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5 things I think about today’s St. Petersburg Times

in Peter/The Bay and the 'Burg by

I was ghastly ill over the weekend (why do I always get sick in May?), so today’s edition is a blend of commentary from Sunday and Monday’s editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

As always, the best read on Monday comes via Tom Jones and his “Shooting from the lip” column.  A full page of insight into the world of sports that you didn’t already know from watching ESPN.

Worst read is, as usual, Ernest Hooper’s banal column.

Speaking of bad columns, I hope Howard Troxler’s vertebrae is still intact after the stretch he made attempting to put Florida politics in perspective via the cast of Lost. Connecting Lost’s Sawyer and Sayid to the Navy Veterans Association and BP is just preposterous.

Speaking of contortions, just think about how twisted the Times‘ editorial board must be over whether to endorse Charlie Crist or Kendrick Meek.  Ideologically, supporting Meek should be a no-brainer for the Times.  But if he’s still polling at numbers that put him in a distant third place, Tim Nickens and Co. may make the same kind of decision in this race they had to in the St. Petersburg Mayoral race.  In that race last year, several members of the Times’ editorial board wanted to support the liberal candidate Scott Wagman, but the fear of reactionary Kathleen Ford (albeit Ford is a registered Democrat) winning prompted the newspaper to throw its weight behind center-right Bill Foster.  I see a similar scenario developing in the race for the U.S. Senate.  The editorial board’s most liberal members will push for an endorsement of Meek, but if the race is a dead heat behind the reactionary Marco Rubio and the center-right Charlie Crist, pragmatism may dictate that the state’s most influential newspaper endorse Crist.  Hence, today’s editorial criticizing Kendrick Meek, which should serve as a warning shot across the bow.

I’d like to finish off today’s post with a few words about Michael Van Sickler’s article about my good friend Jeff Copeland. I’d like to think I am partially responsible for this piece because, after Van Sickler wrote an article which revealed how little he knew about Copeland, running with the line that he was “an air freshner executive” so I taunted several of the Times’ reporters that their new City Hall reporter had no clue who was who around City Hall.

After Sunday’s piece, I stand by my assessment.  Actually, I think I’ll go a step further and warn City Hall watchers that, after this article, Van Sickler is dangerously close to being labeled the next Cristina Silva.

First of all, how subconsciously racist is it to get quotes about a black guy from, um, three black guys? Describing them as City Hall insiders, Van Sickler quotes Ray Tampa, Wengay Newton and Darryl Rouson. The only problem is Copeland rarely interacts with Tampa or Newton.  Asking them about Copeland is the journalistic equivalent of asking one brother if he knows another because “all blacks look alike” to white people.  Why didn’t Van Sickler get a quote from Rick Baker, whose campaign Copeland helped, or from Herb Polson, whom Copeland met with to discuss the benefits of a later last call, the issue which brought Copeland to the forefront (at least from the Times‘ perspective).

The real reason Van Sickler quotes Tampa and Newton, along with Nick Hansen and Bill Foster, is that no one wanted to talk to him about this story because it’s a non-story.

Admit it, Mike, you got shone up that you didn’t know Jeff Copeland, one of the most visible activists of the African-American community.

P.S.  Wengay, you just bit off way more than you can chew.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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