Silence of the Lambs: Gary Fineout is to Jack Crawford as I am to Clarice Starling

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I am not sure how it all came about, but my second favorite political reporter (muah to you, Marc Caputo) the Associated Press’ Gary Fineout, insisted today via Twitter that he is not a “blogger.”

“Facts.1st, I’m not a blogger. 2nd, children wore Step Up t-shirts. 3rd, when asked Voices for Choices referred reporters to Step Up employee,” tweeted Fineout. 

Except, up until that moment, Fineout’s biography on Twitter read that he was an AP reporter and blogger. It has since been updated to read that Fineout is an “AP reporter who also tweets, blogs and functions in evolving multimedia world.”

Thin-skinned as usual, I tweeted to Fineout about his bio saying he was a blogger and he, very graciously, tweeted back that he thought of me “as a budding media mogul.”

That is very generous of Fineout, but his comments made me feel like Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs.

There’s an exchange between Starling (Jodie Foster) and her mentor, Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) right after Starling is pulled from Quantico to accompany Crawford to West Virginia, where the body of Bill’s recently-discovered victim resides, and where Starling helps perform the autopsy and extracts the chrysalis of a Death’s-head Hawkmoth from the victim’s throat.

To clear the funeral home where the body of the victim is at, Crawford pulls aside the hillbilly local sheriff and says he’d prefer not to talk about sensitive issues in the presence of a woman. Basically, he crushes Starling.

I’m not a female FBI trainee, but Fineout’s use of blogger almost as a pejorative crushed me.

How I felt reminded me of that exchange between Starling and Crawford.

Jack Crawford: Starling, when I told that sheriff we shouldn’t talk in front of a woman, that really burned you, didn’t it? It was just smoke, Starling. I had to get rid of him.

Clarice Starling: It matters, Mr Crawford. Cops look at you to see how to act. It matters.

Jack Crawford: Point taken.

It matters, Mr. Fineout. Reporters look at you to see how to act. It matters.


Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.