When Gov. Rick Scott says he misspoke, why would anyone who's listened to him mangle words for nearly seven years -- especially his hometown Naples Daily News -- not give him the benefit of the doubt?
I'll tell you why: because they don't want to.
There can be no other reason. God knows, they've hung out for enough of his gobbledegook gaggles and speeches over the years.
The Naples Daily News, now a Gannett newspaper, apparently has joined the rest of Florida's liberal media who wouldn't give Rick Scott a break if Florida suddenly boomed on his watch. Oh, wait a minute ... Florida DID boom on his watch.
I'm guessing the newspaper wanted to punish Scott for his friendship with Donald Trump. What else could it be? Scott's verbal faux pas during remarks he made in Fort Myers Monday about Charlottesville gave the paper a chance to paint the governor and the president in the same gaudy light
On Sunday, Aug. 13, President Donald Trump was quoted by virtually every paper in the land calling white supremacists and neo-Nazis “very fine people” and claimed “many sides” were responsible for the violence that left three people dead.
Scott fired out a statement of his own, saying, "“There is no place in our country for racism, bigotry, the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists." Then he added, “There is no moral equivalence between the two sides.” Perfectly delivered in written form.
But on Monday, in an effort to repeat his previous statement, Scott turned the phrase "moral equivalence" into "moral authority," altering its meaning, some say.
In a story headlined, "Gov. Rick Scott misspoke about Charlottesville violence, his staff says," the Naples Daily News turned Scott's lip-slip into a "change of policy."
"Diverging from an earlier position," the story began, "Gov. Rick Scott on Monday echoed President Donald Trump's claim that 'both sides' bore the blame for the recent racially charged violence in Virginia, saying, 'there's no moral authority on both sides.'"
Instead of introducing the possibility the governor committed one of his patented speech misfires, the story stayed with its we-caught-ya theme by claiming Scott's "press shop started to walk his comments back."
If that had happened, say, to Adam Putnam -- using the word "authority" instead of equivalence" -- I can see where anyone might conclude the phrase was deliberate. Putnam is ultra-precise and is a master of public speaking. But Scott is anything but. He's improved since 2010, but like clockwork, he sill trips up when he speeds his delivery.
Scott said this: "On both sides was -- the, what happened to that young lady was horrible." He said his father fought Nazis in World War II and called on elected officials around the country, including Trump, to "talk about how we bring this country together together again," saying "I oppose racism" and "bigotry."
My guess is, Scott's crime is, he's consistently brushed off questions when reporters ask him to analyze and condemn Trump's remarks.
“You can ask President Trump what he said," Scott has said. "I've been clear."
Apparently if you don't want to psychoanalyze or put words in the president's mouth, you aren't smart or considerate -- you're like-minded.
Certainly the Florida Democratic Party loved the Naples story. They made a damning email out of it, claiming "Florida families deserve better from Rick Scott."
The Daily News story really was a cheap shot.
Reach Nancy Smith at email@example.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith