Feathered Bastard

$11,500 well-spent: Darrell Ankarlo endorses Andrew Thomas for reelection after revelation of C.A. payment to KTAR.

Is that the corpse of the KTAR news room Ankarlo's devouring?

In case you missed today's show from KTAR's mornin' jabroni Darrell Ankarlo, you can rest assured that your county RICO dollars are being well-spent. At least as far as County Attorney Andy "Candy" Thomas is concerned.

See, for just $11.5K, Thomas not only gets to sponsor the lame-ass local book tour for Ankar-low-brow's racist hate tome Another Man's Sombrero; today, Thomas scored almost an entire show of Ankarlo bashing Thomas' potential rival, Democrat Tim Nelson. Ankarlo also invited on KTAR's paymaster, and blew him like a French horn, fawning over Thomas, rationalizing the controversy concerning the payment from the C.A.'s office, and, ultimately, endorsing Thomas' run for reelection.

"All I can say to you, Andrew Thomas, is I had not decided for whom to vote come November," stated Ankarlo, without pausing to wipe his lips clean (if you know what I mean). "You're a shoe in. I'm not going to even look at the other guys. You keep doing what you're doing, and I'll help you get as many votes as you can."

And this posterior-polishing came after Thomas' office had purchased a mere month's sponsorship for Ankarlo's vile, Mexican-bashing volume. Jesus, Darrell, couldn't you at least hold out for another month? You cheap floozy.

Why, before Thomas came on the show, the Janus-faced jawboner'd denied he'd done anything wrong. He claimed he had zip to do with the KTAR/County Attorney deal. Nor had he profited at all from the transaction, even though it was his book that was receiving the paid-for endorsements from the C.A. Dumbass Darrell insisted the deal came about because the C.A.'s interests in suppressing illegal immigration dovetailed with his own anti-brown sentiments.

"Can I state for the record, I received not a penny in any way, shape or form from this deal," kvetched the lip-flapper. "I am employed by KTAR. KTAR and the County Attorney's office created this relationship. The relationship was consummated simply because my message is one that says you better wake up before we are devastated."

At one point, Ankarlo seemed to contradict himself, explaining that he was asked about the deal by someone in the station's management.

"After I agreed to these book signings," attested Ankarlo, "I was approached. People came to me and said, `What do you think? You line up with the ideologies that he, County Attorney Andrew Thomas, has regarding illegal immigration in the state of Arizona. Would you have any problem if he sponsored your book tour?'"

Ankarlo did not object. The fact he was asked reveals that he did have a say in the matter, and was by no means an unwilling participant. For him to suggest that he did not benefit from the imprimatur of the County Attorney's office is pure, dissembling horsehockey.

When a caller named Robin from Chandler challenged Ankarlo on this very matter, Ankarlo responded by playing an anti-drophouse PSA from the MCAO, implying that this was the sort of stuff the C.A.'s RICO money was buying. The C.A. may have paid for such ads, but they are not part of the book tour contract that MCAO's emissary Barnett Lotstein was handing out at Tim Nelson's press conference last night -- the press conference that kick-started today's overreaction by Ankarlo.

(I didn't make it to the press conference, but you can read about Lotstein's activities in Sarah Fenske's recent blog post on the event. Note Lotstein's slithery chumminess with the KTAR reporter in the piece. You can review the entire "contract," here.)

KTAR has a solid news room, but they have been compromised by this MCAO-Ankarlo collaboration. When I originally spoke to KTAR's news director Russ Hill for my Bird column on the book sponsorship, he feigned disbelief that anyone could see anything wrong with the transaction. I tried to get in touch with him again today, but he was out of his office. Can't blame him. I'd be avoiding all this flack too, if I was walking in his, um, sombrero.

The word I'm getting is that the KTAR news room is p.o.'d by events, and that the regular reporters feel betrayed by Hill and the rest of KTAR management. Already, they're having to hear the ribbing from other journos about "being on the county payroll." Sure, Ankarlo's just a paid pie-hole dribbler, a shameless spit-lobber, a mercantile microphone-molester. No reason to expect much from him. Still, Ankarlo's tactless, slavish endorsement of Thomas on the very day he was trying to excuse KTAR's acceptance of this $11,500 FM food stamp from the County Attorney's office causes the whole episode to reek of impropriety and scandal.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons