9NEWS Explains Its Mike Jones Story

Two months ago a gay prostitute went to Channel 9 news and claimed he has had sex for three years with Pastor Ted Haggard. The folks at 9NEWS decided the man, Mike Jones, could not provide credible proof or documentation to warrant a story.

This week the same guy goes on Peter Boyles’ radio talk show and says the same thing, without identifying Haggard by name. 9NEWS then decides it is now a story, especially because Haggard agreed to go on camera — to deny the charges.Today Colorado Confidential received an explanation in response to an e-mail inquiry asking how 9NEWS determined they had enough to go with the story this time around.

This is what we asked: “Are you going to present any proof to back up this man’s allegation? If so, when?”

And, here is the response from 9NEWS:

Thank you for emailing 9NEWS. We appreciate all of the response we get on our stories-both positive and negative. Comments from viewers like you help us cover our community and the issues affecting it in the most ethical and journalistically sound way.

The decision on when to do this particular story has not been easy. We had many editorial discussions regarding these accusations and the decision on when and how to break the story did not come lightly.

The individual, Mike Jones, came to us with this story two months ago. We looked at the documentation he had and listened to his whole story. Senior management at 9NEWS was included at that time. We told Jones then that he did not have enough proof for us to do this story.

We had another decision to make this week when Mike Jones, appeared on Peter Boyles’ radio show. Jones told listeners that he had a relationship with a nationally known and prominent Colorado Springs pastor.

  We already knew who it was because Jones told us two months ago his allegations were about Pastor Ted Haggard. Because Jones had decided to go public, and it was a matter of time before Pastor Haggard’s name came up, we contacted the Pastor and asked him if he knew about the allegations and wanted to respond. He had heard about them and chose to respond and that is why we did the story. To be fair to him, whether he wanted to respond determined whether we would broadcast a story. We would not have aired the story without hearing from Pastor Haggard. We talked with him last night at his home in Colorado Springs.

You can watch our unedited interview with him streamed on www.9news.com.

We believe strongly that once Mr. Jones made his decision to tell his story publicly, that we had an obligation to Pastor Haggard to get his response.

The decision to run this story at this time was complicated by the upcoming election, but was not made because of it. 9NEWS has spent countless hours covering the upcoming election we’ve sponsored debates, run extensive “Truth Tests” on political advertising and written extensively on the proposed amendments, referendums and candidates for public office on the Decision 2006 page on www.9news.com.

Please take a look at our collective reporting on our Web site.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have about the story. We are continuing to follow developments in the story and will report any new information we discover.

Jeff Wolf
Web Producer

Nicole Vap
Executive Producer, ITeam/9Wants to Know
Nicole.vap@9news.com

Paula Woodward
Investigative Reporter
Paula.woodward@9news.com

The day after the radio talk show and 9NEWS report aired, Haggard announced he is stepping down from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, and as pastor of New Life Church while an investigation is underway into the allegations.

And, the Rocky Mountain News is reporting that the accuser has agreed to take an on-the-air polygraph test during tomorrow’s radio show on KHOW 630 AM.

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Cara Degette

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