Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Subscribers to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune might want to read this . . .

What has the Sarasota Herald-Tribune come to?

Twitter account of Herald-Tribune
"News Editor/Gun Writer" Lee Williams

On March 28th, 2018, Sarasota Herald-Tribune news editor Lee Williams interviewed NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer. 

This is what happened next:

Gun Writer and newspaper editor calls
Parkland response 'macabre and evil,'
asks NRA lobbyist 'How can we help?'

Lee Williams -- the Gun Writer columnist who also happens to be a Sarasota Herald-Tribune news editor -- hosted a half-hour podcast Wednesday with Marion Hammer, the Florida NRA lobbyist. 
Hammer said she thought gun-control advocates had a game plan ready to use victims and families of the next mass shooting in America, which happened to be in Parkland, Fla.  Rather than ask follow-up questions for details and corroboration, the Gun Writer shared her outrage over the gun-control response. 
“I don’t even know how you’d sit in a room and come up with this," Williams said. "That is so macabre and evil.”  
Hammer described how lawmakers in Tallahassee were lobbied for gun-control votes in the days after the Parkland murders. The families of victims were brought in to ask how they'd vote. 
“None of that’s been reported,” said Williams — who directs news coverage for the Herald-Tribune, but declined to have Sarasota reporters share his interview with a highly sought-after Florida news source. 
The Gun Writer did agree that media pressure was a huge factor in the Tallahassee gun-control vote. And he wanted to know when the Florida NRA would be updating grades on state lawmakers. 
“That was my next question," Williams told Hammer. "What can we do to help?”

Is it time for practitioners of actual journalism to take a hard look at what this newspaper, formerly owned by the New York Times, has become?


  1. I've already cancelled my subscription. First time in over 50 years to not subscribe to local newspaper.

  2. Lee is a man. Tom Lyons resigned over Williams’ promotion to editor. Williams’ values are concerning.

    1. I think the "her" reference was to Marion Hammer, who is a woman.

  3. Nothing wrong with a free press unless it goes against the views of the left and the Democratic party.

    1. One doesn't often see news media lending their brand and therefore credibility to commerce sites and ideologically based social media operated by someone who makes editorial decisions on the work of news reporters.

    2. Anon, your comments are so tired. The Herald Tribune is a shell of its former self, or maybe a "shotgun" shell of its former self. It offers little if any investigative reporting and now seems to be in the tank for local developers. If that's your idea of a good newspaper, you deserve every meaningless word in that litter pan liner.

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  5. Thanks for this info. I will be calling tomorrow to cancel my Yearly subscription. I have been a subscriber since 1980 when I moved here. I hope this persons promotion is not really what caused Tom Lyons to resign/retire. He was the best.

  6. Several years ago, I was making comments every day on the Herald-Tribune online articles, critical of the NRA and it's fans, the NRA's intense fight against gun control, and their fans' rabid attacks on anyone working for better gun control. At one point, Joe Gruters commented back to me that the paper should ban me. Shortly thereafter, the paper did ban me from commenting. When I finally got a straight answer as to why the paper banned me, Bill Church, then the managing editor, said it was because I said the NRA and its fans had blood on their hands.

    That showed me that the H-T had become a political operative of the Republican Party and the NRA.

    What a shame, that the righteous example of the free press led by my friend Waldo Proffitt and owned by the NYT in the past had fallen into the hands of the MIC propagandists.

    Since then, after a year of constant complaint about that set of events in social media, the H-T contacted me and said I was again allowed to comment. I hold Thomas Tryon in high regard, and he has assured me that the ownership of the paper does not interfere with what the editorial board has to say. I trust him as I trusted Waldo. But the production of this twisted NRA column stinks. It confirms the reality that the paper, certain parts of it at least, has become a propaganda arm of the MIC.

  7. I've subscribed since 2003 and although I recognize the progressive bias of the Sarasota Herald Tribune.As a conservative moderate I'm not discomforted by the unbalanced SH-T promotion of progressive bias. Republicans are individualists not ruled by group think.

  8. You just generalized all Republicans by saying they (Republicans) are individualists and even chose to speak for Republicans (in general) in attributing that they are individualists and how they are or are not ruled by group think. That sounds like the definition of group think.
    I am not comfortable with media bias either way. I would like to get just the news/facts without all the opinion and embellishment. Just the facts, Ma'am, to quote Joe Friday.

  9. It is one thing to have a columnist with a stated bias or ideological position. It's another to have a news editor - someone who works behind the scenes, deciding what to consider news, and how to report it - and to have that editor also, on a separate ecommerce site with close ties to a powerful lobbying org, give full throated support to pro-gun positions. The problem is that we can't gauge the degree to which the loud, visible persona biases the silent editorial role, whose job in an actual news organization is to oversee reporting that purports to present facts in a neutral register.

  10. You state the issue with great clarity and in much better fashion than I could have articulated it.
    This is my first time in my adult life I have not had a Sunday paper to read. I greatly miss it but ending my subscription seemed to be the only means open to me to send a message to the powers at the HT.
    I realize that the loss of one subscriber is a minor annoyance but my hope is that I will be but one of many who will choose to make this choice.