Culture
4:56 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Storms, Strippers and Stereotypes

Tropical Storm Isaac may be making headlines after delaying the start of the RNC -- but the media blitz in Tampa shows no sign of stopping.

Reporters from The Washington Post posed an interesting question:

Why pick a state in Hurricane Alley in peak hurricane season for an all-important nominating convention where visuals are everything?

The Daily Beast asked Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin if Florida was a good choice for the convention. --“I don’t want to be getting into that,” he said, “but probably not.”

Tampa residents disagree.



Down on Bayshore Boulevard, the water splashed over the railings as the wind whipped Tampa resident Marty Bower's long hair.

Does he think the RNC picked the wrong state?

"It's both good for Tampa and the state. It's not a mistake to have the RNC here. This is beautiful. They couldn't tell there was going to be a storm in the gulf."

Resident Robert Cabrera: "It's like the politicians tried to challenge mother nature. In a way they lost, but in a way we won, because of the economy the way it is with the revenue it brings into the city of Tampa."

In their piece called "Here's why fascinating state of Florida hosts RNC," Adam Smith and Charles Mahtesian of The Tampa Bay Times and POLITICO, respectively, call Florida:

"A mega state so diverse that it mirrors the nation's moods, sentiments and demographics. Florida is America — today's America and tomorrow's. So why hold the Republican National Convention in Florida? As you now know, it's certainly not for the August weather.

"America's biggest swing state is a must-win for your nominee.

"But more importantly, the way Romney is introduced to America from the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the way the rhetoric this week is framed on the economy, entitlements and diversity could be pivotal to how Florida votes.

"Win over Florida, win over the nation."

So some say it's no wonder the RNC is being held in an important battleground state.

Eric Deggans of The Tampa Bay Times says, "Enough with the strippers and stereotypes" calling pre-RNC coverage a "beating" of Florida.

"The coverage I was disappointed in was the coverage before RNC started. People did stories trying to assess the state of Florida and the state of Tampa before things got going. They felt very superficial, they felt a bit insulting and as if they hadn't really taken the time to get to know the city well enough to understand the forces at work here in our political set up here."

Deggans has some advice for visiting journalists:

"I would suggest that anyone who wants to incorporate the flavor of the area in their reporting take part of the day and just get outside the bubble and go to Lakeland if they can, go to St. Pete or Clearwater and just walk around and talk to people and get a sense of what they're thinking outside of this very intense bubble of political and media attention."

He says outside the security zone, reporters just find a fuller and more complex picture of our region.

And that’s What They’re Saying.