Aaron Ochs is the author of “Defamers: How Fake News Terrorized a Community & Those Who Dared to Fight It,” a nonfiction uncovering the defamatory, deceptive and criminal practices of online tabloid CalCoastNews. Click here to subscribe to his Patreon, check out exclusive news features and more.
For five years and counting, CalCoastNews repeatedly and falsely accused me of being a “paid shill” for District 3 Supervisor Adam Hill. They did this to discredit my skepticism and criticism of their obsessed “reporting” on him all the while conveniently forgetting that I’ve also been critical of him. Despite their various ethical and accuracy lapses, CalCoastNews has shined a light on the supervisor’s behavior — and inadvertently their own — in a revealing way.
On February 2, the website revealed a series of vulgar emails from 2016 reportedly sent from the supervisor’s home to radio show host Dave Congalton. The emails were sent from an anonymous Gmail account named “Sal Krill.” CalCoastNews alleges Congalton reached out to the District Attorney’s office and handed them his computer. Over the course of four years, the DA’s office investigated the emails and determined they came from his home. The presumption here is that Hill was the perpetrator.
When I read those emails, I could hear Hill’s voice in them. I don’t think reiterating what was written or alleged in those emails would lend more emphasis to that point.
My immediate reaction to reading them was: Really?
Personally, there isn’t much point to being the moral arbiter in this particular conversation and sentence one side to eternal damnation. For starters, Congalton isn’t the perfect victim. He’s personally baited the supervisor for years on his show. He went after his then-wife, mused about her sex life, mocked her personal appearance, and accused her of stealing from homeless people. That was before Congalton spread unsubstantiated conspiracy theories that Hill orchestrated the drunk driving arrest of CalCoastNews’ Karen Velie; that he orchestrated the “kidnapping” of Velie’s grandchildren. This personal grudge by Congalton went on for years on end.
The exasperation is real. I certainly shared that exasperation. Heck, I’ve sent Congalton a few mocking emails under my real name. Nothing that…