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On the Times editorial board and calling the kettle black—er, white

Diversity is a good thing. Even on newspaper editorial boards.

This week, the Tampa Bay Times editorial board criticized the lack of diversity on the Florida Supreme Court and called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to “do the right thing” and “appoint a black justice.”

While we agree with the Times’ call for more diversity on the state’s highest court, the editorial board’s position is dripping with hypocrisy.

Let’s meet the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board, shall we?

Times CEO Paul Tash: White.

Times Editorial Editor Tim Nickens: White.

Times Editorial Writers, Elizabeth Djinis, John Hill, and Jim Verhulst: White. White. White.

It’s no secret there is no love lost between the Tampa Bay Times and Florida Politics, but I rarely criticize the newspaper anymore. But then it publishes something like this and I can’t help but respond to.

The Editorial Board, which calls its editorials the “institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times,” has a 100 percent lily-white perspective and does not represent the nearly 25 percent of the Tampa metro area that is Black, Hispanic or Asian. 

But maybe even more egregious is that the editorial begins by implying DeSantis is not concerned about a diverse court and completely contradicting that argument a few paragraphs later.

In the opening sentence, ye olde Ed. Board, peering down from its literal Ivory Tower, points the finger at the Governor to “do the right thing” and appoint a black justice.

Buried in the second to last paragraph is the fact that in nine months since taking office, DeSantis has appointed more African American justices than Rick Scott did in eight years. 

If DeSantis does appoint a black justice, will the Editorial Board bring its Anglo-Saxon brain trust together to applaud him or will the editorial writers put out another screed saying he should have appointed two? 

Diversity is a good thing. Certainly, DeSantis and the state’s Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission should make every effort to create a Court that reflects the diversity of Florida.

It would be nice if the Times had the same concern about its Editorial Board. 

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

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