A reader in the post below had an interesting observation about the Sun-Sentinel's posting of a photo gallery of female prison inmates who want "letters."
"If this is representative of popular culture here, no wonder we have such corruption," the reader wrote in a comment.
Well, I checked out the gallery and found that one of the inmates is being held in Broward County. Thirty-five-year-old Britainy Townsel, pictured at right, not only wants to be your pen pal, but if the police are right about her, she could could also get you some of the best black market oxycodone money can buy. (Caveat: Her mug shot isn't quite so enticing.)
The truth is, though, that the Sentinel and other lamestream newspapers resorted to tits and ass a long time ago, posting incongruous galleries of scantily clad women on a routine basis. And it gets them plenty of hits. Of course, it's a bit unseemly -- and luring readers to seek out felons for romance is especially dubious -- but what really gets me isn't the prurient stuff but the more subtle failings of the newspaper in doing its real duty as a watchdog for the public.
Their incessant quoting of lobbyist and longtime political insider Norm Ostrau as an ethics guru is a great example of the newspaper's negligence. Another one came today. In a story about the spate of judicial races, the Sentinel heavily quoted a fellow named Jim Kane as a supposedly neutral "pollster." Kane has long been used by the newspaper as a supposedly neutral observer on local politics. What it don't tell you is that he's also a hired-gun lobbyist and longtime henchman for his old buddy Austin Forman, a fellow who has been manipulating local politics for
almost as long as he's been drawing breath. Austin Forman is also a guy who pours money into the political process and backs a lot of the judicial candidates.
You might remember that Jim Kane played the role of middleman for Forman with public officials in what many consider to be one of the greatest boondoggles in recent memory: Davie's purchase of a polluted parcel of land from Forman for $12 million. The price, according to some real estate experts, was ridiculously overdone. The Sun-Sentinel, it should be noted, first wrote about the land deal and revealed Kane's involvement in it.
Now he's right back in the newspaper's pages as a pollster. Granted, Kane didn't say anything in the article that would seem to profit him or his boss, but using Kane as the voice of general reason in the Broward political landscape is nonetheless obscene. Surely it gives him more credibility when he's doing Forman's dirty work, for instance. And the Sun-Sentinel has been using Kane as a crutch for quotes for years. My old NT colleague Harris Meyer did a cover story about the media's reliance on Kane more than a decade ago that you can read here.
Didn't slow the obstinate Sentinel down on using Kane as a crutch, though. Some old rags never learn.
-- When I'm away, the wicked witch will play. Just as a heads-up, there is a handful of what might be called trolls who lurk on this blog (the so-called ICW being the most prevalent). They come on and write ridiculous stuff -- some of it anti-Semitic in bent -- to try to discredit the blog and everyone reading it. Sometimes they attack regular commenters who actually add important points of view (and much-needed humor) to the debate. They are easy to spot, and I try to keep an eye on them, but when I'm gone for a while, they have their fun. Please, pay them no mind.
For some reason, I doubt the disgraced Stephanie Kraft will try to wage an attack campaign on the School Board auditors this time. That horse has left the barn.
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