Arizona Republic Reporter Yvonne "Wing-It" Wingett flubs gossip nugget on New Times and MCSO Chief Deputy David Hendershott.

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Hey, Wing-It, the Hendershott rumor mill may not be the best place to score blog items.

Journalism is, like, hard n' stuff. You've got to make a phone call occasionally, verify these pesky things called "facts." Hey, who has the time? Not Yvonne "Wing-It" Wingett, or at least not with this little bagatelle she typed up for the Arizona Republic's Political Insider blog. In it, Wing-It claimed, "The New Times ad reps are apparently courting the newspaper’s Public Enemy No. 1 – a hot shot at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office."

Specifically, she was talking about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Chief Deputy David Hendershott, who apparently has taken time off from his trips to Honduras' Bay Islands, to start a restaurant in Glendale's Westgate City Center, called Paparone's. According to Wing-It, New Times ad reps had been hitting up Paparone's, offering Super Bowl tickets if the Italian eatery would sign with us. Wing-It quoted her primary source as chuckling over the alleged irony.

"They’ve come in every week, according to the managers," Hendershott said, laughing. "They’ve been offering Super Bowl tickets if we sign up for a year’s worth of advertising with them. Why in the word would I pay the New Times for press? We’ve been getting free press from them for the last 15 years," he said, alluding to the nasty relationship between the paper and the Sheriff’s Office.

Funny stuff, huh? Well, except for the fact that it's total bullshit. Wing-It later updated her blog post with an e-mail from New Times publisher Kurtis Barton, who pointed out New Times doesn't have any Super Bowl tickets to give out as perks, nor have New Times ad reps hit up Paparone's, as Hendershott was claiming.

"We have never gone into Paparone's," Barton told me. "We did not even have it in our data base. I looked after I saw [Wingett's] blog. We have not offered anyone Super Bowl tickets. We will not offer tix either. They are going for $3000 a piece. We dont even have an ad that costs $3000 by itself."

Some, including Barton, speculated 944 might have Super Bowl tickets, maybe because they've been billing themselves as, "The official lifestyle magazine of the 2008 Super Bowl Host committee." But I was skeptical about 944 passing those puppies out like party favors. So I put in a call and an e-mail to 944 execs about it.

Carly Harrill, Corporate Events & Marketing Manager for 944, e-mailed me back, telling me, "Nobody at 944 Magazine has been in this restaurant, nor are we offering Super Bowl tickets to advertisers."

Bottom line? The story was bogus from jump. Wing-It, however, simply allowed Jabba the Hendershott to whisper in her ear, and she took it as the unvarnished truth. Hell, Yvonne, why didn't you just let Hendershott write the thing for you, too?

Love some of the comments on Wing-It's item, like the one from SunDevilRick101: "Did they teach the definition of Libel in Hack Journalism 101 or did you skip that day?" Or this one from asuham, "There are a ton of papers out there who reach out to businesses for advertising and if this guy hasn't even talked to them himself, how does he even know they are New Times reps?"

Interestingly, when I called the place to verify the spelling of the name, etc., the kid on the phone offerred up that "Paparone" was the nickname given to the owner by his family. Kind of their way of calling him, "Big Poppa."

"He's kind of a big guy," the kid relayed.

Hey, they don't call him Jabba the Hendershott for nothin'. I may have to check the place out. Given Hendershott's girth, I reckon that fat cat knows how to tuck it in.

As long as they ain't servin' no green bologna in the antipasto. Ewwwww.


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