5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times and other media

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I want to stop writing about how much I enjoy Michael Kruse’s writing, but, after reading his latest piece about the execution of woman-beater Robert Waterhouse, I can’t.  Just take this one haunting, vivid paragraph and try to tell me there isn’t something special about Michael’s work:

The death chamber’s witness room is small and almost entirely hospital-white with four tight rows of gray chairs that face a kind of picture window covered by a drab brown curtain. More than 20 people sat still and waited for the curtain to go up. It was quiet except for the hum of a window unit set to an antiseptic 62. A single moth flitted by the fluorescent lights.

There’s never been a journalistic operation like PolitiFact, right? So everything it does, it does so in uncharted territory. What then do the editors of PolitiFact and their bosses at the Times do about the relentless criticism being leveled at the fact-checking shop?

Does someone need to get fired, or at least re-assigned out of PolitiFact? Or do they press the reset button?

If American Journalism Review is saying PolitiFact is on the verge of losing its credibility, something has to be done, right? yet PolitiFact’s show-runner, Bill Adair, seems more defiant than ever. In fact, it seems like Adair has spent more time over the last few months defending PolitiFact than he has, you know, fact-checking.

Wait a second…is that the solution?

Maybe it’s time for Adair to step aside from his Pulitzer Prize-winning operation, before the project he breathed life into chokes to death on unending metacriticism.

For a guy who warned that he would not be the type of columnist commenting too often on the sausage making process of Tallahassee, John Romano seems to be getting a healthy taste for writing about the goings-on in the capital.

Romano’s latest is about the proposed cuts to the University of South Florida, which he thinks feel(s) like a misdirection play.

You have to assume budget committee chairman JD Alexander was anticipating blowback when he decided to sneak in a bill that sped up Polytechnic’s secession.

So, to divert attention from that fight, he turned in an outrageous funding plan that he knew would cause USF to mobilize all its forces in another direction.

Which probably means by the end of this showdown, USF officials will happily cut Polytechnic loose just to avoid insane funding cuts.

And Alexander will look like he was a compromise champion when, in reality, he will get what he wanted all along.

That kind of analysis sure does sound like Romano is getting the hang of writing about the byzantine politics taking place during the legislative session.

There’s a sharp op-ed from former Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio about JD Alexander’s budget proposal:

Every student at USF should thank Alexander for providing a valuable life lesson on how not to lead. We often learn much more in life from negative experiences than positive ones. What they have before them is a tremendous example of ham-fisted power and arrogance that best illustrates what has gone wrong with our political system.

When Pam Iorio is cutting out the courtesies, you know you are in trouble.

Locally, Bay News 9 and 10 News are doing the best job covering the story of the proposed budget cuts.

10 News has almost become a cheerleader for USF.  Reporter Noah Pransky even tweeted “Continuing our effort to #SaveUSF in Tallahassee today. Did you know 10News launched the campaign & hashtag Monday?”

And why not? When there are so many of its viewers unfairly impacted by these proposed cuts, a little rah-rah is in order. Also, keep an eye on the Times’ blog, The Gradebook, for timely coverage of this issue.

I’ll be on Mitch Perry’s “Last Call” radio program today at 5:00 p.m.

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.