Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Coming soon?

A reader has informed me that Oscar Corral is currently working an article about government expenditures on "free Cuba" activities. That, in and of itself, is not news because The Herald revealed the fact that they have been investigating that story for two years in the wake of Martí Moonlighters story. They used that excuse as a way to explain the investigation that led to the hasty firing of 3 El Nuevo Herald journalists. But it subsequently became public knowledge that the Radio/TV Martí story was written to pre-empt a similar story being investigated by the Chicago Tribune and not as a byproduct of the 2-year investigation.

What's news about the upcoming Corral story is his focus on The University of Miami and Professor Jaime Suchlicki who is the Director of the Cuba Transition project. That's the same government-funded project on whose advisory board Jesus Diaz Jr. (Former Herald Publisher) and Humberto Castelló (El Nuevo Herald's Executive Editor) sit.

It will be interesting to see how the Herald treats the subject matter in light of the incomplete and sloppy job it did with the Martí Moonlighters. There's already a sense in the Cuban-American community that The Herald exhibits prejudice against Cuban-Americans and is insensitive to the fight for Cuban freedom. A perceived attack against an institution like the University of Miami and a respected academic like Suchliki may not be what the folks at McClatchy meant when they asked the readers to give them time to prove themselves worthy of serving community.

The Herald should be very careful about its fact checking and particularly careful about any sensationalistic headlines. As always I'll be here, taking a peek over their shoulder.

More at Babalu Blog.


Gigi said...

You got rising insurance rates, unrelenting traffic gridlock, housing prices orbiting the stratosphere, condo conversions galore putting people on the street, crooked politicos in bed with equally crooked developers, and ..... what does the Herald envision as a primary target of their investigative resources?? Why, Dr. Suchliki.

Shalala, call your office.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

All further efforts on our part to reform the Miami Herald's political culture would be in vain and should be abandoned if Oscar Corral has indeed been assigned to do another smear-job on the Cuban-American community.

The first attack was aimed at Cuban-American influence in the media; and this putative one at Cuban-American influence in academia. There can be no doubt that a pattern is developing here.

What's next? Of course, an attack on Cuban-American business interests. Perhaps another exposé on the Fanjuls, Mas-Tec or any other successful Cuban-owned U.S. corporation.

Corral's internalized self-loathing and The Herald's anti-Cuban-American bias is a potent combination, proceeding as it does with malicious intent to advance the interests of our enemies.

Still, forewarned is forearmed. Let's be ready for the worst and it cannot take us by surprise.

After Corral's last pitiful performance, you can be sure that the fact-checkers will take their time with this story. But that, of course, is no guarantee of fairness; for it is how the facts are presented that matters, and there can be no doubt that they will be presented in the manner most injurious to Cuban-Americans and the prospect of a Free Cuba.

Do you still believe, Heraldphobe, that Oscar Corral should remain at The Miami Herald? At some point we are going to have to deal with the cause rather than the symptoms.

heraldphobe said...

I have no interest in protecting Corral's Herald job. My point was that the responsibility for his 9/8 article running as it did is not his alone.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...


The fact that there is enough blame to go around doesn't exculpate Oscar Corral, whose byline establishes his personal guilt beyond conjecture. To what degree the others are responsible is still an open question and one which The Herald will not address.

Obviously, Jesus Diaz, who took personal responsibility for running the story, is gone, though his end was only indirectly the result of the Corral affaire. Fiedler is as discredited as any editor can be, and will be walking for the rest of his life on eggshells when touching on issues concerning our community.

Still untouched by this scandal are the other four Herald reporters and researchers who contributed to Corral's story. Can it really be that it took five writers to concoct the sloppiest piece of journalism published by a reputable newspaper in recent times?

So, yes, Heraldphobe, justice needs to be meeted out to all concerned. But the accounting must begin with Oscar Corral. I hope we are on the same page on that.

heraldphobe said...

Actually, not only do I hold the Herald at least equally as responsible as Corral, I think the Herald is more to blame. However, I suppose it's possible the Herald had overestimated him; it's amazing how wrong an employer can be about an employee (I've seen it happen).

Of course, from now on the Herald can have no such excuse. He's already disgraced himself, so if the Herald keeps him on staff and he does something similar again, it's totally the Herald's fault.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...


What The Miami Herald wanted, The Miami Herald got — a Cuban name to stick in the byline (and four others at the bottom of the Sept. 8 story). If your criteria for selecting a reporter to cover a particular story is his ancestry, then you are sure to make the wrong choice time and time again.

What shocked me is the willingness—and in Oscar Corral's case, the enthusiasm—with which young Cuban-American journalists savaged their elders, even though they were certainly not on the same career track. It was not, then, done out of sheer competiveness, but a real disdain for what the libelled journalists represent. This same disdain was demonstrated by the professional association in Miami which not only refused to come to the 3 fired journalists' defense (has this ever happened before, anywhere or anytime?), but actually gloated over their fate. You see, in their minds, these Cubans were not "real" journalists and this scandal "proved" it.

One thing is true — the Cubans are different. They don't spew empty platitudes about journalistic ethics (which in this case have been shown to be nothing more than opportunistic traps). Their commitment to freedom goes beyond mere words; they stand for principles and for the truth and are willing (and have in fact been) imprisoned and tortured for upholding freedom of the press in a society that does not recognize it. That is certainly more dangerous than championing it in a society which affords the press every guarantee. Yet these fair weather advocates of freedom believe themselves heroic for wielding the long knives. In truth, they would be the pliant servants of any Goebbels they happened to cross in their horizon.

heraldphobe said...

Unfortunately, the media in general, including the Herald, is unsympathetic to Cuban-Americans and their aspirations. Not infrequently, the best it can manage is thinly disguised hostility. Those who work in media and are ambitious are perfectly aware of the rules of the game, and sadly, there are those who are clearly prepared to play along to get ahead.

The system, of course, encourages and rewards such betrayal, just as it discourages or penalizes those who won't toe the party line. The recent experience of Yale professor and distinguished author Carlos Eire with the New York Times is a case in point. When he wouldn't take the anti-exile position they wanted, they turned down his editorial, even though they had asked him to write it in the first place.

It's an ugly, depressing business, but that's the reality of the situation.