Friday, September 18, 2015

New Take on that Rashid Rant

We condemn Sam Rashid's and anyone else's misogynist, sexist and other needless derogatory comments.

But he did raise some points the media chose to ignore despite their never ending coverage of the rant, until WTSP's Noah Pransky independently broke the story that was the subject of Rashid's rant. Rashid's comments were directed about Beth Leytham's behind the scenes cronyism, much of which has been covered in this blog over the last year. However, Rashid's language overshadowed the subject of his comment.

Which got us thinking... there might be a few more dots to connect that no one else has explored.

It did occur us the last week of so during the Sam Rashid kerfuffle, the local media was hyperventilating over a hot-headed, personal comment Rashid made on Facebook, obviously not intended for wide public consumption. It's not the first time for Rashid, who got in hot water earlier for some comments about Facebook posts on judges.

Sam Rashid
The Tribune and Times were all over the story, each publishing several articles.

The Tribune published lead editorial, a Joe Henderson column, and 5 other articles all critical of Rashid's misogynistic language and generally supportive of Leytham and Go Hillsborough.

Only to be beat out by the Times, which is now up to 11 articles and counting including an editorial and an Ernest Hooper column, John Romano commentary, and Sue Carlton.

Fair enough if a bit more than overdone.

In this day and age, this once again shows anything you say can and will be used against you in any way if it's convenient to do so by your opponents.

This time, and this timing, it was very very convenient to do so.

But neither the Tribune nor the Times ever discussed the merits of Rashid's statement, which that Beth Leytham is behind much of the mess that is Go Hillsborough, pulling the levers of power behind the scenes, crossing the gray lines between lobbying, activism, and policy, and political campaigns.

Now let's open up a few more questions about the Rashid kerfuffle.

Who was trolling Rashid's Facebook page, and leaked it to the media?

It is rather interesting that someone saw that and it conveniently found its way out to the media.

Would it have been leaked without Rashid's use of language?

Was the leaker aware of Pransky's investigation and upcoming report?

Pranksy stated he had been working on the report for a year, so with all his investigation, the principals in the report knew something was up, and he stated so in his report. Pransky claimed that Leytham and Connect Tampa Bay's Kevin Thurman tried to tarnish him with the Rashid statement.
And when a member of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, Sam Rashid, made sexist remarks about Leytham in a Facebook comment, Leytham and Kevin Thurman from Connect Tampa Bay repeatedly tried to tie 10 Investigates to the story.
Rashid was not one of 10 Investigates’ more than two dozen sources for this series, nor did WTSP communicate with Rashid during the research or writing of this investigation. Rashid has since removed his comment and apologized to Leytham, but as news of the investigation spread through Tampa-area political circles, Rashid told the Tampa Bay Business Journal he won’t resign from his board position until after 10 Investigates’ story is published.
Despite repeated assurances that there was no WTSP/Rashid relationship whatsoever, Thurman tried to “withdraw” a quote he provided until it was explained to him if Rashid was a source for our report. Leytham sent numerous text messages, e-mails, and voicemail messages to media outlets in Tampa Bay suggesting the upcoming investigation had no credibility because Rashid was awaiting it.
We can conclude that Leytham and Connect Tampa Bay's Kevin Thurman definitely tried to use the Rashid rant to blunt Pransky's critical report.

Beth Leytham
What is the Tribune's and the Times relationship with Leytham?  She claims in her practice as a PR firm to have relationships in the media, including the editorial boards on both papers. We know for a fact she has met with the editorial boards regarding Go Hillsborough. Her relationship with the editorial staff is something she has stated as one of her qualifications for PR work.

Why did neither the Tribune nor the Times editorial writers disclose their relationship with Beth Leytham?

Were the Tribune and the Times played for gullible pawns in this power play?  How much of their blind support for Go Hillsborough has been influenced by Beth Leytham?

Leytham claims to be good at what she does, including crisis management.  What is the real crisis here?

Is it Sam Rashid's rant?

Or is the real crisis the failing message behind Go Hillsborough?

Who is responsible for that failing message?

Did Leytham or other Go Hillsborough supporters use Rashid's rant to attempt to preempt Pransky's report critical of her relationships and her work on Go Hillsborough?

After all, preemption and redirection is a well known PR and crisis management technique.

Leytham's good at what she does. Just ask her. She is the Queen of Damage Control.

We're not prone to conspiracy theories when sheer incompetence will explain the mess.

This time, we're not so sure.

Disclosure: We have met Sam Rashid, or at least been in the same room, but have no ongoing relationship. We have met Beth Leytham, or at least been in the same room, but have no ongoing relationship.

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