Did the Times’ Adam Smith really suggest Michael Pinson is a possible contender to replace Bill Young?

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It’s impossible for anyone writing about the death of Congressman Bill Young to say something more ridiculous than my own premature reporting of his death, but the Tampa Bay Times‘ Adam Smith may have second place locked-up.

In a story today analyzing the race shaping up to replace Young, Smith writes that among the contenders to replace Young is “publisher Michael Pinson.”

Yes, that Michael Pinson

The guy who solicited donations to a non-profit organization he created – in his own name – to support local causes, but, as this investigation proved, paid more often for parties than for charity.

The guy who, as 10 News’ Noah Pransky discovered, claimed he “served his country as a Special Operations Military Police officer” during the Persian Gulf War, despite U.S. Special Operations Command telling 10 News the title never existed.

The guy whose foundation made promises of awarding scholarships at fundraisers, but after years of existence, had yet to award any scholarship money.

Yeah, that guy. 

This isn’t the first time a media organization has been duped into believing Pinson is in the running for a federal position. 

Pinson often claimed that Gov. Charlie Crist considered naming him to the U.S. Senate when Mel Martinez retired in the middle of his term in 2009. Pinson would often cite a political blog, RedCounty.com, as proof of him being under consideration. However, the blog was written by a friend and was removed after a reporter began asking questions.

A longtime Crist advisor told the reporter who inquired about Pinson’s claim, “Pinson wouldn’t have been considered for dogcatcher.” 

Yet Adam Smith, one of the two or three best political reporters in the state, has Pinson in the running for Congress?


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.