Five things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times and other media.
Michael Kruse almost has me convinced not fill out any March Madness brackets this year. Writing last year about the NCAA basketball tournament for Grantland, Kruse complains that the teams and (mostly) teenage players “don’t deserve to be depersonalized into pieces to be so cavalierly ‘picked’ or not ‘picked’ in some annual national gambling exercise.” Like Kruse, “I want to be able to watch Montana beat Wisconsin or Harvard beat Vanderbilt or South Dakota State beat Baylor, and enjoy that unabashedly, without worrying about whether I ‘picked’ them or not.”
Watching Eric Deggans promote “Race Baiter,” as he expectantly has these past few months, has been an interesting process because here you have a very talented writer, with a well-received book right, on the cusp of full-on national punditry. It’s like a Triple A baseball player with good, but not great stats, working to make it to The Show. Deggans is already a frequent guest on CNN’s Reliable Sources, commentator on NPR and can be read via several other national outlets. Yet he’s not completely “there” yet. Watching someone who deserves to be there fight to be there is, in a way, harrowing.
Adam Smith’s choice of Charlie Crist as a second Loser of the Week in Florida politics is the worst kind of false equivalency. His first choice was, as it should have been, former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Caroll, who resigned last week under a cloud of scandal. Rather than name a Winner of the Week (Marco Rubio for his powerful speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee conference?), Smith doubled-down with a second “Loser”, tweaking Crist as “another top Crist money man — Greg Eagle — is facing prison time.” Eagles downfall has no connection to his political activities and certainly has nothing to do with Crist.
Yet Smith overstates his case, writing: “It may be easier to start counting how many of Crist’s leading political benefactors are not under investigation or doing time.”
Oh, please. In a week when the Lieutenant Governor turns Florida’s political world upside down — and dozens of other elected officials are scrambling to return contributions from the Internet cafe industry central to her undoing — there’s no need for Smith to name a second “Loser” other than to appear as if he’s not piling on.
Crist actually had a good week, earning standing ovations for his first speech as a Democrat to the Manatee County Dems. If there was a second “Loser” for the week, it may have been Jeb Bush, whose performance at CPAC was met with a tepid response. Eschewing a teleprompter, Bush read his 19-minute lecture from a black binder that felt like was trying to channel former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Many in the audience thumbed through BlackBerrys while he talked. He received only a polite, scattered standing ovation.
Don’t worry Adam … you can call Jeb Bush a loser and Ana Navarro will still call you back.
Speaking of the Jennifer Carroll scandal — and I have written and will write more about this — remember that the vaunted Capitol Press Corps was putting on its annual Press Skits as this story unfolded and only one reporter — the Jacksonville Times Union’s Matt Dixon — and this blogger were tracking what turned out to be, what, the political story — so far — of the legislative session.
While Rome burned, the Capitol Press Corps did the “Harlem Shake.”
They’re deleted now, but Dixon sent a few jabs towards the Times/Herald‘s Tallahassee bureau for not properly crediting where a follow-up story to the Carroll imbroglio — about a lobbyist for the Internet cafe industry flying around lawmakers with oversight of the industry — originated.
Steve Bousquet’s tweets were the most out-of-line; he “reported” news that Dixon, and to some extent myself, broke several hours earlier without so much as h/t.
That’s typical from Bousquet. What he doesn’t realize about Twitter, however, is that one’s impact is multiplied by crediting and linking to others. Tweeting something to just his 1800 followers is a tree that falls in the forest with no one there to hear it.
Reading the Palm Beach Post‘s Dara Kam’s coverage of the 2013 legislative session, a colleague notes, “(M)y sense is that on this and many other stories, Dara is the reporter most likely to explain things coherently, and the least likely to do a clip job, or put her byline on some b*llshit that some flack is feeding her.