Rick Murphy responds

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rick Murphy responds

The following appeared in the OtBB Comments queue within the past hour to be appended to "The connection clarifies."

It is presented unedited, but broken into paragraphs for greater legibility:

As editor of The Independent, I'd like to clear the air. And since Dean believes he has the right to edit posts, please refer to my news­paper, The Independent, for the unabridged version in our June 2 issue.

To be perfectly honest, I have to laugh at the gravity given Mr. Spier's{sic} comment. Lisa Finn is our Southampton editor, a professional journalist with 15 years experience.

I am the editor of a multi-award winning newspaper, a former NY Times journalist with two dozen awards, including NATIONAL awards for best In Depth news Reporting and Best News Story.

WHB is in the midst of a scandal. Bringing my reporter's son into the equation, or my reporter, for that matter, Is{sic} not only libelous but something I take personally.

Our legal staff will aggressively pursue any libelous statements on this blog.

Further, for those employed by WHV, I have turned over all our material to the Suffolk DA. Further, as I did in East Hampton, where there is now a Grand Jury impaneled, I have requested an investigation. Dean is a blogger. He's full of crap. I invite him to meet me head to head to discuss his baseless accusations.

And I Warn{sic} him as a the person who approves theses{sic} comments, he is personally responsible. We will aggressively defend our reputation for reporting the truth. That's how we make our living.

Dean, who pays you?

A lot of players in WHBV are trying to play this site hoping it will all go away. Guess what? It ain't.

Welcome to hell, boys.

An earlier, less coherent message, also pur­porting to be from Mr. Murphy was not pub­lished since the required valid E-dress was not provided.

Regarding Mr. Murphy's message:

Of course I have the "right to edit posts," just as it states in the column to the right:

"While contrary opinions are fine, OtBB reserves the right to edit for style or ignore any comment."

...and will do so only for those purposes. Mr. Murphy's message above is presented exactly as it was received, hence the "{sic}s."

I am well aware that Westhampton Beach "is in the midst of a scandal." OtBB has been reporting on aspects of it for over two years.

OtBB did not bring your "reporter's son into the equation;" Lisa Finn, Hank Tucker and T.J. Speer did that on their own.

(The prior Comment identified as being written by Mr. Murphy, identified the teenaged male by his given name and asserted that he was "a minor.")

I am delighted to learn that Mr. Murphy has "turned over all our material to the Suffolk DA." Perhaps that will get some movement from Mr. Spota on the dubious activities within the Village of Westhampton Beach.

As for the implied threat of legal action, as Mr. Murphy damn well knows, truth is an absolute defense against libel.

So Rick, now that you've stayed up late to beat your chest and brandish The Indy's team of lawyers at me and OtBB, how about address­ing the substance of the blog entry which has moved you to write so excitedly.

In case it has escaped Mr. Murphy's notice, there are ethical questions raised.

For the record, OtBB stands by its report, "The connection clarifies," of Friday, May 28, 2010.


1. Michael Jacobs said...

That "Lisa Finn is our Southampton Editor, a professional journalist with 15 years experience" does not necessarily make her a GOOD journalist. Her recent screeds do not cite one source by name, are full of innuendo and reek of the lowest forms of "yellow journalism." Curiously her columns are more "editorial" in nature than "fair and balanced" (dare I use that term) reporting of the news. A casual reading of Mr. Murphy's editorial in this past Wednesday's edition of The Independent is equally irresponsible in the writer's unwillingness to cite the facts associated with the "scandals" in our local government. The "welcome to Hell" comment is certainly curious. I would invite Mr. Murphy to make himself completely aware of the documented FACTS of the issues in the Village and direct his reporters to REPORT appropriatly.

The facts do need to be reviewed in the proper forum of a deparmental hearing... one that should have been held months ago in light of the SC IAD investigation's findings. If the allegations against the police officers are true then appropriate disciplinary action should be taken. If a hearing reveals that the allegations are unfounded, let's get them back to work and put this behind us.

Unfortunatly our current Trustees have been standing in the way of this process in what seems to be a personal and institutional vendetta against the Chief of Police. Allow him to do his job. Negotiate a new contract in good faith... or engage in a search for a credible (emphasis on "credible") replacement. It is my belief that Chief Dean has done a credible job in cleaning up and creating a far more professional police force than the one he found over ten years ago. And by the way, any replacement will end up costing us taxpayers exactly the same. The Trustees should step back from their questionable (and possibly illegal) role as de facto Police Commissioners.

June 18 is around the corner. The voters of Westhampton Beach need to take their Village back.

I actually felt that Mr. Murphy's "scandals" editorial was more balanced than most of Lisa Finn's "news" coverage of Westhampton Beach over the past year.

2. BeachGirl978 said...

All non-residents must pay $350 for access to Village Beaches and get a parking sticker on their car. Murphy does not address this in his very threatening statement? Did she pay for a beach sticker or not? If not why does her son think he can park at the beach? Other people pay for that privilege. Why isn't it a conflict to accept such a gift from Trustee Tucker? He does not address these facts. Wny?

You are not the first to note that Mr. Murphy's published Comment is long on bluster and short on substance.

Most interesting to me is that he states that he is "a former NY Times journalist." I would ask him what would have happened had a New York Times correspondent been "outed" like this?

3. Tugboat Bertha said...

It is quite something how many people from near and far read your blog. That it twists a few of them into a knot is even more interesting since what you post you have always verified. They can look it up. Some people just don't want to know the truth but prefer to live in la la land.

I think Editor Murphy might, upon morning after reflection, wish he had slept on his OtBB submission(s) before hitting the "send" botton.

4. Johnny Romo said...

Funny thing is The Independent will have to borrow any money it needs for litigation from Mr. Della Femina's restaurant, because it is always bailing out Mr. Murphy's award-winning paper.

I have no information on that, so that may be conjecture on your part... or do you have special information? Share share!

5. Michael Jacobs said...

Mr. Della Femina's restaurants... and The Independent for that matter... are hobbies. If they make money or lose money, individually or collectively, is only a minor blip on his overall net worth gleaned from past (and ongoing) successes in the advertising business. IMHO, The Independent was started as a personal forum to raise his voice and visibility in ongoing battles with the Town and Village of East Hampton and as an alternative to the other (long-established and award winning) local weekly, The East Hampton Star... as well as his personal brand of reactionary politics.

What "reactionary politics?" Jus' because he's a Republican? C'mon, Mike!

6. Michael Jacobs said...

Some of my best friends are Republicans...

7. Steven McManus said...

Please see my full statement at "Officer Steven McManus speaks out."

8. Rick Murphy said...

Let me get this straight. The kid is parked by the beach with a couple girls doing nothing wrong. By the next morning someone spread the "news" all over the village. Because the kid had a PBA card, the allegations of failing to address{sic} a pedophile, being soft on rape, letting a prisoner escape and setting up a town supervisor should just be ignored.

I have no problem responding to your "Finn killed JFK" theories. The officer in question was xxxxx's church counselor when he was getting confirmed in the eighth grade! He was not a source for Lisa's article, BTW, and I know who all of them were. There are no ethical questions except in your little world of make believe. Lisa gave every player in the village a chance to comment. Some didn't call back, some did but talked off the record, some asked their names not be used, and some went on the record.

As for xxxxx, who by the way is an honor student, stating Hank Tucker told him it was OK, did it occur to any of you he was kidding that is, making a little joke?

As for The Independent's financial status, as an owner I am one of four people to see our balance sheet. We are quite healthy. The rumor we are not comes straight from the Southampton Press salespeople who were told as much by their publisher, hoping it would make it easier to penetrate the East Hampton market (It didn't).

The Independent has no horse in this race other than to state the obvious: an investigation is needed, and there is a lot of crap being covered up that's going to come out now, including the truth about Kabot.

I never heard of this blog before, and likely will never read it again, but when an employee of ours is upset because her son's name is being dragged down on this site it angers me. It is obvious some of the bloggers are lashing out because their asses are on the line, and they are hoping it will all go away. They are cowards who use phony names to plant lies. Man-up and identify yourselves! This story is here to stay. So keep flapping your mouths, and we'll keep digging deeper and deeper.

I will leave you with these two thoughts: How many of you have PBA cards? And how did a routine traffic check get published within hours of its occurrence? Think a cop leaked it? Shouldn't the chief be upset?

Finally Dean accuses Lisa of being biased. Aren't you completely in one corner and blind to the criticisms coming from the other side? What's in your wallet?

By the way The Star hasn't won any type of award in years, and Jerry was not an original owner of The Independent but bought in years later--after he lost the race for village trustee.
So much for the "facts" on this blog. Folks, if you'd like to know something about my paper just call me. Dean I have no gripe with you you're doing a good job but dude, you see a sniper behind every tree. Leave her kid out of it--Lisa can handle herself.

Well, I must say that today's Murphy Message is a lot less truculent than the previous two. But yes, you have it reasonably straight while omitting some salient features.

(Please note that I have redacted the young man's given name, something you neglected to do while crying that your Southampton Town Editor's "son's name is being dragged down on this site." His given name has never appeared here, so direct your "anger" elsewhere.)
  • "The kid" was in a place he was not supposed to be. The patroling police officers dutifully questioned him, and sent him on his way. All procedures were followed.

    It was "the kid" who used a Village official's name as a reason why he was there.

    It was "the kid" who asserted that the PBA credentials were from his "godfather," whose name he could not remember until he finally found the actual PBA card... curious since you assert that the officer was the young man's "church counselor when he was getting confirmed in the eighth grade."

    On those counts, your protestations ring hollow... particularly since you now attempt to chalk it up to "he was kidding that is, making a little joke." (Didn't his mommy teach him that it's not wise to make "a little joke" with policemen?)
  • You assign the "ethical questions" I raised to my "little world of make believe." Since you cited your experience with the New York Times, how do you think the Finn/Tucker/Speer relationships, actual or apparent, would play within the Old Grey Lady?
  • I have no information on or interest in The Independent's financial strength. I'm delighted that you feel it's healthy. Publish long and prosper.
  • I fully understand the problem with reporting a story when people won't speak with the correspondent on or off the record.

    But I also have been in this long enough... 41 years and counting... that I recognize when a reporter is asking a "which hand do you pleasure yourself with" question, which is what your Ms. Finn did the one time I recall her contacting me for a comment.
  • You inveigh against "cowards who use phony names to plant lies," but are perfectly comfortable with mutiple anonymous sources making dubious statements that affect other people's careers, reputations and livelihoods. Shouldn't you more appropriately direct your "man up" admonition to them?
  • You write about "the allegations of failing to address{sic} a pedophile, being soft on rape, letting a prisoner escape and setting up a town supervisor should just be ignored," as if they are being ignored, or that even if there is any substance to such allegations, that is some form of expiation for police officers performing their duties.

    And speaking of "man up," I have yet to see a name appended to such charges, and the only one who spoke in public about the rape was the man accused in the incident, which fact he carefully omitted.
  • Please do "keep digging deeper and deeper." (I know who said It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell," and I'll bet you do, too.)

    But so far, all you've been doing is dumping half-arsed crap and innuendo on the Village my family has lived in for several hundred years... and why? Just so you can stick another East Hampton feather in your pressman's hat?
  • And let me get something straight... is it your response to the PBA card matter that "hey, dude, everybody has them?" Did I get that right?
So despite your derisive reference to "the 'facts' on this blog," I stand by them... dude.

9. WHB.flyer said...

Lisa Finn should have disclosed that she is the mouthpiece of the WHB PBA. The PBA feeds her only the info that serves them.

I don't think she is the PBA's "mouthpiece." But, withstanding her Editor's lengthy defensive assertions, I think she violated some basic journalistic ethics.

10. Shorewood said...

In reference to Lisa Finn's son saying "Hank Tucker told him it was OK," Rick Murphy suggested that "he was kidding that is, making a little joke."

NO Mr. Murphy, it never occurred to me that he was "making a little joke." And NO, I do not believe that for a one second. Were you a defense attorney in an earlier career?

When I read your statement I thought that perhaps my eyesight was failing me, and had to read it again and again. I highly doubt anyone in this Village would believe that this was said as "a little joke."

In regard to a few of your other statements:

"Dean is a blogger. He's full of crap."

"Dean, who pays you?"

"Welcome to hell, boys."
It sure sounds like Dean struck a very large nerve. OUCH ..........

What incredible language from someone who flaunts his newspaper credentials. I wonder if the New York Times would approve.

Your reaction, or what I consider to be an over-reaction, was stunning.

Keep it up, Dean. Keep up the great in-depth investigative reporting. You are certainly frazzling some nerves.

Keep them honest ........
Thank you, and welcome to the blog.

11. Kathie Williamson said...

In all his erratic blather, Rick Murphy never once states that any part of your original report of the Lashley Beach event was inaccurate, and only tries to spin it that "the kid ... was making a little joke."

Oh, yes, his initial tone is very threatening. What a blowhard bully!

Actually, he refers to my "baseless accusations," but offers no specifics.

12. Goodnight and goodluck said...

Everyone please take a moment to read one of Rick Murphy’s award-winning pieces published in The Independent

Murphy sure did get national attention. In January 2008, he, and the Independent, outraged the black community with a distasteful, striving-to-be-humorous portrayal of Barack Obama -— or as Murphy called him: "Yo Mama Bin Barack." I am no supporter of Barack Obama, but do recognize the line between satire and racism; Murphy crossed into the latter. Everyone please take a moment to read the article.

It really makes you think. If Editor-in-Chief Murphy and The Independent print this garbage, do you really think they care about writing an unbiased, tabloid piece. I mean why quibble over reputable sources of information, right?

Rick Murphy, you are a joke. You are no journalist.

OtBB addressed that "controversy" at the time. (See "Murphy screws the PC pooch....")

And as I noted then, writing good satire is tough... and I'm still glad I didn't write that failed attempt!

13. Michael Jacobs said...

Curiosity got the best of me and I Googled and Bing'd and otherwise searched "Rick Murphy" to see for myself his bona fides. Google turned up nothing... then again, if you Googled my name it would also turn up nothing. But I'm not a "award winning journalist." It seemed odd to me that an "award winning journalist" would not have at lease some tangental reference to his accomplishments, awards, etc. Nope....

I kept digging and a search via Bing for "Rick Murphy + The Independent" did turn up this bit on a web site called American Dream Show, associated with a cable show of the same name.

Funny... the biography trumpets multiple awards and a fantastic (a carefully chosen word) resume... but does not cite a single SPECIFIC award... or the group or organization that bestowed them. Kinda like the reporting in The Independent... totally without substance.

Why would he need a résumé? Since he has an equity interest in The Independent, he has a sinecure.

14. Eyes on 6 Corners said...

Maybe I missed it, but the June 2 issue of The Independent is out, and for all Murphy's late night threats and promises of "Welcome to hell, boys," I didn't see a word about this anywhere in the newspaper.

Perhaps by clear light of morn, he realized that he wasn't helping either himself or the Finn family with his bellicosity.

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