Some of you might remember Paul Krawzak, state of Illinois reporter for Copley. I found him to be a hard-working, diligent reporter who tried to be fair.
He moved to Washington and was the subject of Blackberry abuse this morning from U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, who is under duress because of federal investigations.
The trigger for Ney's rage was Krawzak's coverage, carried in The Times-Reporter and its sister Copley Ohio newspapers, The Repository and The Independent, of the trial of White House procurement official David H. Safavian. Safavian is accused of lying and obstructing the criminal investigation of the once-powerful and now-discredited Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Testimony by Ney's former chief of staff, Neil Volz, on May 30 provided some new details on the 2002 Scotland golfing trip that has been the cause of much of Ney's difficulties. That trip was paid for by Abramoff and included Volz, Ney and several other political insiders.
That story was written by Krawzak late in the evening and the reporter did not call Ney for his reaction to the testimony. The next day, when Ney's office complained about that, Krawzak explained the lateness and press of deadline but acknowledged it would have been better to have sought Ney's comment.
That acknowledgment was not enough for Ney, who four days later â€“ on June 3 â€“ had his thumbs flying over the tiny keyboard of his Blackberry, with punctuation and spelling often yielding to his evident anger.
"Let me tell you paul-last week you did not call us for comment â€˜you were under deadline,'" began Ney, who then reflected his belief that his critics just keep recycling the same story about the golf trip. "Print the same story-change it to reprint the same story-people in new philly â€“ d's and r's call it â€˜elk's politics.'"
He concluded his message with "Go for it â€“ harass my wife and daughter a little bit more big man â€“ maybe I will take out an add talking about your ethics." The reference to his wife and daughter reflected his continuing anger that earlier this year another Copley News Service reporter, based in Ohio, interviewed his neighbors and knocked on his door seeking comment from his wife.
Lest there be any doubt about either his anger or his desire to vent that anger, the congressman sent a separate note from his Blackberry later in the day. "Please-please-print this paul-you don't care about ohio-i am sick of your crap. You are a d c person who couldn't find ohio unless we gave you a map. You don't give two shoots about our people."