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5 things I think I think about today’s Tampa Bay Times

By on September 30, 2012

Before delving into today’s Tampa Bay Times, take a moment to reflect on how difficult this weekend has been for legacy journalism. The twin occurrences of the death of New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger and the last daily press run of the Times-Picayune deserve your contemplation.

Now, on to the Times

Of course political editor Adam Smith attempts to cast doubt on a Quinnipiac poll showing Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by nine points among Florida voters. I say “of course” because the Times/Herald has its own poll that shows Obama up by just one point.

It does no one in the media any good if the presidential race is a blowout. So, of course, editors and reporters will disparage as an “outlier” any poll that supports that narrative.

As Smith notes, Quinnipiac (and another poll conducted by the Washington Post) are finding more Florida voters describing themselves as independents than Republicans.

With Rick Scott as the leader of the Republican Party in Florida, is that so difficult to believe?

Smith and I are in total agreement about who was the Loser of the Week in Florida politics. I wrote yesterday that the “clear-cut” choice for LoW was the Republican Party of Florida.

Beginning with brothels on Monday and ending with hookers on Friday, the past seven days have just been disastrous for the RPOF. Actually, the past week has probably been the worst of Lenny Curry’s chairmanship.

Smith seconds this argument by naming Curry the Loser of the Week.

More Smith, this time just to note this pitch-perfect paragraph as part of his story, Ohio’s gains raise bar for Romney:

 “A year ago, nobody would have predicted that Ohio – a state no Republican has won the presidency without – would be slipping away from the GOP nominee at this point in the race. This is a state, after all, loaded with working-class white voters – the demographic supposedly toughest for President Barack Obama to crack. This is where Hillary Clinton trounced Obama in the 2008 primary, where many pundits saw Obama’s embrace of gay marriage as deadly with a large block of socially conservative voters, and where a sizable chunk of the state is Appalachian mining country and hostile to Obama.”

The most powerful line in today’s edition is the last line in Peter Jamison’s story about the funeral services given for a mother who killed her two boys before hanging herself at the family’s house in Clearwater.

“You are the God that never makes a mistake,” he said.

Some more “Of course…”

Of course, columnist John Romano believes the Carillon area of north St. Petersburg is the “wrong” spot for a new Rays stadium. Anything short of moving the baseball team to Tampa, the Times favorite city, will be deemed the “wrong” spot for a new Rays stadium.

Romano’s entire argument is disingenuous, beginning with his assessment that Carillon “is still just a few minutes north of the Tropicana Field location.”

Yes, one located at Tropicana Field could drive the interstate and be at Carillon in ‘just a few minutes’, but there is a world of difference between the two locations — and Romano knows this. Carillon is about as centrally located  as its gets in this region, equidistant to Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

There simply is no better location for a new stadium than somewhere in north St. Petersburg, be it in Carillon, or Derby Lane or somewhere else in Gateway.  This truth runs opposite to the agenda of the newspaper and it is going to fight it — fist, tooth and nail — every step of the way.

Drew Harwell, the reporter responsible for a shoddy story about an equity firm’s plan to purchase $1 billion in regional properties which drew intense scrutiny from this blog, as well as other media outlets and the Poynter Institute, has not posted a new story since the story was debunked.

Harwell deserves credit for retweeting Eric Deggans link highlighting the Poynter Institute’s examination of the story.

I only know Drew through social media, but he seemed like a good guy and he covered the heck out of the Clearwater government beat.

Here’s hoping Harwell gets off the mat soon.

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