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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT: Objectively Opinionated, May 10, 2022

There was a public workshop on the airports this morning, it sounds like the county is preparing for larger aircraft to come to both airports but we are still a few years away from that. There is a regular meeting of the county commission about an hour from now as they continue on a full day of meetings. Today’s meeting should be a relatively uneventful one, they will finalize the sale of Betz Farm among other things.

Before we get into that, today is my sixth anniversary of having moved to Citrus County, way back on May 10 of 2016. I moved from Gainesville where I had been living for almost two years while working on my Ph.D. at UF, but prior to that I had lived the previous seven years, my entire adult life to that point, in Tampa and was born and raised in Sarasota.

While I think many would still consider me a tourist rather than a resident here, I do plan on staying for the long term, so today’s first topic is about how what I’ve seen over these last six years in Citrus’ past influences the way I think about its future. I’ll have reactions to the Sunday Chronicle commentary in about five minutes, but let’s start here.

There are two aspects of my mental approach to life that I cognitively try hard to change. These two things that I do now that I wish I didn’t are remembering the past with a rosy tint and fail to appreciate the present.

Just yesterday I was watching a movie trailer on my phone, and the picture was incredible, the stream speed was flawless, and all of this is made possible by a cell phone bill that is affordable. My mind drifted back to 15 years ago, when I first moved to Tampa from Sarasota, and we still had the phones where if you pressed the “internet” button, you hurried as quickly as you could to exit out of it because the fees were astronomical and you couldn’t do much with the service anyway. These were the days of rationing text messages because unlimited plans were just starting to become available but many people still were charged 10 cents per text message sent or received. YouTube was in its first year of existence, this is all just 15-16 years ago.

Now I know you’ll say “everyone talking and not saying anything” or “our social network used to be the people we were gathered around the dinner table with” but come on, today’s life is vastly improved by the tools available to us and if those tools have become addictions than that’s a you problem, not a technology problem.

It’s okay to look back on old times fondly but it’s not okay to use these memories as a reason to stay in the past. Life is undoubtedly better today than it was, does that mean its perfect? Far from it. Does that mean progress has made all aspects of life better? Of course not. But it is better.

The same will be true for Citrus County. I see a lot of comments that the sudden influx of big box retailers will destroy our small town charm, and in some ways, these comments reflect sentiments that I hold too. I’m with you, I feel it.

But here’s where appreciating the present comes into play. The answer to combatting this feeling isn’t to long for the past but rather to embrace the present. We are on the verge of increasing our tax rolls, providing more corporate charity dollars, and recruiting higher end talent to our area. We can be thankful for the opportunities that lie ahead, which in this early stage of potential, do well seem limitless.

We have our problems in Citrus, sure, many problems as any county commission meeting like today will have the public tell you. But maybe our biggest problem is not feeling fortunate for all that we do have. Maybe our biggest weakness is longing for the past, and not embracing the wonderful present we have each and every day.

Getting to topic 2 but first,

The Concurrent is introducing interviews into our podcasts in 2022. If you or someone you know would like to come on the show, get in touch with us at, that’s to be able to let your voice be heard on a variety of topics that we discuss right here on the Bobby Winsler Show.

Someone a lot smarter than me texted me on Sunday and said, “you provide value through the content you produce, why are you always comparing yourself to others?” This person was right, I should stop doing that. In fact, last week’s show I started this second topic by using Chronicle Executive Editor Jeff Bryan by name saying, Jeff, Jeff Jeff, and then I had a phone conversation with him this week for campaign stuff and it was absolute professionalism, he truly is a great guy. And a lot of these people who work in Citrus media are great people, or at the very least, well intentioned.

So I am going to heed this smart person’s advice but I don’t want to give up the structure of this topic fully. The commentary I’m going to react to today is Chronicle publisher Trina Murphy’s column about the role of the editorial board. I’m not going to tell you if its good or bad, that’s just my opinion and who cares about that, go read it for yourself and form your own opinion, but I will try to react to the message in general.

I work in academia and for years colleges have been obsessed with the cliche of critical thinking: tell people how to think; don’t tell them what to think. Good media commentary should inspire critical thinking in this trite definition.

This doesn’t mean commentary or editorials have to refrain from giving an opinion. They still can and should do that. But it does mean that the full argument should be presented and then a well reasoned assertion formed as to why the position your side holds is preferable. This gives the reader as much information as possible while still pressing upon a personally held position.

This doesn’t have to transcend all the way to influence. When persuasion rhetoric is used or when certain information is exaggerated or withheld from the public in commentary to fit a narrative, that isn’t inspiring people to think, that is telling them what to think.

Many, maybe even myself included, are guilty of falling into this trap though I actively try to be as reasonable as possible. This super smart person and I first started talking when they took objection to a term I used to describe the Concurrent writing, a term I’m still proud of though I haven’t used often since, which was “objective opinions.” This is admittedly tongue in cheek because objectivity and opinions are antonyms in journalism.

But the heart of what I meant was just this: present the whole picture then put into context why you see the picture the way you do while allowing for others to interpret it differently. That is what makes people think, rather than telling them what to think and hopefully also what keeps you coming back to the Concurrent. Whether other outlets do it too is up for your own interpretation.


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