Wednesday, June 16, 2010


SHUFFLING A DECK OF JOKERS: We’ve been having a field day ridiculing Leo Azambuja even calling him “the worst reporter in the world”.

But that kind of presumes he’s a reporter, not some schlub hired off the street at starvation wages by the “el cheapo” management of the local Kaua`i newspaper.

It’s kind of like the Raspberry Awards, given to the worst movies of the year in that they aren’t given to some low budget unknown film but rather to a big expensive Hollywood bomb.

So we take it back- sort of- and instead bestow our “worst reporter”- at least in the state- award to long time political reporter, late of the new Honolulu Starve-a-tizer via the late Star-Bulletin, Richard Borreca.

We’ve been laughing at his seeming inability to venture beyond the most bland of conventional wisdom in his commentaries and his distinctly “he said she said” reporting style for many years.

And so we were none too shocked a few months back when appearing on the PBS program “Island Insights” he told host Dan Boylen with a straight face that there has never been a story broken by a news blogger, especially given that his arrogant self-important attitude has been worn on his sleeve throughout his long career.

So we were wondering whether he had a plate of sautéed crow handy when today he had to report on the story about Mufi Hannemann’s secretive Pittsburgh fundraiser-that-wasn’t-a-fundraiser, thrown by Honolulu rail contract hopefuls, after blogger and Honolulu government watchdog extraordinaire Carroll Cox broke the story a week ago June 9.

KHON TV’s Ron Mizutani picked up on the story the next day although if it wasn’t for Cox’s revelation it’s pretty doubtful anyone in the corporate press would have done so.

From there former S-B reporter, blogger Ian Lind, picked up the ball and ran with it filling in many details Cox and Mizutani had missed, reporting twice on the issue on June 11th and 13th as Mufi’s militia made various pronouncements of questionable veracity, finally deciding to give back the money.

(Parenthetically today Lind presented a post dealing with our favorite fake reporter’s fake reporting on the fake farm approved by our fake planning commission this week.)

So a week later Borreca, no longer able to stand the criticism being leveled at the S-A for ignoring the story, finally wrote it up today with zero new facts and, of course, written in the intelligence-offending “he said she said”, opposing quotes style.

It wouldn’t do for Borreca to just report on the actual events when they became known. That might have made the report timely and spun bullsh-t-free.

Indeed his lede indicates his typical lazy journalist’s angle.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann's chief opponents in the governor's race say he should answer questions and explain his recent trip to Pittsburgh to raise campaign funds.

After a brief 40 word description of the basic long-ago-reported story he goes back and forth between quotes from the always-good-for-a-laugh Republican Party Chairman Jonah Kaauwai, Hannemann campaign Spokesperson Carolyn Tanaka and prospective Hannemann opponents in the November governor’s race, fellow Democrat and former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Republican Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona.

For those that don’t really follow issues in journalism, the "he said she said" reporting style has evolved over the past few decades as a response to complaints from those who don’t like the way the objective facts look, in order to assure that their “spin”- including outright idiotic crap- will be dutifully reported. unchallenged except for some other apologist’s quote.

It’s what’s made true investigative reporting something that is apparently forbidden in the modern corporate newsroom.

While it always good journalism to report what those who don’t like the news are saying about it, it’s one thing to include their quote, perhaps at the end of a piece in order to contrast it with the known facts, and it’s a whole other thing to base the entire article on opposing quotes that leave the reader confused as to what the actual facts are.

But it’s beyond that with Borreca. He’s simply a dinosaur whose defense of his lack of real craft has deluded him into actually thinking that only he should be reporting the news no matter how uninformative his version of it is.

With all the excellent journalists out of work after the slaughter of the Honolulu Advertiser it’s apparently way past time to put Borreca out to pasture where his BS will be, if not appreciated, at least tolerated.

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