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Nancy Smith

The Ethically Challenged Peter Schorsch

June 15, 2017 - 6:00am

I probably should have called Peter Schorsch out a long time ago. But in a sea of liberal Tallahassee media who show Sunshine State News nothing but clenched teeth, Schorsch occasionally threw us a bone. So I let a lot slide.

Peter has a real talent for dropping a pretty compliment, then a sentence or two later, smacking you around. Mostly, not always, I blew off the smacking around and preferred to believe the compliment.

I also blew off the times he and his team lifted chunks of our stories but failed to link them to SSN.

I blew off the times he rapped my knuckles for upsetting one of his paid clients, which he always denied was one of his paid clients.

I blew off the vicious tweets -- social media is wasted on me anyway.

And I told our staff over the years to ignore Peter's taunts, find a way to take the high road.

Looking back, I realize that was all wrong. I was pretending -- maybe even hoping -- we were friends. We were not then, certainly are not now.

That wasn't a bone St. Peter was throwing, it was pure BS and I shouldn't ignore any of it. Peter is ethically challenged. He's a bully. And ever since the first conversation I had with him, when he told me, "I'm not really a journalist," as if that gives him carte blanche to color outside the lines in this profession, I should have corrected him. Certainly he pretends to be a journalist, he plays at being one -- for what the rest of the world can see, he is one. And in my book, that obligates him to clean up his act.  

The Wednesday morning trick he pulled on Leslie Wimes is nothing new but it's a case in point. Printing lies to hurt the people who get the best of him or his clients is de rigeur for this man who boasts his website has "the largest political reporting footprint in the state."

Democratic consultant Sean Phillippi wrote a column for The Florida Squeeze that its editors pulled off their website "for failure to meet editorial standards." It accused Leslie of being a Republican plant at Sunshine State News; however, the Squeeze said "... it could have been read to assert facts not in evidence impugning Ms. Wimes' professional integrity ..." I thought they acted with responsibility and with conscience.

Not Peter. 

Peter saw an opportunity to do what bullies do -- hurt a controversial Democrat and ingratiate himself among his Florida Democratic Party pals -- or maybe he just wanted to hurt somebody SSN likes but he doesn't -- or maybe he has a thing about women who can get more attention than he can. After all, Leslie's last column for SSN started the conversation that removed Debbie Wasserman Schultz from the Blue Gala stage. Could Peter do that?

Personally, I think if Leslie wanted St. Peter to print one of her columns, he would fall at her feet.

So, what he did was run Phillippi's column anyway because "readers of The Florida Squeeze, Florida Politics, and all other political websites in Florida deserve to know what is at the core of the controversy."

Yes, apparently there's a controversy.

The headline on the column Peter ran -- and here's the real lie -- "The op-ed Leslie Wimes apparently doesn't want you to read." 

Peter treated Leslie as if she threatened the Squeeze -- take Phillippi's column down, or else. Yet, he knew she never made such a request/demand. The editors told him so.

He's done the same thing to me -- deliberately twisted the truth. After a story I wrote in January, he made it sound as if a complaint from a Charlie Crist constituent came from me instead of the source I named and quoted directly --  and for once, I fired back a response.

Most of all, I haven't forgotten Peter's attack on Allison Nielsen of our staff -- all the time he spent on social media during the legislative session trying to belittle and marginalize her.

Why? Because he offered her a job and she turned him down? No, I think it's more likely Peter was only doing what bullies do. First he dropped her a pretty compliment, then he went after her family on Twitter and finally he tweeted out a poll, "Who had the bigger meltdown on Sine Die, Jack Latvala or Allison Nielsen?" When I compared him to a stalker, he said he wasn't doing anything wrong: "Why can't debating just be called that?"

The poll is still up, Peter never took it down, never apologized to a reporter he had tried to humiliate. No class.    

One last word about Leslie: She isn't paid to write columns for Sunshine State News. She chooses us. She is a proud, outspoken, independent Democratic woman who has a pretty solid handle on what drives votes in the black community. We have cherished our relationship with her because in serving the interests of the African-American community -- in working as hard as she can to reform her party -- Leslie has taught our readers, most of them mainstream and conservative Republicans, the uncomfortable truth about how we fail an important and undercounted segment of Florida.

But Peter knows this. In our different ways, Leslie and I have both written it enough times. He can't accept it or doesn't want to. Leslie must be a Republican plant.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


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If we are going to be honest here, very few people truly like Peter Schorsch. How many of us trash talk him? Quite a few. He is the textbook example of the insecure fat kid who has found a way to force people to pay attention to him. It's sad, really. No matter how big his pay to play business gets, he will always look in the mirror and see that large head, those beady eyes, and those yellow teeth staring back! Ha!

It makes sense that Phillippi would run to Schorsch's outfit. They are two peas in a pod. Phillippi was in on the scam that his good friend Nick Steffens took the fall for in Broward. Democratic operative my ass.

Don't you all have something better to do than argue and throw rocks at each other? It seems as though you have taken lessons from both the Republicans and the Democrats. Knock it off.

I've often wondered why Schorsch has such a hardon for Adam Smith of the Times. He is so jealous of that guy, he can't see straight!

Here's why:

Look at the pan who accuses the kettle of being hot. Still waiting for you to tell us who's paying your bills, Nancy. Face it, you're no better than he is -- a couple of paid stooges in a third-rate backwater doing the work of your secret sponsors.

Leslie is a hack, has no professional integrity and also bullys her opposition (actually threatened to come to Tallahassee and fight me). As a long time reader and supporter of SSN, her association with this entity has me second guessing my need and appreciation for SSN. She uses emotion over facts and her "writing" is divisive, irresponsible, borderline racist and intends only to start trouble. I call that a hack. I'm not sure why you would defend her or her damaged reputation and to continue to do so will unfortunately cause me to stop reading and associating with SSN and express that others do the same. Peter is no Saint, but to tear him down to build her up she s just ridiculous.

I work in national politics and everyone who knows Peter agrees with Leslie the question is why people feel the need to continue feeding the fire. For the record only people in Florida tend to know who he is and most legislators agree the political environment would be better off without his negativity.

Blacks can be prejudiced, NOT racist.

Seriously? We all can be both prejudiced and racist. To say otherwise exhibits a fundamental flaw in your thinking...

I may not like Leslie's' style of writing or her point of view, but as long as it's honest, I will support her right to write! Her writing may appear to be racist and divisive but she is bringing forth a point of view that MANY people do not see. Including me. I don't like her approach and it is antagonistic but it does not incite violence or racism. Anyone that thinks she is a plant for the Republican Party has a very low opinion of the people and his readers.

Based on what I've seen, Leslie would probably kick your ass, that's number 1. Number 2. while I don't agree with her politics, she is upfront about her beliefs, and for that, she gets credit. Peter Schorsch is scum. We deal with him because he has become a necessary evil. 3. Nancy was kind with the photo. Schorsch is 300 pounds heavier and has much less hair!

Talk about class. SHFH.

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