How does Steve Bousquet's story about the Charlie Crist billboard near the Governor's mansion amount to news?

By on November 28, 2012

Here I go again… more criticism of Steve Bousquet, the Tampa Bay Times‘ veteran capitol reporter. I’m sorry, but I just can’t help it because Bousquet makes it too easy.

Yesterday, Bousquet blogged (it hurts my fingers to type those two words next to each other) about the “ubiquitous” billboard campaign from law firm Morgan & Morgan showcasing former Governor Charlie Crist. Bousquet’s angle was how there is a billboard with Crist’s white-hair and tanned face near the Governor’s mansion, meaning the current occupant, Rick Scott, can’t help but see Crist “hovering” over him.

Cute story, right?

Sure, except that that billboard has been up since at least June, according to man-about-town and Democratic operative Steve Schale, who tends to keep track of such things. Yet, Bousquet seems to only now have discovered the billboard, writing that it  “now … has appeared.” Well, not really. Again, the billboard has been up for about six months.

I asked one of Bousquet’s colleagues about the odd timing of his post and they defended its relevance, saying readers outside of Tallahassee may not know about the billboard and, therefore, it’s worth noting for the record, especially with the increasing likelihood that Crist may challenge Scott in 2014.

I guess it all depends on your definition of the word “now.”

Shoudn’t Bousquet have noted that the billboard has been up for a while, rather than write as if it recently went up? With all of the speculation about Crist’s next move, it would be significant if the billboard had suddenly appeared.

Or is it worse than that?

It certainly would be embarrassing if the capitol bureau chief of the state’s largest newspaper only now noticed this billboard.

Then again, this oversight would fit the critical narrative I’ve developed about Bousquet — that’s he too unaware of what is going on in social media and other non-traditional sources. Review Bousquet’s Twitter feed and it’s like reading a timeline of news that occurred eighteen hours ago, only it’s phrased as if it’s still breaking news.

I’m just waiting for Bousquet to blog or Tweet something about the “new” television commercials for Morgan & Morgan featuring Crist…

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