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Denver Post editor defends scrubbing 'socialist' from Arapahoe shooter's profile

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The editor of the Denver Post, Lee Ann Colacioppo, defended the decision to edit out a classmate's description of Arapahoe High School shooter Karl Halverson Pierson as a "socialist," on Twitter Saturday, by saying in part that the student "likely didn't even understand" the socialist label.

The article was titled, "Arapahoe High gunman held strong political beliefs, classmates said."

If Colacioppo really does not believe that Seniors in high school "understand" what socialism means, why did the Denver Post write the story in the first place?

The Examiner and others pointed out that Zahira Torres and Yesenia Robles of the Denver Post initially wrote,

"Thomas Conrad, who had an economics class with the gunman, described him as a very opinionated Socialist. 'He was exuberant I guess,' Conrad told The Denver Post."

Shortly after the article was published, the Denver Post changed Conrad's remarks to read,

"Thomas Conrad, who had an economics class with Pierson, described him as very opinionated. 'He was exuberant, I guess,' Conrad said.

The new quote changes the context of the remark entirely.

The Denver Post did not note the update.

After being challenged on Twitter, Colacioppo tweeted:

The Denver Post wrote about Pierson's political beliefs specifically from the perspective of his classmates, and cited Pierson's own words on Facebook; yet the editor does not believe that 18-year-old teenagers, who can vote and serve the country in war, "likely didn't even understand" the socialist label?

Even if one gave Colacioppo the benefit of the doubt, is it the journalist's job to make those types of decisions?

Revealing her agenda further, Colacioppo also tweeted,

After the Denver Post story, many other students were quoted as calling the shooter a "Communist" or a "Socialist," as reported at the Examiner.

Michael Martinez and Stan Wilson of CNN reported,

"...at times, he acted 'weird' and alienated peers with rants about communism and his aggressiveness to win every argument..."

The authors quoted Senior Chris Davis, 18, who said that Pierson was a "self-proclaimed communist, just wears Soviet shirts all the time."

RealClearPolitics posted a video of classmate Angie Mock saying of Pierson,

"He was friendly enough. Very proud of being a socialist. He was very outspoken on his political views."

Based on the responses to Colacioppo's tweet, many others are not buying the stated reason for the revision.

Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and Facebook.

Check out her news and political commentary on Liberty Unyielding, Gather and TavernKeepers.com for news you won't find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.

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