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MUST READ: The battle between the new Florida governor & the media

January 23, 2011

Florida has a new governor and the media is finding it tougher to do its job. Rick Scott is making access limited. But is he within the law? The end of this story makes a good point. The media has to remain objective as they fight for access. This could be a long four years for the media.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 4:06 pm

    Reviewing “Florida Governor Scott, Capitol press off to chilly start” by Bill Cotterell of the News-Press, some bias arose, especially in the wording of the article and particular phrases, including “Unaccustomed to questions from people he can’t fire” and “being mobbed by Capitol reporters asking about subjects he had no desire to discuss”.

    Firstly, the former phrase not only refer to Cotterell’s assumption and reference towards accusations against Scott in another medical case, but also implies Scott fired some of his former employees based on said employees “asking questions” – with no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim. Secondly, Cotterell’s latter statement continues to make assumptions without referenced fact or sources, also assuming Governor Scott possessed “no desire” to discuss the issues when Cotterell and other reporters probably couldn’t reach Scott for comment on Scott’s presumed lack of “desire”.

    Regarding the age-old argument of “Freedom of Speech vs. Privacy”, and invoking reminders of the recent battle of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church to protest at funerals, the not-so-dissimilar case of Tallahassee journalists vs. the Scott governorship also reflects the same aspect. Acting desperately to “get the story first” for their respective newspapers, journalists sometimes overstep boundaries and disregard proper procedures, greatly hindering their own chances of gleaning anything by banding in mass crowds to accost Governor Scott. Furthermore, by constantly hounding Governor Scott, not only to said journalists help incline Scott to silence, but also “shoot themselves in the feet” by driving Scott to such annoyance that Scott seeks to limit journalists’ ranges, and thus keep some of his [Scott’s] personal space.

    Basing fact in science, according to nature itself and Psychology, every organism needs its own “space” in order to maintain health and contentment, and humans – including Governor Scott – prove no different. Invade that space too much, and you send the subject of your hunt fleeing for the hills, possibly along with the rest of your targets; and, true to form, the same effect now occurs with Governor Scott and Scott’s top staff.

    “Mass transit users frequently experience crowding during their commutes. In this study of 139 urban passenger train commuters during rush hour, we found that the density of the train car was inconsequential for…indices…of stress whereas the immediate seating density proximate to the passenger significantly affected all…indices,” says Gary W. Evans and Richard E. Wheeler, noting their Cornell University-based experiment on personal space, “When people had to sit close to other passengers, they experienced adverse reactions. These results are consistent with prior work indicating that individual spacing among persons that leads to personal space invasions is a more salient environmental condition than density…”

    Concluding with the above scientific observations, logic demands that, if the journalists wish to work with Governor Scott and gain information, said journalists must grant Scott some personal space. Refusing to do so, Scott and Scott’s top staff forced Tallahassee journalists to give Scott and Scott’s staff space; thus, since the journalists refused to give Scott space in the first place, now must figure out new ways to glean information from the new governor.

    SOURCES

    Evans, Gary E. Wheeler, Richard E. “Crowding and personal space invasion on the train: Please don’t make me sit in the middle”. Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. January 23, 2007. January 23, 2011.

  2. Alexis Jackson permalink
    January 24, 2011 11:58 am

    I can definitely see how the content of this story would cause an uprise. However, I don’t know exactly where I stand on the subject or what I think of the matter. As it says in the article, every governor handled their press situation differently; and this is simply how Rick Scott is handling it. Can anyone blame him for being media shy? At least he isn’t completely shutting himself out from the media. He still allows reporters and the press to certain events and conferences. He is only human and would like to be treated as one with at least some privacy. Although I think this issue is something that Scott should of thought over before committing himself to this kind of lifestyle. He went into the governor position knowing the amount of responsibility and the recommindations for the job title. He has to understand the job of the reporter and how their job ties into his. The more that he works with the reporters the better reputation they will give him. Even though Scott does limit the amount of information thats distributed to the media, I like how he trys to make it clear that he isn’t doing it in order to hide. He is very open about how he doesn’t like being ambushed by reporters and that he does indeed believe the public should be exposed to as much information as possible. We will just have to wait and see how Rick Scott handles the situation further.

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