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Sheriff Scott vs. News-Press: The feud continues

October 16, 2012
by

[THIS IS THE POST TO WHICH ONLY MARY WOZNIAK’S STUDENTS MAY REPLY BY 7 P.M. THURSDAY, OCT. 18.]

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott finds himself in a battle with an unusual nemesis: the media.

More exactly, Sheriff Scott and The News-Press are at odds to historic proportions.

Scott is not talking to the largest newspaper in his county. He compared his stance to President Obama not talking to FOX News.

The newspaper shot back by writing a detailed and somewhat scathing two-page editorial.

The newspaper said Scott was childish. They said he was a bully. They said he was abusing his power.

Journalists rely on public figures to be sources for stories. They need them to give perspective and depth to stories. And Sheriff Scott is no exception.

Sheriff Scott was once a highly accessible public figure in Lee County.

That all changed sometime after dropping President Obama’s middle name at a Sarah Palin rally, a federal investigation that followed (of which he was cleared of any wrongdoing) and a front-page headline about a deputy shooting a ‘good guy,’ which was how a source in the story referred to the victim.

He said his dealings with the media changed after the Gateway murders, where a 2-year-old called 911 and his parents were killed upstairs.

Scott’s feud with The News-Press has elevated to the point, he recently canceled a daily morning media session that included all the media and he didn’t answer questions from The News-Press reporters during a press conference.

The media and public figures are always juggling a delicate balance. There are always going to be tough stories that don’t make the public figures happy. But if you are professional, transparent and forthcoming, the awkward moments can be avoided. The key to writing stories that are critical and having sources talk to you again is being balanced, fair and upfront.

Scott has the right to talk or, in this case, not talk.

We will hear from Sheriff Scott on Thursday during the lecture. In the meantime, what do you think of this predicament? Do you think the public hurt by this feud? What could happen to media coverage when a key source of information is cut off? (News-Press reporters still have access to public records such as police reports, per state law.)

Here are links you’ll need to review to fully understand this situation:

http://www.news-press.com/article/20120311/OPINION/303110052/Editorial-Lee-County-sheriff-s-power-through-intimidation

http://www.fox4now.com/news/141664783.html

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/gateway_killings/

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. Jennifer Morgan permalink
    October 17, 2012 10:53 am

    Although media is free to investigate whomever they want, ultimately if the person does not wish to speak to them, nothing can change that, it is a personal choice and right. Even though some may see this as childish or withholding information I personally see it in a different light. In life we don’t have to answer to those who don’t understand us or misinterpret information. No one wants to tell a secret of intimate detail of their life to someone they can’t trust to communicate it a responsible manner. To choose to avoid responding to the news press is a personal choice of Sheriff Scott and the lee county office, which is a choice I find to be respectable under the circumstances. To completely shut out all media and not answer to any news outlet, yes that is wrong; however Sheriff Scott stated that they “Pour out press releases every day. We are not withholding information to the public as a result of this,” the news press is able to access information but not directly from him, therefore they can still write and get the information out to the public, just not on a first source basis which the other companies have an advantage on. In my opinion, it you don’t wish to talk to someone, no matter how important the subject, you don’t have to, no one can make you. Although Florida has the broadest open-records and an open-government access law in the country doesn’t mean it’s a free for all and everyone has to be completely open, it is also a personal right for all individuals to choose who to answer to, if the news press isn’t one of those that Scott wishes to speak to, there’s nothing that can make him do otherwise. I don’t think the public is hurt by this feud as Scott still speaks and gives information to other news companies in the area. If on the other hand he were to withhold the information form all news outlets that would be a corruption of his power as sheriff and if he is unable to talk to anyone and keep the community informed then someone else who is able to speak on his behalf or is better suited for the job needs to be put in place. Understandably, when the key source of information from the news press is cut off to the public, the story isn’t directly form Scott and therefore is less reliable and actionable information which could lead to a misunderstanding and misinformed community. Although this may not be the most ideal situation, it is what the news press of Lee County is faced with and it is a personal right and choice of Sheriff Scott to do so.

  2. Nick Twardus permalink
    October 17, 2012 3:14 pm

    My belief on this predicament is that it is a childish game that’s being played and needs to be stopped for the better of the public. Both sides are not justified in their actions with Sheriff Scott drawing a line in the sand and the News-Press drawing a line as well. But, what are they both actually achieving aside from creating their own Soap Opera?: Nothing. Sheriff Scott did not have the right to publicly discount the News-Press, but something that was instigated by the paper must have set him to the tipping point, which would be the reporters fault not the whole publication. And the News-Press didn’t have to write a lengthy editorial publicly discounting sheriff Scott to pretty much just to “Get even” and relinquish all their chances of ever talking to Scott again and diminishing themselves in the eyes of the public. Which is where we are at right now with both not wanting to speak to each other for the foreseeable future. But what both of these sides need to understand is that people change. There have been many new members of the News-Press at the offices right now and who knows; maybe sheriff Scott might have changed his stance as well. So, if Sheriff Scott wants to get reelected and the News-Press wants to change their negative credibility, then they must grow up and put these childish manners aside for the better of the public. There is no need for information to be kept inside because of a little “Bad Blood.”

  3. October 17, 2012 4:20 pm

    I think that with this current situation of Mike Scott not wanting to talk to the Fort Myers News-Press the public is the one most affected by this decision. I understand that he has the right to decide who to talk to and who not to talk to, but he is a public official who should not close the doors on one of the people’s representation the media. I also understand his side of the story and the actions done by the new-Press of misinterpreting his words are truly unprofessional, but it shouldn’t have gotten to the point where is now at. Even though it’s hard to do especially when you feel your right, one of the two sides has to end this feud and play peace maker, not for one another but for the public’s sake. By blocking out one media outlet you’re not just blocking the individuals, your limiting that section of the county to precious information on your organization. This is an aspect that a public official should not be limiting his voter’s to.

  4. Johanna Sterkel permalink
    October 17, 2012 5:26 pm

    In today`s society, everyone has the right the freedom of speech and the right make their own decisions. No one has the right to force someone to act in a specific way. In my opinion, Sheriff Scott has the right to avoid the News Press. He explains to the public the reason in which he will no longer give information to the media. Scott quoted, “There’s been ongoing problems we tried to work thru those we had a little bit of a balance for awhile but clearly things aren’t where they need to be.” His explanation is reasonable as he tried working with the situation, but nothing seemed to get resolved. Scott also mentioned, “We pour out press releases everyday. We are not withholding information to the public as a result of this.” The public is definitely not hurt by this feud because the News Press still gets all the necessary information from public records such as police reports. If a key source of information is cut off, the media coverage will be affected in a negative way. The media’s task is it to inform the society about recent events in our city, state, country and the world. It would be terrible if the media didn’t report about daily occurrence. For instance, if a local newspaper fails to inform people that there is a robber in the city, people wouldn’t be aware of the situation to protect themselves from being robbed. The media can prevent more damage from happening by informing the public. However, Sheriff Scott does not hide any information from the public because the News Press still gets all information indirectly from Sheriff Scott. To sum up, I think Sheriff Scott is not acting childish nor abusing his power. If he does not want to talk to the News Press because he does not trust it, then the News Press has to accept his decision. Of course, it would be great if the News Press and Sheriff Scott could end this feud. If Sheriff Scott and the News Press came to an amends, this would benefit everyone; as the press would publicize more important issues than this predicament.

  5. October 17, 2012 6:44 pm

    The Media is a source where people go to find out what is going on in their community. The Media relies on public figures as key sources of their information. The flow of information to the community is much easier when both the media and the key sources of information can coexist happily. Unfortunately, this happy coexistence is not always possible. Sometime the media does not always report the news that they get from their key sources the way it was intended. In this case I can certainly understand why someone would want to stop speaking to the media. In the case of Sheriff Scott in Lee County I believe it is his duty as a public officer to try and get the news out to the community as often as he can. But once the media does not act in a responsible way it is his right to not have to communicate with that media source. I don’t believe that he should shut down communication with all media sources because that just makes it more difficult for the people of Lee County to find out what is going on in their community.

  6. Jordi Vives Ribas permalink
    October 17, 2012 10:21 pm

    I feel that this article makes Sheriff Scott to be the bad guy. The problem that I have with this is that the news, in general, has one goal in mine, and that goal is not to convey the all story. The sole motivation of a news company is to generate revenue. For this reason the news press finds that portraying Sheriff Scott in this manner will attract readers. Yes, I do think the public is hurting by this because they are not getting the whole story. Also, this feud is creating a lot of drama and should not be consider news. The news company will stop making money, and there would be less media coverage.

  7. Kelly Brachle permalink
    October 18, 2012 12:22 am

    I think the feud between Sheriff Scott and the News-Press (NP) is an unfortunate breakdown in communication. While I don’t agree with the Sheriff’s decision to close his door to any public media outlet, it is his right to do so. That said, I don’t feel his unwillingness to speak to a single media outlet harms the public.

    NP’s editorial is clearly meant to be inflammatory. This got me curious about the source(s) of this tussle. Below are links to three articles regarding items referenced in the NP opinion piece: Spence, Kobie, and the Sheriff’s rebuttal to the NP article, respectively. I couldn’t find the “good guy” article; perhaps it was pulled after NP submitted its public apology.

    http://www.news-press.com/article/20090816/SS15/90815026/Spence-s-role-90s-money-laundering-scheme

    http://www.winknews.com/Local-Florida/2012-04-02/Fort-Myers-man-cited-after-posting-anti-Sheriff-Scott-sign#.UH9qC8U0WSo

    http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2009/feb/17/lee-county-sheriff-all-three-suspects-recently-kil/?print=1

    I’m trying to pick a side here, I really am. But after reading these items, I’m still on the fence. NP seems a little too instigative, but then the Sheriff seems to be pretty heavy-handed with vocal opponents. The Sheriff’s rebuttal to the missing article, however, was incredibly thoughtful and articulate. I can see why NP was inclined to apologize.

    Here is one last link I found containing email correspondence between Sheriff Scott and NP: http://www.news-press.com/assets/pdf/A4186368311.PDF

    At first, I sided with the Sheriff. There seemed to be miscommunications stemming from a lack of good judgment on NP’s part. But as I read on, and on, and ON… something dawned on me. This whole thing is ridiculous.

    Ego is a four-letter word in my book. (Yes, somewhere I have a big book full of half-spun ideologies and misspelled words.) It can get us into trouble if we let it get out of hand. Most of us have been there at some point. Being able to move forward — to transcend a contentious situation — means being able to LET GO of our egos; admit our wrongs, apologize when necessary, and truly move on. Why am I craving waffles suddenly?

  8. Blanca Vanegas permalink
    October 18, 2012 8:09 am

    I believe Sheriff Scott is acting childish. He is an elected official, that comes with a price. The News Press has simply been doing what they are supposed to, seek truth and report it. If someone has nothing to hide, then it would not be an issue. If journalists just took everyone’s word, we would never know the actual truth. So even if Sheriff Scott says something, it is the journalists responsibility to make sure everything is legit and that said statements are facts.

    I think Sheriff Scot does not like the News Press because of political reasons. He has made it extremely clear in the past that he is as Republican as they get, and in 2008 he did not agree with they way The News Press reported his participation in Palin’s rally. Our Sheriff’s participation in that rally stirred so much controversy that is inevitable to evade journalists or questions regarding his statement. The Sheriff states he mentioned President Obama’s middle name because he “wanted to”. Thank you Sheriff, very mature and professional answer. I want to do many things, but if I were a Sheriff that represents an entire county I would think twice about saying everything that comes to mind. I am supposed to feel safe by the head of the Police Department and the fact that not only did he use “Hussein” to mock the president or make reference to Muslims, he did so while wearing his uniform. Was it worth it Sheriff? He went under investigation and put Lee County at risk. If found guilty, Lee County would have lost aid that had been granted. No wonder The News Press found it very important to fully report the issues going on. Thankfully he was cleared of wrongdoings, I just don’t think it is respectable behavior for a Sheriff.The News Press was doing a great job reporting the news to us, the people who are affected by the Sheriff’s actions.

    I wonder if Sheriff Scott stops talking to everyone who “pisses” him off. He needs to be accountable for everything that happens. And because he cannot meet eye to eye with The News Press he just decides to cut them off. I think the public is hurt by this, like the Sheriff himself said: “I regret that all media outlets will suffer the loss of the aforementioned accesses and conveniences like the morning briefings; however, I am unable to sanction only The News-Press,” Scott wrote. If you regret it so much, than why take that approach? Is he only going to talk to the News Press if he likes what he reads? Is that what he does on duty? Does he only address issues he “wants to”?

    Lastly, I do not agree or find it fair that because he does not want to talk to The News Press, our Recitation Instructor, Mary Wozniak will not be attending today. She has been with us, teaching us about ethics, showing us examples as a professional journalist since the beginning of the semester and because of our Sheriffs very logical actions, she would be completely ignored if he even agreed to be in the same room with her. That seems extremely childish and it seems like something a bully would do.

    I understand now that he is a politician before a law enforcer, I guess I was under the impression that it was the other way around.

    • John Carlson permalink
      October 18, 2012 3:26 pm

      I believe that Mike Scott may have a right to speak to whichever reporters he wishes to, but I feel in this instance he is in the wrong. The news-press is the largest news outlet in southwest Florida and to be selfish enough to not speak with them because of a personal grudge is not very professional. He feels that he is doing nothing wrong even comparing his situation to President Obama’s situation with Fox News. If Mike Scott has any chance to be reelected he needs to take responsibility for his actions and be transparent. When a public figure refuses to speak with a media source I feel it is an attempt to hide from tough questions and from negative press. To be the leader a community needs I feel they need to confront tough questions and dis prove the negative press that may arise. In this area there is not a wide range of reporting avenues that can be heard by the people of this area and if one is cut off this could squander a lot of peoples chances to hear each party’s platform.

  9. Jennifer McGuire permalink
    October 18, 2012 11:21 am

    Clearly, it is unfortunate that one of the community’s largest sources of information for news is refusing to collaborate with a news organization. It does not matter which organization that he happened to be in a quarrel with; just the fact that Lee County’s Sheriff has shut off some people’s main source for news. This situation may negatively impact the News-Press because their readers may have noticed a lacking in direct information from deputies who often have the knowledge about what really occurred in situations that a reporter would normally go to an official for information. However, I do give the News-Press credit for still attending press conferences with Sheriff Scott. There will not be too significant of a difference as far as some logistics being accessible to the News-Press is concerned because they still have access to public records and they can still be present at the press conferences. However, it makes it difficult for them to have a beat ahead of other news organizations when they are unable to contact any Lee County deputies. Overall, it would be beneficial if this feud ended so that all of the news organizations would have equal access to the Lee County law enforcers. I feel that Sheriff Scott must face situations similar to the dispute between him and the News-Press very often, so now that time has passed since the incident perhaps Sheriff Scott could consider gradually being more open to associating with the News-Press in the near future. I feel that the situation is rather awkward considering that my recitation professor, Mary Wosniak, is unable to attend our session with Sheriff Scott.

  10. Xavier Silva permalink
    October 18, 2012 12:59 pm

    Now before attacking the man because of his position and his work to the community, let’s think about a couple of things. As humans we don’t like to be attack or neither bothered, never the less asked 23445 questions about something that has already been answer. I mean let’s be honest people in this world look up to celebrity’s and figures that are always on TV, but what they don’t know is that once they get there it gets to the point where your privacy is non-existent. Now I am no were stating that Sheriff Scott is a celebrity but one thing is foreshore he is a public figure. As a person that has been part of a reality show I can relate somewhat on how he feels and why he reacts the way he reacts. When I was in the reality show I was followed 24/7, videotaped, asked about a hundred questions per day, interview to see how I felt, put into situations on purpose to see what my true colors are about, and most of all painted in way I truly wasn’t. So what would I do? I would get very angry and not say a word to the cameras to any interviews with the people on the camera crew, or do anything they told me to. Now some can say I signed up for it as well as Sheriff Scott did when he ran for Sheriff. No one put a gun in his head and say go, and be the Sheriff of Lee County. But what I guess what I’m trying to say is that as a the Sheriff of Lee county he has a lot of responsibilities, many stress, and decisions to make. Yes he did mess up in saying a couple of things but trust me if a person is stressed, tired, and has lack of sleep any one would say incoherent things. With media now days every word you say gets turned 180 degrees and made to mean something completely different, so to Sheriff Scott his solution was to not say a word and cut off all media source.
    I personally don’t think that the public is hurt by the feud because as humans and a mature audience we should understand his point of view and being harassed most of the time. Everyone in the United State has the right to do what they want and if that means not saying a word then so be it. When a key source of information is cut off to the media it kills there job and their ability to create news, making news completely obsolete. But to me sometimes that is more than well-deserved because when they do have a key source they should know how to use it and not make a person look like a fool or a bad person. I believe in the freedom of speech and the freedom of media, but what I don’t believe in media not reporting news and start making people look bad if the news or the situation isn’t bad at all.

  11. Joseph Hutchinson 5332 permalink
    October 18, 2012 1:51 pm

    Journalist seek for the truth everyday, plain and simple, and in this case that is all they are trying to do with Sheriff Scott. I agree with Sheriff Scott in not wanting to talk to the news press. Its his own decision and that’s ultimately all that matters. News Press journalists should respect his decision and leave it at that much like Fox News does with Barack Obama. The only thing I don’t agree with about this whole altercation is how the public is affected by this. They don’t get a clear idea of who their Sheriff is. I just feel that the Sheriff was offended by the News press and doesn’t want to consume his time with press releases and back and fourth games with journalist. I believe he is just doing what he feels right and the fact that he’s in charge makes it okay. If people disagree with his decision then they should not vote for him again in the next election.

  12. Diany Saldarriaga permalink
    October 18, 2012 2:22 pm

    I believe that the same way the media is allowed to ask whatever questions they want, the public is allowed to with hold any information they have. We cannot force anyone to give information they are not comfortable giving. I believe that although it is important for news to be transparent, it is not a rule that everyone follows.
    In addition, I think that Sheriff scott is making a mistake with holding information from the press because I would think he would be able to better control what a journalist reports by just being open with them. Regardless, if a journalist is good, he would attempt to find other sources beside the Sheriff.
    I do believe that the public is hurt in a way because sheriff Scott is someone who could provide the public with valuable information, and for him to with hold it means he is unable to understand how important the news is for it’s citizens.
    Lastly, I believe that if journalists find themselves unable to openly get the information they are seeking from the people they consider leaders of our country, then I believe that is where people will start to gather information illegally. I am confident that should a situation like that arise, the news and journalists will survive, it’ll just make life more difficult.

  13. Angela Bravo permalink
    October 18, 2012 2:55 pm

    Personally, I think that Mike Scott has every right to not answer the news-press. He is a public figure and a grown man. As a citizen of the united states, he possesses the right to answer or not answer to whoever he pleases. He should not feel any type of pressure to answer to them and I do not think it should have any part in the local’s voting decisions. The news press may be many people in this areas source for news, however, there are different sources and they should not feel affected by the news press’ lack of Mike Scott coverage. Ultimately, it is all on him to choose who he answers to and maybe some view this as childish or immature, however I view it as strong and bold. If I felt wronged by someone or something I would also opt out of having anything to do with them, it is a personal choice. Also, if it is so important to news press to have a story regarding Mr. Scott, they still do have access to records, reports, etc; they can still access public data and report on him without having a face to face interview with him. Essentially, I don’t feel like his decision affects the public in a negative way due to the fact that he is still answering to other news stations and reporters, therefore the public is still getting the information that they are looking for when deciding who to choose.

  14. Richard Badger permalink
    October 18, 2012 3:02 pm

    even though the press has the freedom to write what they want on who they want. sherrif scott has the right to choose exactly who he wants to give out the information and even if that means leaving out one of the most watch news stations in this county. hes not being childish or a bully hes just expressing his rights as a sherrif and as a citizen of this nation. people probably wont agree with this and call him biased but if people were talkin bad about you you would probably do the exact same thing and make sure that you would not talk to that source that has talked bad about you to the public.

  15. Kristen Jones permalink
    October 18, 2012 3:26 pm

    To an extent, I can understand why Sheriff Scott has acted as he has. Like many have said, you cannot force a person to answer a question he or she does want to answer. Naturally, when some body misinterprets what you say, you get upset. When it continues to happen, you simply get discouraged and do not want to risk that same person misinterpreting you again. I think this is possibly how Scott may feel. He was misinterpreted several times, and is done with it. However, I think some of his actions have been childish. For example, I can understand wanting the paper to write an apology for misinterpreting their information, I can even understand his decision not to speak with them. But uncovering the faults of some of the staff, like Cook, for example, is childish. Yes, he was arrested for DUI, but he’s already paid that price, there was no reason to bring it up.
    I do not think, however, that his choosing to remain silent will affect how the public is able to receive news, seeing as he is still open to talking to any one but the news press. Although he has said he will not speak with any of the news press staff directly, the News Press will be able to still gain access to what he has said. They just won’t be able to get the personal statement that brings some understanding to a situation.

  16. October 18, 2012 3:37 pm

    Sheriff Scott has every right to keep his mouth shut. In this country we have the right to freedom of speech, or in this case, the freedom not to speak.

    I firmly believe that if the media is going to twist stories out of proportion or not have all the correct pieces of information, then why should a public figure want to take another risk at being misunderstood by the public?

    It has come to my attention that the public directs a lot of its attention on the names and faces in which they are familiar with. Much like President Obama, Sheriff Scott has been put under the spotlight all throughout his career and has seemingly decided that not talking would make his life much easier. I do not believe that he is being a bully or abusing his power. I think that the media has many other sources of gathering information about specific topics. Since Sheriff Scott has stopped talking to the media, they sit here now looking helpless and making themselves feel like the victim.

    Now as far as informing the public goes, I do not think its fair that we should suffer and be cut off form what is going on in the world (or county) around us. Do i blame Sheriff Scott for this lack of distributing information to the public? no. I absolutely blame the media for not finding other means of gathering information. Although Sheriff Scott has a first hand look at what is going on in our county, he is not the single person who has information about these topics. I think the media is looking for someone to put the blame on and he is the closest target. I say this because, when he and the media were on good terms, it made the lives of journalists and reporters much easier. All they had to do was interview him and they had all the pieces to the stories in which they needed. Now that he has been silenced, the media is going to have to try harder to find other ways of getting information to inform the public.

    So now that i seem to be talking in circles, I would like to sum it all up by saying that Sheriff Scott is not being a bully or abusing his power in any way, shape, or form. He is simply protecting himself form further humiliation by the media, and is now taking matters into his own hands.

  17. Amanda Reese permalink
    October 18, 2012 3:52 pm

    Sheriff Scott seems to be doing the responsible thing by being the bigger person. Even though his decision was publicly attacked in an editorial, he is being the bigger person by not fighting back: he is just staying away. It is easy to see how some people may take this as hiding from the truth or running away but I think in reality he does not want to be involved with non sense that is not true. He does not want to be giving information to a source that he does not have trust in and has shown not to be reliable at reporting his statements and actions. Such a big figure is obviously going to be bombarded with attention and comments from everywhere and I am sure he has much better things to do than cooperate with an organization that has made him feel misrepresented.

  18. Meghan McGuirk permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:12 pm

    I believe that Sheriff Mike Scott is being immature about the whole situation. He is making a big deal of something that really isn’t detrimental to anyone. In the state of Florida, all records are open for the public to view. People have the right to report news and by refusing to talk to any of the News Press journalists, he is concealing their right. The public is hurt by his behavior because the News Press is a large source for many peoples news. By cutting out an entire company, he is not allowing a big chunk of people to be exposed to stores about himself. Although he is still talking to other news companies, they are much smaller and not as well-known as the news press. When you cut out an entire source like Sheriff Mike Scott did, it hurts the company because now people will know that the News Press will not be reporting anything about the Sheriff, therefore they will want to go to other news companies for their source of information. Even though he is refusing to talk to the News Press, it makes him look foolish because all of his records are public so any of the reporters from News Press would be able to find any information about him that they wanted. People make mistakes and Sheriff Mike Scott is not giving the News Press another chance. Because of this, it makes him look unprofessional. It also makes you wonder if he would continue to treat other people the way he is treating the News Press if they were ever to cross him.

  19. Lauren Neiman permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:12 pm

    I think that Scott had every right not to talk to the News Press. I think the press blowing it up in his face is also not going to make him change his mind about that. He had a bad experience with the media and as he said, all the information the news needs is still available. Nothing is withheld and just because it is not coming directly from Scotts mouth, does not make it any less important. We talked about the first amendment right which is the right to freedom of speech. If Scott does not want to speak then he should not have to and nobody should call him out for it. Yes, he is a public figure but he is still a person and if he does not want to deal with the media then he has the right to do so, just as we all do.

  20. Amy Clark permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:22 pm

    After looking at the links and reading over his views and reasons to avoid the News Press, I do understand. But I do not agree with it. I think he has a duty to give reports to who wants them. And if he does have a problem dealing with certain newspapers, I don’t feel it is ethical for him to single out the News Press.
    Just because they “piss” him off doesn’t mean he should avoid them like a child. As a grown man, a politician, and a law enforcer he needs to address issues no matter if the subject is sensitive or not. I don’t think that sets a good example for anyone, especially youth. Why is it okay for him to run away fro his problems, but others not too. It sends out the message that if you are in a place of authority you can choose who and what you address because you have the power too, and that isn’t right.
    I understand the other side as well, even though I may not agree with it. Sheriff Scot has made it known that he doesn’t trust the New Press as a source and therefore he refuses to provide them with direct information or interviews. The News Press does still gets local information about crime, politics, and many other topics out, just not directly from Sheriff Scot. I believe that if the information was unable to be found else where than, yes, it would be a big issue. But until then, It is just a matter of personal preference, and it is his choice to make.

  21. njidler permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:27 pm

    It’s too bad. I we good guys all on the same team? I think there is a little bit of thought on both sides. The News-Press could have defamed the the Sherrif’s Deputy and the entire Sherrif’s Office with the headline. I know a good headline is a key to hooking readers, but give the impression that anyone, nevermind local law enforcement was guilty of such a crime is terrible. The News-Press did apologize though and they corrected their wrong, so I think it is about time that Sheriff Scott let this one go. When I imply that we are all on the same team, I mean that we all try to serve the public. Law enforcement does it by physically protecting them, and we journalists do it by informing the public with news. Of course the media and law enforcement will have its differences, but we aren’t children. I don’t remember the last time I told somebody, “I’m not talking to you. So there”. That’s pretty much what Sheriff Scott is doing here though. I know journalists can still get the public records without talking to the Sheriff or a spokes person, but the human input is important. We have learned that first person accounts are one of the most powerful resources for a story and the News-Press is lacking that. Since the News-Press is one of the counties largest news outlets and the Sheriff’s office is obviously important to the community, the 2 need to put their differences behind them and start working together. I said both were at fault to some degree, however The News-Press, though they did take a shot with the long editorial they wrote, apologized. Sheriff Scott needs to suck up his pride though if the 2 sides are going to put this behind them.

  22. Karen Aguirre Lopez permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:39 pm

    After reading the articles, it was difficult to support either argument. I understand where Sheriff Scott is coming from by avoiding the media and not wanting to talk to them. However, I just think that he could have addressed the situation differently. As a public figure, it is important to understand that people will judge what you do whether or not you feel you are doing your job the right way. I do not agree with the Sheriff restraining the other officers from his department to have any contact with the media. They have their own rights that should not be restricted because Scott prefers it to be that way. I personally believe Sheriff Scott should act upon his profession and simply sit down and have a civilized conversation with the News Press to discuss his point of view rather than dealing with them through emails. If the public wants to know about what is going on and an interview will do that, then he needs to suit his point of views to his job and answer the questions asked as accurate and precise as possible. He has had people apologize for wording articles against him in a biased manner; he needs to do his part and try to work around this situation in a way that will stop this feud with the News Press. One thing that caught my attention was his relationship with the cartel convict; if it were not for the reports made, the public would not be aware of what goes on in closed doors from a department that is meant to be there to protect the community. If the Sheriff has nothing to hide, answering questions or confronting the News press should not be an issue.

  23. Heather Coutts permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:46 pm

    I believe Scott has made a good decision to not talk to News Press (no offense, Mary). He is trying to do his job to the fullest extent, and if News Press, or any other news organization for that matter, starts harassing him, he has every right to not talk to them and make them feel out of the loop, which is bad considering they are Journalists. I do believe that this will hurt the public, but not to the breaking point. People won’t be able to get their actionable information as well as others, since one major source is out of the mix now, but it is better than if multiple people do the same thing like a boycott. The press won’t be able to get their primary source information and will have to resort to other information, such as the police reports, but it is essentially the same thing, the only thing missing would be the next step in the continuation of the investigation, which may even benefit the police so they can be one step ahead of catching the criminal.

  24. Julie Leth-Espensen permalink
    October 18, 2012 4:46 pm

    I don’t think it hurts the public that Sheriff Scott doesn’t want to talk to the News Press. He has his own free will, and the right to remain silent. He can decide who he wants to talk to, and who he doesn’t.
    It’s not like the public it shot out and don’t get information at all, it is just one source that doesn’t want to talk to one newspaper, because he doesn’t think they are treating him right.
    Off course it’s a shame that he doesn’t want to share is knowledge with the public, but it is his own free choice.
    If he doesn’t feel that he was treated right by the media, I see no reason that he has to talk to them.
    If the journalist wants to hear his story and use him as a source, they have to respect his will, and be balanced, fair and upfront.
    When a key source decides to cut off the information to the media, it has an influence on the stories. The journalists lose a first-hand information source, and have to get it by second hand now. But it can’t be the source’s fault, because he has his rights to decide if he wants to share, or keep it to himself. You can off cause debate about, if it is the right decision, but you can’t really do anything about it. We can’t force people to speak, if they don’t want to.

  25. Alexia Davis permalink
    October 18, 2012 6:08 pm

    Once a key source of information is cut off from the media than the media will either go looking some where else, continue bugging their key source of information or begin to make up news. But it is up to up to the informant whether they want to talk or not and who they want to talk to. If the media doesn’t have a good relationship with their sources than the media can’t complain when their sources don’t speak to them. If the sheriff isn’t talking to the news- press, than the public isn’t really widely affected. It’s one news source. once the public becomes completely cut off from all news and information, than the public is left in the dark. People may panic and become scared because now they Don’t know what’s going on.
    Although the public may not be too affected by News-Press being cut off, the News-Press is. They may lose business and/or readers because now they don’t have complete coverage, they have a bad name, they’ve become unreliable.

  26. Stephanie Rosario permalink
    October 18, 2012 6:14 pm

    I dont see anything wrong with Sheriff Mike Scott’s decision to not talk to the News Press. Any and everyone can look up whatever they would like about him by just looking him up on the Internet. Sheriff or not you have the right to choose who you want to talk to and the fact that he doesn’t want to talk to a specific group shouldn’t matter. He can do as he pleases and he has a reason for not talking to The News Press. The bad experience that he had with them left a bad taste of them in his mind. The News Press shouldn’t slander him just because he doesn’t give them what they want and it should just be left at that.

  27. Brandon Felder permalink
    October 18, 2012 6:48 pm

    I agree with the Sheriff. Just because he is a public official doesn’t mean he has to talk to a specific newspaper. There are many outlets of news other than the News-Press. The public is not being hurt at all by this predicament. If Sheriff Scott cut himself off from all media then there could be a minor problem, but even in that case, I think it could only help the people of the Lee County area. The media has a tendency to twist things around and if people do their own research, this could actually benefit them. There is always two ways to look at everything. It could also hurt the community for people that don’t have the ability or tools to search as much for public records, but that probably wouldn’t be the case considering most people have access to internet. Although, I wouldn’t look at it this way, because it is very unlikely. If the News-Press did something that I didn’t like, I wouldn’t talk to them either. The News-Press just wants money and if the Sheriff says something big they use it to get revenue. Sheriff Scott isn’t hurting anybody by doing this, nor is he being childish. Every person has a right to speak to whomever they want. I can guarantee that in the job description for Sheriff of Lee county, it doesn’t say you have to talk to the News-Press. In one of the articles it says that this is “a violation of the public’s right to know”. I see a major problem with this statement. If the Sheriff didn’t speak to anyone and only did reports, he still wouldn’t be violating the public’s right to know. Police records are all public and if someone really wants to know they can find out. When people are interested in a subject, they research it. Just hearing the Sheriff speak shouldn’t be enough to justify all the research that should be done pertaining to a situation. Overall, Sheriff Scott has done nothing wrong. People can do there own research and not hearing from one newspaper about a subject doesn’t hurt. The News-Press can make as much fuss as they want, but until Sheriff Scott wants to talk to them, he won’t. The News-Press can get over it.

  28. Amanda Pellerino permalink
    October 18, 2012 6:56 pm

    After reading the blog, but before meeting and talking with Sheriff Scott, I had a very biased opinion about him. I walked into the class expecting not to listen to him or like what he was going to say. My mind changed a bit after I actually took the time to listen. I do think that he abused his power when he used the president’s name out of context, but like he said that was four years ago, it’s old news now. I think the public, mainly news-press is hurting by not being able to get information from Scott. He is a public official that is elected, so even if some people do not like him, majority does, and that is why he is re-elected on top of making good changes for our county. Before hearing what he had to say today, I did think he was being childish by not talking to the news-press, but until today I did not know the whole story and I now understand why he chooses not to. Hopefully if Sheriff Scott is re-elected, him and the news-press can work on an agreement because I do not think it is fair that they cannot talk to him, but then again I understand why. It can only hurt the media by not being able to talk to an elected public official. The medias job is to inform the society what is going on, it is hard to do that when they cannot talk to the sheriff of the county.

  29. castineirar permalink
    October 18, 2012 9:20 pm

    In my opinion, I think the public is hurt by the sheriff’s vendetta against the news press. The sheriff is an elected official who is looked up to by voters and other members of the community. I feel as if he is acting like a child by refusing to speak to anyone from the news-press. This is not a role model I want in the community. You aren’t going to agree with everyone, Sheriff Scott. But at least put on your big boy under wear and grow up. The news-press and its readers deserve to have their questions answered.

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