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Creative Loafing noshes on Rick Scott’s ‘word salad’

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Some people get their news from an old-fashioned paper while drinking a cup of coffee in the morning. Some wait until the evening to catch the local TV news. Others peruse social media randomly and consume current events one headline at a time.

And then there are Creative Loafing readers. These are a bunch typically in the know. They’ve probably gotten the gist of the day’s most important news from somewhere else.

So, why do they head over to CL for more? Probably for the expanded dialogue and inevitable snark.

Perhaps the biggest story coming out of Florida Tuesday was Gov. Rick Scott’s Economic Growth Summit in Orlando that boasted six presidential hopefuls including Florida’s own Jeb Bush and a video from U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Both the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Tribune led stories about the summit with a quote from Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“This is his conference and anything I can do to suck up to him and his donors, by God, I’m going to do,” he said.

Times writers Alex Leary and Adam Smith quipped Huckabee was joking, “but not really.” The Trib just let the quote do its thing without highlighting its hilarity. In both, that kick-off quote was about as much of a chuckle readers would find throughout the no-frills blow-by-blow of GOP back patting, self-congratulating and Obama-bashing.

And that’s where CL comes in with the ever-cynical commentary from news and politics editor Kate Bradshaw.

Bradshaw picked up on a video stream of POLITICO reporter Marc Caputo in a rare one-on-one with Gov. Scott. Bradshaw highlighted some of the key take-aways from what she described as Scott’s “word salad” with an either refreshing (if you’re a liberal) or annoying (if you’re on team Rick Scott) commentary.

Topics included Scott’s rejection of high-speed rail, his refusal to accept federal dollars for Medicaid expansion, how he won a second term, why any Republican is better than Hillary and, of course, why he loves Jesus.

Scott’s quotes are exactly as Bradshaw described, a word salad. Thoughts are incomplete. Sentences run-on. Sometimes it sounds like a 10-year-old talking to a 2-year-old.

On each topic, Bradshaw offered a rebuttal. After Scott’s quote about Hillary Clinton being pro-tax and anti-business Bradshaw asks, “which Hillary Clinton are you talking about?” She follows it up with “Can’t be this one. Or this one. This one either.” Each “one” is linked to a story about Clinton being either pro-business or a Wall Street favorite.

In perhaps his most interesting rant, Scott tries to explain why he has a problem with the media. He does so with an ill-advised rant about a classroom full of poor kids who had never picked up a newspaper. Even THEY know the media favors big government, he explained.

“How in the living f— does this bizarre anecdote serve as an example of how pro-big government the print media are? Those kids would probably tell you that pizza dipped in Ranch dressing is good for you, but that doesn’t make it true,” Bradshaw wrote.

The occasional dropping of the f-bomb isn’t uncommon on CL or in Bradshaw’s raw writing.

Where big papers and mainstream media TV organizations pump consumers full of a mix of hard-hitting news and mind-numbing fluff, CL takes a whole different approach by engaging its audience with real-life voices. Bradshaw and others at CL add a voice to otherwise drab news and put to paper what some people think, but hesitate to say.

CL may not be the best place to get all the news, but it’s a good place to get a no-nonsense spin on what’s going on in politics. And it’s often a hell of a lot more fun.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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