Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Throw Your Newspaper in the Garbage

By Ray Stern

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio urges the public to trash the Valley's two largest daily newspapers in his new campaign ad (above).

Wonder if the Arizona Republic's strongly endorsing Democrat Dan Saban, his opponent for sheriff in the upsoming election, had anything to do with this?

"You can never believe everything you read," Arpaio says in the ad, holding up copies of the Republic and the East Valley Tribune. "So when these are delivered to your house, they belong in the trash."

He then chucks the papers in a blue garbage barrel. The only thing missing is Arpaio's squirting some lighter fluid in the barrel and burning the publications that have offended him. Really, though, there's no real difference between burning publications you don't like and throwing them away. The point Arpaio wants to convey is that he's the only one you should believe.

We won't even get much into the whole report card opener of the commercial being ludicrous, especially the part about the sheriff's saving taxpayers money. He seems to have forgotten about the $43 million-plus in prisoner-abuse lawsuit payouts he's cost the county.

Arpaio could have targeted more than just the Republic and the Tribune in his ad. It almost goes without saying that he thinks New Times belongs in the garbage. Arpaio or his minions have also singled out for criticism the West Valley View and the Scottsdale Times newspapers, and Channel 12 (KPNX) news.

Other media outlets routinely draw his wrath, too. For instance, an October 12 article by Channel 15 (KNXV) reporter Tim Vetscher contains a message from Arpaio's office that Channel 15 will get no more comments from the sheriff about his re-election campaign until the station "reports the truth" about Arpaio's opponent, Dan Saban, by using "facts" from court documents that show Saban's an "immoral and unethical candidate."

In other words, as far as Arpaio's concerned, almost none of the news-gathering organizations in the Phoenix metro area ought to be trusted.

And, as his new ad implies, what Arpaio doesn't trust needs to be destroyed.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern