TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The fundraising event was a fancy affair held for the benefit of Democratic Senator Bill Nelson at the Orlando home of philanthropist Alan Ginsburg. Vice President Joe Biden was the featured speaker.
Orlando Sentinel reporter Scott Powers was designated as the single pool reporter for the event, but he didn't get the access he had hoped. Instead, Powers was told to wait in a storage closet until the speech began. Powers says he stayed there with an attendant posted at the door for over an hour.
"I kept peeking out to see what I could see and was told 'We'll tell you when you can come out,'" said Powers.
Biden's office later apologized, but the incident resonated in Tallahassee among a press corps that feels the new governor is shutting them out of the party.
"We have never had a governor who was this reluctant to talk to the press corps," claims St. Petersburg Times reporter, Lucy Morgan.
Morgan has covered ten Florida governors over the last 40 years. She says Rick Scott's office delays requests for documents, tries to hand-pick pool reporters, and has forbidden his agency heads to talk to the media on their own.
Scott does have a Facebook page and Twitter account with thousands of followers, but he won't send or receive email.
Morgan says even when reporters get an interview, they don't get answers. "I have not seen him give a real answer to a question since he's become governor," claims Morgan.
The difference between Rick Scott and his predecessor is stark. Charlie Crist was happy to stop and chat with our Don Germaise within minutes of taking the oath of office.
Rick Scott gave no interviews for two days after his inauguration, and wouldn't even speak to the media after throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game.
University of Tampa governmental affairs professor Scott Paine says that approach is consistent with who Rick Scott is.
"It's the relationship that a corporate CEO has with the press which is 'I'll talk to you when I want to. Otherwise, stay away'" said Paine.
Paine acknowledges that no chief executive can be expected to give reporters unlimited access, but Scott could be shortchanging the public.
"The public is being left out of the give-and-take the press generates with elected officials and they are left with whatever official declarations the Governor's office wants to make. That should make people uncomfortable."
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Political News
An atheist blogger from Deerfield Beach plans to protest the installation of a nativity in the State Capitol by installing his own tribute to the fake holiday celebration of "Festivus."