The Florida legacy media can’t be trusted to publish the truth. Period.
And by legacy media I mean outfits like the Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Tallahassee Democrat.
On Friday Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that included requirements for ex-felons to restore their voting rights based on the voters approval of Amendment 4 which passed in 2018.
Amendment 4 stated that felons not convicted of murder and sexual assault would be eligible to vote if they completed “all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.”
Before Amendment 4 was approved for the ballot, supporters told the Supreme Court “all terms of their sentence” included fines, fees, and restitution.
Here are the exact words from the exchange between a Florida Supreme Court Justice and Mr. Mills, who was speaking on behalf of Amendment 4:
But now this exchange is being ignored by the media.
For example, the Tampa Bay Times published an article written by journalist Lawrence Mower which stated the bill signed by DeSantis was “undercutting much of the promise of last year’s historic Amendment 4.”
Mower also wrote that “Republican lawmakers took a more restrictive approach” to implementing Amendment 4. Mower never mentioned the “restrictive approach” was supported by Amendment 4 advocates before the Florida Supreme Court.
The article written by Mower was also published by the Miami Herald.
Mark Skoneki, a journalist with the Orlando Sentinel, wrote that Republicans interpreted the amendment language to “include restitution, court costs, fines and fees imposed by a judge at sentencing.”
Mr. Skoneki’s article also ran in the Sun Sentinel.
Mr. Skoneki, like Mr. Mower, failed to include in his article the position of Amendment 4 supporters as detailed before the Florida Supreme Court.
In fact, the payment of fees and fines was how Amendment 4 was, in part, sold to voters.
Tom Sherberger, the Communications Director for the Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts & Comptroller, stated on Twitter amid a debate on the issue, that “I canvassed for Amendment 4 and told the few skeptics I met that felons would have to pay fines, fees & restitution because that’s what complexing “all terms of a sentence” means. How can you read that plain language any other way?”
Despite these facts, the Tampa Bay Times headline on the front page read ‘Felon “poll tax” bill signed.’
These major Florida media outlets are allowing Democrats to use their reporting – which omitted important facts – to attack Republicans and promote divisiveness on an emotional issue.
For example, former gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham shared the Tampa Bay Times article on Twitter and slammed Governor DeSantis by writing “You are bad for Florida.”
Former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum shared the same article on Twitter and wrote, ” I’m not calling DeSantis a racist, but his poll tax sure is..”
It is worth noting that Peter Schorsch of FloridaPolitics.com – a part of the “new media” – acknowledged the Florida Supreme Court testimony in his social media posts on the issue. Schorsch wrote:
If one has a problem with how Amendment 4 has been implemented they should take it up with architects of the initiative who testified before Sup. Ct. that involved payment of fines, fees, and restitution.
The bottom line is you can’t trust the legacy media in Florida to tell you the whole story.