Rick Scott May Have Claim That the Liberal Media Is Out to Get Him
Lots of right-winged Republicans claim the liberal media treats them unfairly. For Rick Scott, the GOP candidate for governor, lately it seems to be true.
Or at least, that's a conclusion easily drawn after a couple weeks of some pretty scathing articles and headlines about Scott in state and national news outlets.
Meanwhile, his opponent, Alex Sink, has enjoyed a week of happy headlines. The Miami Herald two days ago offered a piece titled "Sink's pledge: I'll bring business acumen to governor's office." Orlando's Channel 13 served up: "Orlando Sentinel endorses Alex Sink." And the Ledger in Lakeland threw a softball: "Alex Sink Finds Warm Welcome Among Poinciana Hispanics."
Now sure, Scott did oversee a company that committed the biggest Medicare fraud in history, which led to $1.7 billion in fines. He has no business or political experience to qualify him as the state's highest official, and video depositions of him are downright frightening. So perhaps the scathing headlines are deserved. Either way, here's a sample of the anti-Scott press, with our own fairness ranking system.
You Ain't No Public Housing Child
The story: Scott likes to rally his forces with a rags-to-riches tale of growing up in an Urbana, Illinois, public housing complex, then going on to become a multimillionaire health-care executive. On Saturday, the Palm Beach Post ran this piece questioning that claim under the headline: "Rick Scott says he 'grew up' in public housing, but spent just 3 years in subsidized apartment, records show."
Bias: There's technically nothing incorrect about Scott saying he grew up in a public housing project -- he did live in one for a bit of his childhood. And good for Scott's mama for raising a child from the mean streets of Urbana.
Fairness rating: Three out of five Carl Bernsteins.
Scott's Favorite Amendment: The Fifth
The story: Tubs of ink have been applied to newsprint to explain lawsuits Scott's companies have faced. The Hill weighed in October 15 with this piece citing two more sources questioning why Scott won't answer questions under oath.
Bias: The problem with The Hill's story: It quotes American Bar Association past president Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte and Florida Eighth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William Cervone -- both Alex Sink supporters.
Fairness rating: Two out of four Brian Williamses.
Fuzzy Answers, Fuzzy Response
The story: Perhaps no media outlet has covered the Columbia/HCA story more than the Miami Herald, including this piece (maybe the most comprehensive article on it yet). The paper weighed in again yesterday with a front-page story titled "Straight talk gets fuzzy under oath." The article began with this: "Rick Scott the candidate promises voters 'the unvarnished truth.' But Rick Scott the witness offers little but murky testimony."
Bias: The testimony cited in the article has been widely reported, and worse, the Herald offers no response from Scott or his campaign. (To be fair, Scott doesn't seem to like calling reporters back, but if that's the case here, the Herald should've said so. And speaking of which, Scott's campaign didn't return a message seeking comment for this story, even after the message explained that the article would be about an apparent anti-Scott bias in the press.)
Fairness rating: Six out of ten Walter Cronkites.
The Miscellaneous and the Malicious
The stories and the biases: A piece on the Florida Independent website pointed out on October 15 that he hasn't mentioned immigration since winning the Republican primary. The piece was a fine example of unbiased reporting until the opinionated conclusion: "It's a classic case of running to the center after running to his primary opponent's right in the primary." St. Petersburg Times columnist Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte lambasted Scott in this piece October 18, saying he "manipulated" the legal system by pleading the Fifth Amendment in legal cases. Sure Scott's answers are sneaky and question his character, but it's also his constitutional right to do so. Tallahassee's WCTV questioned Scott's failure to show up for debates and editorial boards. It's a fair story, except when the reporter speculates that Scott would rather "spend millions of his own dollars to tell voters what to think of him." Considering Scott is in a virtual dead heat with Sink, it's easy to draw the conclusion that he's smartly avoiding debates and editorial boards because of his fear of answering questions.
Fairness rating: Zero out of a hundred Geraldo Riveras.