Radio Sputnik spoke to Joe Arpaio, who said that he just wants to fight back against fake news through the lawsuit.
Sputnik: How did you get the courage to take on these big media outlets?
It's very interesting that they call me, throughout the years dealing with the media, that I am a publicity hound, and yet they always call me, just like you've called me, and I respond, I always talk to the media. I have an open door policy, I don't run a CIA operation, but I think it's about time — enough is enough! What they have been doing to me recently, certain elements of the news media. So I'm fighting back through the lawsuit process; that's the only way I can fight back right now.
Sputnik: How has the case been moving on so far?
Joe Arpaio: I have a great lawyer who's also a friend — Larry Klayman — he runs Freedom Watch, to go after the judicial system and the media; so I feel very comfortable, but you never know when you get to court how the judges will react. But I'm trying to do the best I can, I don't talk too much about it, because as you can understand it's still in the court process, but I'm giving it a shot; it's not really not for money, it is to send a message out to this fake news [that] we have in this country that something has to be done in the journalistic system.
So I'm doing it, I'm no hero doing it, I'm just doing what I feel is right — not just for me, [but] for many, many other elected officials, and as they go after our president, whom I have endorsed and supported from day one, since July 2015. I'm really concerned how they go after President Trump also, but we'll see what happens.
Sputnik: Mr Arpaio, you've said that the filing of the case also sends a message to news organisations that they need to fact-check their stories and that it is much more important for you than getting money. Do you think that one person's statement will be enough in a case of this magnitude?
So they have to be held responsible, maybe this will help in some way, they will check the facts and not just copy what other media says. It's very easy to report something that the media has read in another outlet, but they better stop doing this, because this is not correct, it is not right, and as I said, I'm willing to take this on and see what happens.
Sputnik: In what way have the inaccurate statements damaged your reputation and your chances of running for the 2020 US Senate seat formerly held by John McCain?
So here it continues on, where they keep going after me, accusing me, as I say, of being convicted in court and this just continues, it's continuing where they give out the wrong information. As far as running for office again, I don't know if I'm going to run, but this sure doesn't help when people around the country think I'm a convicted felon. So it has to be rectified.
It actually is too late anyway, the word is already out, people think of me as a convicted felon; so I don't know really how to stop that, but I'll do what I can through the court system.
Sputnik: There have been some reports where you have been accused of playing the victim card; what is your response to that?
Joe Arpaio: I don't even know what that means — the victim? Well maybe I am a victim; I'm not playing the victim card, I'm trying to put the message out to everybody that you better be accurate and not accuse people of something that's not true, and I'm talking especially to news media.
I'm talking to you. I don't know Sputnik, but I hear that you're pretty fair, I've dealt with you in the past. So people will say: "Why are you talking to Sputnik? Why have you been on thousands of interviews in foreign countries? They can't do nothing for your election", but I talk to everybody. I just had Ireland in here last week, they keep coming from foreign countries and I talk to them. That's a bad rap, that I'm a publicity hound.
Sputnik: If you are to continue your career as a politician, how do you plan on cooperating with media outlets; how do you think they will portray you?
You know what, we've got social networks now, and I'm using social networks and it's good returns, so I don't need the media, there're other ways to get the stories out. So if they want to play the game, let them play it. Now I'm sure that 80% of the time it will be a negative report, they're sure not going to say something nice about me. I'm talking about the mainstream media. So we'll see how it works, but I don't care.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Joe Arpaio and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.