In a previous post, I questioned whether Fox News would cover the scandal of one of its favorite anti-immigration “experts” involved in a gay scandal with a possible illegal immigrant. The answer is “yes, but.” UPDATED.
In an article called, Arizona Sheriff Leaves Romney Post, Vows to Continue Campaign Amid Allegations, Fox did its best to make you think this was a political scandal. The article begins:
Paul Babeu, a prominent Arizona sheriff and congressional candidate, left his post in Mitt Romney's Republican presidential campaign Saturday as he battled allegations that he tried to intimidate a male ex-lover.
It’s not until the next paragraph that Fox reports that the lover is a “Mexican immigrant” and it’s not until the third paragraph that Fox notes that Babeu “rose to prominence for his strong positions against illegal immigration.”
Much later in the article, Fox gets around to the he said/he said about the agreement Babeu reportedly wanted his ex to sign and the ex’s claim – vehemently denied by Babeu – that he threatened the ex with deportation.
What’s not mentioned? Whether or not anti-immigrant Babeu was, in fact, having an affair with someone eligible to be deported. Fox neatly sidestepped the question with the following:
The former boyfriend, identified only as Jose, reportedly claimed that when he refused, the attorney said any extra attention on Jose from revealing the relationship could result in him being deported.
The Babeu campaign, though, released a statement Friday saying they only tried to have "this individual" comply with a cease and desist order -- after he allegedly hacked into their website and Twitter account. "But at no time were any threats made," the statement said.
OK, no “threats” were made but was Jose a candidate for deportation or not? And if so, did Babeu turn a blind eye to his then-lover's status? Funny how the question never seems to have occurred to the anti-immigrant Fox News.
Fox avoided mentioning altogether the matter of Babeu sending revealing photos of himself via his sheriff’s cell phone, as the Phoenix New Times article reported.
Fox also helped put the best face on Babeu’s decision to immediately step down from his position as co-chairman of the Arizona Romney campaign:
Babeu stepped aside as the Arizona co-chairman for Romney, a decision the campaign claimed would give him breathing room as he deals with the new claims.
"Sheriff Babeu has stepped down from his volunteer position with the campaign so he can focus on the allegations against him. We support his decision," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a brief statement.
Fox had nothing further to say about that.
2/21/12 Update: Babeu told CNN that Jose is legal and that there was never a threat to deport him.
LameStream Media is to blame!
First off, unlike Vitter… Babeu does not have the luxury of an area that forgives his kind of hypocrisy. Arizona can’t even pardon a person who changes their views (see: John McCain), they won’t forgive this.
Second, even if Arizona wasn’t like that, look at the majority of Babeu’s supporters- Birtchers, Minutemen, Oathkeepers, NNSP… you really think he has their vote now? Count out a lot of non-hateful Tuscon, they think he’s ignoring the crime rate to single out the mexicans. And if you think gays and mexicans will support them after years of his abuse…
Third, and most important- Babeu is a sheriff. If he was really abusing the law to cover up something he thought he had to hide, we’re not getting a chance to see who’s right about the first two- the second claims like this are validated, he’s gone. They’ll see what else he’s been hiding as a formality if this is validated, then decide whether to just fire him, or bring him up on charges afterwards. And he doesn’t have people protecting him, like Arpaio does.
Weiner didn’t get away with this when his contradictions/lies unraveled, and people liked him. Babeu’s done.