When he exploded on the South Florida political scene with his Shark Tank blog, Javier Manjarres (aka "El Sharko") was a boon to fellow Republicans, winning CPAC's blogger of the year in 2010 and regularly scoring on-camera interviews with Rick Scott, Marco Rubio and Allen West on the campaign trail when the mainstream press couldn't get near them.
One Republican didn't get the nice-guy treatment: Richard DeNapoli, the chairman of the Broward County Republican Party, of which Manjarres is also a member. Time and again, El Sharko has take a bite out of DeNapoli. DeNapoli and his supporters bit back.
Now, Manjarres could be expelled from the party. He blogged about it yesterday.
Beyond the typical tussle of personalities within any organization, the kerfuffle between Manjarres and DeNapoli shows that the new media can be a lot like the old media --at a certain point, a reporter/blogger is going to write something that bothers someone. And there are consequences for that, including censorship.
There are also consequences for trying to censor or expel someone from a party as well. Veteran attack man/Republican operative Roger Stone tweeted that it was a "purge" -- and it was "dumb!"
Just who said and did what to whom is unclear because the Republican Party is still a private entity, not a government (albeit, like the Democratic Party, it's a shadow government fueled by special-interest cash that helps call the shots of government). What we do know for sure is that competing grievances were filed and, ultimately, Republican higher-ups presented Manjarres with an ultimatum: Stop blogging about the inner-workings of the Broward Republican Party or leave its membership. Manjarres said the decision, though, wasn't clear -- just what was he supposed to write/not write?
Shark Tank critics say the Republican Party of Florida's grievance finding was clear. And it didn't just involve DeNapoli. The letter was issued May 20, 2011. Download RPOFletter
Meantime, he kept plugging away. In the minds of some party higher-ups, he was acting more like a reporter and less like a silent-majority party loyalist when it came to DeNapoli. So now the state Republican Party of Florida's chairman and committee will decide whether to boot him out of the party structure.
Welcome to swimming (partly) in the waters of the mainstream media, El Sharko.