On May 22nd, I decided to leave The Florida Squeeze. I decided to leave the website not because of personal attacks or the lack of substantive discussion on the website (which, thankfully, has been reduced quite a bit). I instead left because of the censorship that was happening on the website.
The following article was actually written on May 22nd, but I decided not to publish because I did not think it was appropriate at the time. I figured that the tone of The Florida Squeeze would change. However, since my departure, my fears have become a reality. Instead of being a pure non-biased look at Florida politics, the website has become a Peter Schorsch-style “pay-to-play” platform without the pay, I assume. In the recent “Winners and Losers” articles, people who are close associates of those who operate the website were considered some of the “winners”. On the other hand, people like Allison Tant, who has been considered a “loser” by many in Florida Democratic Party politics, have been given a free pass.
When I created The Political Hurricane, the goal of the website was to give an honest assessment of Florida Democratic politics. Granted, I picked my sides on many issues, such as the FDP Chair race, but I did not try to hide my intentions. I pride myself in the fact that people knew where I was coming from and did not hold back any punches. Also, my association with people did not prevent me from telling, what I consider, was the true. For example, at the time that I wrote my series of articles about Christopher Findlater, I had a working relationship with Susannah Randolph. If I wanted to keep that relationship, it would have been best for me not to release that series of articles. Instead, I felt that the truth was more important than networking. I feel that this is the difference between The Political Hurricane in its heyday and The Florida Squeeze today.
To further explain my departure, here is what I wrote on May 22nd:
When I first started writing for The Florida Squeeze, I was told that my posts would be edited (as well as everyone else’s posts) for grammatical and spelling errors, as well as issues with style. I had no problem with that whatsoever. But this “editing” started to move away from just simple spelling errors to removing, as well as adding, content to posts that I had written.
The most recent of these was the article about “Where were the progressives” in regards to endorsing Nan Rich. The original article that I had written (under my byline) not only included Ruth’s List, but also included included the folks at Florida Watch Action, which included Susannah Randolph and Amy Ritter, as well as Scott Randolph. But any reference to these people was taken out. The reason that I was told of the exclusion was because the site didn’t want it to “look personal”. For some reason, mentioning Ruth’s List was alright, but mentioning the Randolphs was considered over-the-line. As a result, I asked for the piece to be written under an editorial byline and not my personal byline since a considerable amount of content was removed.
The final straw came when I had a comment moderated regarding Susannah Randolph. Knowing Susannah’s writing style (as well as the buzz words that she uses which makes her posts extremely obvious), I responded to a post that was put in the comment section. This comment was eventually edited.
The reason why I decided to publish this article about The Florida Squeeze now is because I feel that the website has become personal (hence the irony regarding the edits on my article in May) and not a substantive debate of either issues or the state of the party. The focus of the blog over the last few months on Orange and Broward County politics shows this bias. When looking at a website, one must ask “what are the ends”. When The Political Hurricane was created, the “end” was to have a successful Florida Democratic Party that competes. Hence, when I started this blog four years ago, I advocated the removal of Karen Thurman as chair, as well as outlined ideas about rebuilding the Florida Democratic Party, without having biases. And yes, I currently live in Montreal, but this has benefited me in the fact that I can look at the results of what happened in Florida in 2014 in an objective way, and not let personal relationships determine whether someone is a “winner” or “loser”.
This is an unfortunate turn for The Florida Squeeze, considering the credibility that it has built over the last few years. I hope that the editors over there come to realize that their work is more than just for them, but for a greater good which should promote a true two-party system in Florida. However, if The Florida Squeeze is being used to promote certain individuals, and win the favor of other individuals, then I feel full disclosure is warranted.
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