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The Real Rick Scott Debate Scandal

In large part because of decisions made during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, our media is now an info-tainment mess.

Incumbent Governor Rick Scott (R) and former Governor Charlie Crist (D) met in a debate in the Florida gubernatorial race at Broward College's Bailey Hall in Davie, Florida. October 15, 2014. (Screengrab via CSPAN)

The state of commercial media in United States today is that “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Rather than provide us with real news, our corporatized media gives us ratings-driven infotainment drivel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

They go for the bright and sparkly stuff, instead of the substance.

Case in point comes from last night’s Florida gubernatorial debate between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and challenger former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Last night’s debate was filled with some of the biggest issues facing Floridians and Americans as a whole.

The debate clearly highlighted the different views that Crist and Scott have for the future of both Florida and our country.

Unfortunately, most Floridians and Americans won’t hear about those important issues and differences, because Rick Scott decided to throw a hissy fit that grabbed the media’s attention hook, line and sinker.

Scott initially refused to debate Crist last night because Crist was using an electric fan under his podium to stay cool.

Crist was on stage by himself for several minutes, before Scott finally came out onto the debate stage.

Once the two actually got to debating, it became quite clear that not only do they have a strong dislike for each other, but they have some very different views on the pressing issues facing Floridians and Americans today.

Jobs was one of the first issues to come up.

Scott lashed out at Crist, saying that, “Charlie is the zero-wage governor: 832,000 people went from wages to zero wages when he was governor.”

Crist responded, “Rick, there you go again: trying to blame the global economic meltdown on me. You just can’t trust Rick. It’s sad. And it’s unfortunate.”

Unfortunately, the jobs portion of the debate got overshadowed in our media by “fangate.”

Later in the debate came conversations about health care and Medicaid expansion.

Crist made it clear that he’s in full support of Florida accepting federal funding under Obamacare to expand Medicaid in the Sunshine State, so that more than 800,000 Floridians have access to life-saving and affordable health care.

Crist said that, “Rick Scott won’t lift a finger to get it done, and I don’t know why. Talk about all talk and no action: He said he supported it, [and] we don’t have it.”

Despite initially supporting the move, Scott maintained his current position on the issue, saying that he’s against expanding Medicaid, and giving health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

But again, this huge difference in opinion that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands of people was overshadowed in our infotainment media by “fangate.”

Towards the latter stages of the debate, Crist pointed out that Rick Scott has the dubious distinction of being CEO of the company when it committed one the largest Medicare and Medicaid frauds in US history.

During Scott’s time as CEO of private health-care company Columbia/HCA, that company was fined a staggering $1.7 billion by the federal government, for the crimes – the frauds – they committed under Rick Scott’s supervision.

Crist told the crowd that Scott was, “a guy who ran a company [that] had to pay the largest fine for fraud in the history of the United States of America.”

He then addressed Scott directly, saying that, “Rick, this is also a fact: You plead the Fifth 75 times so you wouldn’t have to answer questions about your involvement with it.”

This pivotal moment of the debate, like all the others, was again overlooked by our “if it bleeds, it leads” media.

The real issues brought up last night have been ignored so much by our media that it’s enough to make you think that Scott’s “fangate” hissy fit was meant to divert attention away from what really matters, and to help him win a very tight race come Election Day.

And, oh by the way, Rick Scott has played this card in a debate before – and it helped make him governor.

Back in 2010, Scott was locked in a tight and pretty much tied battle with Democrat Alex Sink

During a commercial break in their debate, Sink was handed a smartphone by an aide, and read a text message on the phone.

That violated the debate rules, because no electronics were allowed and the candidates weren’t supposed to receive messages during the debate breaks.

Scott harped on the violation as the debate went on, totally taking away attention from the actual issues being debated.

The “electronic device” scandal became the big news story, and the media ignored the issues being debated. It got so hot that Alex Sink had to fire the person who brought her the phone, which fueled another round of media stories that didn’t mention the issues.

And, surprise! A couple weeks later, Scott was elected governor of Florida.

In large part because of decisions made during the Reagan and Clinton administrations, our media is now an infotainment mess.

This makes us all vulnerable to hustler politicians who’ve figured out that media that cares about ratings over news will always go with the bright, shiny things – like an argument over an electric fan on-stage – instead of real issues that affect all of our lives.

This could be fixed by reversing Reagan’s decision to stop enforcement of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and breaking up the media monopolies, but that’s only going to happen when enough Americans realize how bad things are.

So spread the word and help wake up the United States! If we’re successful, hack politicians and criminals like Rick Scott will never again be able to use this kind of old ploy to manipulate the media.

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