Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell: Rude, radical and unprofessional

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Orlando Sentinel’s Scott Maxwell

Reports that Koch Industries is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Co.’s newspapers has Orlando’s far left in a lather over the prospect of losing “its” paper.

The Orlando Sentinel is one of several Tribune newspapers, which also include the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Baltimore Sun and the Sun Sentinel.

Florida Watch Action organized a rally Thursday in front of the Orlando Sentinel’s offices to “fight back” against the dastardly billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, arch enemies of all things progressive.

Florida Watch Action is best known for its “Pink Slip Rick” campaign, which stalks Republican Gov. Rick Scott at public appearances. The progressive organization was founded by former ACORN political director Susannah Randolph, and is currently headed up by her protégé, Amy Ritter.

Having far-left activists rally on behalf of the local newspaper seemed to be a story worth covering, so I made the trip downtown.

Upon arriving, I saw Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell, who was mingling outside with the protesters, and I was interested in hearing his comments on the potential sale.

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Maxwell, in background w/shades on top of his head

Maxwell and I have had minimal interaction via the Web, but I had never met him in person. To be fair, I have been a critic of some of his past efforts. He was standing among a group of individuals, including Ritter, and when there was a pause in conversation, I leaned in, addressed him as “Mr. Maxwell” — which I now regret — and politely asked if he’d be interested in an interview.

I suppose I made the mistake of expecting professional courtesy, but Maxwell was in no mood for such good graces. He quickly launched an all-out assault on me for failing to identify myself, although he is well aware that I am a local writer.

Of course, my intention was to extend a formal introduction once he accepted my interview request and we separated from the group.

Instead, hell-bent on establishing his superiority over me and perhaps impressing his far-left following, Maxwell chose to insult me for being “cowardly” because I didn’t offer my name upfront.

I was a little taken aback, surprised that he felt so threatened by me, but I tried to maintain a certain decorum of professionalism. I tried to be lighthearted, but he ranted on, even going so far as to question my “moral compass” over my sin of not stating my name upfront.

In the end, Maxwell chose not to go on the record with me. Interestingly, neither would any of the protesters who were there to be heard. Apparently, Ritter had warned them about talking to me. So much for diversity.

I understand the newspaper business is struggling, but as a representative of the Orlando Sentinel, Maxwell’s actions were inappropriate, to say the least. Clearly, he doesn’t agree with my conservative politics, but that is no excuse for his rude, unprofessional behavior.

I suspect he may have been upset to see me there, since he knew then that his decision to stand outside and socialize with radical activists he’s grown very comfortable with was now public record.

At the start of the year, Maxwell named Stephanie Porta, head of the ACORN Florida successor group Organize Now, as one of the 25 most powerful people in Central Florida, trumpeting her success with the union-led mandatory sick leave issue.

It’s not surprising that Maxwell touts the “power” of progressive activists when the Sentinel offers them a public platform anytime they wish to get a message out. The paper even ran an article advertising Thursday’s protest on its own steps.

Perhaps it was fate that I had just watched a sneak preview of “Hating Breitbart” on Wednesday. The movie chronicles Andrew Breitbart’s quest to change the media paradigm in America by upending the traditional press and changing the ground rules of political journalism.

Breitbart opened the floodgates to an army of citizen journalists like me, who use new media to rewrite the political narrative long controlled by individuals like Maxwell.

We are in a new age, whether traditional journalists like it or not, and it seems some on the left are content to go down with the sinking ship. But the real cowardly act is to go down while hiding behind material gains instead of having the courage to stand by one’s true convictions. Mazel tov!

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About Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review. He can be reached at tom@bizpacreview.com

  • Vito Esposito

    Aw poor Maxwell. Another left wing progressive radical may be out of a job, if Koch Bros buy the paper. The SEntinel does need an improvement from the radical progressives and maybe get good qualify objective journalists instead of news writers. Isn't it funny how the First Amendment – Freedom of Speech only applies when the left opines. They do their best to stifle any opinion they deem to an Opposition opinion. They should embrace the fact that there are the Koch Bros who still feel print media is viable and shows the progressive belief is failing.

    • Dali0212

      Lets hope so He needs to go because he does not report fact he reports his opinion period!!

  • Timothy Murray

    Tom,

    I think it is only fair that your readers know that I, Timothy Murray, was more than willing to accept your interview request. I even went so far as to offer a full hour of my time to you. Tom, it's bad enough that you limit yourself to using one word quotes from the principals targeted in this "report"…but do your readership a favor and print facts.

    Timothy Murray

    Community Organizer

    Organize Now

    • Tom Tillison

      The facts: Maxwell said to me, "I always tell people who I am, I'm not too cowardly to do that… just the difference between the two of us." He also stated "everybody has different moral compasses, yours is…well, uh, obviously operates on a different one than mine."

      My characterization is entirely consistent with these comments.

      As for your offer to interview, you are correct, however, I was looking for an exchange with actual protestors, not paid community organizers.

      • https://www.facebook.com/TheLatestOutrage?fref=ts ramjet

        Tom,

        By limiting yourself to "looking for an exchange with actual protestors, not paid community organizers," at a Florida Watch Action organized rally, you are guaranteeing yourself a short day. :-)

        • Tom Tillison

          Now that's funny, I don't care who you are!

  • Mark Jessup

    Scott Maxwell is to responsible and objective journalism what e.coli is to an all-you-can-eat salad bar. It might look ok at first, even smell ok, but it is going to make you SICK! After the Koch Brothers purchase the Tribune newspapers, Maxwell can get a job parking cars for the new Sentinel employees that are hired to clean up the mess he and his ilk have left behind. :)

  • http://bigdeemagnifies.blogspot.com Diana Morrison

    Illuminating. I may extend my Sentinel sub one more year in hope that the Koch brothers WILL buy the Tribune papers.

  • Mike

    There's still an Orlando Sentinel?

  • LeftiesAreDopes

    Yes there is still Orlando Sentinel. It is the daily for the powerful leftist movement in Central Florida.

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  • Linda

    As a one time subscriber of the Sentinel, I look forward to the Koch brothers buying the Tribune company. As libertarians, the Koch brothers don't play party politics. They stick to principles of free market, Constitution and fiscal stability. As for Scott Maxwell, he definitely is very arrogant. Clearly, he attacks anybody who doesn't agree with his point of view.

  • Chance Hammond

    You're right, Maxwell says some rude and dumb things. But the real problem, and the reason people should not pay much attention to him, is that he's just wrong most of the time. I don't think his Sentinel editors know that, so shame on them

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