5 things I think I think about today's Tampa Bay Times

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Just after I finish defending Adam Smith he goes and posts this crappy story about Rep. Peter Nehr sharing half-naked pictures of himself. I’d like to not think the worst of Smith’s writing of this story, but that’s difficult. First of all, these pictures of Rep. Nehr have been out there for a while, so I’m not sure about the newsworthiness of this story. Second, as POLITICO reported, these pictures had an innocent — even proud — motive behind them

“I have been a diabetic for many years and like many diabetics have had problems with my weight and my blood sugar control,” Nehr told the Tampa Bay Times. “I went from 210 pounds to 160 pounds and from a 38 inch waistline to a 30 inch waistline. I also went from taking over a 110 units of insulin per day taking 5 shots to almost no daily insulin shots.”

“I have sent these pictures to many of my friends that have been following my health and diabetes progress and they have shared them with others as well. It appears that someone who has a problem with my politics is trying to use them in a way to hurt my campaign. I am proud of what I have done to improve my health and will discuss this with anyone who wants to know how to do what I did.”

Smith also posted his story about the pictures to the Buzz blog without first hearing Nehr’s explanation for them. I wonder if he would do again had he known Nehr’s motivation for sharing these photos?

Certainly, Nehr is not the Loser of the Week in Florida politics, as Smith opined here.

Circling back to PolitiFact’s ruling on a claim made in a mailing produced by the Committee to Protect Floridaa against State Senate candidate Jeff Brandes, the conclusion of the fact-check reads: “The claim from the Committee to Protect Florida is accurate but needs additional information, which is our definition of Mostly True.”

Couldn’t PolitFact say basically the same about every direct mailpiece ever sent by a candidate or a committee?

On Friday, in my morning e-mail, there was a report about an ethics complaint filed against State Senate candidate Rachel Burgin. The report was also mentioned at the top of the Florida Times-Union‘s Florida Morning, in the News Service of Florida and on WTSP Channel 10, yet there was a 48-hour delay before the Times wrote about the issue.  This despite the Times having previously covered developments in this race with almost breathless intensity. So why the delay here? Perhaps because the story originated on a blog, rather than from the Times-Herald juggernaut?

I hope Michael Kruse (are you reading his blog yet?) will forgive me for cribbing from his blog, but he points out three worthwhile “first sentences” from Sunday’s Times:

1. Adam Smith: Most of us can probably agree that it’s a bad idea to email or text photos of yourself mostly undressed.

2. Anna Phillips: Fluoride is in the air in Pinellas County, even if it’s no longer in the drinking water.

3. Ben Montgomery: The sun beat hot and the humidity hung like plastic wrap.

That’s enough criticism of the Times for today. Let’s end with a compliment.

Kudos to the newspaper for its comprehensive “Know Your Candidates” section, both in print and online. Now, there’s little in this section that an active reader of this blog doesn’t know already, but readers of this blog aren’t the average voter, who are too busy raising their families or going to work to follow politics 24/7.

Features like “Know Your Candidates” are a necessary, commendable public service.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.