I want to share one follow-on point to my earlier article today on the dark money injected into Scottsdale politics by the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors and the Chicago-based National Association of Realtors. This point merits its own article.
As you know, I’ve been increasingly frustrated with the objectivity of the “journalism” coming out of Terrance Thornton’s Scottsdale Independent.
Working on my previous article started (as many times such articles do) by a quick Google search to get a lay-of-the-land on a particular topic. I follow this up with much more detailed research through my own archives and other sources.
One of the first hits on my kickoff search was a link to an Independent article. Here’s the search result:
Scottsdale city clerk confirms bond campaign violations
Oct 23, 2013 – Independent Newsmedia … Two campaign complaints were filed within a few days of each other over the last few weeks. … contribution by the National Association of Realtors in line with campaign finance law guidelines.
But then when I clicked the link, I got a “page not found” error.
The requested URL /northvalley/126706-114/scottsdale-city-clerk-confirms-bond-campaign-violations was not found on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
Apache Server at arizona.newszap.com Port 80
Searching via the Independent’s native search function yielded nothing but press release puff pieces on, and written BY the Realtors.
Scanning through the current print addition yielded similar results, plus big ads for Re/Max, the Karas Group, Walt Danley, Realty Executives, and Russ Lyon/Southeby’s. I’d guess half the Independent’s revenue comes from real estate ads.
Of course, this close to the election I also see huge campaign ads for Jim Lane, Suzanne Klapp, and Dan Schweiker.
And there’s a lot of editorial and opinion ink devoted to this motley crew, as well as cronies like Virginia Korte (incumbent council member and former Chamber of Commerce CEO), Tom Sadvery (CEO of HonorHealth, formerly Scottsdale Healthcare), and Dennis Robbins (former city councilman and current executive director of the Scottsdale Charros).
Lastly, I note there’s a bit of coverage of taxpayer-funded boondoggles like Jason Rose’s polo party, and the Museum of the West.
Hard-hitting journalism? Government watchdog reporting? Not lately.
But the point I really want to make is that through either ITI (“information technology ignorance”) in “updating” their web presence, or by outright history scrubbing, I can’t even find traces of the “old” pre-sellout Independent.
Like the article on the Realtors’ 2013 campaign finance lawbreaking, it would be embarrassing for the current advertisers and suppliers of puff-piece press release “articles” to be reminded of past transgressions!
There was a time when you could count on a newspaper as a source of both current objective editorial coverage, and for accurate historical reference information.
I’m not holding my breath awaiting coverage in the Independent of the Realtors’ dark money campaign contributions.
Those days are gone.