Island Issues

PR Pros & Journalists – The Good, The Bad, And The Unhinged

PR Pros & Journalists – The Good, The Bad, And The Unhinged

As a former daily newspaper reporter and public relations practitioner I admire both a well-crafted news story and a factual press release and respect folks that produce them.

A reporter’s job is to objectively report news without bias and the PR professional’s job is to present an enterprises’ positions honestly and straightforwardly on relevant topics. The competent and respected  professionals in both fields strive to display their organizations as good corporate citizens of the communities where they live and do business, present the facts, and let readers and viewers draw conclusions.

The opinion sections of news organizations pass judgement based on the editorial writers knowledge, biases, and/or experience. Like this column, they’re labeled as opinion. The reader or viewer will judge their validity.

The PR folks present facts supporting their enterprises’ products and services. The media as the watchdogs question that information as they should and then present it to the public.

Nassau County boasts a couple of factual news organizations and some experienced and skilled PR practitioners. It also hosts some truly awful news outlets that masquerade as news organizations populated by wannabe reporters with agendas and rank amateurs in the PR field. PR executives are the voice of the enterprises that employ them, e.g. the organizations’ spokespersons.

The terrible PR folks are those that have never worked in the media and don’t understand it, i.e. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Piere, who struggles daily reading verbatim from a massive briefing book after wrestling a curling iron. The ignorance of these folks is disastrous for any organization, and these flacks don’t survive long outside of politics. They do the opposite of their job descriptions by creating more damage than goodwill then blame a mostly compliant media for their failures.

The worst PR offenders are those with degrees in public relations. Their courses were taught by folks that failed at journalism or PR, probably both. Their strengths are grinning, glad-handing and BSing. They don’t last long and end up on the street or demoted to some minor Human Resources job sorting through resumes of folks just like themselves.

When I was hiring staff for my PR functions at major Fortune 50 corporations including ITT, IBM, and Coastal Corp. I interviewed and hired only folks with media experience, preferably those that worked for wire services or daily newspapers. I didn’t have time to teach writing skills, much less explain to some fresh PR grad how the media worked. A PR degree is as worthless as one in gender studies, maybe even less valuable.

The lousy reporters hang around longer that the rotten apples in PR, because they can cover up their biases and failures with even more false narratives and blame their ineptitude on “misinformation”.  They see “news” as nothing more than a tool in political battles. They take sides even while denying they fix the facts to fit their preferred narrative.

When a bad PR person fails the results can be severe – lost sales, loss of reputation, a stock value decline, management shakeups, lawsuits, and public condemnation and skepticism. When a reporter fails the immediate reaction is a front page story, increased ratings and readership and ad sales. The “news” outlet and its editors are incapable of thinking they can be wrong proving Jimmy Breslin right when he said: “Media, the plural of mediocrity.”

Only since the somewhat recent cry of “Fake News” have these dishonest liberal lackeys begun scurrying for cover like the cornered deceitful rats they are because those yelling “Fake News” have been correct all along.

It’s easy for biased reporters and their outlets to issue a tiny page 10 apology and carry on as if nothing happened. Readers and viewers have short memories. On the other hand a failed PR person is instant toast.


What? The production of ethanol is safe?”

The Good, The Bad, And The Unhinged:  Much to the chagrin of the usual confused and tiny collection of four or five protestors toting signs misspelling what they’re protesting, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection said it will approve a permit for the Amelia Island-based Rayonier to produce bioethanol.

The Rayonier public and community relations functions are as skillful and professional as any I’ve ever observed. During its recent community open house the company’s management team smoothly and politely fielded citizens’ questions and allayed safety concerns with ease and confidence. They explained how they will convert a waste product currently being incinerated here and turn it into a viable commodity, safely, productively and profitably.

Both area news outlet newcomers,  Matt Davis’s print and online , and George Miller’s digital news outlet, reported the permitting announcement the old fashioned way – factually and accurately.

The pitiable News Leader and online Observer produced their usual convoluted tripe.

An online Observer article written by former Fernandina Beach City Commissioner and failed candidate for reelection, Mike Lednovich, was what could be expected from the sight-impaired Observer.

“Objective”  Observer reporter Mike Lednovich participating in his activist hobby.

California transplant Lednovich has never produced a balanced news article that I’ve seen and appears as confused in his role as a reporter as he was as a city commissioner. It’s impossible to distinguish a news article from an opinion piece in the Observer’s online muddle. In his latest Rayonier tirade Lednovich interviewed a couple of the four or five of confused protestors, and none of the experts at the Rayonier facility.

Despite Rayonier’s proven safety track record the Fernandina News Leader’s far left lackey editor, Tracy Dishman, and her equally biased reporter with the fortunate name of Julia Roberts, continue to rant and rave against Rayonier like screeching toddlers demanding predinner cookies.

Dishman prominently published a piece March 1 by Robert Weintraub known in my neighborhood as “Bullet Bob,” a former next-door neighbor of mine who threatened me on Facebook. Weintraub calls ethanol “dangerous.” Is it as “dangerous” as you are Weintraub when you publicly called me and my wife antisemitic and threatened to shoot us eight years ago?

When Weintraub spotted our celebratory Trump yard sign the morning following the November 2016 election, our then next-door neighbor came totally unhinged and launched vicious public threats against me and my wife on Facebook writing: “To my Trumpic bigoted and anti-Semitic neighbors, there is a Jewish motto — ‘NEVER AGAIN’ — so don’t think you can intimidate me with your signs. My rifle and shotgun are loaded, and I will be getting a handgun at tomorrow’s sales. I’ll be waiting for you and your brown shirts.”

When I responded to his comments saying they were frightening, and inappropriate Weintraub followed up with another post equally disturbing writing: “Dave Scott you voted for a man who supports the American Nazi Party and the KKK. Trump supporters have been openly anti-Semitic. What else am I to think? You are the frightening one, Dave Scott, and I am ready for you and your friends.” His hysterical and menacing Facebook threats were serious enough to warrant a visit to his house by the local police department.  I’m not making this up, I have copies of his Facebook postings and the police report.

He has yet to explain his hysterical and menacing threats nor has he ever apologized.

Would you want to live next door to this guy?

Fortunately for us and our neighbors, this dangerous and unhinged loon, who claims he is armed to the teeth and said he intended to use his guns against us, packed up his arsenal a couple of months later and moved to terrorize unsuspecting folks in a different island neighborhood.

The only reason I can think of that the News-Leader provides this sad and pathetic person a forum is that it supports his nutty and harrowing behavior and endorses the nonsense in his irrational word jumble. NL Publisher Foy Maloy is familiar with this guy’s past threats, so why does he continue to allow him to post? Is it “Be kind to the criminally insane” Month?

At the end of his recent NL anti-ethanol tirade this pompous delusional blowhard described himself as “…a former journalist (New York Times and Atlanta Constitution) and public relations executive.” Really?

I know many of the reporters and most of the editors who worked at the Atlanta Constitution for many years and they tell me they’ve never heard of the guy.


Pathetic Pete: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has no experience doing anything, recently mocked Americans who don’t want to buy electric vehicles, comparing them to people who he said thought in the 2000s that there would only be landline phones.

Buttigieg made his remarks during a Tuesday, April 2 Fox News interview on “America’s Newsroom” when asked about the struggling electric vehicle market, where displayed statistics clearly indicated EV failing sales.

“Sometimes when these debates happen, I feel like it’s the early 2000s and I’m talking to some people who think that we can just have landline phones forever,” said the oblivious Buttigieg.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary Buttigieg claimed that it was “clear” that consumers want to purchase EVs.

If I owned a used car lot full of clunkers, I’d want this guy working for me


Is That All There Is? I’m curious about Biden’s reelection campaign staff. Shouldn’t they have something more effective in their quiver other than: “Vote for Joe because the other guy is worse?”


A Cautionary Comment For Commentators: Most commentators on the are respectful, courteous, and reasonable whether or not they agree with the postings or what others have to say. However, there are exceptions, all of them anonymous. One of them is a person who posts using the name Fred “the original.”

Last week anonymous Fred submitted at least 12 comments, some of which contained sexual innuendo and were just plain rude and vulgar gibberish. I can understand why he doesn’t use his real name. The pseudonym saves him and his family a great deal of embarrassment.

I delete the vulgar ones and any beyond the three permitted. I’ll continue to do so.

The other frequent and equally anonymous commentator is “Moderate Majority.” This person is not vulgar or scatological. He’s articulate but obsessed with Donald Trump. He reads pro-Trump messages into almost all commentary posted on the site, even when Trump is never mentioned. This person would read a pro-Trump message in a vanilla pudding recipe. He doesn’t appear to be dim but is eaten up with Trump Derangement Syndrome. He also doesn’t come across as much of a moderate on anything. I also eliminate any comments beyond three by the nameless MM.

Negative, positive, indifferent, or off-topic posts are all welcome. However, vulgar, and profane comments are deleted, and those commentators are tagged as unwelcome. Writers are limited to three per posting. All beyond three will be deleted.


Fred “the original” - 10. Apr, 2024 -

Dave, Thank you for addressing the faux Fred and Fred “the original”. I am indeed the original Fred and later Fred “the original” when said faux Fred started using my moniker. I will never be vulgar or rude except to those that are trying to impersonate me and give a false narrative. Obviously, I am a conservative and agree with almost everything you post. If you would like me to come up with another pseudonym (only used because Coleman and the other liberal looneys like him, including MM like to dox/threaten people).
If the email asked to be given is any indicator, please refer to the one provided on this comment as the true Fred/Fred “the original”

MAGA and PROUD - 10. Apr, 2024 -

Why are the Crumbleys in prison! Rittenhaus case is precident that the mother cant be held risponseble for the acts of a kid. Kid should go to jail but the gun and the mother didnt do a thing and should be free.

The “Original” MAGA and PROUD - 10. Apr, 2024 -

That is a “fake” MAGA and PROD, just like the “fake” Fred. At least 6 grammar/spelling errors.

Joe Blanchard - 06. Apr, 2024 -

Ms. Julia Roberts was kind enough (not really) to mention my name in two of her recent articles. Both of which were full of errors. After the first article, I informed her of the error and also indicated that before you mention someone in an article that she should find out the other side. She admitted her error in not contacting me but stood her article. Then, she did it again and used my name, on the same issue, and didn’t contact me. Both of these comments involved Mr. Chip Ross, one of our easteemed City Commissioners. After this, I contacted the editor of the Fernandina Beach News Leader and ,after reviewing the facts, issued a correction in the News Leader that Mr. Ross had in fact initiated the emails and conversation and that I had, in fact, only endorsed closing the City Boat Ramp on the condition that the County Boat Ramp be made protected which it can’t.

Moderate Majority - 06. Apr, 2024 -

“Moderate” exists in the space between the extremes of the right and left. My entire life has been spent enjoying this democracy and what little voice I have will be used to protest the man who has proved himself to be the single greatest threat to the country I love. I dug deep, with considerable effort, into my German and Colonial heritage hoping I wouldn’t find Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, or slave owners. I could find none. Future generations will do the same to learn whether or not they will find MAGA supporters in their tree. Their task will be easier than mine was. History will not be kind to DJT. The moderate majority threw Trump out of office once. I pray they keep him out of office.

MAGA and PROUD - 06. Apr, 2024 -

Good grief. “I dug deep, with considerable effort, into my German and Colonial heritage hoping I wouldn’t find Nazis, Nazi sympathizers, or slave owners. I could find none.” What if you had found some? Are you responsible for the sins or your ancestors? I guess you can cover all of our reparations? How many people has DJT assonated? 3000+ by Bin Laden/Al Qaeda? Your TDS is unbelievable, DJT is “the single greatest threat to the country I love” Strictly your opinion. ” Future generations will do the same to learn whether or not they will find MAGA supporters in their tree.” Will that be in their 23andMe test kits?

Al Macdougall - 07. Apr, 2024 -

And what colors are in your rainbow?

MAGA and PROUD - 07. Apr, 2024 -

Red, White and Blue. How about yours?

Al Macdougall - 08. Apr, 2024 -

I don’t need to wrap myself in any colors–a Vietnam veteran and as american as they come.
Whereas your claimed affiliation leaves some doubt.

Troy - 09. Apr, 2024 -

Fred “the original”, is that you again? Go away!

Fred “the original” - 10. Apr, 2024 -

No Troy, that may have been the faux Fred “the original”. I really don’t know. I certainly support getting Biden the heck out of the White House and Trump is my choice!

Confused By Fred - 12. Apr, 2024 -

Fred “the original” needs to sort himself out!

Fred “the original” - 17. Apr, 2024 -

No, Confused by Fred, you need to sort yourself out, if you can’t tell the difference in the imposter and the “original”.

Moderate Majority - 08. Apr, 2024 -

Appealing to extremes is the fallacious argument tactic employed by Trump supporters in defense of a man whose actions and character are indefensible. Most family genealogists, myself included, research their ancestry out of curiosity and perhaps learn about whatever notable legacy has been left behind. Thanks to computer technology and social media, we now live in an age where our legacy is easily recorded for future generations to discover. One’s legacy can evoke pride, indifference, or shame for their descendants. Trump will be viewed by an increasingly unfiltered lens as time passes; unconstrained by current climates in favor of historical context. You self-describe as MAGA and PROUD. Perhaps it’s best then that you remain anonymous on this blog.

Donna Carine - 06. Apr, 2024 -

“Pathetic Pete” …
I’m still laughing…
Good one Dave !!!

Navy Vet - 06. Apr, 2024 -

Dear Dave,

Not to correct my friend Mr. McDowell on the potential hazards just north of us but more to set the record straight in line with this week’s blog.

The fact is just one TRIDENT submarine has more explosive firepower onboard than has ever been expended in the entire history of human warfare – not just WWII.

I believe there are 8 submarines homeport in Kings Bay now, each powered by its own nuclear reactor in addition to the warheads they carry. They have operated mishap free since the first nuclear boat rolled off the assembly line at Electric Boat in 1954.

Paul Catalano - 09. Apr, 2024 -

I hear they’all are testing an electric tank. Charge stations to be portable with generaters. article said that it would reduce moving parts, reduce costs to build and maintain, be bigger and safer inside for troops and have better torque. Not sure what to think but you’all seem to know about this kinda stuff.

Fred “the original” - 10. Apr, 2024 -

Wonder if the enemy will set up charging stations for those tanks as we advance? Or maybe, the Army will have huge generator trucks running on diesel behind them to charge them on the go?

Tom Yancey - 12. Apr, 2024 -

Solar would probably work.

Caitlin Clark - 06. Apr, 2024 -

Mr. Scott, pray tell why you always refer to Ms. Roberts of the News Leader as having the “fortunate name of Julia Roberts.” As far as I can recall, that tidbit of coincidence has been completely irrelevant to the matter being discussed. Why can you not recognize local Ms. Roberts for who she is. I happen to be a huge fan of triathlete Dave Scott, who I doubt you share anything other than a name with. Other than noting the coincidence when I first came across your blog and now writing this comment, I don’t think I ever gave it a second thought. You are two completely different people and each of you deserves to be seen and heard for who you are.

P.S., I would love to see you take a break from your usual style. Just for once, cut out all of the noise and just deliver an articulate opinion.

Steve Hall - 05. Apr, 2024 -

PR PROS & JOURNALISTS: Now it makes sense. Today, media and PR journalists seem confused about who they serve. Most likely it serves their own opinions. I have this vision of recent college grads, lowly paid, flush with liberal college political bravado, sitting remotely — more than likely — in their bedrooms, writing screeds for their publication or PR corporate bosses. Because budgets are cut in media, there are fewer editors to edit copy and keep the content free of opinion and inference. So most of this mush is published, leaving the media and PR journalists to believe that what they’re writing is, frankly, terrific and meaningful. For example, I know a young social media writer that pushes out variations of the same stories all day. What took a day, takes moments with AI. But, Dave, that’s another story and I’d like to hear what you think about this.

Jeff McDowell - 05. Apr, 2024 -

Great blog, Dave. As a former journalist (USN-1991-2011), your assessment of the decline of factual stories and reporting of same, is spot on. You can say a lot of things about Donald Trump, but one thing he does skillfully is expose how utterly corrupt the mainstream media truly is. I tune in nightly, patiently waiting to hear all about the proof that Trump colluded with Russia…still waiting.

As for Secretary Pete B. goes, his analogy regarding land lines and EV cars missed the mark by a country mile. When cell phones became a viable alternative to land lines, the MARKET drove the sales, which led to the decreased use of land lines. With EVs, sensible Americans realize how problematic this technology is and are taking a “wait and see”. No government subsidies or mandates were needed with cell phones. Besides the CCCP cornering the lithium market, Americans know the infrastructure is simply lacking, and the obvious environmental problems that accompany EVs make their purchase a non-starter and a poor investment.

Finally, to all my neighbors who are clutching their pearls and suffering the vapors over the proposed ethanol plant might want to consider the following. If one were to go to the top of the Shave bridge and look northward, they would see the King’s Bay Submarine Base. In terms of POTENTIAL possible disasters, the firepower that our submarines possess, exceeds ALL THE munitions dropped in WWII. Kind of reduces the ethanol plant to the level of, um, a candle on a birthday cake. Have a great week-end.

Glen - 05. Apr, 2024 -

Number One: Humor

Editing comment. Please insert more “Punch” up front.

Signed, Bud Abbott