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OP-ED | When In Doubt, Blame The Media

by Sarah Darer Littman | Jan 27, 2012 12:36am
(8) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Opinion

I’m starting to feel like the number one advice given to every GOP politician by strategists these days is “if you mess, blame the press.”  From a party that supposedly champions personal responsibility and accountability, we’ve watched Sarah Palin whine about the “lame stream media” because she was grossly unprepared to answer the kinds of questions legitimately asked of a vice-presidential candidate (of course, now she’s quite happily raking in the bucks as a member of the LSM).

Then we had to watch the family values hypocrite Gingrich explode in self-righteous rage when called on his hypocrisy during the SC CNN debate. It goes down so much better with the base to blame the press for twisting your words than to admit that you’re pretty twisted yourself. And now, Connecticut has its own claim to “Beat the Press” fame, the guy who has gained national recognition from Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire as possible winner of the “dumbest mayor ever” award – East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr.

On Tuesday, the F.B.I arrested East Haven police Sgt. John Miller and three of his officers serving under him, David Cari, Dennis Spaulding and Jason Zullo, on charges of conspiracy, false arrest, excessive force and obstruction of justice. The indictment comes a month after a scathing report by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division , which found that the EHPD engages in a pattern or practice of systematically discriminating against Latinos in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, Title VI, and the Safe Streets Act.

The DOJ report, detailed concerns that East Haven Police Chief Leonard Gallo condoned and enabled the alleged behavior, a complained echoed in the indictment, which refers to a “Co-Conspirator 1” protecting the arrested officers and preventing them from investigation into their misconduct. Gallo’s lawyer, Jon Einhorn, admits that Co-Conspirator 1 is likely Gallo.

Gallo had been placed on administrative leave in 2010 by former East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon. When Maturo was re-elected last November by 34 votes, he reinstated Gallo, despite the ongoing Federal investigation. On Tuesday, Maturo tried to cover both of their posteriors. “It’s unfortunate that it had to come to arrests,” said Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr., whilst proclaiming his office “stands behind the East Haven Police Department.

When asked by Mario Diaz of WPIX, “What are you doing for the Latino community today?” Maturo responded with “I might have tacos when I go home.”

Anyone wonder that there’s a culture of disrespect for Latinos in his town?

When Diaz followed up with, “You realize that’s really not the comment to say right now,” instead of apologizing, Maturo went full on “lamestream media.”  He doubled down on his stupidity and then said, “You can twist it and turn it, whichever way the press decides to do…Make it sound however reporters want it to sound.”

Hate to break this to you, Mr. Mayor, but we reporters don’t to need to twist it or turn it at all to make you sound like a low-IQ bigot. Your words speak for themselves without any editing whatsoever. Let’s just roll the tape.

Because then, to add insult to injury, you decide to double down on the denial and ass-covering. “I don’t think this is a systemic problem within our police department nor within our community.”

Despite the results lengthy DOJ investigation, detailing the systemic problems in the police department run by the guy you returned to leadership despite serious question marks, you want to blame the press. Gotcha.

In a later interview with Laurie Perez on FoxCT , Maturo took a different tack. “It was a shallow question and I gave it a shallow answer.” Perez disputed that asking what he was going to do for the Latino community was a shallow question.  Maturo became quite indignant, complaining that he had four of his police officers arrested that day. Oh poor diddums. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to show some sympathy for the victims of their alleged crimes?

Maturo’s response, not to mention his reappointment of Gallo when he was already under investigation for this and other improprieties, makes it clear that the sickness of bigotry, cronyism and unethical behavior in East Haven goes right to the top. He should resign due his gross incompetence at his job, instead of blaming the press for doing theirs.

Sarah Darer Littman is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers and an award-winning novelist of books for teens. Long before the financial meltdown, she worked as a securities analyst and earned her MBA in Finance from the Stern School at NYU.

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(8) Comments

posted by: ... | January 27, 2012  2:15pm

...

You gotta hand it Gingrich though he threw John King off enough to not respond with. “Well, you’ve promoted your leadership in the House, and during that time you sought to impeach former President Bill Clinton over adultery charges.”

He later got that question and responded with essentially, “Well, Clinton was lying under oath.” Once again, family values are said to be as important as the law, yet hold a pure double standard for Newt Gingrich (since the law of his lord should be held as highly as the Constitution).

I really hope he wins the primary at this point. Romney would be the Conservative version John Kerry repeating 2004 again, while Newt would learn a good lesson on how media bashing in debates doesn’t really get you votes.

posted by: wmwallace | January 27, 2012  6:59pm

@JonesAC12 you would be wrong when it comes to states outside of the blue area of the country like Connecticut. Things are much different in other parts of the country where pointing at the media for there bias behavior is big news. The media is not the same respected media of our Father’s and Mother’s they now add their opinion to the news. Which makes it OP-ED and not the news. Now I will say this happens both ways, but should it happen at all.

I for one just want the news unadulterated and unfiltered without any opinion and let me make up my own mind.

posted by: ... | January 27, 2012  11:45pm

...

I’m kinda confused by your point wmwallace. I have been referring to pointing blame at national news syndicates/channels (like CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc.). That literally happens everywhere because they are in every state, regardless of their political makeup. When Gingrich ripped one on Juan Williams, and tore into John King, that was national.

posted by: Disgruntled | January 28, 2012  9:39am

Roll the cameras around Exit 13 in Darien and see what you come up with.Day after day.
A low-brow from one of the Havens,Maturo is just the tip of the iceberg in Connecticut and hardly worth the press that he received. He was an easy mark. I would suggest that the press go after enclaves like Darien,Greenwich,Fairfield,NewCanaan,to name just a couple,and reveal the true nature of New England. And I won’t mention certain politicians who avoid mixing with the general population (except when begging for votes) with private schools and fancy neighborhoods.
Lead by example before you cast stones at the Maturo’s of the world.

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | January 28, 2012  10:24am

GoatBoyPHD

With one dismissive overstatement you somehow justified the conservatives dismissal of the LSM: “The sickness of bigotry, cronyism and unethical behavior in East Haven goes right to the top”

Had the article included anything positive about Matura and why he was re-relected over Capone I’d think you were making an average attempt at making a credible argument.

Painting with a broad brush—that all of East Haven is bigoted and racist to the very top—is a part of the problem in East Haven.

The situation requires nuance and sensitivity: not Maturo’s ineloquent bumbling or yours.

posted by: FreeJeffMacD | January 28, 2012  11:17am

I’m not in doubt. The question to the Mayor was stupid and shallow. How about: Mr. Mayor, did you personally approve of the 31-51k operation that the police conducted to fine companies who employed unlawfully present aliens? Did you have conversations with the police about Sgt. Miller’s operations?
Isn’t a reporter’s job to find out the Mayor’s INVOLVEMENT in the matter as opposed to asking some half assed question about what he’s going to do for the latino community?

posted by: Reasonable | January 30, 2012  9:29pm

I like you, Sarah, but isn’t there a Republican anywhere—you can say a good word about?

You can’t help yourself—as you like to bash Republicans,  “perhaps as an effort to personally try to elevate Democrats to sainthood.”

Be honest Sarah, as you know that Reputlicans and Republicans alike—have buried this country to a virtual state of bankruptcy.  You dislike Sarah (your name-sake) Palin, but she is not one of the politicians who have buried us.  Give the lady a break.  “We need more women in office, but you only support the Democratic old boys club!”

posted by: Todd Peterson | February 3, 2012  7:31pm

Kudos to GoatBoy and reasonable. I don’t read what this woman writes anymore and you’ve done a good job of illuminating why.

I don’t agree with Jon Pelto’s views on the role of government but at least he’s honest and a worthwhile read.