In Defense of Lemons

It looks like we had an interesting brouhaha here at BfAZ while I was out-of-town.

In A rather disappointing ‘October Surprise’, our BlueMeanie went after Steve Lemons of the Phoenix New Times for his coverage of Doug Ducey’s connection to an Ohio Organized-Crime Family: Special Report: Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Doug Ducey Hails From an Infamous Ohio Organized-Crime Family.

Ironically, as I was reading BlueMeanie’s post, before seeing the comments, I thought: “How does he know this is the October surprise?” Based on one of Steve’s comments, it seems my thinking was correct.

If I understand the criticism correctly, folks here think Ducey’s familial connection to the mob was not newsworthy. I wonder about that. I get that we can’t choose our family members. But the point of a story like this is not to blame the candidate for the sins of his family members. Rather, it’s to get folks asking questions. And thinking. If an Arizona transplant from Toledo reads Steve’s report and suddenly remembers something about the Scott crime family that ties Ducey more closely to its activities, would the report still not have been worthwhile?

The reactions of my Facebook friends to Steve’s post, by contrast, generally were favorable.

Steve made a mistake by engaging here in the comment section. I’m not sure what he thought he was going to accomplish there.

But the fact remains he’s one of the best, if not the best, investigative reporters in Arizona. And this piece was no exception. Already, Steve forced Ducey to admit the family connection. Ducey may have to reconcile this with earlier glowing statements he made about his mother’s family. And ultimately, additional information may come to light, connecting Ducey in a disqualifying way to his mob family.

Okay, that’s my dissenting view. Let the sniping begin!

18 Responses to In Defense of Lemons

  1. Snarky little shits, aren’t you? Gee, when I’m not working 7 days/wk, and tutoring kids on the weekends and volunteering for Dem candidates and taking care of a family and reading copious amounts of information so that I can have conversations with the people I speak to that are CLUELESS BECAUSE THE MSM DOESN’T DO ITS DAMN JOB!., maybe I would have read this entire article, but this caught my eye and I know that he’s not resting until he figures out how to OD on Koch money and buy a Governorship!… Sue me. I wasn’t poking either of you in the eye, per se, I was pointing out that this little juvenile spat that you all have decided to engage in, might be better served by keeping our eyes on the prize and not be deterred by your fragile egos. This ” crime family ties” is going nowhere between now and election day. For you to focus your energy on this is stupid. My opinion. Republican voters in this state would vote for Satan if he had an “R” beside his name…this info that you have gleaned probably won’t change a thing. Is it interesting? Yes. but too much info needs to be found out for it to matter ( See Barbara’ questions) This wasn’t meant to be a dig on your piece…I always read PNT because I think that you usually investigate topics that the rest of the useless press does not. I’m glad you do what you do…this one is too little, too late. Just sayin’.

    • Sorry for the snark. Force of habit 😉 You’ve made some excellent points. Thanks for chiming in.

      • I think I wrote the book on snark, so no harm, no foul. I do admire the job you do at PNT…so many issues would be ignored or swept under the rug were it not for your dogged reporting…you and so many others deserve our gratitude for NOT taking the easy path, which was part of the reason this whole issue set me off…it reeked of desperation where none need be. What we need to do is stay focused and diligent. There are so many other crappy things that Ducey stands for that are out in the open…share THAT widely…maybe extrapolate out what his values/ ideas would mean for Arizona families. Not pretty. Compare/ contrast both candidates visions for the state…time is of the essence now. Save the crime family issue for later…it’s not going anywhere:)
        Thanks for doing what you do…we need more.

        • I’m not sure I agree, Cheri. You’re right about Republican voters, including those independents who identify Republican. But the Koch brothers / Sean Noble stuff doesn’t have much more chance of changing the dynamic than the mob connection does. You really need to be throwing everything up on the wall and hoping something sticks. And, in that respect, reporting on the family mob ties is not hopeless, it’s more like a hail Mary. In all likelihood, you’re right, it’s too little, too late. But there’s a chance, albeit small, that it triggers something bigger, or causes Ducey to commit an unforced error.

          • I understand what you’re saying…who knows. All I know is that time of the essence right now and we have to be smart about how much time gets devoted to a story theme…this one might have had legs if it was presented and hammered on right after he got the nomination…now seems a little too late to matter. As far as I’m concerned, the entire state of AZ should know about the dark money issues and be appalled that some RW operatives are so bought and paid for that they don’t care one bit what happens to this state and its citizens as long as they get huge amounts of money for access and favors. I don’t care what your politics are, everyone should be angered and offended that people think this is just a fine thing to do! It is BECAUSE of willful ignorance that this is even allowed to happen, that, and a SCOTUS that, I swear, is on the dole or has lost their ever loving minds. Because no one with an ounce of brain matter left between their ears, would even entertain the notion that $$ = speech. WTH! Those that have all the money, makes all the rules is NOT what democracy means and they know that. Ducey is totally fine with all of this…this should be the story going forward. Not his crime family ties.

          • Arizona Eagletarian

            Laurie Roberts — sometimes and on this issue — is clueless.

            One key to understanding the situation is to recognize PNT is not a part of the DuVal campaign. The campaign is NOT throwing any mud here.

            But reporting on legitimate news — especially when it sheds light on who Doug Roscoe, aka Scrooge McDucey, is and how he became the person who values INEQUALITY and survival of those who have the power — is not only a good thing but it’s a necessary public service.

            It IS what freedom of the press is supposed to be about.

  2. Well…rather than this dust up, maybe the public would be better served by knowing what Sean Noble is doing…you know him, right? It’s THIS nasty piece of work.

    http://www.propublica.org/article/the-dark-money-man-how-sean-noble-moved-the-kochs-cash-into-politics-and-ma

    I see that he’s going after DuVal with a PAC called American Encore…can someone look into this please and write about this bought and paid for Koch Bro shill…MUCH more important …seems to me that the people of AZ might be a little more pissed off about outsider dark money buying influence here. Just sayin’.

    • Stephen Lemons

      A lot has been written about that subject already. If you want to write more about what’s already been written about, go ahead. I’m not. Just sayin’.

  3. People are mean. And crazy. Used to be in the newspaper column days, it took awhile for the hate, anger, disgust, or just disagreement to filter down. Nowadays with the internet, and especially the evil twitter, raw emotions and just hard down meanness seems to be the style. It’s what gets a writer in the “in crowd” or “the cool club”. The meaner and more vicious, the more one pumps one’s twitter muscles, the more others clamor to be like them and cheer them on. It is hard to ignore at times. I made the mistake of engaging about a year and a half ago. It’s fruitless, totally unproductive, and nothing but an exercise in snarkism, which by the way I am quite good at, but again why? Sure, it can give me a jolt for a few seconds when I get in a good zinger, but……But then after a few of those, I start feeling dirty, and mad at myself by the end of a round for wasting my words on bullies and haters. It’s not like these folks want to learn anything or have a give and take discussion. I’m all for that. Yeah, people are crazy. And mean.

  4. Steve M., your article brilliantly points out what I was going to say concerning the family ties so I’ll just refer to it. But I think some of the attacks were more about old wounds and past personality differences with Lemons. I’ve had my own issues back a few years ago with Brahm Resnik using my footage without giving me credit for my work yet I still think he is a good reporter. In any case, it was surreal to see people disregard the investigation and defend Ducey. I can’t help but wonder how many even read the report.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Bob.

    I make no claim to being Bob Woodward, Jr., here. I’m just down in the coal mine digging like everyone else.

    Yeah, I probably should have ignored the Blue One’s post, but I was astounded by the reaction of some on the left. Still am, to be honest.

    I think there’s more out there. We’re looking for it. And I have no doubt others are doing so as well.

    • Stephen…see my comment above…have you guys over at PNT dove into the sludge pit that is Koch $$ and Sean Noble? Talk about voting against your own best interests…

  6. What I got from the article is, the unanswered questions is what caught my attention:
    1. When did his mother divorce Roscoe
    2. When she married Michael Ducey- Doug was 11 years old
    3. Did Ducey adopt Doug when/adoption papers-If not adopted why is he using Ducey name
    4. If so why is Roscoe still in picture
    5. Was the father Roscoe on stage election night or Ducey
    6. If Ducey is adopted why does Doug say my father was a policeman
    7. Why doesn’t he mention step father Ducey
    8. He mentions his mother’s 3rd husband Burk in article/when did she marry Burk? Also Burke investor in Cold Stone Creamery
    9. A copy of his report cards
    10. Who paid for StJohn school Roscoe or Ducey
    11. Did they live with grandparents between mothers marriages
    12. Articles say mother was stay at home Mom–Where did living expenses come from
    There was a Facebook page for Roscoe now it’s gone…

    • Yep, those are the types of questions folks should be asking, Barbara.

    • Here are some answers:
      1. not sure
      2. &3. We have a source that says Ducey was adopted by his mother’s second husband, Michael Ducey, who is in real estate. But do not have confirmation on that.
      4. Roscoe is Ducey’s biological father
      5. Roscoe was on stage with Doug Ducey on primary night.
      6. Roscoe was a cop.
      7. don’t know
      8. Not sure when she married Burk.
      9. don’t have them. unlikely to get them.
      10. IDK
      11. IDK
      12. from the husbands, I reckon
      ur right, Roscoe’s FB page is gone, so is Madeline Burk’s

  7. Arizona Eagletarian

    Mine was not so much a defense of Lemons’ story but keying off of it and exploring the significance. I don’t know anything about an October surprise but the NT special report was legitimate news reporting. And it matters in the race for governor of Arizona.

    http://stevemuratore.blogspot.com/2014/10/friends-dont-let-friends-vote-for.html