Arizona Republic Editor Disses East Valley Trib Pulitzer Win on Facebook


Yesterday, the big journalism buzz in town focused on how the East Valley Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Today, the second-day story was all about sour grapes at the Arizona Republic.

Unbelievably, the state's largest daily doesn't appear to have even mentioned the Trib's victory in today's print edition. (We looked and found nary a mention in the edition delivered downtown.) The paper's Web site did a little better -- check out the quickie sidebar on this Associated Press story at -- but if you're too lazy to click in, trust us: By "a little," we mean "not much."

We had to wonder: Could the Republic's staff be jealous? After all, they've got significantly more resources than their cash-strapped, now-not-even-a-daily competitor. They surely could have gone on one of the Mexican-hunting ride-alongs that made the Trib's series so memorable -- and they had access to all the same public records. Yet, with the exception of the editorial page, the paper has persisted in covering Arpaio as a lovable buffoon, not a dangerous (and incompetent) demagogue. Could the Republic be jealous that the Trib took a story they wouldn't touch -- and hit a homerun?

Go figure: In this age of oversharing, we didn't have to wonder long. The director of the Republic's News Now Center (or, as we would call him in a non-Gannett universe, online editor), Abe Kwok, was happy to post his bitter little thoughts on Facebook.

"Abe Kwok," Facebook reported at 9:53 p.m. yesterday, "lost faith in the pultizer vetting process after (mesa) east valley tribune won for the arpaio series. Does accuracy/truth not account for anything anymore ..."

Yes, Kwok really did spell "pulitzer" wrong -- not to mention that he used "account" when he clearly meant "count." Really, that makes us want to post, "Does spelling/grammar not count for anything anymore?"

But since we're not friends with Abe Kwok, we'll have to settle for the responses of his friends. Kwok's sour comment was followed by this, from a photojournalist named Ron Soliman: "I know, that was a weird win."

Scott Bordow, a sports writer at the Trib, then jumped in to defend his paper: "Abe, I'm not sure what you're talking about. Nothing in that report has been refuted by Arpaio. Not one word."

Then came the ultimate Judas kiss, from former Trib employee Andrew Long: "And so that makes it accurate?"

Bordow fired back. "Andrew, if it wasn't accurate, wouldn't Arpaio or his p.r. folks say so? They haven't exactly been shy in pointing out what they thought was inaccurate media coverage."

"Denial doesn't make something accurate," Long responded.

Fortunately, at that point, a few reasonably intelligent people jumped into the conversation. "Haterade?" questioned one. Added another, "It's always tough when the competition gets kudos, isn't it?"

Yep, we think that pretty much summarizes it.

Incidentally, we emailed Kwok to ask what he found so inaccurate in the Trib's series. If we hear back, we'll let you know. Until then, we're going to file his Facebook feelings under "haterade."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske