Your business is their business

“Sunshine Week” is over, which means Florida residents are safe from the state’s largest lobbying effort devoted to invading their privacy.

Up until the 1960s, Florida’s political apparatus operated like the Secret Service. The public was allowed to see and know what Democrat politicians wanted them to know.

But a group of reporters in Tallahassee bucked the system, refusing to leave when politicians tried to close a public meeting one day – a routine practice at the time.

It kicked off an effort that led to new laws making most public records and meetings available to the public, including reporters.

Florida was hailed as a nationwide leader in government transparency and many other states followed suit.

But there was a problem. The laws were so broad they virtually erased all privacy.

Over the years, the Florida Legislature has made exceptions to the laws to protect the privacy of individuals where it clearly was necessary.

But the liberal media has fought almost every exception. Big Media had a full-time lobbyist in Tallahassee and about 20 years ago the media got together and declared “Sunshine Week” would be observed in March of every year.

During that week, reporters and editors praise themselves in print and decry any need for privacy. They want to know everything about your health records, financial records, legal records and everything else so they can put it in headlines when they deem it necessary to boost their circulation.

One of the contradictions is this: the Florida media constantly berates the practice of lobbying, which is nothing more than people with an interest in legislation addressing their representatives about their concerns.

Yet Sunshine Week is nothing more than a huge lobbying effort by the media to protect its own special interests and prevent Florida residents from getting protection they may need and deserve. And it’s not about your “right to know,” it’s about their right to make a profit.

Lloyd Brown

Lloyd was born in Jacksonville. Graduated from the University of North Florida. He spent nearly 50 years of his life in the newspaper business …beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor for Florida Times Union. He has also been published in a number of national newspapers and magazines, as well as Internet sites. Married with children. Military Vet. Retired. Man of few words but the words are researched well, deeply considered and thoughtfully written.

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