Feathered Bastard

ABC's Nightline Admits They're in Town for Joe Arpaio's Sweep, Denies Coordination; and Graffiti on Joe's Jails?

Joe claims ABC just happened to be in town when the sweep started in this Channel 3 piece

Following up on my blog post of yesterday, wherein I quoted sources telling me that Arpaio's latest anti-immigration sweep was done with an out-of-town film crew in mind, specifically one from ABC national news, I finally got a rep from ABC on the horn. She confirmed that a crew from ABC Nightline was in Phoenix for the sweep, but denied that the dragnet had been staged for ABC's purposes.

"No, not at all," replied Nightline spokeswoman Alison Bridgman of the allegation. "We were already there. We've done profiles of Sheriff Joe in the past. This was already arranged."

Bridgman explained that an interview with Arpaio had been scheduled for Monday, and that the news show learned of the sweep while on the ground in Phoenix. She said Nightline correspondent Martin Bashir did the interview with our corrupt top constable. So far, there's no air date for the piece, according to Bridgman.

During his press conference yesterday, Arpaio copped the same line when someone asked him about ABC being along for the ride.

"Oh, so I arranged this because ABC is here?" asked Joe, rhetorically. "The answer is no, we happened to be here. And they're smart enough to know that they may want to film the sheriff."

Thing is, ABC could be on the level, and Arpaio, not. Would it surprise anyone that Arpaio's PR hacks made sure the ABC interview was planned for a day a sweep was to begin? Or orchestrated one just because a big media outlet was swingin' by?

See, I know Arpaio tipped off others that there would be a sweep, and that ABC was flying in. Everything was set in stone as of last week. If that ain't a fix, I don't know what is.

Arpaio's credibility sunk to an all-time new low after he claimed on his Twitter account yesterday that he'd had a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden, who'd flown in to Phoenix to pimp the effect of the stimulus on job creation. According to Biden's deputy press secretary Annie Tomasini, Arpaio showed up uninvited to a meeting Biden had with local Democrats at the Wyndham Hotel. All he got was a handshake in the hallway as Biden was leaving.

Which makes me wonder about this new Joe Tweet where he claims that one of his buildings has been tagged with an obscenity. (Specifically, the Sheriff's office property building, part of his vast incarceration complex.) Arpaio maliciously suggests that activists protesting his news conference may have done it.

Puente leader Salvador Reza scoffed at this latest piece of Joe baloney, denying responsibility on behalf of his movement.

How do we know this isn't another fake story our two-faced sheriff's shilling? (Joe does have a pic on his Twitter page, which I've reproduced above.) I'll have to drive down to Durango to check it out, and, hopefully, compliment the artist.

Makes me wonder: How secure can Joe's jails be if you can walk right up to one of his secure buildings and spraypaint humongo letters on the side? What's to keep someone from sticking a ladder up there? Sheesh.

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