‘When Newspapers Shill,’ Cries Rival Paper

The Broward-Palm Beach News
ran a story recently declaring a rival paper, the Sun Sentinel, to have ‘stepped over the line’ when they advocated for an airport expansion in Fort Lauderdale.

The story said that the paper’s GM showed up at a meeting declaring that the Sun Sentinel’s editorial should be read by every local citizen, and that they should just ‘get on with’ the controversial expansion.

“Funny, a good perusal of the editorial reveals almost no facts whatsoever. No price tag. No number of homes affected. No numbers on passenger traffic at the airport. No mention of the fact that despite projections of steady growth in traffic at the airport, the number of passengers decreased last year by almost 5 percent.

No, nothing but lines like, “No matter how often, or hotly, it is debated, a runway expansion at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a must. Period.”

The presence at the meeting of Greenberg, who has a long history of coziness with the Broward County Chamber of Commerce, and his public speech about the Sentinel’s being in favor of expansion rankled the opposition, including Broward County Commissioner John Rodstrom, who also spoke.

“If you read both newspapers [on the airport issue], the Miami Herald is nonpartial and very balanced,” he said the day after the meeting. “The Sentinel isn’t balanced at all. The two papers have very different views on this issue. The Sun-Sentinel is full-speed ahead.”

Rodstrom was especially displeased with the headline over the news story written by the Sentinel on the meeting: “Expansion supporters out in force.”

Many of the supporters were senior citizens bused in from Kings Point condominiums in Tamarac, recruited by pro-business groups. Others work for mega-builder Terry Stiles, one of the expansion’s chief proponents. (I should note that I found the actual article to be balanced despite the stance of the newspaper’s owners.)”