Radio show cut ignites candidate controversy

Critics say audio clip doctored; Scholting defends edited product

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Supporters of the current Douglas County School Board and a conservative radio talk show host accuse candidate Ronda Scholting of doctoring an audio for a campaign ad. Scholting, a former broadcast journalist, said the edited clip is in context with the original conversation and called the criticism a distraction tactic.

The clip was taken from KOA-AM talk show host Mike Rosen’s Sept. 13 interview with school board candidate Meghann Silverthorn, who is Scholting’s opponent in the election. Rosen, who supports the board’s reform efforts, said candidates who support the continuation of those reforms face opposition, mostly from women.

“These are nice, well-meaning, naive soccer moms who can’t distinguish between an individual teacher and the collective menace and intransigence of a teachers’ union with its political power,” Rosen said, talking for nearly two minutes about his view of what’s at stake in the election.

Rosen then asked Silverthorn for her reaction to his summation.

“I think to some extent you hit it on the head,” Silverthorn said. “It’s sort of like Congress. You like your individual teacher but you look at the union overall and think, oh my goodness. The leadership of the union was what we had an issue with. Individual teachers are hard workers, they’re honest and want to do right by our kids.”

The video campaign ad that Scholting made from the show excludes most of that segment. It includes only Rosen saying, “You’re up against mostly women. Nice, well-meaning, naive soccer moms,” followed by Silverthorn responding, “You hit it on the head.”

“I cut it as most television journalists do,” Scholting said. “I kept the comments in context. (Silverthorn) did not disagree with what Mike Rosen had to say about soccer moms.

“The point of my video is they (board members) don’t listen; they think people are uninformed. When you’re looking at a board that has discounted what parents who disagree with them have been saying for years, this is just another chapter in that book.”

During her broadcast journalism career, Scholting said she never was accused of an inaccuracy.

Silverthorn, meanwhile, said cutting the words “to some extent” from her quote created a misrepresentation.

“Basically, it seems Ronda picked and chose portions of the audio that supported a certain point she wanted to make about me,” Silverthorn said. “As I said on the show, there are people that what they care about is the level of education their children are receiving. Thoughts of the union or political things, it’s not on their radar.”

DCSD’s collective bargaining agreement with the teachers union expired in 2012. Board members since have accused union leaders of disseminating inaccurate information about the district.

“I don’t believe they’re acting in the best interest of our teachers,” Silverthorn said. “Then again, what the unions are doing is not the only thing going on right now. I think it is an issue, but it’s not the central issue.”

Rosen’s broadcast angered parents who support change on the board.

“I am dismayed at Ms. Silverthorn’s agreement with Rosen,” said Kathleen Boyer of Highlands Ranch. “Those soccer moms are her constituents, and she should be listening to them. The fact that she doesn't realize how educated and well-informed we are only shows how out of touch she is with the parents of Douglas County.”

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