On the forefront of big changes in both journalism and politics, the reporters at Media Trackers have brought a particular brand of advocacy that makes some South Florida Democrats more than a little anxious.
After starting mediatrackers.org/florida sixteen months ago, the conservative-leaning news site uses old-fashioned reporting and a little detective work to become a thorn in the side of (mostly Democratic) legislators.
According to Anthony Man of the Sun Sentinel, Media Trackers was behind the residency questions of state legislators for Broward and Palm Beach Counties. They would track lawmakers who claim to live in small apartments in their districts, or are staying with friends, all while owning homes outside of the district.
Media Trackers Florida Communications Director James Taylor says that the site has four objectives:
- Questioning other news sources that have a “liberal” bias
- Writing on issues “underreported” or neglected by traditional media
- Hold legislators accountable
- Call elected officials to task when they claim to be conservative, but “govern as liberals”
Democratic state Rep. Joe Gibbons from Hallandale Beach says Media Trackers have “really been beating Democrats” on what he feels are personal attacks. Gibbons says there are Republican lawmakers that do not live in their districts, but Media Trackers doesn’t question them.
Taylor, who is based in Tampa, says the reporter that focuses on investigative work — Tom Lauder, who is active in the GOP – has his hands full with all that is going on in South Florida. He also says he wishes he could add more people to “cover everything he’d like to cover.”