Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio Returns To ASU Today at 3 p.m.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently tweeted that he will "speaking at [Arizona State University's] Cronkite School of Journalism" today at 3 p.m.

But if you're expecting a repeat of the debacle that occurred in 2009 when Arpaio attended a public forum at ASU's Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix, and questions from ASU dons were interrupted by singing activists, you'll be disappointed. 

Seems Arpaio will be holding court before a class of 19 young journos at a newswriting and reporting class taught by adjunct professor and former Arizona Republic Viewpoints Editor Joseph Garcia.

Garcia, who is also director of communications at ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy, was a fierce critic of Arpaio's regime while at the Rep. Indeed, as is the case with most of those at the Rep who offer somewhat trenchant opinions in its pages, the Gannett paper ultimately found a way to not keep him on, likely because he was too "controversial."

Arpaio has spoken before Garcia's students in the past, and apparently enjoys doing so. Garcia told me that Arpaio will be questioned by the reporters-in-training for a class assignment. He explained that Arpaio is just one of several newsmakers he brings into his class from time to time. 

Seems Arpaio's being followed around by a TV crew from KGUN9, Tucson. And the camera will be watching as the students have at him.

I asked Garcia if I could sit in on the class as a fly on the wall. He respectfully turned me down, saying that it would  change the "dynamics" of the event.

Of course, so will a TV camera, he admitted a tad sheepishly.

Both Garcia and ASU Cronkite School Dean Chris Callahan said they had no idea why Arpaio tweeted the appearance, making it sound like it was open to the public.

Well, I know why. Arpaio loves protesters, and would like to have a few around for his appearance. It'll look good for KGUN's camera. And it'll justify the Presidential-style security detail he runs with.

That's called "Media Manipulation 101," a class Arpaio might teach one day, perhaps as a correspondence course from prison.

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