By William Gjebre and Dan Christensen, BrowardBulldog.org
A political writer for Examiner.com who for months has written stories attacking opponents of Hallandale Beach mayoral hopeful Jay Schorr did not tell her readers that she is Schorr’s wife.
Reporter Margaret Kessler Schorr, who uses her maiden name in her byline, disclosed the relationship in a story published Monday in Examiner.com after inquiries by Broward Bulldog
“Apparently, (Commissioner Keith) London is none-too-pleased that his opponent’s wife, yours truly, has the unmitigated gall to write objective, fact-based articles about him,” Kessler wrote.
Hallandale Beach blogger David Smith first raised questions about reporter Kessler’s relationship to candidate Schorr in an email to friends over the weekend. He operates http://hallandalebeachblog.blogspot.com/
Schorr, 54, is a write-in candidate and a long shot in a three-way race that includes London and incumbent Mayor Joy Cooper. Kessler has the title “Miami Political Buzz Examiner.” She also writes about celebrities and travel.
The election is Nov. 6.
Examiner.com is an “entertainment, news and lifestyle network” based in Denver and operated by the Clarity Digital Group, part of billionaire entrepreneur Philip Anschutz’s namesake corporation, Anschutz Company. It bills itself as a credible source of local news that relies on as many as 70,000 “citizen journalists” in cities across the country to generate local content.
Examiner writers are lightly vetted, filling out only an online form before they are hired. A former editor of the site has said their stories are not edited.
“It’s kind of like the reinvention of local news, in a way,” Clarity Digital President Leonard Brody told Toronto’s The Globe and Mail last year. “It is a huge network of trusted insiders in local markets that talk about the things they are passionate about.”
A spokeswoman said Clarity has nothing to do with Examiner.com’s editorial content. No one at Examiner.com responded to requests for comment.
Candidate Schorr and his wife operate Hallandale-based TMR Multimedia, an advertising, marketing, public relations and television production company. Among other things, TMR sells various items online including its Home Alien Abduction Verification Kit ($24.99, plus $1 shipping and handling).
“The kit comes complete with everything an abductee needs to prove an other-worldly abduction,” the sales site says.
Schorr’s biography describes him as a visionary and TMR as a “nationally renowned think tank” whose clients have included corporate giants like Kmart.
In an email, however, Schorr sounded more like a political brawler. He described Mayor Cooper as “Hallandale’s own Hugo Chavez in a dress” and called London “the poster boy for would-be Broward public servants with limited vocabularies and ideas.”
In a June interview with his wife, Schorr said he’d like to turn Hallandale Beach’s city commission meetings into a “nationally broadcast television talk show like Late Night with David Letterman, complete with celebrity guests and an in-house band.”
Last week, the Sun-Sentinel reported that Schorr is behind a recent petition drive that seeks a citywide vote on the development of a $100 million, 31-story hotel/condominium along the Intracoastal Waterway at Hallandale Beach Boulevard. The city commission unanimously approved the Beachwalk project in June.
Blogger Smith, who often writes about city issues, raised questions about the couple in an email that first took issue with a Kessler story critical of London. Smith wrote that he’d never heard of any of the people she quoted. He said a city official told him that Kessler and Schorr were apparently married.
When asked by Broward Bulldog, Schorr confirmed the two were indeed married.
Kessler, who also posts items on the “Jay Schorr for Mayor” blog, declined to answer questions about her coverage of her husband’s campaign.
Schorr said he sees no conflict of interest.
“Last time I read the AP (Associated Press) Stylebook, there was no prohibition against nepotistic journalism as long as it’s honest and straightforward,” Schorr said. “If I did something wrong I’d encourage my wife to write about it.”
Write-in candidates like Schorr do not appear on the ballot and rarely win elections.
“I love my chances,” Schorr said.