To: The Denver Post, President and CEO
Denver Post: Meet Obligation, Cover TPP
The Denver Post dismisses news reporting and editorial comment about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive international trade agreement near the end of secretive negotiations.
By its lack of coverage, the Post is clearly negligent in its obligation to provide balanced news and opinion about significant events. Because the Post is the only daily mass market newspaper in Denver, this negligence translates to corporate control of what the public may know, or more simply, censorship.
The Denver Post breaks every newspaper's implied social contract with readers when it does not provide a full and accurate public record of significant local and world events.
The Denver Post must recognize the importance of the TPP story and begin regular news coverage. The Post is also obligated to better serve the Denver community by publishing editorial comment on the TPP.
Why is this important?
The Trans-Pacific Partnership is the most significant international development Denverites don’t read or hear about in local media. At least twice, The Post has rejected in-depth independent commentary on the TPP. Even national media coverage of this damaging trade deal is remarkably paltry.
The TPP directly and adversely affects major Colorado agricultural exports. The TPP threatens Colorado jobs in information processing and energy production. The TPP would prohibit Coloradans from knowing where and how food is produced. And the TPP would severely limit local and state control of commerce.
Leaks from the "secret" TPP negotiating texts reveal the proposed deal would expand North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) terms that empower foreign corporations to attack U.S. environmental, health and safety laws, and would penalize "Buy American" incentives with special foreign investor privileges that encourage firms to offshore American manufacturing and service-sector jobs to low-wage countries.
Now, corporations are pressuring Congress to grant “Fast Track” trade promotion authority. Fast Track would allow the president to sign this encompassing trade agreement with 11 Pacific Rim countries before Congress gets to vote on it. With Fast Track, the “Trans-Pacific Partnership” (TPP) trade agreement could then be railroaded through Congress quickly, with no amendments allowed and limited debate.
Fast Track removes Congress' ability to make sure deals such as the TPP are in the public's best interest. Congress has rejected this power grab in recent years, but the TPP has so many outrageous provisions – including the ban on Buy American policies – that TPP’s boosters need this Constitution-busting scheme to slip the TPP past Congress and the American people.
Fast Track is an extraordinary procedure that has only been used 16 times, including NAFTA, since Richard Nixon cooked it up in the early 1970s. Since NAFTA, nearly 26,000 Colorado workers certifiably endured trade-inflicted job-losses under a narrow provision called Trade Adjustment Assistance program. This program is difficult to qualify for, and figures only include those workers who were certified.
Colorado residents deserve to know that large corporations are pressuring Congress to cede its Constitutional authority over trade so that this dangerous deal can be concluded in secret.
The Denver Post and all Colorado media must meet their obligation to operate in the public interest and cover the Trans-Pacific Partnership story.