Media Failures Exposed In AZ Daily Herald Coverage, DesJarlais Sets Record Straight

Last Friday, Timothy DesJarlais, a young optimistic resident of Pima County admitted that while in the employ of Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, he built a news website. The admission lead to a flurry of “news” articles by what were once considered serious journalists.

The articles were fueled by a former disgruntled employee, who urged justice against Miller and DeJarlais, and a Republican Primary opponent who used the “scandal” as proof of whatever indictment he wanted to issue at the moment. The lazy journalists, refusing to tackle truly difficult subjects fed on the carcass of DesJarlais’ political aspirations as they tried to make Miller’s career carrion for like-minded vultures.

The late Vince Foster said politics was a blood sport, and the “journalists” wanted blood, and more blood. This was their chance to take down Miller. The only problem was that Miller had clean hands and was not involved in the young man’s endeavor. Make no mistake – it was simply an endeavor by a young man who was responding to the failures those same journalists, who were now hunting him down.

You see, he never intended to break the law, or lie. He was out to tell the truth those journalists were not willing to tell. They avoid the truth. They will not seek it for fear they may have to report it.

Case in point: The ADI requested copies of public records requests filed by those journalists in the last three months regarding members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, County Attorney, and Sheriff. As it turns out Joe Ferguson, Tim Steller, Jim Nintzel, and Dylan Smith had filed requests for records regarding the Board members, and all of them targeted Miller. All of them involved DesJarlais. Remarkably, they had no questions about supervisors Sharon Bronson, Richard Elias, Ramon Valadez, or Ray Carroll… except if it had to do with Miller or DesJarlais.

Over the weekend, Smith and the disgruntled employee had a Facebook chat. She felt bad that the 40 something “journalist” had come under attack by radio show host James T. Harris. Smith responded that it didn’t bother him: “Didn’t listen; got real work to do,” he posted.

Real work? Real work would be taking on a corrupt Attorney General, or the abuses inside TUSD, or maybe finding out just how much Dan Eckstrom, or Don Diamond, or World View have made at the expense of the residents of the eighth poorest metropolitan area in the country.

DesJarlais will have to face the consequences for filing a false report to the FBI. While his actions may lead to an indictment, those who should be indicted by the public are the “journalists,” who used their barrels of ink to drown a 19 year old and ignore the powers-that-be.

On Saturday, he issued a heartbreaking confession. In it, DesJarlais lays out how he managed to get caught up in a web of his own lies, why, and how devastated he is that it provided the hyenas with one more opportunity to attack Miller. He wrote, “My greatest regret in all of this is that it had to happen to you. You, of all people, would have been the last person on earth to have deserved this kind of treatment from your own staff. I will be forever pained at the fact that I have betrayed your trust. I should have trusted you at the beginning and told you the truth, for this cover-up was worse than the actual act I did. I truly do not ever expect to regain your trust, although I will thankful beyond words should you still choose to forgive me for what has happened. I never intended the harm that happened to come across your office, and although some will excuse my behavior as only being 19, I knew what I did was wrong, and this shall forever be a lesson to me. The only good thing to come out of this is that I have learned my lesson at a young age.”

His confession reads in part:

They say the best way to learn is through making mistakes, and that is a lesson I have had to learn the hard way over this past month. What I have to say to you today does not come easy and while I certainly will ask for your gracious forgiveness, I will not hold it against you if you cannot, but nonetheless, I ask you accept my apology for what it is worth. Below is a full account of everything that has happened:

I always loved writing and last year, I briefly managed a blog named the “Tucson Trumpet.” After reading through the Arizona Daily Independent multiple times, I decided to create my own website, and call it “The Arizona Daily Herald”, a name which I thought seemed pretty good. However, I had one major concern. My goal was to write independent, fair, and unbiased news and wanted to see if I could really accomplish it. However, I was a member of your staff and I knew that no one would take anything I said seriously since I worked for you, and they would automatically assume I was partial towards you and could never see the other side. Therefore, I used an old pseudonym of mine to allow me to write without people having preconceptions about my writing based on my name.

A detail which has gone unheard about the Arizona Daily Herald is that your road plan was not my first topic. I had sent emails to both the Kelli Ward campaign and the John McCain campaign about the recent attack fliers in the mail. Then I attended your LD9 meeting and after hearing your road plan, I thought it would make a great topic for a story, especially because I was concerned that our liberal press wouldn’t give it due justice. But because I wished to preserve my anonymity, I contacted Kim and Marla for statements, even though I knew ahead of time their positions. I also contacted John Winchester and the RTA because I believed it would be important to present criticism of your plan in my article as well, as an effort to be unbiased. Then during the May 17th board meeting, I had taken pictures of the Board meeting. I meant to post them on your official page and Twitter accounts but I forgot to logout from the AZ Herald accounts on my phone, therefore those pictures accidentally ended up on the wrong account.

Later on May 17th, Gini Crawford confronted me about the AZ Herald, having received my email to Marla, and threatened to expose me to you and Kim, stating you both would destroy me. Fearing for my job and reputation, I made the fatal mistake of lying to her and saying I had nothing to do with the website. Then, that night, Dylan Smith of Sentinel called me and confronted me about the website, which I denied. He also referenced the picture and said it came from me so I lied, saying I had texted it to someone. When he pressed me for a name, I refused because there was no name. I then immediately called you to inform you what happened. By then, I was up to my neck. I was afraid you losing confidence in me and firing me, so I denied any involvement, hoping that the media would soon find other distractions. But that didn’t happen and then the public records requests rolled in. When you pressed me for a name to whom I texted, I panicked and blurted out the name “John Dalton.” Immediately afterwards, I had realized what I had done, so I set up a Google Voice number to attach to his name, rather than claiming the real John Dalton’s number had texted me.

The more I lied, the more I had trapped myself into a cycle where if I had come forward, I would have damaged myself, but little did I know that I had already gone too far. Eventually the deeper we got, by sending statements to the AZ Independent and speaking on KVOA, I realized I was now in over your head. I wanted so badly to tell you the truth but I was afraid of hurting you like so many others had done. I even remember that in the same conference room in your office when I gave the false account, literally a month earlier, you had told me over lunch that honesty was the most important trait for those being involved in politics. I should have listened to your advice and I foolishly chose not to. I clung to a shred of hope that just maybe the FBI would not investigate and that perhaps the issue would be eventually dropped.

As time moved on, I knew I could no longer stand working with you and your staff, knowing in my heart that I had lied to each and every one of you. I resigned and hoped perhaps I would be assumed guilty and the story would be dropped. But that did not happen, and then I rebooted the site, buying it from myself, hoping that perhaps people would think there was no way I was originally behind it. Such a plan seemed good in my head but of course backfired. Ultimately, after trying to deny my involvement, I knew I had no choice but to come forward and tell you the whole and full truth, and put myself at your mercy.

I was always impressed by you, Ally, since I first heard of you in 2012 and I always told everyone that you and McSally were my two favorite local politicians. But after meeting you in 2015, I desired to work with you up close and see you in action. I did not believe all the lies I had heard but I still had preconceptions that you were on the far right. My past months in your office and proved both me and every critic of yours wrong. I was impressed how you stood by Marla, even though she turned on you, and how you were loyal, even at your own personal expense. But nothing has instilled such admiration in me for you, when you stood by and defended me, even when others turned against me, and how even now, you still maintain my innocence until proven guilty. My lying and cover-ups, although never excusable, were done out of my fear that I could lose my job with you.

DesJarlais concludes, “Ally, it has been an honor and pleasure to serve under you, and nothing pains me more than what I did. For the last time, I ask for your forgiveness and I move on and try to live my life normally again, having learned the hard way about the importance of honesty above all else.”

The “journalists” got their stories. They got their clicks and that is what matters these days. Miller doesn’t run with the herd, and maintenance of the herd is key to keeping the cronies in power. The predators thought this was their chance to finally pick her off. Instead they exposed themselves.