Coverage of Amendment 4 Shows Why Florida Media Can’t Be Trusted

Coverage of Amendment 4 Shows Why Florida Media Can’t Be Trusted

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.

Here’s why.

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 – 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.

30 Responses to "Coverage of Amendment 4 Shows Why Florida Media Can’t Be Trusted"

  1. Is it not important that the original intent of the amendment, as supported by people who signed the petition, be enforced? DeSantis is doing everything in his power to be sure Democrats are shut out at the polls. That’s what this is really about.

  2. Dirty Andy Gillum sure is banging his drum loudly. He should have the decency to stay out of the spotlight. Getting caught with crack and a boy-toy used to be considered shameful. Marion Berry would be proud of him.

  3. Steve, thank you for pointing this out. The leftists are trying to slam any mud they can against DeSantis/conservatives – but it’s not sticking. If this doesn’t work – they will keep going, even if they have to make something up. Please keep pointing out the truth – just the facts!

  4. Remember this fake news and propaganda is being planned and reported by people that think they’re smarter than everyone else and while stop at nothing to attempt to control other human beings and enact whatever narcissistic agenda they have in and to be in power. They believe they deserve to be king. It’s pathetic and disgusting.

  5. Interesting bit of misdirection, but let’s answer your question. You are probably responding to the statement in the Orlando Sentinel that implied that other fees could be included above and beyond those ordered by the court – “That leads critics to worry that other administrative fees or other costs outside of a judge’s sentence would pile up, preventing the felon from ever voting.”

    But note that this article was written in March 2019, before the final draft of the bill. In its engrossed language, 20197066er, the bill states:

    98.0751(2)5 –
    “b. Full payment of fines or fees ordered by the court as a part of the sentence or that are ordered by the court as a condition of any form of supervision, including, but not limited to, probation, community control, or parole.

    c. The financial obligations required under sub-subparagraph a. or sub-subparagraph b. include only the amount specifically ordered by the court as part of the sentence and do not include any fines, fees, or costs that accrue after the date the obligation is ordered as a part of the sentence.”

    So, to answer your question – no, there are no hidden fees. You can find this information in the Orlando Sentinel, here:

    However, to address the original topic, why do newspapers get vilified because you object to reporters’ news stories? Is this paranoia on your part or just a way to get your readers roiled up? Perhaps a more moderate approach would be to hold newspaper editors to a higher standard of fact-checking. That way we could fact-check as a standard approach to reporting rather than dismissing all reporting as “fake news,” as a way to undermine what is really a tough job. Because, to use your approach, after reading clearly one-sided “reporting” in the Tallahassee Reports I might dismiss your publication as a right wing propaganda outlet with little factual basis. Would this be fair?

    1. Doubt that would be fair (and certainly not accurate) – any more than almost all of the national news media is “fair” in it’s reporting or any resemblence to actual facts. Holding news editors to higher (or just professional) standards would be great – let’s list a few:
      The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN (worst offender of all with basement-bottom ratings to prove it), MSNBC and nearly every other MSM “news outlet” all (not one, but ALL) have had blatantly untrue stories published, and CNN has had multiple scandals involving false reporting or stories, even having to force resignations of three reporters (purely for show). Often the NYT and WaPo will run stories with misleading or sensational headlines, only to print token “corrections” buried in some obscure back page later.
      The good news from all this: No one puts much stock in what the MSM says anymore, and much of the MSM is laying off staff and in financial decline. In plain language, much of America has dismissed these “propaganda outlets” as fake news and not valid journalistic organizations. Don’t even mention the Tallahassee Democrat – it’s a sad joke that’s earned it’s coming end with false and one-sided reporting, and being in bed with liberal local politicians. It’s dying, and good riddance.

      Tallahassee is overflowing with liberals and their views – no wonder any reporting or news source that’s conservative is a target. Good – that means views opposing the Left and MSM are being heard.

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      1. I truly wish that those people who use labels that are meaningless would consider what it reveals: an inability to be objective and/or analytical. Consider: “Tallahassee is overflowing with liberals….” Where in Florida’s politics is it evident that “liberals”
        are overflowing anywhere? What do you mean by “liberal” anyway? It was once thought that a “liberal education” meant being exposed to thinking from all viewpoints and not simply listening to the agenda politics of whoever has the momentary stage. This infantile approach to persuasion is getting pretty tedious and simply leads to more and more banality from the Left and the Right – whoever they are?

  6. Ahhh, such Tea Party outrage! How nostalgic. Perhaps the problem with paying fines – and the perception that this is a new poll tax – is that this requirement was not clearly specified in Amendment 4. Along with a lot of people, it came as a surprise to me when the Florida Legislature made sure those payments were specifically spelled out. Makes sense that the Legislature needs to ensure that this form of voter suppression is encoded in state law, otherwise the Republication party would face a loss of power with national consequences. Can’t have that, of course. Your total disparagement of news organizations because you disagree with the stories filed by some reporters lacks basic scientific logic in which you cannot generalize from a couple anecdotes. I note that you apparently missed the story by Mike Lafferty last March in the Orlando Sentinal that lays out the rationale for the payment of fines. See: However, if you are dead set to smoke out untruths, just turn your attention to your man in the White House, who apparently cannot distinguish between fact and fiction and who spins incredible non-truths on a daily basis. I’d enjoy to read some of your rage directed there. Otherwise, you might talk to your opinion commentator Steve Post on the the difference between commission of falsehood and omission of facts when it comes to speaking the truth.

    1. Are you saying the bill signed by DeSantis includes fines and fees not handed down by a judge in a sentence?

  7. Thanks, Steve for highlighting the misappropriation of the truth by the Mainstream Media…they perpetuate the lie and believe that if it is told often enough, and loud enough, it will be true!…your story is 100% factually correct…the Left always tries to change their story after they pass an amendment, but this time they got caught by videotape before the Florida Supreme Court…ex-felons SHOULD pay all court costs, fines, and fees assessed by the Courts, unless the Judge waives or reduces them in which case the amounts may not be due…but, Victims Restitution should ALWAYS be due and paid

  8. Is it fair, though? Do all voters have to pay all court ordered fines before voting, or just the felons? I think this will be the question before the courts…ACLU will sue, I’m certain. There’s going to have to be a compelling interest to require felons to pay all fines and not other voters. The right to vote is a definite constitutional protection, so defender’s of the requirement better have a good plan to show how this isn’t discriminatory on its face. A definite disparate impact on minorities….I can’t say I have a huge problem with requiring the fines to be paid before voting if that’s all they were sentenced to. If they served time though, that’s a little troubling. Do you realize how many felons get off with only paying fines?? More than you’d believe. Those folks need to finish paying since that was the whole sentence.

    1. “defender’s of the requirement better have a good plan to show how this isn’t discriminatory on its face. A definite disparate impact on minorities”

      This law does not discriminate… All convicted felons have to complete “all terms of their sentence” including fines, fees, and restitution. It doesn’t exempt anyone that’s a felon.
      That means no matter what your race or gender it applies to ALL convicted felons.

      If you feel it would have a larger impact on minorities…the only conclusion is you believe minorities commit more felonies. If you’re advocating an exemption for minorities that commit felonies…just because their race or gender…then OMG Ms Petty…you’re promoting discrimination.

      1. So because these “minorities” you speak of commit the lions share of the crime which logically makes them the “majority” coming out of prison you are taking a stand of it being “discriminatory” ???
        What’s wrong with your logic process?

  9. The good news is that these leftist rags are becoming less relevant with each passing day. Registered Democrats and minorities are becoming more woke to fake news with each passing day.
    And I’m pretty sure President Trump has no plans to allow leftist fake news media run over him in 2020. Not Google, Facebook, or these dying left wing media.

  10. Schools of Journalism are liberal melting pots that teach the masses are ignorant and it is the function of journalists to control their minds. Hiring liberal reporters, promoting liberal editors, writing about liberal issues, twisting stories to fit liberal political objectives, are what young journalism students learn today, and its all disguised as serving the People as the watchdog over the functioning of government. It is mind control. Americans are learning that the media has become politicized, and they are losing faith in it. News has become propaganda.

  11. Of course, this is all driven by the fact that felons are an important part of the Democrat Party base. It’s the fifty thousand felon strategy to defeat Trump.

  12. Another example: the bill to allow administrators and teachers to carry guns in schools.
    The Fake News media mischaracterizes this in a way that says they will be required to do so. NO.
    And that option is determined by each county’s school board.
    Of course, our local board with its Rocky relationship towards guns has emphatically said NO WAY.

  13. BTW, Mark Skoneki was a news editor at the Fake Newsocrat in the ’80s before heading south to the Slantinel.
    This is no different than the amendment to establish medical marijuana, which did NOT allow for smokeable delivery. But “progressively” that has been eroded “For the People.”
    A bigger story to me is that Publisher Skip Foster inadvertently ADMITTED that GANNETT SPIES on its customers to boost ad revenue:

    I forsee a new subscription campaign:

    “DO YOU LIKE TO BE SPIED ON? We’re here to help, just click the subscribe button!”

    Of course, Google and FakeBook have been doing this for years, so it’s not a big shock to me.

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