So I’m watching this PBS SoCal program in which Rick Reiff is interviewing producer/reporter David Nazar about the William Fitzgerald anti-Semitic/homophobic rant incident, and I’m startled when Nazar’s narrative really twists the truth as if it were a pretzel:

The scuttle rumor is that former Mayor Curt Pringle, the former mayor of Anaheim, had one of his people working for him, Todd Priest, all of a sudden send out e-mails to a Jewish councilwoman here in Irvine to say how terrible this was, they sent information to the Orange County Human Relations Commission denouncing Tom, calling him basically anti-Semitic, why didn’t he do anything. Well, Tom Tait really was the only person, Rick, who stood up and said, “Hey you know what, William Fitzgerald, you gotta take a step back, you gotta ease up a little bit.

Well, it’s reassuring to know Nazar reports news based on “scuttle rumor.” If you take away the suit and the title and the TV camera, there’s little separating the caliber of Nazar’s foregoing “reporting and the conspiracy theorizing one can find on fringe blogs like Orange Juice. Nazar’s operating assumption — unproven and unsubstantiated — is that Curt Pringle is pulling everyone’s strings. He reports that “they” sent a letter to the OC Human Relations Commission, when in fact the letter was sent by Councilwoman Kris Murray – not “they.” Facts, schmacts.

Nazar then recklessly tells viewers – who are relying on him here for accurate reprting — that the letter “basically” calls Mayor Tom Tait anti-Semitic. That is flat-out false. The letter doesn’t “basically” or remotely, or sort of, or in any way accuse Tait of anti-Semitism, nor does it imply or infer or suggest any such thing. In fact, Nazar has completely invented that claim, which I find astonishing.

Nazar then repeats the false claim that has been making the rounds that Tom tait was the only council member who objected to Fitzgerald’s outburst. again, anyone who watches the video can also hear the others council members (whose microphones were off) expressing their objections. Kudos to the mayor for telling Fitzgerald he had crossed a line, it’s really inaccurate for reporters like Nazar to mislead viewers into thinking Tait was alone in being outraged.

Nazar then moves on to an exercise in illogic:

I did a little digging on this, because a lot of the strings being pulled, the reports have, are from former Mayor Curt Pringle. Well get this…back in march of 2006, a woman by the name of Alma Ramirez, she’s like William Fitzgerald, she’s a gadfly that goes to all the meetings,  And Curt Pringle, who made these allegations against Tom Tait when he was then sitting at the helm of the council, Alma would then go in front of the dais and say the Jews here are part of a Jewish mob they’re abusing Orange County – in a meeting on July 11, 2006, I got the transcripts – she said, quote, ranting about Jews, “the Zionist mafia has been monopolizing publishing today, Truman was very put out with the Jews, President Truman said he had no use for them and didn’t care what happened to the Jews…My point is that if Curt Pringle or his team is going to call out Tom Tait and say how come you didn’t say anything about William Fitzgerald saying these anti-Semitic remarks, Curt Pringle never said one word about this woman Alma who would rant about Jews constantly…that is hypocrisy, at the best kit is politicizing it, and this is a shame, and a scam, and a sham.

Actually, I think the peroration “a shame, a scam and a sham” more aptly applies to Nazar’s reporting here.

For starters, Nazar says Curt Pringle “made these allegations against Tom Tait.” Really? Where? Did Nazar talk to Curt Pringle and hear him make such allegations? Does Nazar have a statement from him to that effect?  A quote from Pringle? Or is it permissible journalistic practice to present speculation as fact?

Nazar constructs an illogical house of cards argument by relying on unnamed “reports” of “string-pulling” he magically finds a single and irrelevant instance from seven years ago of a different kook blasting Jews during public comments at the Anaheim City Council, and on that very flimsy basis thunders that Curt Pringle is a hypocrite for…well, nothing, because he hasn’t said anything about this controversy – which doesn’t seem to matter to Nazar.

Listening to Nazar go into high dudgeon mode to paint Mayor Tait’s critics as hypocrites, one could almost forget that it was Councilman Jordan Brandman who was called an “evil Jew” and a “sick faggot” and help responsible by proxy for the Holocaust. But who cares about that, right?

I would expect – or at least, not be surprised by reporting this shoddy if I were reading some fringe outlet like Orange Juice Blog – but from a producer and reporter for PBS SoCal? Sheesh – it’s embarassing.