Opinion

‘Victims of Palm Beach Post Vendettas Club’ adds new member

Soon, the VPV Club will be extending its coveted award to state attorney candidate Dave Aronberg.

But let me start at the beginning.

There are heroes in our midst. Yes, these are unsung and gallant lions in the local business and political community who stir the blood with their outstanding courage and fearlessness in the face of withering media fire. These are men and women who ignore the whiny voices of the yellow journalists and muckrakers who manufacture scandals and corruption to sell newspapers.

So once again, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the Victims of Post Vendettas Club to hand out its award to some brave soul who withstood editorial slings and arrows launched against them by The Palm Beach Post.

A VPV award is an honor which but few merit and a distinction which but few attain.

To be an honored, venerable and august member of the VPV Club, you must be bashed at least three times in The Post. Special distinction is reserved for a politician The Post is trying to take down. Awardees receive an attractive VPV badge to wear proudly on the breast, and a handsome membership certificate. Not to mention the accolades of right-thinking people.

The VPV Club was started about 10 years ago by some BIZPAC leaders. We had noticed that starting about 20 years ago, Post Editors Randy Schultz and Eddie Sears decided they wanted to make a name for themselves by slicing up people in print who didn’t agree with their political views. So they began launching hostile diatribes and vituperative campaigns against people on the other side of their political ideology, those who failed to genuflect to The Post. Schultz and others began writing for people who would rather hear concocted views, or news that is awful, because it’s more interesting than reading the actual truth. Once in the proverbial blue moon, The Post stumbled on some legitimate information. But not often.

We did a little research and came up with the names of a lot of people The Post had tried to eviscerate over the years. The first out-and-out character assassination I recall by The Post was over 20 years ago, a vendetta to try to get Schools Superintendent Tom Mills and Associate Superintendent Ken Scrimsher fired. Then, it was on to Llwyd Ecclestone, John Temple, Ed Eissey, Wayne Huizinga (and the “Huizinga Hate Kit”), Tom Pledger, Bob Montgomery, Mike Martino, Alfy and Pepe Fanjul, Hugo Unruh, Katherine Harris, Bill Fountain, John Sansbury, Jack Furnari, Charles Garcia, Elizabeth Fago, Larry Pelton, Greg Fagan, Charles Vavrus, Jeb Bush, Bruce Pelly, Gary Brandenburg. The list goes on. For the most part, the sins of these people were that they did things or said things The Post editorial people didn’t like.

Funny thing, though. The Post almost never receives from its professional peers any “good journalism” editorial awards for its style of muckraking. I submit that the reason is because newspaper organizations that dole out such awards see through The Post’s showy claptrap — good journalists are often the best at spotting the rats that scurry around in journalism’s own basement. Genuine journalists try to slot tasteless and pretentious colleagues with nasty political agendas down low on the industry’s totem pole.

One of the recipients of the VPV Award, a conservative political consultant, called up Schultz and thanked him for the latest Post editorial vendetta against him, and said, “Randy, it would be a little easier for me if you’d just print my phone number in the editorial, so it will be easier for new clients to contact me.” Classic.

So, if you are of like mind, please join me in welcoming Dave Aronberg as the latest recipient of the VPV award.

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John R. Smith
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