Feathered Bastard

Paul Babeu Interviewed by White Supremacist Radio Show, Flack Takes Responsibility

With neo-Nazis regularly patrolling parts of Pinal County for illegal aliens and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, this is the worst possible time for Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu to grant an interview to a well-known white supremacist radio show.

But that's exactly what Babeu did recently for a Tennessee-based program called The Political Cesspool, as was reported first by The Arizona Daily Star

The show, which has long been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center, bills itself as "pro-white" and lists as one of its principles, "to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races."

In the past, the Cesspool has hosted such racist and anti-Semitic guests as ex-Klan leader David Duke, pro-segregation professor Virginia Abernethy, Holocaust denier Willis Carto, and and Canadian neo-Nazi Paul Fromm.

Babeu's flack Tim Gaffney took responsibility for booking Babeu on the show and issued an apology, which he sent out to the media this morning via e-mail. He told me later that he didn't know the show was called The Political Cesspool, and that he had checked into the name of one of the interviewers and the radio station involved. It seemed legit, he told me.

You can read Gaffney's entire mea culpa below.

Thing is, if you Google "Eddie Miller of WLRM Radio" (the host and the station at issue), links do come up regarding the radio show Political Cesspool, David Duke, and so on. So this was a major mistake, to say the least.  

On the show, Miller and Babeu are quite chummy, with Miller offering to be Babeu's bodyguard, and Babeu calling Miller "a great American" and telling him he would be "honored to welcome you to Pinal County."

Babeu decries what he calls an "invasion into Arizona," and claims, "We have some of the highest crime rates in all of America."

(According to the FBI's crime stats, crime is down in general across Arizona. Specifically, violent crime is down in Pinal County from 290 incidents in 2007 to 198 incidents in 2008.)

The sheriff also opines of President Obama that he's "undermined the rule of law" and that the U.S. is "sprinting down the path to socialism."

Prior to Babeu coming on the show, Miller says that he talked to Babeu directly to arrange the interview and offers that he hasn't been so excited about a guest being interviewed by the Cesspool since David Duke was on.

Interestingly, the show's primary host James Edwards responded to the controversy on his blog by saying that Babeu is "confused" about what transpired.

"First of all," he writes, "my co-host, Eddie Miller, had multiple conversations with both Tim Gaffney (Babeu's press secretary) and the Sheriff himself before Babeu appeared on our live broadcast of July 10, 2010.

"For Sheriff Babeu to change his mind and now regret coming on our show, for whatever reason, is his right. For him to act as though he had no idea of our ideology is a lie."

And like you needed more weirdness to pile on top of this, Babeu apparently went on conspiranut radio host Alex Jones' radio show the day before appearing on The Political Cesspool, according to the press watchdog MediaMatters.

There, he told Jones, who believes 9/11 was an inside job among other insanities, that what President Obama has done in regards to immigration "borderlines" on high treason.

Leaving aside Babeu's poor choice in media outlets, his comments alone find him flirting with extremism. The sheriff should realize that pandering to conspiracy wackos and far-right nutbars only earns you friends in all the wrong places. That's assuming, of course, you're not a nutbar yourself.

Here follows PCSO flack Tim Gaffney's full statement:

July 19th, 2010

Sheriff Babeu Declines Interviews and Help from Hate Groups

During the past month, I have been inundated with media requests from local, national and international outlets to have Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu interviewed because of his outspoken need to secure our border. I have weeded out most all requests from any outlets or groups that have any connection with possible hate groups. Unfortunately, last week it appears that I may have let one such interview take place. The interview was requested from radio host Eddie Miller of WLRM Radio in Tennessee. I was told that they broadcast to 28 different states.

As I do with every interview, I checked the official website for the radio station as I was unfamiliar with it. Mr Miller told me that the interview was regarding "What can be done to help save America" and SB1070. I then called the WLRM Radio to verify that Mr. Miller was in fact a host. After confirming this information, I scheduled the interview for Sheriff Babeu and placed it on his calendar.

The first contact that Sheriff Babeu had with the the radio station was when he called in live for the interview on July 10th. Sheriff Babeu provided the same content of information during the interview as he has during other interviews regarding our need to secure the border and SB1070.

Today, I have received several contacts from people asking why Sheriff Babeu was on what some may consider to be a "White Nationalist Program." I immediately checked the WLRM official website again and did not see any information that would have reflected this information. I learned from media outlets that the station has had groups in the past associated with these types of views. I immediately contacted Sheriff Babeu who was extremely disappointed that a station with those beliefs would have him on the air knowing how vocal and strongly opposed he is to these types of people and their beliefs. Sheriff Babeu has asked repeatedly that groups with these type of beliefs to have "No association with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office."

I contacted WLRM radio host Eddie Miller and canceled any future interviews or contact they may want to have with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. Mr. Miller told me that he does not belong to any "White Nationalist Program" nor does he associate with any. He told me that he was shocked because no such conversations took place before or during the interview.

I sincerely apologize to anybody that may have been offended by the fact that Sheriff Babeu did an interview on WLRM radio. Neither myself nor Sheriff Babeu had any belief that this group was connected in anyway with a "White Nationalist Program." In the future, I will do a better job at screening the interview requests to prevent this from occurring again.

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