The Strange Case of Jonathon Shacat
Glenn Spencer, American Border Patrol – February 4, 2013
Jonathon Shacat was a reporter for the Sierra Vista Herald/Review for five years. A week ago he was laid off. This sort of thing is not unusual in the newspaper business these days, but there are things about this particular layoff that raise questions.
In the past five years, Jonathon Shacat was the only newspaper reporter in Arizona who wrote stories about the work of American Border Patrol. The Arizona Republic refused to print a word.
Shortly after he came to the Herald, Jonathon began reporting on ABP’s activities. In Sept. of 2008 he wrote about how our surveys of the border fence disagreed with claims by Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security. He wrote a follow-up story in October of that year.
After the second story ran, Jonathon told me that Angela de la Rocha, spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection, said American Border Patrol was doing a real service for the American people. (So too, by the way, was Jonathon Shacat.) De la Rocha does not deny making this statement to Shacat.
As I wrote on Dec. 31, 2009:
“The border fence is a big issue in Arizona. American Border Patrol has the best information on the fence in existence, but only one newspaper, the Sierra Vista Herald, has covered the story (9/14/08 and 10/5/08). SV Herald reporter Shacat thought the story would be picked up, but it wasn’t.”
Despite a blackout by other newspapers, Jonathon continued to cover our work.
On July 18, 2010, Shacat reported on our early efforts to develop a border accounting system.
In 2011, Shacat broke the story about the Sonic Barrier - including this quote:
“State Rep. John Kavanaugh, a Republican, plans to earmark $5 million of state funds to test the system on a five-mile basis in an undisclosed area of southern Arizona.”
And, his front-page story on the Sonic Barrier included a walk-out of Hispanic Arizona State Senators at a committee meeting in Phoenix. It was fair and balanced.
But stories on American Border Patrol were just a small part of Shacat’s work. He did other things, including covering the courts.
I began to detect a change in attitude towards ABP last summer when the Herald failed to cover our annual Independence Day flag raising on the border. In 2009 our flags made the front page.
In 2010 Shacat wrote a story of how the feds tore down our Fourth of July banners.
We made news again in 2011.
But last year we didn’t get mentioned. A photographer came out, but nothing appeared in the Herald. Could it be because we added a banner that spelled out “Save the United States”?
We are now entering a critical phase in the debate over illegal immigration and border security is playing a major role.
At this time when American Border Patrol could lend years of experience in border security to that debate, the one reporter who covered that work was fired. Was this due to economics? There are reporters at the Herald who are nearing, or past retirement age. One in particular is 74-years-old and could easily afford retirement. So why lay off a much younger man with a long future ahead of him? Was he not doing his job?
And it doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint. In coming months the issue over how to measure border security will be on the front pages of newspapers across the nation. The Herald could lead the way by covering the work by ABP on the Sonic Barrier. Shacat would become a national go-to-guy for the story. But now they can’t call him - because he is no longer at the Herald.
Finally, if the Sonic Barrier is successful, it might create jobs for Sierra Vista, thus boosting the Herald’s readership!
The truth is, Jonathon Shacat was fired by the Sierra Vista Herald/Review because he knew too much and did too much. The narrative of the left, including those who run the Herald, is that the idea of a nation state is antiquated. It is time to move on the new world order and globalism. Those who cling to the old notion of patriotism should be ignored, if not castigated. That’s why the banner “Save The United States” sent the Herald running from the scene. They don’t want to save the United States of America.
Why the Sierra Vista Herald did such a dumb thing may never be known. Are they really that dedicated to globalism, or was outside pressure put on them? Was money involved?
If you meet and talk to Jonathon Shacat, you might think he is a liberal. He is the right age and has the right hairstyle and manner. He may be; I just don’t know. I do know that he is an honest reporter and told the people the truth. In today’s screwed up globalist media world, that may be just cause for termination.