Fantastic editorial in March 1, 2017 Record exposing lying louche bully DIANE SCHERFF, St. Johns County Republican Executive Committee Second Vice Chair's material false statements attacking our hometown newspaper and encouraging a boycott.
1. The Record's parent company, MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS owned The Oak Ridger, which in the 1990s printed dozens of letters from workers made sick by decades of indoor and outdoor pollution at the U.S. Government's poisonous Oak Ridge, Tennessee nuclear weapons plants, including several of my clients and a worker environmental health group I encouraged and advised (Coalition for a Healthy Environment). Those letters, and Nashville Tennessean investigative reporting, helped stimulate positive change, to wit, adoption in 2000 of the deeply flawed Energy Employees Occupational Injuries Compensation Act, pushed by fraudfeasing phony U.S. Senator FRED DALTON THOMPSON, which has pumped some $12 billion into workers' CONpensation payments to victims of cancer and other occupational diseases. Without The Oak Ridger's printing letters (including my own), EEOICPA would not have been adopted as a palliative, a "lettuce poultice."
2. The St. Augustine Record has printed some 70 of my columns and letters since 2000. While penurious with quoting citizens opposed to developers, The Record freely prints opposing views on its editorial page.
3. The Record editorial by Peter Ellis on Sunday, November 19, 2006 gave me a spirited defense in the face of an unfair attack on me by then Mayor George Gardner, with a standing ovation by all the Commissioners, then City Manager WILLIAM HARRISS, and 75 wealthy yacht club members there to get a no-bid lease. The Record concluded:
5. As a reader and subscriber since November 1999, I challenged MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS bankruptcy and its being relieved of $300 million in debt, because it said "nothing would change."
We lamented the declining quality of journalism and failure to fulfill the "watchdog" function our Founders had in mind. We expressed concerns about disinvestment in covering local news. We lost before two conservative South Georgia courts, who appeared to give Chicago bankruptcy Augusta-based MORRIS COMMUNICATIONS what Southerners call "home cookin'." Sadly, our predictions were accurate, as the Record did not cover the September 10, 2010 shooting death of Michelle O'Connell in the home of Deputy JEREMY BANKS, thus requiring The New York Times and PBS Frontline to do the job our local newspaper monopoly refused to do.
We in the reality-based community are not giving up on the St. Augustine Record.
Yes, the Record is too often a "kiss-up, kick down" kind of dull fungible Southern Republican McPaper, which continually and promiscuously kisses up to rebarbative reprobate Republican Sheriff DAVID SHOAR f/k/a "HOAR." As the late New York Times Washington editor, associate editor and columnist Tom Wicker wrote in On Press (1978), too many newspapers kiss up to the local Establishment, whether tobacco companies in North Carolina or the government in D.C.
No, Ms. SHERFF, our aspiring hometown newspaper did not deserve your arachnid apparatchik paranoid delusions on Monday. You need to apologize to the journalists at the Record, and to all of the discriminatee group members whom you and your fascist fellow ME-Publicans attacked in your self-indulgent ideological perversions on February 27, 2017, the anniversary of the Reichstag Fire.
The Record and discrimination victims. did not deserve the furious fulminating falsehoods from DIANE HAGAN SCHERFF.
The great thing about the St. Augustine Record is, in the immortal words of the late Knoxville Journal columnist and reporter Jim Dykes, "No matter what you say, it's still a newspaper." [Jim was one of my local advisors and sherpas when I went to East Tennessee in 1978-79 on a Fund for Investigative Journalism grant, investigating TVA coal procurement -- the quoted remark was over pitchers of beer in a bar, and I still remember his wit and wisdom. Jim led a Newspaper Guild "byline strike" at his newspaper when editors tried to inflict a fourth grade vocabulary on its writers -- reporters took their bylines off their stories, just as happened later at The Wall Street Journal). Sadly, there is not one chapter of the Newspaper Guild in all of Florida.]
Bottom line: I support my hometown newspaper against this silly nitwit twit, this supercilious, shrill, gauche, louche, lying, reactionary, retromignent rebarbative Reichwing Republican sophist, snooty 'ole DIANE HAGAN SHERFF and her dumb 'ole boycott threat.
In a time of fulminating fascistic fanatics like DONALD JOHN TRUMP and DIANE HAGAN SHERFF, let's do something to make the world safe for democracy.
We, the People must support newspapers. The Washington Post's new slogan is "DEMOCRACY DIES IN DARKNESS."
To the Record: Keep asking questions. Eventually you might get the Michelle O'Connell story right -- we know The New York Times and PBS Frontline did, when you were still taking handouts from Sheriff SHOAR. As the Record advised me in 2006:
"don't be hushed. Remember that its not important to be popular; it is important to stick to your guns."
Deceptive dimwit DIANE HAGAN SCHERFF, St. Johns County Me-Publican Executive Committee Second Vice Chair
St. Augustine Record
Posted March 1, 2017 12:02 am
EDITORIAL: Sorry, but allow a small rant
Rancor is high around the Oldest City — a symptom, no doubt, of the national chasm opened up by the presidential election and elevated in its aftermath.
From where we sit, both Democrats and Republicans are taking their parties to ugly places where innuendo replaces fact and middle ground has disappeared.
We don’t often answer attacks. But it’s tough to sit back and allow outright subterfuge to go unanswered.
A Republican Party officer attacked this newspaper, speaking at a rally on the green at the Castillo de San Marcos. Speaker Diane Scherff, rallied the crowd claiming The Record had chosen not to cover the event. “Now, if they are here, I will eat my words…”
There were, In fact, three staffers present. Photographer [Peter] Willot was shooting the event, reporter Jared Keever was covering it and digital editor was streaming the coverage live.
Ms. Scherff continued: “But they do not want to post anything really about this rally, but they put the indivisible group on the front page.”
That’s where the story of that event was placed Tuesday.
Apparently on a roll of deception, she continued: “So, if you would like to, please boycott The Record, They are losing advertising dollars and they are losing subscriptions, so why should we support a paper that doesn’t support us?”
Certainly that’s her right to voice, but both revenue and circulation are up. And Republican Party Chair William Korach has since made it clear to membership that there is no party-sponsored boycott of our newspaper.
Editor Craig Richardson and Opinion Editor Jim Sutton have spoken with the leaders of the two parties. Both claim that we’re biased in favor of the other. As a general rule, when both sides of a controversy claim newspaper prejudice, it’s doing its job correctly.
For more than a century, our sanction has been to cover “us”— to be there for the major events in our county and to be especially cognizant of the smaller ones. That may be a birth or death. It may be a no-hitter on a women’s softball team or another state championship for a football program. It’s datil pepper recipes, dance recitals and jail logs. A newspaper is irrelevant until you’re in it.
Just this week, reporter Jared Keever’s cold case story was credited with bringing to close a case of the hit-and-run killing of a 15-year-old child, Haley Nicole Smith, three years ago.
The newspaper budget includes up to $400,000 this year in sponsorships of predominately non-profit entities. We distributed $117,000 to 377 families in need — your donations to our Empty Stocking Fund.
Real community coverage includes celebrations and failures. No one likes the bad news, and we understand that. An old adage says there are only three things no on can do to the complete satisfaction of another: make love, poke a fire and run a newspaper.
We make mistakes. But without (sic) fail, we correct them the following (sic) day in print. If our subscribers don’t take us to task, it means they don’t care, so we pay attention to the differences of opinion with our readers. And we allow those differences free rein on our opinion pages.
We are not the enemy of America. We’re proud of our history here and the space we fill in the everyday lives of residents.
But the real truth about a community newspaper is that it counts on it readers for legitimacy. Your interaction creates the content. Bob Woodard once said, “The central dilemma in journalism is that you don’t know what you don’t know.”
We write only what we know about, and we thank you all for keeping us informed — honest as well.