Rick Baker’s canvassing this weekend — and, no, the media shouldn’t tag along

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

If you enjoy sweating through your T-shirt while knocking on doors for your favorite political candidate, you’re welcome to meet Saturday morning at the Northeast Exchange Club Park where volunteers for the Rick Baker campaign will stage before heading off into the surrounding neighborhoods.

Everyone’s welcome. Everyone that is except the media.

Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times wrote last Friday that Baker’s campaign “balked at letting a Times reporter and photographer accompany volunteers as they went house to house.”

Baker’s campaign is worried that journalists might unsettle residents and be an invasion of their privacy, said campaign spokeswoman Brigitta Shouppe.

Shouppe is right. Reporters tagging along with canvassers would change the dynamic of the process. Think of it as the political equivalent of the observer effect. This is when — thanks Google — individuals modify an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.

Undoubtedly, what a potential voter will say to a canvasser by themselves is a lot different that what that voter will say if their words are on the record with a reporter.

Frago notes that a Tampa Bay Times reporter and photographer accompanied Kriseman volunteers and watched as Kriseman’s troops made their pitch in early June.

Well, this is also the campaign which aired TV ads in north Pinellas. There’s no accounting for their tactical errors.

Remember, the objective of canvassing is win votes, not public relations.



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.