By John Dickerson
On Monday, July 28, “Sheriff Joe” made the editorial page of the Washington Post. And this bit of national coverage didn't involve some brainless TV reporter taking Arpaio’s word or remarking about how neato that pink underwear is. No, D.C.’s paper of record called it like it is. “Sheriff Joe likes to refer to his blatantly unconstitutional campaign of harassment as ‘crime suppression sweeps,’” the editorial reads.
“By equating race with immigration status, the sheriff's office has made moving around Maricopa County risky and at times terrifying for many Latinos, immigrant and native alike.”
The Post editorial succinctly unpacked the pattern of Maricopa deputies’ racial profiling — and the price it costs documented citizens who get arrested and harassed in the process. The Post's editorial board was able to identify and nail this issue from 2,300 miles away. What a shame more local reporters and editors can’t see it as clearly from so close.
Of course, the Post isn’t the first national paper to notice how backwards Maricopa County has become. The New York Times wrote a similar piece back in April. That editorial called for legislators to issue subpoenas for Arpaio and hold a congressional hearing about his tactics.
Meanwhile, local TV coverage of Arpaio is rife with hunky-dory stories about doggies and good deeds, punctuated with five-second soundbites and rarely questioning the sheriff’s self-serving “internal investigations.” (Joe Dana’s coverage of Arpaio burning county dollars in Honduras is one of the notable exceptions.)
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With both the Washington Post and New York Times trained on the Joker, er, Arpaio, Gotham City, er, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is now in Washington, D.C., encouraging more national media outlets to notice the constitutional abuses funded by our local tax dollars.
As the wagons of national media circle, the question changes from "Do Maricopa County residents know that the constitutional rights of one minority group are being blatantly violated?"
Now the questions seem to be: "Do Maricopa County residents even care that the constitutional rights of a minority group are being blatantly violated?"