Kyle Clark is on the frontlines battling disinformation, detractors and Donald Trump’s big election lies. The 9News’ anchor is Colorado’s most watched and trusted broadcaster.
Clark is sharp, experienced and can separate truth from nonsense. He’s got superior verbal and writing skills that provide hard-hitting commentaries and prolific tweets to his 155,000 followers.
Clark is gifted, but he also gifts back. His weekly Word of Thanks from Next micro-giving campaign has raised over $9 million for diverse Colorado nonprofits. He contributes his own $250 each Wednesday.
On my podcast, Clark imparted an urgent message to fellow media members. “Journalists do not need to be neutral when it comes to lies. There’s no reason that lies should be presented as the other side of the truth.”
Kyle practices what he preaches. After Uvalde’s school massacre, Clark promptly and correctly declared, “It’s the guns!” Solid statistics demonstrate America’s epidemic of gun violence corresponds with our over-proliferation of firearms.
Being correct doesn’t always matter anymore. Firearms fanatics and mega-MAGA maniacs don’t care about actual math. Their preferred numbers come on assault weapons they purchase, like the MAC-10, AR-15 and AK-47.
On Twitter and elsewhere, Clark disarms harsh critics with humor, but not all are disarmed. When asked if political commentating was worth it, Clark explained, “We constantly have to reassess. We would be foolish not to do that, but the work is that important. And the issue is that important in terms of, what’s the power that extremists hold in our society? And to what extent does that endanger the lives of our neighbors? And how does that change the way that we function as a society?”
“So yes, doing that work, inherent in it these days, are threats of violence against journalists, against their family members, against their spouses, threats of violence against their children, their coworkers, but there have to be some people who are willing to stand up and say, ‘I won’t be driven out of this space; I won’t be silenced by your threats.’”
“A big component in this is whether or not news management is willing to stand fully behind journalists who do this work, to say, ‘we will protect you’ in every sense of the word.”
Hedge fund Standard General just purchased 9News and dozens of fellow TEGNA television stations, pending government approval, and it should pay attention to Clark’s words. Colorado needs Clark’s gutsy reporting and commentary. Clark has closely tracked how Trump’s election lies flowed from Colorado.
As regards January 6 violence and the ongoing Trump-led disinformation campaign, Clark said, “The thing that I struggle with the most is trying to understand how a violent attempted coup and insurrection at the U.S. Capitol becomes a both-sides political issue as opposed to an issue that nearly every man woman and child in America goes, ‘I don’t care about politics,’ that’s wrong. That’s a threat to America and we must stand united against it.”
“There’s just there’s no reason why political violence should be a part of either major party. It’s not what either major party has stood for, nor should they stand for; I mean political violence is not a conservative principle.”
Clark gets justifiably agitated when talking about the destructive power of disinformation, saying, “Lies are not harmless, guys. They are not just another way to accumulate or hold on to political power.”
“Lies get people killed, and we see it with January 6th. We see it with political extremism in this country and this idea that a lie about election rigging is just some harmless fun that we can have in a party primary, or something else to get people whipped up. And well, it doesn’t really matter if it’s true. It gets people excited! It gets people killed!”
Sadly, this is nothing new in Colorado. Thirty-eight years ago last Saturday, Alan Berg, a popular Denver broadcaster who blasted bigots, was shot dead by white supremacists.
Clark, 38, knows about the Berg assassination.
“The death of Alan Berg brings together a couple of topics of interest,” he said. “What happens when people knowingly whip up an unstable population that is well armed? And encourages them to target someone in the community who is speaking out?”
“Denver and Colorado know the particular danger that kind of volatility poses, and maybe it’s the number of years that’ve passed since Alan’s death. And it’s the willingness of people to whip folks into a frenzy without regard to what the consequences could be.”
As Trump’s multi-pronged conspiracy with white supremacists and corrupt Coloradans is exposed, Clark and other journalists have special responsibilities. Our democracy is teetering. Trustworthy news is vital.
Most Coloradans enjoy and appreciate Kyle Clark. Some detractors can’t handle his truths and react with insults, bogus lawsuits and more disinformation. But Clark stands up to bullies and dishonesty. He deserves our word of thanks and a nice summer vacation.
Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He is an active Colorado trial lawyer and host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.