Though some may doubt, I'm not doing this with any kind of agenda or sense of anger towards Ortega. My last communication with him was when I emailed him that I had to leave the planning of HowdyCon, essentially for my health, and I gave him all the information he needed to know. I've been told recently that there was a claim I sent him an angry email about HC; but I reread the email I sent him, forwarded it to someone, and no anger was seen. I wasn't angry at him then, nor am I now. The bunker might have 'group think' but it's not as if he created it. Those things happen on their own. There are situations that he perpetuates, stirs the pot on, etc but I see no reason to be angry about it. What does that solve? Nothing.

I'm posting this here, yes it's public so anyone can copy/paste, etc; but it's here and I have no affiliation with anyone.

When I left the bunker someone sent me a link about the Survive This hoax Ortega did. I felt sick. I remembered hearing about that at the time it happened and was disgusted then, but the name of the individual who did it didn't register or remain with me. Had I known it was him, I would have never participated in the bunker, nor read his Village Voice articles when he was still there. The links I provide are to his former papers and/or well known sites. If you can be okay with the Survive This hoax, then you need to question your humanity in my opinion.

Over 20 years of Scientology reporting?

Individuals in the bunker oooh and aaah saying Ortega has reported on Scientology over 20 years now. I have not heard of him making that claim. I was told [hearsay, I know, but I will not return to that site] that he states he's been writing about Scientology since 1995. Well, that is true. But is it really over 20 years? Wouldn't that imply writing about it every single one of those years? Let's see what Mr. Google has to say.
Google search results, custom range done year by year 1/1/year to 12/31/year from 1995 to 2008

Year of 1995, 1 result. The original Scientology story by Tony Ortega.

1996, a story that links to HIS story. I don't think that counts as a 'year' for him.

1997, no stories. He shows with the Underground Bunker as a link for Xenu Tv. The UB didn't exist then, and that's just how Xenu TV shows for 1997 searches.

1998, same as 97, Ortega's UB is now a link on Xenu TV.

1999 and look! There's a link to another story about Scientology by Ortega!

2000 and it's the XENU TV links to the UB.

2001 There's a link on XENU TV to a New Times LA article Ortega wrote in this year.

2002 XENU TV links to the UB.

2003 links to current things.

2004 links to current things.

2005 links to current things.

2006 links to current things.

2007 links to current things.

2008 and here's the start of Village Voice Scientology post by Ortega.

So, we have 1 story in 1995, 1999, and then 2001 respectively. Then nothing again until 2008 when it became his regular 'beat'. Is it truly accurate to say he's been reporting on Scientology for over 20 years? Reporting on it for 9 years is very respectable and I cannot imagine anyone else having reported on it consistently that long.

Journalistic Integrity?

2002: Survive This Rape Show Hoax

USA Today, non-Ortega article about two brave teens who were kidnapped, raped, and faced the press publicly. These young ladies deserved nothing but empathy and support. One writer at The LA New Times thought otherwise. Snopes includes the writing by Antoine Oman. When I first was sent this, I totally remembered hearing about this then. Who is Antoine Oman? As the Snopes article says, Tony Ortega.

In this Entertainment Weekly article about Survive This, it includes Tony's quote about it. " was a satirical commentary on the saturation coverage that the girls' abduction and similar crimes have received recently." How is that satirical commentary? It says more about the author, than society. "Said Ortega, 'I hope it gets people to think about the nature of television and the business that it does.'" Well, considering they don't promote rape shows, um? Again, it says more about the author than society.

How 'meta' is Tony Ortega writing about Antoine Oman being fire? More than 'satire', which it was not, it appeared to be an attempt to get something viral, and that was accomplished. Was any thought given to the additional trauma and distress that might have caused the two young rape victims? I doubt it.

2003 Super Bowl V Mock Turtle Scoop Hoax

Ruben Oman at the Phoenix New Times has written this January 16, 2003 story. Claims at the site of the new arena protected desert tortoises were found. Paints Cardinal's owner Bill Bidwell as a law skirter via a quote from Ogden Farrell of the Sonoran Desert Conservancy. "These documents [that the New Times had] leave no doubt that Mr. Bidwill intended to skirt the law..." This all would have been unknown, except for a brave woman whistle-blower who's suffered repercussions. "She knew this might come back and bite her, but she couldn't stand by and watch what Bidwill was doing." I can relate to this imaginary whistle-blower. Mr. Bidwill is attacked in this article, using the turtles, as an excuse for such abuse. The real cause? No idea.

Phoenix New Times one week later, Mock Turtle Scoop by Patti Epler. This reveals that the real authors of the previous story, Tony Ortega and Paul Rubin, were "...using satire and parody to foster a little bit of community discussion on issues of major import here in the Valley. Like why are we spending so much of the taxpayers' hard-earned cash on the worst football team in America? The timing: Hey, it's Super Bowl season." I suppose, it never crossed any of their minds to do a thorough article on the realities of the price of stadium building to communities, the long jobs not created, etc? Or perhaps that was too much work and making something up was just easier?

Patti Epler, as Ortega, fails to understand how such articles can cause harm. "[Michelle] Harrington called New Times to report that no one in the environmental community had ever heard of Ogden Farrell or the Sonoran Desert Conservancy. (Again, duh.) When she finally realized she'd been had, she complained that New Times' "stereotyping" of conservationists had set the movement back years. "What is this going to do to our efforts for the Endangered Species Act?" "

2005 Rebel Hell Confederate Grave Hoax

Kansas City's The Pitch where Ortega was managing editor, here's Rebel Hell by Cesar Oman June 23, 2005. Six confederate soldier remains were found while the city was digging for a new stadium. In 'research' for the article, "...the men had got roaring drunk after a night of whoring, and when they refused to pay, it was the women themselves who did them in." "The message was clear: Don't vex the whores of Kansas." A created quote about the governor [a republican] referring to him as a "mushmouthed brat". Is there some underlying aggression that comes out in these stories? Trying to paint the governor also as a possible racist. Attacking someone, via a hoax article for having different politics. Not in a valid way, but in made up personal ways.

June 30, 2005 article by Tony Ortega reveals the previous week's article to be a hoax. Referring to it as "satirical". " is possible to convince at least some of your friends and neighbors of the verity of these fantastical facts."

"For those readers who were shocked, shocked, that a managing editor who each week channels the political musings of a steak patty would make up a cover story out of whole cloth, we can only offer this suggestion:

Buy a six pack of beer. Open one up. Sit down and stretch out your legs. Take a long cool sip.

And chill."

Yes, why should people expect a manager editor to publish verified stories? Ortega continues and mentiones Cesar's older "brother" Antoine who's "memorialized" at snopes. He mentions a third Oman brother, Ruben---Phoenix 2003 over the fate of five fictional desert tortoise babies. Defensively, he states a press release slapped him around. The governor, referred to as a "baby" "chose to play the bully. He not only issued a press release condemning the Pitch for its fake story but also called for an advertiser boycott of the newspaper." He seems quite chuffed he fooled a FBI guy.

Ortega didn't seem to understand how and why people would take issue with such a false story and how it would affect people. He wasn't a managing editor at MAD Magazine or SPY. "...some folks reacted to 'Rebel Hell' like their morning suppositories had turned sideways and got stuck."

The Columbia Journalism Review covered Ortega's Rebel Hell hoax on June 30, 2005. Edward B. Colby, being a professional, can more succinctly put things. "The long piece, 'Rebel Hell', featured anonymous government officials and breathless news, with all the veneer of an investigative report..." My question is, does the veneer still remain? Continuing with Mr. Colby's article though, he has quotes from the The Kansas City Star and the officials who had been sucked in. The Governor's press secretary told the Star she was "extremely disappointed that a publication purporting to be a news outlet would print a satirical, fantastical article and not identify it as such."

Apparently the hoax article came about as Ortega didn't know how to else to deal with the governor flying a Confederate flag at a historic site in the state on Confederate Memorial Day. The CJR calls Ortega's explanation piece, from June 30 above, as "adolescent". To quote the summation from the CJR's Edward B. Colby:

"Let us count the ways in which this is wrong. It was bad enough that the spoof took cheap shots at politicians, put words in their mouths, and betrayed readers' trust at a time when the media's credibility is at an ebb. But the official explanation--that the Pitch raised 'Rebel Hell' just because it could--is simply inexcusable. Journalism has enough problems without inventing pranks that suck in both citizens and government officials.

There is a place in journalism for both smart social commentary and an irreverent take on local buffoonery in office. But fooling your readers, and then hooting at them for being fooled, qualifies as neither."

Cheap shots, sucking in people, fooling readers, thinking you can outsmart people, has anything changed in 11 years?

Letters to Pitch about Rebel Hell, July 7, 2005.

"Rebel without a cause: Tony Ortega has single-handledly ruined the Pitch's journlaistic integrity with his story 'Rebel Hell' (June 23). Why should anyone believe anything else that the Pitch publishes from now on? Very bad move." Rebecca Regan via the Internet

Faux hawk: You guys sure took me for a ride. I pick up your magazine from time to time and expect to find articles on controversial subjects or that give a different spin to issues that are important to me. This article was simply irresponsible. I circulated copies of it to co-workers and discussed it with neighbors because I was led to believe our city wasn't telling us the truth. I thought I could trust you folks to publicize truthful and newsworthy material. Looks like you proved me wrong. I'll think twice before picking up your magazine next time. Dylan Kruger Olathe

John Kultgen of Overland Park approved of it. I'm focusing on the descenting, though denoting those not. You can go to the link and read his letter.

Pitch it: I assume that you pride yourself on the excellent investigative pieces which generally make up your feature articles. In one incredibly stupid moment, you have underminded the credibility of all that. "Rebel Hell" is totally inexcuable. I am left wondering how much of "Blood Simple" (June 9) was made up to help "spoof" Missouri's death penalty. Can I ever trust an investigative piece by {itch again? The editor should NOT get a slap on the wrist; she should be looking for work by Monday, and hopefully not work that requires judgment. She has made a decision for which the Pitch will be paying for years. Name Withheld Upon Request [Good question, how can you trust an investigative piece by someone who has made up one, or two, or more?]

There's a Name Withheld Upon Request who isn't against the story, again you can read it yourself, I'm pointing out those against.

Stars and barred: As if there weren't enough reasons why I shouldn't read your paper... Michael Montague Jr. Kansas City, Missouri

John Minnick thought it was a "great job".

Beacuase of win, Dixie: Your hoax of an article contained enough facts and near-facts to seem real. Name-calling by politicians is hardly a giveaway for a hoax. I did miss the David Bowie thing. At least four of my ancestors were involved in Gen. Sterling Price's campaign in 1864. All were Union men but one. My great-great-grandfather's brother has a grave at the Confederate Soldiers' Home in Higginsville, Missouri. The Confderate flag has been flown underneath the Stars & Stripes and the Missouri state flag there for several years, since it became state property. It was never an issue until former Gov. Holden had it removed to assist the presidential campaign of Dick Gephardt. I am not proud of my great-great-uncle's connection to the secessionists, but I am proud that he was willing to give his life to fhis country. To dishonor such men is to dishonor all of us. Of all the issues facing us today, why must you pick a scarp of material that was flown over a cemetery as the subject for a "hoax"? Mike Shaw Centerview, Missouri

Bull run: What were you idiots thinking when you published "Rebel Hell"? As if you don't gleefully slam the city of Kansas City, Missouri, at every opportuity, now - on what evidently was a slow news day - you're making up stuff wholesale. I always thought the Pitch had questionable ethics. After that phony-baloney story disguised as news, it's clear that you have none at all. Richard Lovett Kansas City, Missouri

The Missouri Press Association Bulletin, June 30, 2005 covers Pitch's phony story on page 7. It states that Pitch's editor, and of course, Ortega the managing editor, were unapologetic. "The hoax, which comes amid heightened public scrutiny of media credibility nationwide troubled one veteran academician. 'The primary purpose of jounralism is to seek truth adn report it,' said Ted Frederickson, who teaches media ethics and newspaper reporting at the University of Kansas. "And I've always been uncomfortable with things that are deliberatly false being put in the paper. I think there is some room for that in opinion columns, when people are doing little parodies or satire, but I think it's different when you offer something as a news story." ' Ortega was "taken aback" by people being unable to realize it was satire. It was done as "...a visceral reaction to Blunt's order to fly the Confederate flag."

This article also mentions that Sprint was paying for naming rights for the arena that was being built and opposite the first page of this phony story, was a Sprint ad. Sprint said they'd continued to advertise with them, but thought that hoax was "egregious" and "irresponsible".

Editor of Lawrence dot com weighs in. When stating Ortega's irrational rationale for Rebel Hell, Phil Cauthon points out, "However, the piece only mentions that detail in passing among the 3,354-word story, leaving astute readers to make the connection to a weeks-old news item that is wholly unrelated to the Sprint center under construction.Thus a critical element of the parody - its referent - was lost on many readers. And parody without a referent isn't parody. It's just ... untruth." Giving them the benefit of doubt, that they were genuinely trying to make a valid point about Blunt's decision to fly the Confederate flag, "Regardless of the nobility of their intentions, the story now is akin to those about the scandals surrounding Jason Blair and the other recent "journalists" who fabricated stories."

Instead of having to deal with history, understand another side of a situation, Ortega just decided fabricating an article was the best way to deal with a republican governor doing something he didn't like? The Confederate flag is contentious. The governor was allowing it to be flown on Confederate memorial day. Those soldiers died fighting for their country, right or wrong. Many didn't even consider slavery a main reason for fighting, they viewed state's rights as sacred. Flying over graves is different than flying over a state house.

With the story in Phoenix, and then in Kansas City, both when new stadiums were being built, is there some underlying subconscious dislike of expensive stadiums? I could certainly co-sign that, but it should be done openly and not via false stories.

My research stopped here at the billionaire incest story. Yeah, unwrap that one!! Here are the links I started to use . He didn't write the billionaire incest story, he approved it as editor with little valid evidence. But hey, it was bound to go viral right?
General google search

Broward Times

Village Voice

Broward PDF

Another Broward link

Another link

After the billionaire incest story, Ortega landed at the Village Voice. Backpage has been covered by many places and information on that will be easy for anyone to find. And the thought of unraveling that, after trying to unravel the billionaire incest story--with a marriage in Westminster Abbey! Just left me tapping out.

I'm not trying to black PR, dead agent, etc Ortega. He wrote those hoax stories. Can you imagine what those teen girls went through and then someone comes along and thinks they're writing 'satire'? Because of all the press they got? It gives me a sick feeling. If there had been an apology from him about it, fair play. Instead there was arrogance. When he portrays himself as a protector of women in the bunker, think of those 2 teen girls he used as 'satire' fodder. Instead it seems they were just exploited.

At the end of the day, if I were to consider what feeling I have towards Ortega, I'd have to say mostly nothing with a dash of pity. Yes, I do slightly pity him. I harbor no anger towards the bunker, as I've said and will continue to say it's filled with mostly good people who aren't aware of what they're caught up in and are doing things they wouldn't normally do. I sincerely wish them the best. I know when I left, despite my emails trying to explain, I hurt some people and as I said then, any anger towards me would be justified and I accept that. There was really no guidebook on how to go about such things.

The ones excluded from the 'mostly' good people? Best not to say a word.