Tampa Bay Business Journal’s cheap smear job on Gov. Rick Scott


Photo Credit – Skinny Neckties

As we inch closer and closer to the 2014 election, Gov. Rick Scott can expect to see everything, including the kitchen sink, thrown at him — with the media in Florida only too happy to play its role.

In fact, the whole media-created saga over poor ol’ Reagan, the dog Scott returned to its original owner because it was having trouble adapting to its new environs in Tallahassee, was just a taste of what’s in store.

For a more recent example of how far some are willing to go to turn nothing into instant controversy and paint Scott in a negative light, consider last week’s overblown coverage about what normally would have been seen as an innocuous marketing logo.

Scott, in his role as chairman of Enterprise Florida, unveiled a new campaign Thursday to cast the Sunshine State as an attractive place for commerce. The accompanying logo sports an orange necktie and the slogan, “Florida: The perfect climate for business.”

Florida: The perfect climate for business

The logo prompted Tampa Bay Business Journal reporter Mark Holan to write a column headlined, “Is a men’s tie in business logo offensive to women?” Three businesswomen are quoted in the piece, all agreeing the logo is “offensive” or “insensitive” to women:

“It’s clearly a strong visual that business and men go together.” ~ Susan Stackhouse, CEO of Stellar Partners Inc.

“In 2013? Really? They didn’t think half of the people in the state would be offended by this? Really?” ~ Links Financial President Penny Hulbert

“As a female business owner I am shocked and disappointed the only visual representation in the Enterprise Florida logo is a man’s tie,” ~Colleen Chappell, president and CEO of ChappellRoberts

The story is accompanied by a poll asking:

“Is it bad form for Enterprise Florida to use the typically gender specific icon of a necktie as the main image on its new marketing campaign for the Sunshine State?”

The tone of the article and the poll question’s wording are leading, suggesting that the Scott-led marketing campaign is sexist. But a closer look tells a far different tale, about a reporter and his sourcing, not the governor’s view of women.

The three women Holan quoted disparaging the logo are hardly new to the Tampa Bay Business Journal – together, they’ve been quoted or have been a source in 75 of its articles since 2000.

Seventy-five times! Are they listed under “reliable quote” in the Rolodex? That familiarity would indicate that Holan has a good idea of what he’s going to get when he reaches out to them for commentary.

Holan also knew, as he mentioned in his column, that Chappell’s firm was “one of several Florida companies that vied unsuccessfully last year for the Enterprise Florida branding contract.”

Shouldn’t that alone disqualify her as a biased source on this particular story?

Instead, the person who lost out in the bid to produce the logo is now being asked to critique the winner’s logo?

But far more troublesome is Hulbert, a businesswoman who happens to count former boss, Alex Sink, “amongst her dearest friends and mentors,” according to a profile on the Links-Financial.com website.

This being the same Alex Sink who lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Scott, the man now unveiling the logo Hulbert found so offensive.

Is it even possible Holan was unaware of Holbert’s close relationship when he asked her to comment on the campaign led by the man who beat her “dear friend” at the polls?

Then, in a follow-up article, Holan seems surprised that poll results in his paper’s sister publication, the Orlando Business Journal, show that only 43 percent of responders were offended by the logo, when a full 57 percent of Tampa Business Journal responders called it an insult.

It’s really not that confusing. There is a big difference in how the question is phrased in the Orlando Business Journal, with no reference to the logo being “gender-specific”:

“Do you think Enterprise Florida’s new branding logo is offensive?”

I’ll tell you what’s offensive: this attempt to smear an otherwise harmless marketing initiative with lazy sourcing and a suggestive poll question. If this is what the Tampa Bay Business Journal calls journalism, we know how low its bar is set.

Holan’s work here is either a sign of sloppy reporting or nothing less than using a position of trust to push a political agenda. Regardless of which conclusion you draw, it’s the height of irresponsibility.

Updated – Glenn Beck’s news web site The Blaze picked up on this story and is running a poll of its own, asking the simple straight forward question: Is this logo sexist?

  • Absolutely! Just look at that tie!
  • I think I’m missing something here.
  • You’re joking, right?


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Tom Tillison

Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review.
Tom Tillison


  • Concerned_mom

    I like how you did not address the issue of whether the tie in the business logo is gender-specific and exclusionary. That was the, you know, main theme of the Tampa Bay story, which you skillfully ignored.

    • http://www.posterchildrenfortermlimits.com George Blumel

      Concerned_mom, of course, misses the point. There is no "exclusionary" or "gender specific" meaning to the logo –THAT is the point. The Business Journal sunk to a new low with that one –especially using Sink and the other losers, disgruntled women they use in most of their articles as sources. Tillison is doing real reporting, digging behind the cheap partisan piece and exposing it for what it is. As Gov. Scott says, "Let's get to work!"

  • Casually Conservativ

    Bring the professional jobs to Florida!

    In a state wrapped in tourism and petty political housewives…I welcome the suits regardless who's wearing them.

    I believe the article is about "cheap journalism" and how Holan's opinion piece was formed.

    Tom thanks shining the light on the demoRAT underworld…and all their scuring.

    Tillison – You need a promotion!

  • Dmitry

    I wonder if in pursuit of "gender equality" (women in combat – the last mind boggling example) political correctness idiocy will finally reach the point when the prostate exam is deemed gender biased and obamcare will include it in paid services for women. Concurrently, in the true spirit of Affirmative Action (one class of citizens is more equal than others) men will still be prohibited from sharing with women the pleasures of OBGY chair and pop-smear.

    • JJ

      Dmitry – that is BEAUTIFUL!!! LOL…you summed it all up very succinctly>>>it's called ladies get a life and get a grip while you're at it…I don't suppose I'd ever wear the same bowling shirt as Rick Scott, but I'm perfectly OK with his plan and even more so with the $108MM budget surplus from last year…did Mark Holan even mention that in his article? Didn't think so.

      • Dmitry

        Thanks JJ. American feminists-nazists really make me sick. Being an Eastern European by birth and upbringing one of the very few good things I can say about that part of the world is the WOMEN. They are so appreciative of what men do for them, and men in return move heaven and earth for their sweethearts. Long ago I said that American women fought for being equal with the men so hard and for so long that finally they have succeeded: they walk like men, they talk like men, they act like men. In return men lost their chivalry and sense of responsibility, their status of protector – physical, moral, financial. American women've got what they paid for – along with the whole society….

  • Charles

    Have any of you watched C-SPAN. In federal office both male and female interns wear ties. This is also a requirement in many school uniforms. Only after graduation is the female allowed to loose the tie. What I find offensive is that men cannot loose the noose because there is no proper fashion alternative.

  • http://Bizpac Ted

    This is all about a tie on some business attracting campaign design? Someone on both sides of this should ask one simple question, pushing this stoopid piece aside: "Where's the Beef?. Shame on both sides. Some of you people should get serious jobs.

  • Quan

    Much ado about nothing… from the left, and sadly from the right. We have a state full of foreclosures, lost jobs, closing schools, and we have politicians pompously touting immigration " reform" to pander and position a fictitious run. We have an ex-Governor appearing with a Fox commentator peacocking as an education "reformer" positioning himself for the same run. And high on a perch commenting about the idiosyncrasy of Tampa Bay is Tom who touts himself as grassroots and activist and connected to us, everyday Floridians! Commenting on a Tie!!! How special, how utterly on point and in real time!

    • Ron

      Sounds like the libs are out in full force diverting the attention away from the guilty. It is becoming clear what their strategy will be going forward.

  • Special Operator

    As to the tie, when designing a "csampaign" the message should target those who make the decisions. Who makes most of the business location/expansion decisions in the business world today? Is a neck tie in this day and time only worn by men………I know women who wear neck ties and men who never wear neck ties. I wonder how these three women would feel about serving in a front line Marine infantry rifle company in combat…………………..not before such service, but afterward, if they survived. Bottom line…………………………..should not the focus in economic development be in attracting JOBS? Developing a program that works and brings new JOBS is the "key" here, not getting "sign off" from every interest group in Florida. Governor Scott has gone all out to bring JOBS to Florida and has been extremely successful in doing so………..GOVERNOR SCOTT DESERVES PRAISE ON THE JOBS FRONT FOR MAKING THE "RIGHT MOVES" INCLUDING THE NEW LOGO, NOT CRITICISM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The three ladies who voice opposition to the new logo in ther Tampa Bay Business story should all wear ties to work tomorrow…………….in other words, they should join with those who are honestly and sincerely trying to create more JOBS in Florida for our citizens.

  • Special Operator

    TOM TILLISON IS A "GREAT" ADDITION TO THE "BIZPAC" TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • hypocrisy

    I find it to be completely hypocritical to title this article with a reference to "cheap smear job" when Jack Furnari cheaply smeared Al Zucarro last week. While this article is well written and informative it is too good for the likes of the cheap smear job that is Furnari and the cheap smear job biz pac.

  • Isabella1709

    This is simply a continuation of the leftist attack "GOP War on Women" which advertises one faults premise after another. Since leftist have no positive solutions to problems they can only win on lies and accusations. If free enterprise is to survive in America we need to wake up to the fact that Dems appeal to the lowest common denominator and the perception that we as people can not survive on our own.

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