By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
I called Venezia and asked, "Tell me why your column omitted that Righeimer originally lied about my call, omitted my 42-second message, and omitted that I had all sides of the story from the court documents?"
Venezia assured me the version she wrote included those facts. To prove her point, she read me sentences that had been deleted by, she says, her editor, Susan Gill Vardon.
"I'm going to call [Vardon] and have her put those facts back in," Venezia said. "I'm sorry."
The new version gave me credit for the 42-second message and noted that the court record I'd relied on contained both sides in the lawsuit. However, they again decided to ignore the original deceit about my call. They also, incredibly, didn't correct the false premise of their column.
Venezia told me that Vardon, a Reg veteran who is Facebook friends with Righeimer, insisted she'd deleted my entire side of the story only "for space reasons" and intended no offense. (At press time, she had not agreed to an interview request.)
"Barbara, you've attacked my ethics on a story in which I reported both sides, on a story for which I called Righeimer in advance, and on a story that contains zero factual errors," I told her.
"I see what you're saying," she said.
"The Register slams me for not telling Righeimer's side of the story while purposely omitting my side of the story," I said. "That's pathetic and funny at the same time."
"Nobody purposely smeared you," a bubbly Venezia said. "It was a simple mistake. I'm a big fan of yours."
I asked Righeimer if he'd summoned his Register pals for a hit piece on me.
"No," he replied. "I would rather the story die. . . . There's nothing in it for me."
This column appeared in print as "Saving Jim Righeimer: The Orange County Register smears OC Weekly for revealing bad news about a favored politician."