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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Clark Butler: Nobody Likes Me

The Independent Florida Alligator has a good editorial today on the frivolity of "shopping mall tycoon" Clark Butler's lawsuit against The Gainesville Sun. Butler claims "intentionally and recklessly portrayed him in a false light" by publishing articles about his close personal and political connections with local and state politicians who were voting on projects that would financially benefit Butler.

I don't often defend The Sun, but I have to in this case. Butler has no case. The Sun has reported facts and, apparently, Butler's defense is not that the facts were false, but that he's really a honest, nice dude that does not deserve such scrutiny.

What I find ironic is that The Sun has actually gone out of its way not to make a huge case out of the ethical imbroglio involving Butler, state Sen. Rod Smith and Alachua County commissioners Cynthia Chestnut and Paula DeLaney. Butler stands to make millions if the county will build an expensive four-lane road that is otherwise not needed, yet The Sun has not found the space in its editorials to condemn the situation. Sure, there have been a few small news articles in which facts were reported, and one lousy cartoon by the paper's right-wing knucklehead, Jake Fuller. But otherwise The Sun has treated Butler with kid gloves.

Doubt me? Well, if this situation involved different people – say, County Commissioner Mike Byerly or another elected official that The Sun loves to hate – then the paper would have treated it like a crime against humanity. Such was the case when Byerly defeated a Democrat opponent last year, and the loser made unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud without presenting any evidence. The paper ran repeated stories with large headlines, despite the fact that it was an obvious case of sour grapes that went nowhere. In fact, the paper continued running articles about the "case" even after state ethics officials had promptly refused to even consider it, lacking any proof.

But when it comes to the rich, powerful good old boys like Butler and his buds in office, The Sun is relatively apathetic. That must make Butler's suit sting the most, if you're the publisher. I mean, how much ass do they have to kiss to keep Butler's lawyers at bay?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering I know a source that worked for butler for many years and you talk about a tyrant. Not just him but his back stabbing daughter and half of his team at butler enterprises are the worst people to ever encounter. I feel for anybody who has to deal with these people on any level. They are crazy and they think that the world should revolve around them.

12:00 AM


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