You can usually tell a newspaper and their agenda when you contrast and compare stories by two reporters for two different newspapers, who are sitting in the same room.
The two newspapers in this case? The San Bernardino Sun/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and the Riverside Press Enterprise.
The subject? The corruption trial of former Assessor employee and Rancho Cucamonga Councilman Rex Gutierrez.
The reporters? Joe Nelson for The Sun and Richard K. De Atley for the Press Enterprise.
The story titles? In The Sun newspaper it was “Testimony links official, builder” and in the Press Enterprise it is “Councilman hired as favor to developer, witness says”.
De Atley attempted to at least present a somewhat balanced story. Nelson must have been somewhere else othe than the courtroom.
Adam Aleman, key witness in all the county corruption cases filed by District Attorney Michael Ramos, is a convicted Felon under California law and is cooperating as a part of a plea arrangement in exchange for immunity from further charges and a lesser sentence. De Atley reconciles this point in his story. With Nelson, you can forget it.
De Atley also pointed out Aleman testified that his own hiring as Assistant Assessor was a “joke”. Nelson, must have been on a break at the time.
The only point covered in both stories seems to be discussion over a memo drafted by former Communications Officer Ted Lehrer and given to former Assessor Bill Postmus listing talking points related to Gutierrez’s performance.
One point missed by both reporters? When asked by Attorney Jim Reiss if he (Aleman) had ever referred to Developer Jeff Burum as ‘The Big Fish” in any conversations about the District Attorney wanting to get the “Big Fish”, Aleman denied ever using the term.
A few hours later Lehrer testified that Aleman routinely used the term to describe Burum.
Observers in the courtroom also say Aleman testified that he had met with investigators more than one hundred times. An amazing number of meetings for any prosecution case.
It would be interesting to see all those interviews and statements.
Aleman’s vagueness in his responses to defense questioning is also puzzling especially when contrasted with his knowledge of exact dates and times when questioned by the prosecution.
Another red flag.
Nelson seems more intent on driving home the “alleged” ties between Burum, Postmus, and Gutierrez “allegedly” used to secure and maintain Gutierrez’s employment, even if it is coming from a credibility-challenged witness.
A witness who routinely communicates with Nelson.
Sources tell InlandPolitics.com that Nelson and his editor have been repeatedly challenged over significant reporting inaccuarcies and ommissions in order to taint various subjects related to the county corruption probe.
It seems like nothings changed.