A dispute over the “fake news” label erupted in early February between state Sen. Ray Scott (R – District 7) and Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton.
After Scott postponed a hearing on a bill designed to modernize the state’s open records act, the Sentinel published an editorial encouraging Sen. Scott to hear the bill in the committee he chairs.
Scott replied by tweeting that the Sentinel is fake news, which prompted Seaton to threaten a lawsuit. This quarrel has implications that include whether fake news is defined broadly or narrowly, rights and responsibilities under the First Amendment and the state’s legislative immunity law, and the future of Colorado’s open records law, among others.
This story is making national news, and should it go to court, will be followed closely not just here in Colorado, but around the country. We have compiled a list of articles that document this dispute and will continue to add to this list as more are written, so check back often.
- Original editorial, “Better open records,” published Feb. 8
- First tweet by Sen. Scott, "We have our own fake news," Feb. 8
- Seaton rebuttal column, "A false character assassination that can’t go unchallenged," Feb. 11
- Scott tweet, "Bring it on," Feb. 12
- Washington Post article, "One newspaper in Colorado is standing up to charges of ‘fake news,’" Feb. 15.
- Columbia Journalism Review article, "‘I’ve had it’: Family-owned Colorado paper threatens state legislator with lawsuit," Feb. 15.
- Huffington Post article, "State Senator Calls Real Newspaper ‘Fake News,’ Earns A Lawsuit Threat," Feb. 13
- Forbes article, "Colorado Newspaper Vows Defamation Suit After Senator's 'Fake News' Tweet," Feb. 13
- NPR, "When A Politician Says 'Fake News' And A Newspaper Threatens To Sue Back," Feb. 17.
- Colorado Politics, "'Fake News’ fight goes another round for Sen. Ray Scott," Feb. 20
- The Colorado Statesman, "Scott says hometown newspaper trying to silence his free speech over Trump," Feb. 22.
- Huffington Post, "Publisher Still Preparing to Sue Lawmaker for Calling his Newspaper 'Fake News,'” March 17.