Kudos to Fox 10 anchor John Hook and executive producer Rod Haberer for the best exposé I've seen another outlet do on the subject of state Senate President Russell Pearce and his relationship with Arizona neo-Nazi J.T. Ready. The piece ran during last night's broadcast.
The Mesa Republican, as usual, denies all. But his denials are wearing thin these days, what with his involvement in the Fiesta Bowl scandal and the recall effort hard on his heels.
Interestingly, an anti-recall rally in support of Pearce last night in north Phoenix was a bust, drawing only about 100 people. I'll have more on that rally in a subsequent blog post.
I appreciate the credit given to New Times by Fox. That's not often done by broadcast news, which usually takes pains to "own" every story.
But Fox breaks some new ground. It questions the tattoo on Pearce's criminal son Joshua's chest, which could be a Nazi war eagle. (The subject of much speculation by commenters to this blog.)
Pearce admits that his son's tattoo was inappropriate and that his son had it covered up, though you can plainly see the eagle's head poking out in Joshua's mug shot.
Also, Fox gets into the threats received by former state House Representative Bill Konopnicki after defying Pearce. Pearce sicked his wingnut supporters on Konopnicki (a Republican, BTW), who received a death threat at his home. A classic tale of Pearce's intimidation of his fellow legislators.
Other than being warned about Ready in 2006 by Bill Straus of the ADL, there was also a seminar at the legislature given in early 2007, moderated by Straus and sponsored by then House Representative and now state Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The event spotlighted Ready's extremist affiliations.
I once asked Sinema if Pearce could have not known about the seminar. She wasn't buying.
"I find that very hard to believe," Sinema told me. "The entire Legislature was invited to the event. The whole thing was videotaped, and you can watch it on our archive. And I reported it on the floor [of the state House]."
So Pearce knew about Ready and didn't care. Ready calls Pearce a liar during the broadcast. Can't say that I demur, considering Pearce's sordid record.