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

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I really don’t know if it deserves credit for doing so, but the Times did update its online version of a story about Blackstone Group’s (now debunked) plan to spend $1 billion on Tampa Bay’s real estate market, “dispatching teams of brokers to scour neighborhoods and buy hundreds of homes a month.”

The update includes this note at the top of the story: “The Times published a follow-up report on Sept. 22 which appears at the end.” Editor Graham Brink’s follow-up report — including the damning admission that the Times did not confirm the details with anyone at Blackstone’s headquarters in New York City — is tacked on to the bottom.

But is that enough?

Should the story be scrubbed from the Times’ site? Should reporter Drew Harwell be disciplined?

I don’t think this matter is settled yet as I predict you’ll see more scrutiny of the Times once other media critics, such as Jim Romensko, get back to work on Monday.

The Times editorial board may be vehemently opposed to Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark’s push to increase voting by mail, but that, of course, did not stop the advertising department from selling her office this big ol’ sticker on the front page of the Sunday edition.

The newspaper recently dinged Clark for her office’s efforts to reach Hispanic voters by advertising in La Gaceta, a trilingual newspaper based in Hillsborough County. La Gaceta has only reaches 450 subscribers in Pinellas County.

Maybe the purchase of an expensive sticker on the front of the Sunday edition is Clark’s attempt to spread the wealth — and keep the Times off her back.

Another county official in the Times‘ crosshairs is Commissioner Neil Brickfield. Political editor Adam Smith named Brickfrield his Loser of the Week in Florida politics.


Mitt Romney has the worst week of his presidential campaign after a bombshell video is released showing Romney telling wealthy donors that the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax are entitled, unrepentant moochers and that he has no plans to try to win them over. But, evidently, Romney did not have as bad a week as Brickfield, who made the unforgivable mistake of arguing with the Times ed board.

In case you are keeping score at home, Brickfield was Smith’s sole recipient of the Loser of the Week award for doing nothing new except defend a vote he took months ago, while Brickfield’s opponent, Janet Long got to share the award after she said firefighters take advantage of 9/11 for their own political gain.

And who says the Times plays favorites?

In case it still isn’t clear that it does, check out Anna Phillips’ story today about how local dentists are attempting to persuade their patients, friends and neighbors to donate to and vote for the pro-fluoride candidates. It’s just one more not-so-subtle attempt to reinforce its message against Brickfield and for Long.

Two other quick hits: Be sure to check out the profiles of departing Pinellas Superintendent of Schools John Stewart and State Senator-elect Wilton Simpson.

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.