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Nancy Smith

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Media Elite? Not Rick Scott

December 5, 2010 - 6:00pm

It must be killing Floridas media elite that Rick Scott doesnt give a blue blog what they write about him.

That pesky governor-elect of ours just wont heel.

The media are writing themselves silly, one arrogant, gotcha assertion after another, but nary a peep from Scott, the Man of the Hour.

Theyre like fans, used to front-row seats at a rock concert, suddenly pushed so far back they have to jump up and down to catch a glimpse of the stage. They can hear music but they have no idea whos making it.

The coverage of Scott right now amounts to pouting out loud.

Plenty of that pouting and jumping turned up in weekend stories.

The Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, for example, painted a picture of Scott as a jet-setting gadfly dragging his feet filling positions while the people of Florida go forgotten (No hires yet for Gov.-elect Scotts administration).

The story reads, He has yet to pick his chief of staff or name the heads of any of Florida's nearly 30 state agencies under his control, including those that oversee Florida's 102,000 prison inmates, 582,000 elementary school students or 2.5 million people on food stamps.

Just wondering how the Miami Herald and the St. Petersburg Times can be so sure he hasn't made any of those choices when maybe he's chosen not to release the information until he's good and ready, especially to them?

Every incoming governor works to a different schedule. Look at Scotts transition teams. Look at the deliberate way theyve been put together. They are a departure from any formed by a previous governor. Doesnt anybody among the media elite consider that perhaps the new governor is precisely on the schedule he has set for himself?

The Pensacola News Journal produced a story to alarm us on how much money Scotts committee has raised for the Jan. 4 inauguration (Donors deep pockets usher in Gov.-elect Scott). This isnt an opinion piece, by the way. It is presented as a news story.

Apparently we should be outraged that the committee has raised $830,000 in the first 10 days of fund-raising.

According to the story, this puts (Scott) on pace to exceed the $2.3 million Gov. Charlie Crist raised four years ago for toned-down ceremonies, and the $2 million Jeb Bush raised eight years ago.

Crist made a show of canceling the inaugural ball after he was criticized for soliciting unlimited donations. Scott set a $25,000 per-donor limit for his inauguration, five times the limit Bush set, the story says.

What am I missing here?

Certainly it was a nice touch adding the names of the $25,000 donors. In terms of every donor on the list, were looking at after-the-fact drops in the bucket. For example, during the 2010 election season, U.S. Sugar Corp. donated $7 million (that we know of) to big-time losers campaigns in particular, Bill McCollum, Alex Sink and Charlie Crist. How much good will does the News Journal think $25,000 is likely to buy with Rick Scotts people? But I guess this was a way for the story to call Scott arrogant and selfish and out of touch with human suffering.

The column in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Governor-elect big on sound bites, short on details, hardly covered new ground. But it's important to repeat points, I guess, if you think nobody was listening the last time you mentioned them. I know. I've done that myself.

The column attacked Scott for saying he wants to drug-test welfare recipients.

"I asked Scott how it would work: Would every recipient be tested monthly or annually, or would there be random testing for a select few?" the column says.

"We haven't come up with the exact plan yet, Scott said.

That was apparently the wrong thing for Scott to say. It was a sound bite. He should have all the answers, I guess. They should trip off his tongue. Every idea out of his head should be a fully detailed blueprint. Personally, I don't remember Alex Sink developing any ideas, let alone plans, in detail unless they were staff-written papers. When Alex was asked, sound bites.

Does anybody really wonder why Rick Scott chooses to give the media elite a miss? Why would he want to waste his time with these people? They don't like him, they don't give him a break, not one of them -- in fact, not a single newspaper in Florida -- recommended him.

Rick Scott didn't just beat Bill McCollum and Alex Sink this year. He whipped every newspaper in the state of Florida, the whole bunch of us -- but mostly the media elite, who believed nobody -- at least, nobody important -- gets elected in the Sunshine State without their say-so.

Why should he want to help them feel relevant?

Rick Scott is preparing to do exactly what he promised -- clear the ground for job creation and put the Florida economy back on a sound footing. This is why he was elected. This is the basis for the stories Floridians want to read.

You want to see a good story from this weekend? And there was only one that I could find -- "When Rick Scott takes over, a quick test," in Sunday's Sarasota Herald Tribune. It was a story with new information, with real background, something that gave us a vision of how Florida will be positioned under its new governor. The author, Lloyd Dunkelberger, didn't feel the need to turn the screws in Rick Scott because he is an outsider, or because Alex Sink lost or because Scott didn't fall at the feet of his editors when summoned.

One last point: It will be interesting to see what happens on Jan. 15 when the governor's budget is due. No new governor in 30 years in Florida has been prepared. Each one of them has asked for an extension -- and received it. Will the media elite crucify Rick Scott if he asks for more time?

What do you think?

Oh, yes, and should you still be wondering: Rick Scott, hero; media elite, zero.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at (850) 727-0859.

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