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Nancy Smith

Conservative News Web Site Born Out of Mainstream Media's Failure

February 20, 2011 - 6:00pm

To most conservative business groups, the mainstream media are a brick wall.

And the brick is always blue, never red.

Always on the left, never the right.

Ask John R. Smith, a financier whose political action committee, BizPac, serves the business community of Palm Beach County.

"For years we tried to get the Palm Beach Post to tell our people's story, represent some of the issues important to business people," he said. "Would they? Heck, no. These guys have a story written -- at least mentally -- before they hear the first word we have to say. The editorial board has their minds made up. And try to get them to print an oped column and see how fast you're out of luck."

Finally, after years of making end runs around his hometown newspaper, after writing a twice-weekly column for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Smith decided to fight back with a conservative news website of his own making. He formed a for-profit corporation with a 15-member board, of which he is chairman. His president is Jack Furnari. "BizPacReview is our voice," Smith said.

Www.BizPacReview.com has been up and running for two weeks. "We think of it as a destination site," Smith said. "First thing in the morning you get up, you look, you read ... "

Explained Furnari, "We come at this thing with a unique perspective. We've both been heavily into politics in Palm Beach County for decades. We know things most in the mainstream media haven't a clue about."

Furnari has been blogging for the Sun-Sentinel for the last 2 1/2 years. "As a blogger, I wasn't out to break stories. But because John R. and I know so much inside baseball, sometimes it just happened.

"What was the biggest story I broke? I was the first one who wrote that Charlie Crist was leaving the Republican Party," Furnari said.

Smith and Furnari describe their site as a cross between Sayfie Review and an early, conservative Huffington Post. "It's opinion journalism, is what it is," says Furnari. He said, like Sayfie, BizPacReview aggregates news stories and presents a rolling blog. But it also offers fresh opinion of its own, original stories and a stable of bloggers.

Barney Bishop, Associated Industries of Florida CEO, called Smith and Furnari "good, knowledgeable men I've known a long time."

"The mainstream media certainly don't give the business community a fair shake," Bishop said, "especially on environmental stories. I've had editors tell me we don't have a point of view on water pollution because we're the cause of it.

"The more conservative voices we can get in the news business here in Florida, the better I like it," Bishop said, "because we're way outnumbered."

Smith has a featured editorial, "Timeless principles for a new media era," posted on the site now. It unapologetically explains BizPacReview's philosophy and its reason for being.

Here is one of the statements the editorial makes:

"Our editorial philosophy is free markets, free people, and freedom of expression. The theme is conservative. We stand for fiscal integrity, sound money policies and reducing public debt. We believe in the self-sufficiency and decency of the individual. We oppose confiscatory taxation, wealth redistribution, collectivism, and the tyranny of momentary majorities."

Said Smith, "Generally, our audience is going to be right here in South Florida, and mostly in Palm Beach and Broward counties, a long way from where you are. But it's a large audience. And I'll bet it's the same for you at Sunshine State News as it is for us ... people are grateful you're there to fill that big vacuum."

Editor's note: The staff of Sunshine State News welcomes http://www.BizPacReview.com, very much a kindred spirit.

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Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or (850) 727-0859.

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