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Posted on August 13, 2016
Jeff Burlew, who the Tallahassee Democrat labels as their community watchdog reporter, recently wrote a story about political advertising in the upcoming elections and predicted that City Commissioner Scott Maddox will easily win his race.
Burlew, referring to Maddox, wrote “He’s facing three challengers with little name recognition or chance of winning.”
Ironically, in writing that Maddox’s opponents had “little name recognition”, Burlew failed to mention their names.
Bruce Strouble and Luther Lee are competing against Scott Maddox for seat 1 on the Tallahassee City Commission.
Mr. Strouble told TR that “the Democrat has not conducted any official polling of Tallahassee voters and are reporting their opinions of the seat 1 race as facts.”
Mr Lee said “I don’t think it’s any secret that some “journalists” report their stories from a very biased perspective. Scott Maddox spends a significant amount of money advertising with the Tallahassee Democrat so I expect him to get preferential treatment.”
In the article, Burlew wrote that Maddox was “relying on yard signs and ads in the Tallahassee Democrat.”
Both challengers believe the Tallahassee Democrat reporting could aid City Commissioner Maddox in the upcoming election.
Mr. Strouble said, “I do have concerns that the bias tone in some of the reports will unfairly influence voters to support the incumbent.”
Mr. Lee said, “If they continue to push the narrative that no one stands a chance against Scott Maddox, then people buy in to that opinion and vote for Maddox because popular journalist have them convinced that anything else would be foolish.”
Mr. Lee finished by telling TR, “I’m not upset by biased reporting anymore, just disappointed. I hoped that our large, local paper would be the exception, but that’s probably hoping for too much.”
The declaration by Mr. Burlew poses a serious question for Tallahassee Democrat management: does Mr. Burlew’s view of Maddox’s victory mean that Burlew will not pursue “watch dog” reports involving City Commissioner Maddox?