For the majority of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s 24-year term, the Phoenix New Times persistently dogged him. The independent weekly, available free of charge in newsstands across Phoenix, became the biggest thorn in Arpaio’s side. It exposed numerous scandals across the breadth of his tenure.
Arpaio even banned New Time’s reporters from press gatherings. Co-founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin made a point of calling Arpaio out for everything. Sending reporters to dig up whatever they could. Arpaio made it easy with a litany of controversial actions permeating his years of service. Read more: Jim Larkin | Angel.co and Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund
Advocates for free speech, the first amendment, and social injustice the newspapermen hated everything Arpaio stood for. In turn, Arpaio ordered subpoenas to investigate the paper, and even jailed Lacey and Larkin when they printed a story about it.
Their feud was legendary. Now in the wake of Arpaio’s pardon by President Trump the feud is set to return. Arpaio, who plans to run for office, will find himself a target once more.
As both Lacey and Larkin return to journalism with Front Page Confidential, a website dedicated to protecting free speech, it will not be long before Arpaio adorns their headlines.
Michael Lacey was a dropout from ASU when he founded Phoenix New Times. It was 1970 and there was much unrest. In the stir rising from the Kent State Killings, Lacey created a campus paper dedicated to free speech. Larkin, another ASU dropout, joined him in 1972. Under their leadership, the paper gained a following. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase
Lacey held post as editor and chief, with Larkin moving from advertising to CEO. The duo expanded 1983 with the acquisition of Westword, an independent weekly from Denver.
The purchase led to a multi-million dollar conglomerate of 17 weeklies, owned by the duo under the name Village Voice Media Holdings. Despite their success, the duo never forgot the reason behind the paper, to give voice to free speech. Opposed to the establishment as they were, it is no wonder why the newspapermen found such an enemy in Sheriff Joe.
Larkin and Lacey interviewed in response to Arpaio’s pardon, neither one suspecting that the ex-sheriff would stay behind bars long. The nature of his release, done at the hands of a sitting president, they found damning. Lacey called it gross injustice, citing the event as a prime example of corruption. He listed the plethora of questionable and controversial behavior attributed to Arpaio. Lacey also declared that the decision to pardon Arpaio would come back to haunt Trump.
Larkin was equally unhappy, begrudgingly giving Arpaio credit for using the system. Larkin called Arpaio a horrible jailer and sheriff, but a good politician. He believes that Arpaio served as an antecedent to Trump. Both men believe the act to be political pandering, meant to earn support.
Arpaio may be free but he has not gotten away with anything. Lacey and Larkin will both be dogging the senate hopeful with their new publication. Neither man shows any sign of backing down.
Learn more about James Larkin and Michael Lacey: