Update: I left out something very important. The Reporter is supposed to be an Upper Keys newspaper, but they don’t come through on issues that effect the Upper Keys specifically. The Reporter is so desperate to stay on the good side of the county commission, they failed to take seriously the unfair $100 million wastewater funding disparity that affects every household and every business in Key Largo. Same is true for emergency services, animal control, and probably every other issue you can think of besides.
The Reporter is congratulating themselves again.
Sigh. So pathetic. Like my mom used to say, “self praise is no praise”.
Here’s an especially amusing excerpt.
Reflecting on those early editions today, it seems like the editors back then may have been striving to be more like the National Enquirer than what The Reporter looks like today. We had a front page story in 1977, for example, about a Bigfoot-like creature known as the Skunk Ape visiting a Key Largo family’s home.
The fake Skunk Ape story was harmless entertainment. Nobody was smeared or disparaged. It was dumb, but it wasn’t mean-spirited. Contrast that with some of the Reporter’s more recent work.
Here’s a one-sided story about an overblown non-scandal at the Clerk’s office. The article is based almost entirely on “information” provided by County Attorney, Shady Bob Shillinger. Notice that current State Attorney, Dennis Ward, had an awful lot to say back then. But what is the status of the “investigation” today? I have no idea. There’s been no follow-up from the Reporter. How serious is Ward about pursuing improper handling of public records these days? Not very. Not when the official in question is Shady Bob.
And here’s a laughably slanted take on the multitude of ethics violations by the county commissioners. The Reporter painted the egregious ethics violations as a result of a vendetta. That spin, of course, ignores the reality that the ethics complaints were supported by verifiable fact. Once again, the Reporter made no real attempt to get the other side of the story, preferring instead to act as a megaphone for the commissioners’ flimsy excuses. What’s great about this article certainly isn’t the “journalism”. It’s the comments. People weren’t buying the Reporter’s spin at all.
Equally as disturbing are the true stories that you will never see in the Reporter. Toppino’s conflicts of interest. The county’s endless deceptions regarding the Emergency Services Surtax. The Reporter won’t tell you what you need to know. They tell you what sleazy local government officials want you to know. That ain’t journalism.
The Reporter has been afflicting the afflicted and comforting the comfortable for years now – the exact opposite of what the press is supposed to do. Frankly, I’d rather read about the Skunk Ape.
It’s not hard to write schlock that pleases the powers that be. Any idiot can do that. It takes no talent or skill at all. Or ethics. Or decency. Or courage. You don’t have to do any independent research. Or ruffle any feathers. There’s absolutely no risk involved. No hard work. Simply pick up the phone and ask some sleazy public official to dictate their dishonest, self-serving version of reality to the readers. The Odious Sylvia Murphy is always happy to do that. So is Shady Bob.
The good news is that the Reporter is changing over to an entirely digital format. No more trees have to die to accommodate their nonsense.
Of course, if they folded altogether they’d also stop polluting cyberspace with fake news.