrote. “The same sadly can’t be said for The Denver Post.”
But The Post is standing by its reporting, and its editorial page editor, Chuck Plunkett, is standing by the original editorial.
"Marble's comment about reporters-turned pontificators is just silly. Editorial board positions commonly draw from the newsroom. The expectation, in fact, is that opinion writers need to spend some time reporting as objective journalists to earn the experience necessary for the expanded job of editorializing," Plunkett told Denver7.
"But if that's her opinion, she's got a right to it."