Tampa Bay Times buries the lede on Pier polling story, while editorial board takes a full page to argue for “The Lens”

in Uncategorized by

For those who see a conspiracy every time the Tampa Bay Times writes about “The Lens” and the future of the St. Petersburg Pier, Sunday’s edition of the newspaper will do little to avail them of their concerns.

The Times published the results of a poll it commissioned to gauge opposition to and support of “The Lens.” Under the rather innocuous headline, “Poll: St. Petersburg needs new ideas for Pier,” Waveney Ann Moore buries the lede under seven paragraphs of filler before arriving at the poll’s hard numbers: “55 percent of potential voters want the city to cancel the $50 million contract to build the Lens. Another 37 percent want to continue with the project, while 7 percent were unsure about what they wanted. One percent did not answer.”

Moore’s story then dives into the poll’s cross-tabs to conclude, “St. Petersburg residents want to send city officials back to the drawing board to find another plan that would carry on the tradition of a public pier.”

An unbridled cheerleader for “The Lens” during its selection and planning, the Times owes it to its readers to better acknowledge the opposition to Michael Maltzan’s design for a new pier.

While the newsroom breezed past these poll results, the Times ed board weighed in with a full-page, graphic-laden editorial that lays out a series of “myths” and “facts” about the “extraordinary project called the Lens.” Where these myths originated from is not entirely clear, so the editorial board has little trouble knocking over the straw men standing in the way of “building a new pier for the next generation.”

I’m not sure even supporters of “The Lens”, of which I count myself, have ever described it as “extraordinary”, but when you have to defend your Pulitzer Prize title for editorial writing, there is little time for the ordinary. Or, I presume, to fully recognize poll results which do not jive with the position of the CEO.

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.