Thursday, July 17, 2014
Pinal Co. Sheriff Paul Babeu vs. Arizona Daily Star Columnist Tim Steller
Steller says the sheriff inappropriately instigated this week’s immigration protest. The sheriff fights back.
The main topic dominating discussion on my PowerTalk 1210 program this week has been immigration, and much of the discussion focused on Tuesday’s dueling demonstrations in Oracle. About 150 activists on both sides of the issue turned out to greet busloads of migrant children that were expected to arrive at the Sycamore Canyon Academy. The buses were a no-show, but the event turned into a local media circus anyway.
The arrival of the buses was supposed to be a secret—as has been so much of what’s really going on in the current immigration crisis, about which the Department of Homeland Security has provided very little information (look for my blog entry on that subject later today or tomorrow). Someone tipped off Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu—he calls the tipsters “whistleblowers”—and the sheriff then alerted the public. The demonstrations would not have happened otherwise.
In the aftermath, some have accused the sheriff of improperly instigating the protests. Among them was Arizona Daily Star columnist Tim Stellar, who went so far as to say that the sheriff’s repeated calls for securing the border have inspired neo-nazis such as the infamous J.T. Ready.
My personal opinion: in an environment where government leaders and bureaucrats often are overtly hostile to the public’s right to know, an elected official who feels differently and acts to put information on the table is a welcome change, and is doing the public a service. I also feel that Steller’s indictment of the sheriff, particularly as it pertains to accusations that he has in some way inspired the actions of extremists, is a bit unfair.
I had the privilege of interviewing both gentlemen on today’s radio program. (Many thanks to both of them for taking time out to speak with us today). Below is that clip (regrettably, due to limitations in our recording software, the top couple of minutes of the sheriff's interview were not captured, but there is plenty of material. Steller's interview follows his.)
Note: I’ve also created a new “Video and Audio” page, to which I’ll add segments from time to time. Most will be “audio only” but some may contain simple video. So be sure to check it often!
at 3:49 PM