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Elect Allen West and Save Local Journalism

There are those who would say Allen West is just another Christine O'Donnell-style nutbag whose far-right rhetoric will simply help to divide America. That's true, yes, but what those detractors may ignore is what West can bring to an important South Florida industry.

If elected to Congress on November 2, West will gift to local journalists untold stories about gaffes and silly statements. He promises hundreds of thousands of pageviews to articles about his extremist beliefs about Muslims, immigrants, practitioners of other religions, and those to the political left of Strom Thurmond. The untold riches of copy West promises to bring to local journalists may just save a dying industry.

Sound a bit too strong? Here are four reasons West could single-handedly save local

media outlets.

4. Allen West Doesn't Care About Laws and Such

The proof: As a colonel in Iraq, West ignored Army rules about interrogating suspects and fired off a gun to scare a man into spilling what he knew about the insurgency. The move almost led to West's court-martial and cost him his 22-year career in the Army. West later defended the move, saying he would "walk through hell with a gas can" to protect his men.

How this produces headlines
: If West would ignore Army rules to protect the Fourth Infantry, imagine what he'd do to protect the American people. Congressional rules? Local statutes? Federal laws? Using West's analogy, they represent hell, which West is apparently willing to walk through with an incendiary device. West wouldn't be the first member of Congress to ignore laws, but usually, that doesn't end well.

3. Embarrassing Comments Seem Easy for West

The proof: Claiming to have a security clearance higher than the president did not get West the type of headlines candidates like to see. Fact checkers dismissed his statement as ludicrous, and one expert we spoke to called it downright "silly." It's one of many West gaffes that have made him this year's favorite candidate of South Florida journalists in need of a story.

How this produces headlines: There is little reporters -- and readers -- like more than politicians who stumble, stammer, and embarrass themselves at a podium. And if he were elected, you can bet West's speeches would be a regular C-Span feature, giving every word he says the potential for print.

West likes Christians and Jews. Everyone else, not so much.
2. West Doesn't Much Care for Muslims

The proof: If there's one thing West hates, it's "Coexist" license plates that promote non-Christian religions. West's dislike of other religions ignores a few basic tenants of this country, like the fact that it was founded with the promise of religious freedom and tolerance, but saying such a thing sure incites a Tea Party rally.

How this produces headlines
: Congressmen ought to do things like support the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and when one of them starts talking about his dislike of religious tolerance, well then, that'll earn air time on the cable news networks, blogs, wire services, and yes, all the way down to local media outlets.

1. Facts Won't Stand in the Way of Fear

The proof: Like any right-winged extremist, West likes to trump up threats to our national security without referencing sources or facts or the like. Take, for instance, his claim that the "Number-one language being learned by Hezbollah terrorists right now is Spanish." True? Who knows, because there's no proof out there besides West scaring his supporters with the statement during a rally.

How this produces headlines: It's one thing to say such things at a rally while being taped by a guy in jean shorts and another in a neck brace. Make these kind of unfounded claims on the floors of Congress and suddenly you're on Al Jazeera.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton

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