Updated below - Have you ever flown a hot air balloon? Your editor has. It's simple: You use burners to fill the balloon with hot air, which goes up. You take off and fly. To stay at height, you use those burners to top up the air. To come down to the earth again, there is a valve you can open, with a rope, on top of the balloon so hot air escapes.
The problem with Don Winner is that he doesn't have such a valve; a major design flaw that leaves him perpetually filled with hot air.
You can see that at work in his "coverage" of the latest case of a dead gringo expat. A 72 year old woman, Georgia Tripp, was found dead in her home in Volcan, in the province of Chiriqui. The authorities are investigating. She was reportedly liked by everyone.
Murder? Suicide? Who the hell knows? Oh, wait, Don Winner knows! Here's how he ranted and raved against Eric Jackson on Panama Forum, a yahoo group where all the weird Hawaiian shirt expats hang out:
In these kinds of cases I almost always have additional information which I withhold (by choice) so as not to jeopardize the investigation. Normally I withhold this information until there is an arrest. I am currently withholding information on several murder cases and ongoing investigations, waiting for an arrest to be made.
In this case there are very important and significant details which I know about, the detectives know about, and you (clearly) DO NOT. So please, do us all a favor and focus on writing about what you know. Facts.
The reporting in the Panamanian press is obviously coming from low level sources in the National Police. As usual, they get some of the fundamental facts in the case wrong. My sources are much better.
There was a single stab wound to the back of Georgia’s neck. The detectives of the DIJ of the National Police and the prosecutor’s are treating this case as a homicide (fact). Maybe you can explain how anyone can have an accident or kill themselves by giving themselves a deep single puncture wound to the back of the right side of the neck.
Calling me a “demagogue” once again simply highlights the fact that your hatred for me over rides your ability to cover any story in a professional and objective manner.
In short, pound sand (first) and get a clue (second).
One more thing – your writing sucks. You’re a bad writer with no access, speculating about what might have happened, while covering it all with a tremendous bias, and an apparent need to make everyone think like you, doused in mental illness. Wow. Good luck with that. Sucks … on … ice. And that’s why you’re broke.
So, Don Winner and his impeccable sources and the secret inside information he manages inside his head tell him that Mrs. Tripp died of a stab wound in her neck. Are you sure, Don Winner? Yes, he is very sure because he is better informed and has more access than anyone else on the entire planet somewhere way below him!
But wait! Just a bit later, Winner, still quoting his inside access to the top secret police movers and shakers managing the investigations, writes:
According to a highly placed and impeccably reliable source in the Panamanian National Police, the American Georgia Tripp who was found murdered in front of her home in the Brisas del Norte section of Volcan in the province of Chiriqui was actually strangled to death, and was not stabbed as originally reported.
The police received the official autopsy report today from the medical examiner. According to that report, Georgia Tripp was not stabbed and she did not have any stab wounds on her body, despite the fact that a bread knife was found under her right leg. Initial reports from the scene indicated there was a stab wound to the back of her neck on the right side, but it now turns out that those observations were incorrect. She did have an injury to the back of her head, consistent with falling to the ground after she was strangled to death. But the cause of death was clearly established in the autopsy report - she was strangled to death and not stabbed.
You see? That's how well-informed Don Winner really is, with his inside sources and additional information and secret knowledge bullshit. One day it's a stab wound and don't you dare question his supreme knowledge, and the next it is in fact a strangle wound and of course he is always right.
Winner has no inside sources or access, he just makes everything up from what he reads in the tabloids. He hasn't seen the autopsy report. He doesn't know shit about this case. His "reporting" is one big fraud.
But as said, he lacks that valve that lets the hot air escape every now and then and return to earth. And this whole episode is about his little nazi ego, about scaring expats into joining crazy militias and buying the stun guns he is promoting.
Update 20/03: You know what's really sad? Don Winner posted a lengthy defense of his bullshit reporting on his website, and you actually have to pay to read his lame excuses! Just now his story has 123 views. This article you're reading now has about a thousand, and counting. The man has obviously no clue what he's doing.