Denver Post Putting “Moratorium” on Columnist Ian Silverii

By Matt Connelly

(Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/Denver Post via Getty Images)

The Denver Post will put a “moratorium” on columnist Ian Silverii after Colorado’s primary election on June 28th, meaning he will no longer be allowed to publish columns in the paper according to Denver Post Editorial Page Editor Megan Schrader. 

Silverii is the husband of Democratic 7th Congressional District candidate, Brittany Pettersen, and a current columnist for the Denver Post. 

In an interview with Campfire Colorado yesterday, Megan Schrader, the Post’s Editorial Page Editor, conceded that there was a “clear conflict” with Silverii being a columnist for the paper while also married to a candidate running for Congress.

“Ian called me a day before his wife announced and told me that she was going to run for Congress and I said, well let me take some time to think about the ethical balances here, how the Post would weigh, with the understanding that your wife can have a job and you can have a job and it doesn’t preclude you from having a voice, but also that there is a clear conflict,” Schrader told Campfire Colorado. 

Accordingly, Schrader said she told Silverii he would be allowed to continue writing for the Post during Colorado’s Democratic primary season, but following the primary, there would be a moratorium placed on his ability to write and then he would not be allowed to contribute as a columnist should his wife win the election in Congressional District 7.

“And so, I came back to him and I said I think that you can continue to write for us, and this was very early on, probably a week after his wife announced I had talked to some other editorial page editors about how they would handle it. I had talked to other people at the Post and tried to weigh it, and I said, you can write through the primary,” Schrader said. 

“We will disclose to readers that your wife is running for Congress when your column touches on national politics in a way, or Colorado politics in a way, where I feel like disclosure is important for readers to know and then after the primary election we’re going to go through a moratorium. And then if she wins election, I told him, I didn’t think that it would be appropriate for him to be a columnist,” Schrader concluded. 

Campfire Colorado reported at the end of April that the Denver Post had quietly started disclosing two months after Pettersen’s congressional campaign announcement that Silverii was married to Pettersen.

Schrader also emphasized in the interview her commitment to transparency with her columnists at the Denver Post. 

“I with my columnists frequently come across conflicts and it’s always a balance between recognizing that individuals can wear multiple hats and their spouses wear multiple hats and that does not disqualify them from having an opinion,” Schrader told Campfire Colorado. “And of course, the most important thing is that we then be upfront with readers and transparent with readers about any conflicts that might exist.”

Schrader also responded to an audio recording featuring Silverii that was recently highlighted by Colorado Peak Politics where he floated the idea that Democrats should reject the results of any election they lose on the basis of the election being illegitimate. 

“All I’ve heard is just that thirty-four second clip that you sent me and it sounds to me like he’s being sarcastic, but I don’t have the context and I don’t know for sure, obviously claiming there’s election fraud without concrete supportive evidence is not cool. It’s beyond the pale, but it sounds to me like he’s being sarcastic there,” Schrader said. 

When asked for a response on whether such a profanity laced rant reflected poorly on the Denver Post, Schrader said, “obviously in print we do not allow profanity unless in the very most rare of circumstances and that’s in a direct quote of a public official and it’s needed for context and so I would never allow that type of language on our pages.”

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About the Author:

Matt Connelly is the founder of Campfire Colorado and Campfire Media. Tim Reichert is a previous client of Campfire Media.