Governor Rick Scott and the press corp that covers him are now in a full out war, according to Politico
. The press isn't happy at the perception that Scott is trying to limit their access to a state Government, that in principal at least, has traditionally tried to be transparent and open. Scott and his team apparently want the journalists to wear nice clothes when they ask him questions and stop making silly, little blog posts about him.
The issue came to a head when Scott decided to open a dinner with fellow lawmakers to journalists on the condition that his team would get to pick the reporters
. Usually in a situation where the number of journalists allowed is limited the press corps, chooses from its own members on a rotation system. Scott eventually only allowed one reporter from the Conservative-leaning and relatively unknown website Sunshine State News to attend the event.
What's more is that Scott wants to control the way the press behaves at his press conferences. Instead of standing up and shouting questions, he expects journalists to remain seated and raise their hands like an elementary school class. Instead of letting them wear flip flops and t-shirts, Scott wants to institute a suggested dress code (c'mon Scott, Journalists can't afford nice clothes on their pay anymore). He even suggested setting up a velvet rope at the events so he could quickly leave, but never acted on the idea.
"We think that by giving a little bit of order to the whole process it will help everybody more evenly get the news that they need," Brian Burgess told Politico.
Obviously the media's own ideas about the news they need and the Governor's idea will vary greatly. Scott apparently doesn't like all these frivilous little blog items popping up about him. A short item on the Buzz headlined "Gay cowboys, handcuffs, and Rick Scott,"
apparently generated some ire.
Politico suggests that Charlie Crist may have generally spoiled the press corp. He freely gave out his cell phone number and kept Journo's favorite beer on hand in his office.
"He showered them with access and attention bordering on the ridiculous in order to win favorable coverage," Alberto Martinez, a Republican strategist, tells Politico.
If they know that access and attention results on favorable coverage, why then would the Scott team be surprised that limiting both may result in more negative coverage?