Listen, Download, Support: “Border Cowboys” Investigative Report On Buffett’s Adventures/Spending On Arizona/Mexico Border

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Sun Sounds of Arizona is a nonprofit reading service for people who have difficulty holding and/or reading print material because of a disability. It broadcasts statewide and has volunteer readers in Tucson, Flagstaff and Phoenix. BFA contributor Paul Weich (Arizona’s Politics) regularly records the Phoenix New Times.

Most of the articles would not be appropriate to post here, but some of the award-winning reporting is a perfect fit for BFA.

The two-part series published last month is among the latter, and inaugurates this new feature. “Border Cowboys” delves into what is going on down on the Cochise County portion of the U.S./Mexico border, and how the heck billionaire Howard G. Buffett (the Warren Buffett’s son) fits into the vigilante history there. Throw in the Sheriff’s Offices in Cochise County and a couple of Illinois operations and conservation districts, and you have an article that must be heard (or, read) to be believed.

The Fund for Investigative JournalismArizona Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Center for Media and Democracy contributed financial support to this reporting. And, those are all worthy of your support.

However, the 2nd purpose of offering this article for listening/downloading is to raise awareness and funds for Sun Sounds of Arizona. If you know of someone who would benefit from listening to these newspapers, magazines and more, take a moment to let them know. And, since it is a member-supported nonprofit community service, take another moment and become a member.

Paul spoke this week with Beau Hodai, the reporter for “Border Cowboys”. It took more than three years to research, report and get it published, and we asked him to tell our readers a little bit more about the effort:

“A large factor contributing to this prolonged period of gestation was the impoverished state of the American news media.

“Independent investigative journalism is in serious peril. Due to the weakened state of newsrooms and their budgets, there is a diminished appetite among publishers for potentially unflattering reporting pertaining to wealthy and influential interests.

“As much as this particular story sits at the crossroads of so many issues weighing heavily on us in these times, it was rejected and dropped by a long string of publishers before it reached its final home with the Phoenix New Times. We should never take the existence of such publications– willing to take on this kind of reporting– for granted.

“Simply put, the number of those in this profession who are able to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” has been decimated, several times over, in the course of these past few decades (though, to be honest, I’m not sure it was ever our job to comfort anybody).

“Do what you can to support investigative reporting. Support your local independent news outlets (if you have any). And– wherever practicable– seek out information yourself. Ask questions. Assert the truth– especially amid a chorus of lies and misinformation.”

(This article initially was published on Arizona’s Politics.)