Joe Henderson: Um, Mike Hill? Your protest won’t intimidate Andy Marlette

Mike Hill
If anything, it will enhance Marlette’s already lofty standing among his media colleagues

State Rep. Mike Hill clearly doesn’t understand newspaper people. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be organizing a demonstration outside the Pensacola News Journal offices on Saturday to complain about the biting coverage he has received from columnist/cartoonist Andy Marlette.

Since I know a little bit about the newspaper biz, having spent almost a half-century there, I’m happy to offer some insight into what Hill likely will accomplish with this little fit of pique.

Um, nothing.

If anything, it will enhance Marlette’s lofty standing among his ink-stained brothers and sisters, not to mention people who use their brains as more than a doorstop.

Going forward, Andy Marlette will have far more influence than Hill will.

If Hill believes his hootenanny will intimidate one of the sharpest wits in the state, good luck with that. Veteran newspaper people have developed alligator-thick hide. Insults, threats, nasty emails, and phone calls to the publisher are part of the game, and we generally laugh them off.

I received my share of all that over the years, and from people with a lot more clout and intelligence than Mike Hill. And I’m still here.

People who rise to Marlette’s level didn’t get that far by worrying if some half-baked gasbag with a title might get his feelings hurt when confronted with the truth.

Records surfaced of Hill laughing at a public meeting when someone in the audience suggested he introduce a bill meting out Old Testament judgment for gays. I believe they were stoned back in the day.

Hill was not responsible for what was said from the audience. But I guess it never occurred to him that someone who serves in the state Legislature ought not to laugh with the crowd on something like that. It has nothing to do with being politically correct and everything to do with not being a colossal jerk.

Hill says he worships Jesus. Good for him.

I do too.

The Jesus that I worship commands his followers to love their neighbors, feed the poor, and visit the sick. He also says not to laugh when some lamebrain says stoning gay people to death is good public policy.

Protest that.

Hill’s Republican colleagues in Tallahassee will treat him like a pariah if they don’t succeed in running him out of the Legislature altogether. They have been blasting him from all sides and demanding, at the least, an apology.

Hill has refused to give one, which is fine. I wouldn’t believe him anyway.

You know how it is with some people, though. They attack the messenger and scream FAKE NEWS and all that other Trumpian kool-aid they swill. And they organize protest rallies because, yeah, that’ll show ‘em!

The First Amendment protects such things, so y’all knock yourselves out. Wave your signs, chant your insults, and shake your fists. It won’t change a thing.

Everyone will still know what Mike Hill did and why he is unfit for office. Other lawmakers in Tallahassee will avoid him like a typhoid-carrier.

And Andy Marlette will still be writing and producing outstanding editorial cartoons. I can’t wait for the next one. The guy is really good.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Seber Newsome III

    June 11, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Mr. Mariette, did you ever serve in the military? Where you were born and raised? I will check on both of these questions. I figure you are a Demorat and a liberal, am I right? You forget that Mike Hill’s supporters are the ones who put Governor DeSantis and President Trump into office. Those RHINOS in office now, will rue the day that they have criticized Mike Hill. Come the 2020 election this will come to fruition. So, keep up with your hate, Marietta, its only helping Mike Hill and making his supporters even more determined to support Mike!!!

  • Amy Baker

    June 12, 2019 at 1:12 am

    I wish Mike Hill was my Representative! He seems like a man of courage and a man that truly stands up to Bullys! I would go to his event but 9 hours is a long drive

  • Senior Chief

    June 12, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Mike Hill did not organize this rally he was invited to it. More fake news.

  • Nonya biznus

    June 12, 2019 at 1:27 am

    I think it is great someone put this event together. Whether you like him or not the fact remains this is more so about the vicious attacks made against conservatives than anything else. He is just their latest target.

    Are “we” as conservatives supposed to just be lap dogs and take it? If that is what the media expects, it is not going to happen!

    God bless Mike for taking a stand for what is just and moral by fighting for the unborn and abiding by his oath….which is rare to find in politicians these days.

    That suggestion made by that man in the audience was so moronic, I can’t believe the media isn’t attacking him instead. How about if you investigate him? I mean seriously, who would even say such a horrible thing?!

  • Strickland Cosson

    June 15, 2019 at 8:57 am

    It has gotten too damn easy and convenient to pull this BS on anyone you hate or dislike. Thanks to the frigging liberal media always head hunting and believing anything they are told this is the way things are now.

    Anyone can accuse anyone of anything and the media tries and convicts them before the evidence is even in, some strange type of liberal justice.
    We need a law passed to make it a mandatory 500 year federal prison sentence to falsely accuse anyone of anything in the media or public.

    This accusation BS is so far out of hand that everyone is afraid of everything and everyone and if you want to ruin someone all you need to do is get some stupid assed reporter to listen to your story and it’s a done deal without a bit of proof.

    The freedom of speech amendment needs to be amended to read the law only pertains to the truth, not wild ass guesses or what you heard.
    No proof—no liberty to speak without liability!

    Plus- Marlette’s WIFE works for Quint Studer, who the PNJ defends at any cost and is not held to any investigations as far as how Studer was able to purchase so much property without being micro-scoped. Why? He pay the PNJ’s salaries from all the full page advertising and the CIVIC-CONS he partners with the newspaper.

    Conflict of interest? Naw…

Comments are closed.


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