Columns

Don't Worry, Charlie, the Media Have Your Back

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: May 22, 2014 4:00 PM
I Beg to Differ

Really? Jumping all over Rick Scott for not debating Charlie Crist? Really?

Anybody still blind to the party stripes on Florida's largest mainstream media empire should look at stories in the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald today -- actually, same story, different headlines.

First paragraph from Steve Bousquet of the Times: "For the second time in a week, Gov. Rick Scott has decided not to share a spotlight with his leading Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist."

Really? Charlie Crist, the candidate who refuses to debate Nan Rich, his primary opponent, member of his own party?

Shame on you, media, for letting Crist, hypocrite of the highest order, make fools of you.

Would Barack Obama have debated Mitt Romney while Romney was still battling Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire?

Would Bill Nelson have debated Connie Mack IV before Mack had sorted out George LeMieux and Dave Weldon?

In 2010 Rick Scott cheerfully debated Alex Sink -- a real Democrat with real convictions -- when most of Tallahassee, led by the media, were ready to boil him in oil. Charlie, meanwhile, doesn't have convictions, he has a bum gubernatorial record and a playbook of talking points. What makes anybody in Pressworld think a meeting with Crist, comparatively speaking, could be anything for Scott but a walk in the park?

Certainly the Crist camp knows its media friends and figures it can get away with in-your-face hypocrisy. Tweeted Crist spokesman Kevin Cate Thursday morning, "For those keeping score, Rick Scott is willing to spend $11+ mil on TV smearing @CharlieCrist, but not willing to attend a moderated forum."

Naturally, Scott’s team struck back with a new website, counting the days since Crist refused to debate Rich. They called for Crist to debate Rich, adding the governor will take on whoever wins the Democratic primary in the fall.

Nan Rich is Crist's primary opponent. She has been in the race for two years -- a committed Democrat with liberal principles voters can set their compasses by. She deserves respect, from the party and especially from Charlie Crist.

The FDP knocks Rich because she lacks name recognition and cash. Why wouldn't she? From the day in 2012 her campaign opened, the party gave her no legitimacy. None. They did more for Allie Braswell and William Rankin than they did for a distinguished Florida senator, the state's first female Senate minority leader. Imagine what she might have done with their wind behind her sails from the beginning?

As for Crist, I've heard him mention Rich twice. On both occasions, he preceded his comments with "... And Nan Rich, bless her heart ..." The "bless her heart" is code for "poor thing." What condescending rubbish.

Rich accepted an invitation from the Florida Society of News Editors and the Florida Press Association to appear at a July 10 candidate forum at the organization's annual convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. But guess what? As soon as Charlie Crist was involved, Rich was shunted to another day, and the 10th was reserved for Crist and Rick Scott.

Dean Ridings, president and CEO of Intersect Media Solutions -- who represents both organizations -- told Sunshine State News all hope isn't lost for a Scott appearance. "We just heard from his campaign and they said the governor would be doing debates and forums at the appropriate times, so we took that to mean they're keeping the door open."

Would a Scott non-appearance mean Crist and Rich could face off at the July 10 forum together? "No," Ridings said. "We'll keep the 10th open for Gov. Scott. If he decides to come, good. If not, we'll have Charlie Crist." Ridings said the convention program is too crowded to fit a third candidate in on the same day.

I'm disappointed in FSNE and FPA. Do they really think, given a choice, most convention participants would want these three separated?

Personally, I think Rich's campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford said it best. He told me, "The way I see it, we have two Republican governors who won't debate and one Democratic governor candidate who will."

He said, "You would think, wouldn't you, that a group of editors would make these guys feel confident of the questions and format? But I guess not. Nan isn't ducking anything or anybody."

As for the media, well. 

If the candidates for governor were golfers and the media were the club, Scott would get a 4 handicap and Crist a 35. Rich would be lucky to get a cart rental.



Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.


Comments (7)

Jan
8:50AM MAY 24TH 2014
As a new resident of FL, I'm leery of Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist. Why won't he debate Nan Rich? THAT I'd like to see.
MELODY A. HEILMANN
11:19PM MAY 24TH 2014
He knows he cannot beat Senator Nan Rich in a debate. He may not be able to beat Scott. Nan Rich can beat either one of them. She's been in the Florida senate and knows both their records.
Frank
11:55PM MAY 22ND 2014
Gee . . . . so where's Rick Scott's press announcement that he has scheduled a debate with his three declared GOP primary challengers . . . . . or is he, again, just a hypocrite . . . .
The UnFrank
12:07AM MAY 23RD 2014
You can't say Scott ducked out until somebody offers him a primary debate venue and a camera for coverage. Did they? No. Would he refuse? You can't say until he gets the chance.......Nan Rich was trucking long before Charlie, Frank. She doesn't deserve his disrespect but she sure is getting it. Yours too. Your a poor excuse for a Democrat in my view.
Frank
6:46PM MAY 23RD 2014
The truth smarts once again, doesn't it (where's the primary debate for the Governor and his challengers . . . the first primary ballots are due to be mailed in about 45 days). . . . and I'm just sure that EVERYONE will also just believe that attempt at trying to spin your truthiness like you'll actually be supporting Nan Rich in the election . . . . partisan politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . just so . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Hmmmm...
4:04PM MAY 22ND 2014
Dean Ridings, president and CEO of Intersect Media Solutions -- who represents both organizations -- told Sunshine State News all hope isn't lost for a Scott appearance. "We just heard from his campaign and they said the governor would be doing debates and forums at the appropriate times, so we took that to mean they're keep the door open."

Would a Scott non-appearance mean Crist and Rich could face off at the July 10 forum together? "No," Ridings said. "We'll keep the 10th open for Gov. Scott. If he decides to come, good. If not, we'll have Charlie Crist."


Of course not... because if they put Nan and Charlie on the same day, Charlie would back out... and they would have nothing... LOL
MELODY A. HEILMANN
11:25PM MAY 24TH 2014
Plus they changed Senator Richs day to appear. This election is rigged and has been since 2013 when Dem Nan Rich was to speak at the Jefferson Jackson dinner and they didn't allow her to speak. The FDP chair, Allison Tant was involved with that 1. Florida is going to be same old corrupt goings on. They don't want Dem Nan Rich in office. She is too honest & smart. Most Floridians have short memories.

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