Lies, damned lies, and internet headlines: Rick Scott “harasses” black voters

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There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and internet headlines (apologies to Benjamin Disraeli, Mark Twain, et al.)

On Daily Kos is one example of the third, which introduces a blurb with this enticing headline:

“Rick Scott sends white supporters to harass black voters.”

Shameless.

The accompanying piece describes a Charlie Crist early vote rally in Fort Lauderdale — an event that quickly devolved into a shouting match, with the Democrat’s supporters squaring off against those for Republican Rick Scott.

A commotion supposedly took place at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, where a crowd of devotees, mostly black Democrats, greeted Crist’s bus.

Also meeting the former governor was a group of “mostly white” Scott supporters, many carrying signs saying “shame on you.” In Scott’s group, there was someone with a megaphone.

Heated words were exchanged; hence, the sensational headline.

What puts it in the “damned lies” category is that it simply did not happen that way. Even the original Miami Herald story somewhat contradicts the Daily Kos headline.

“When Republican Party of Florida chairwoman Leslie Dougher held a media gaggle to bash Crist,” writes Herald reporter Amy Sherman, “she was drowned out by the din of pro-Crist supporters.”

What the brief post in Daily Kos also fails to mention is this: protestors pursuing Crist has become de rigueur for his entire Florida gubernatorial race. From book signings and campaign office openings to Democratic fundraisers, handfuls of Republican demonstrators are always within reach. Wherever he goes, there they are, regardless of the crowd’s complexion.

Saturday’s event was no different.

Although much can be said about Scott — too much to be listed here —a headline suggesting that he somehow “masterminded” a counter protest with such obvious racial overtones is a little over the top.

Comments about restricted early voting hours aside, accusing Scott of deliberately sending white protesters to a predominantly black event is ridiculous, as is the headline.

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.