Michael Lacey was born and raised on the east coast. His father was a construction worker how taught him the importance of standing for something. Lacey didn’t want to be a construction worker like his dad, so he moved to Arizona to attend Arizona State University.
Once there, he immediately noticed the difference in how people behaved in Arizona. Most of the people his age wanted change and more peaceful resolutions to things. The ultra-conservative media didn’t see things that way. They viewed antiwar protestors as un-American and portrayed as such in the media coverage.
Lacey was shocked by the media’s coverage of protestors and started a small paper with some fellow students. Before long, his paper picked up traction, and he dropped out to focus more on his new business. Eventually, Jim Larkin, another college dropout and Phoenix-native, joined the paper and headed up advertising.
Phoenix New Times quickly became a go-to source for non-conservative media coverage. As their paper grew in popularity, they began buying other papers in other states. They started a new company that would become the multimillion-dollar media conglomerate Village Voice Media. VVM was made up of 17 other like-minded papers.
Even after reaching such success, they still had to deal with a vengeful sheriff in 2007. The vengeful sheriff in question is former sheriff Joe Arpaio. He’s no longer sheriff for many good reasons; least of them being that he’s racist. When Lacey and Larkin’s paper started reporting on him, Arpaio went insane.
For most of his time as sheriff, he could easily silence critics or bully them into quitting altogether. Phoenix New Times was different. They didn’t back down just because he started harassing them. The harder he came at them, the more they wrote what he was doing.
Every time they thought they’d found the worst thing he’d ever done, he’d do something worse. As if systematically abusing Latinos wasn’t bad enough, he started using fake subpoenas to try to shut New Times down. On more than one occasion, he used fake papers to try to force Lacey and Larkin to hand over all notes and papers on him.
After having the duo arrested, he used fake subpoenas to try to convince them to give him the names and personal information of their readers. He not only wanted them and their employees but also their readers.