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Crist For The Mill


Pretty average day in South Florida newspaperdom -- the Sun-Sentinel chickened out again. Linda Kleindienst wrote a front-page story about how hard it is for third-party gubernatorial candidate Max Linn to get any media despite the fact that he's a lifelong Republican and pumped more than a million dollars of his own money in the race.

Yet she didn't even report the biggest splash Linn has made to date -- namely that he announced that Republican frontrunner Charlie Crist is gay. He knows Crist personally and says the man who has publicly denied being gay told him the truth personally. (Read Julia Reischel's NT cover story to get the facts). I think that firmly establishes that the Sentinel, like most mainstream newspapers, is steering clear of the big question about Crist. Obviously I have taken the opposite tack and explained why I've done so.

Many people have asked me if I'm pissed that most mainstream media didn't pick up my Crist report last week. I tell those people, "No." I can't blame them. It's dicey. While I obviously believe that it's a very important story, it's based on sources who I knew to be credible but wasn't at liberty to name. Young GOP staffer Jason Wetherington, who has told numerous witnesses he had sex with Crist, is in denial mode and reportedly has left the state until the election is over. Bruce Carlton Jordan, whom Wetherington named as Crist's long-term partner, still hasn't surfaced, so I don't know what he's saying.

The story is getting out there, though. It's all over the Internet and Congressional Quarterly recently mentioned it. Oddly, it has this correction on the top of it now:

"Correction: An earlier version of this story appeared to imply that the New Times article was responsible for the renewed discussion of Crist's personal life, and that discussion of it played a predominant role in the decline in Crist's lead in the polls."

Strange. I would say that the article has been, contrary to the "correction," responsible for at least a good portion of the "renewed discussion," but I would agree that it didn't play a predominant role in the decline of Crist's lead in the polls.

Other than CQ, the national CW television network picked it up and splayed it on their "Daily Buzz" feature. Watching it, I must confess, made me cringe and had me thinking that the size of the story as it is right now is just about right. The segment also shamelessly ripped off the story while referring to its source only as "a Broward-Palm Beach paper." Whatever. Watch it here if you must.

After the jump: Post Ignores Another Candidate, Herald Waxes Wasserstrom, and Newspaper Nepotism

-- In the Palm Beach Post's Saturday edition, George Bennett writes about the Congressional race between Clay Shaw, Ron Klein, and Libertarian Neil Evangelista. It's just more gobbledy gook about the two frontrunning phonies and Bennett gives Evangelista a small mention, which is fine. But then, in the campaign summary, he completely leaves the Lib out. Evangelista, who I'm voting for, fired off an e-mail to Bennett after reading the article:

"So, it's a two person race, is it, Post? Again you show that you are truly the lapdog of the RepublicRats, determined to support the staus quo and ignoring any ideas that make you the least bit uncomfortable."

-- The Herald's Erika Bolstad did a pretty extensive Keith Wasserstrom feature that ran on the front page of the Broward edition on Sunday. It's worth reading, even if it does give Wasserstrom way too much benefit of the doubt. Saying that he had a "brilliant" legal career, for instance, is just silly. The subhed is also ridiculous:

"Keith Wasserstrom had it all, but during an otherwise routine commission meeting in March 2004, prosecutors say, he crossed an ethical line."

First of all, he crossed a "criminal" line. Second of all, the law was broken in backroom deals with a sewage company and its reps that lined his own pockets. Still, Bolstad's story gives us some insight into the man and solidifies the notion, once and for all, that he's an empty suit waiting to be stuffed with cash.

-- I somehow missed this piece by Joan Fleischman in the Herald about Rob Barry's arrival at the newspaper (thanks to Infomaniac for the heads-up). Name sound familiar? Yeah, it's famed humorist and Herald stalwart Dave Barry's 23-year-old son, who is clerking at the Herald and doing some stories for the Neighbors section (hey, can't say he's not starting from the bottom).

From Fleischman's snippet:

Says Dad, "I always thought that Rob was a terrific writer. He could write even when he was little.'' But, he says, he never pushed his son into journalism. He even warned him: ''It's probably not the best growth industry to be looking at now.'' Rob, he says, pitched the paper on his own. ''I didn't call anybody. I don't even know who his supervisor is.''

The Barry Clan follows the Hiaasen Dynasty at the Herald, and that's just fine. With a pedigree like that, I'd hire the kid in a second. I happen to be a believer that journalism/story-telling can run in the bloodstream (I believe my family to be cursed with it as well). But I'd put R.B. in hard news and keep him as far from humor as I could. He shouldn't even try to follow that act.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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