We have been reporting the story of allegations that a Prince Georges County Councilman was possibly an illegal alien. Earlier today I contacted that individual by phone and email to relay the charge and ask for some verification. He responded about an hour ago by email.
In his email he suggested that the charges were dirty pool thrown out by his political opponent who he referred to as an two time felon and "international fugitive." This sounded more than a little crazy so we obviously hit the Google button hard and...
Anthony J. Cicoria is a former 2-term Prince George's County Council member and former Maryland State delegate. He was convicted in 1990 for stealing $64,000 in campaign funds for personal use. He was later pardoned after serving nine months. Then he was accused of having used a county telephone credit card to make $ 2,195 in calls, many from prison. He reimbursed the county. But when he failed to appear at a probation hearing in August 1992 to address the matter, he was charged with felony theft. He spent the next year as a fugitive, living for a while, he has said, with family friends in Italy, then returning to this country and living in Florida.So, in fairness, this story is starting to look like BS, major BS. We have not actually seen proof of Mr. Campos citizenship, he has said he would do so, but only in person which poses a bit of a challenge to some po' folks in Shytown.
Nonetheless, I want to explain a couple of things about objective journalism now to any J-school grads out there. This is how journalism actually works, we had zero interest in destroying this person or doing him any personal harm. If his story indeed checks out I will report that fact and not bury it on page 12 next to the coupons.
This is how things are supposed to work in journalism folks. An accusation was made, we followed up. Though we haven't proven anything to a certainty, it's feeling like horseshit and here's the key, we're admitting that fact. This is important, the presence of an accusation is not the end of the world, but bad reporting can be.
Now, you may recall my referring to him as a "illegal fellating prick?" How do I stand by that statement? Cuz there is a little thing called proof, follow the link, see for yourself, that's how we do things in the blogosphere. We don't get people to make up convenient quotes for us, rather I allowed you to read for yourself what he said. To me he appears a rabid supporter of illegal immigration, and I really don't like that.
But we will never lie on this blog to make our point. If our point has value it will be made with the truth, that's our whole-hearted stance. I wish I could feel as confidently that many major papers of repute had the same policy.
To repeat, at this point in time this story appears dead. I will be following up on his accusations against his political opponent and hope to ask that worthy straight out if this was a set-up. If I get an interview with him of course I'll blog it. If not this may be the last post so let me say, Mr. Campos I offer you my deepest apology for whatever pain and discomfort these questions may have caused you. This was in no way a personal vendetta and if somebody attempted to use us to get to you, well, we may just have to see if we can turn that around on them.
So, we are continuing the call for info, and to the list we add Mr. Anthony Cicoria who has been alleged to have started this story as a rumor. Now, to state the obvious, the simple fact that Mr. Cicoria is a dirtbag doesn't necessarily mean he's wrong.
Technorati Tags: prince george county, maryland, william campos, anthony cicoria, illegal immigration, blogging, journalism,