How Local Politics Writer Reports on a Polarized Florida

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By: MC Bell and Bridget Fadden

A.G. Gancarski is a seasoned, local politics writer in Florida. 

1.How do you report the truth when people don’t want to hear it?

It depends on what truth is being reported. The fall from grace of a public figure is different than a political story. In any case, knowing the facts and being confident in them and my understanding of them is key. This job is too much work to do anything but tell the truth.


2. How do you report objectively in Trump culture?

Trump culture is not all that new. The Baby Boomers were building up to this for a while. The Tea Party was a decade ago, and it set the agenda for the Trump movement. 
It’s different now (and frustrating) in that there often can be risk for reporters doing their jobs. You saw the commotion when I asked follow up questions at Tuesday’s event. But ultimately, I believe in myself and what I’m doing, and I think that core faith sustains me even when situations get dicey.


3. Does his derogatory comments towards the media affect your job? 

When a President calls the media “public enemy #1,” it definitely affects the job. But this is a larger function of a society dealing with the end of an era of relative abundance. People are angry and Trump exploits it to whip up his base. But the larger structural issues (the shrinking of the middle class, the lack of a bounceback from the 2008 crash for many people) drive the narrative.

4.What effects will it have on the media short term? Long term?

The real issues for media long-term are less Trump driven and more driven by corporate consolidation on the newspaper front. People are losing jobs. Daily papers are fading out. Content is getting cheaper and more click baity and less prestige. Trump has another few years, but the issues with the business model are more permanent.


5.What is the most disturbing experience you have had with this?

The most disturbing experiences are always the threats of physical violence. 


6.What questions were you going to ask Mr. DeSantis?

I got my questions in, actually. Didn’t get my answers. But the piece is here (http://floridapolitics.com/archives/279397-desantis-gillum-trump-thief).


7.Do you think the older generation is less likely to research their favored candidate due to lack of  internet access when they were younger? 

Internet access isn’t really the determining factor for older voters, who by and large are driven by issues ranging from community to their vanishing ways of life. We saw a lot of people today who are way closer to the end than the beginning. They responded to messaging, based in nothing but assertion, that things were great and they’re only going to get better if Republicans win. They have a psychological need to believe that. The same holds true with voters on the other side. 

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