Tallahassee Democrat by Paula Dockery
April 12, 2020
Many Floridians are understandably anxious, nervous and scared over the coronavirus pandemic that has taken hold globally. This is a time when we look to our government leaders to act and to keep us informed.
For all those who complain about government, this is when we realize how much we need it to be functioning properly for us. In a healthy society we’d have a functioning government that we trust to act in our best interest. We’d also have a robust news media to hold our elected officials and their appointed department heads accountable.
Unfortunately, we have neither and, as a result, we have a largely uninformed electorate. There was a time in Florida — not too long ago — when elected officials respected the voters’ wishes, listened to their constituents, understood that the news media would hold them accountable and primarily told the truth. They were still capable of being shamed when called out for unethical, immoral or illegal acts.
At the same time the Capitol Press Corps was fully staffed with reporters specializing in the various functions of state government. Reporters asking questions often knew more about the subject matter than most elected officials. Legislators and executive branch officials needed to be cautious about answering truthfully for fear of looking stupid or being accused of lying.