Monday, October 09, 2006

McClatchy: Give us time

Several readers have sent me the response McClatchy, the parent company of the Heralds, sent them regarding emailed concerns about Tom Fiedler's Chihuahua remarks. Here is the text of the response:

As the new owners of The Miami Herald, we want to join in the apologies that have been extended for mistakes and missteps there, and to ask you to give us the time and opportunity to show what our ownership will mean.

The McClatchy Company is proud of almost 150 years of newspaper history and its long record of respectful community journalism. We want to assure you that we intend to bring that same attitude and behavior to our relationship with all the communities that make Miami such a rich and vibrant place.

We are committed to responsible, public service journalism that plays a central role in making Miami and South Florida even better places to live and work. We have great confidence in David Landsberg, who has taken the reins at the Miami Herald Media Company, and know that he looks forward to working with all involved to serve the broadest public interest.

Thank you for your comments, and for your consideration.

The McClatchy Company
Sounds like everyone involved with The Herald is on the same page, give us time and we'll get it all cleaned up.

10 comments:

FREEDOM4CUBA said...

Henry,

I received the same message and replied back to Peter Tira. Also, the message sent to us has nothing to do with Tom "Racist" Feidler remark. That message was something they wrote in response to the Marti Moonlighters.

Thanks,
Enrique (Freedom4cuba)

heraldphobe said...

The McClatchy letter is classic PR-speak. It deals in very broad and vague terms, meaning nothing specific or tangible is being said or promised. It's better than nothing, but once a reasonable amount of time has passed, mere words will not cut it. The only thing that will matter is what is actually done to correct the glaring problems in the Herald enterprise with regards to the Cuban-American community.

The first order of business would seem to be a serious, sunstantial response to the issues raised by Pablo Alfonso in his open letter. This is not about any "amnesty," but about making amends to 11 journalists that were unjustly and falsely smeared. The Herald is ultimately responsible, but Oscar Corral must also be held accountable and must at the very least issue a public apology for his role in this fiasco.

If Tom Fiedler keeps his job, he should be closely and permanently monitored by the Cuban-American community for any sign of a "relapse" in his behavior. Even if he's given the benefit of the doubt now, he does not deserve to get it again. Enough is enough.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

What was it that the Anglos were always taxing Hispanics with? Mañana, mañana, mañana.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Heraldphobe:

Forget about a letter of apology; Oscar Corral should write a letter of resignation. I don't see how any man can be more discredited than him. His "scoop" of Sept. 8 has turned out to be the biggest non-scoop in journalistic history; a textbook example of every mistake that can be committed by an investigative reporter in the course of writing a story.

Not only did Corral libel eleven honest professionals, but he brought down on the Herald the wrath of an entire community; turned The Herald agaist the Nuevo Herald; editors against journalists; columnists against editors; in short, Corral unleased a civil war at the paper which eventually resulted in the resignation of its publisher and the self-implosion of its executive editor.

The Herald itself has now hurled every imaginable insult at his monumentally flawed reportage, characterizing it as unprofessional and lightweight, among other things.

Only a man with absolutely no principles or self-respect, who fears that he may never get another job in the media, would cling so indecorously to a position after he has lost all credibility and become the living embodiedment of everything that is wrong at the Herald.

Getting rid of Corral, at any price, is the unavoidable first step that the Herald must take if it really wants to restore (or establish) a reputation for honesty in reporting.

heraldphobe said...

Corral's 9/8 article is a lousy piece of work, but the Herald is, or presumes to be, a major newspaper. The appropriate Herald people should have realized the piece was seriously flawed and bad for the paper before they let it run.

It's not as if Corral is some famous Pulitzer-type who could get rubber-stamp approval for anything he wrote no matter what based on his name and reputation (not that any reporter should ever be beyond question like that).

I'm not defending him, but he did not act in isolation or operate in a vacuum.

ziva said...

Manuel A. Tellechea said:

Only a man with absolutely no principles or self-respect, who fears that he may never get another job in the media, would cling so indecorously to a position after he has lost all credibility and become the living embodiedment of everything that is wrong at the Herald.

Sounds like the perfect description for oscar to me.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

You have rightly gauged Corral's opinion of himself, at least in his Walter Mitty moments. He did genuinely believe that his Sept. 8 article would propel him into the "big leagues" and I'm sure he was already making room in his cubicle for the covetted Pulitzer plaque. You have obviously never visited Corral's blog, where he is usually silent except when apprising his readers that he will be undertaking a dangerous mission in "the underground" (as he did a month prior to the publication of his libelous article). He then stayed away for a month or so, only to return "triumphantly" with a post about how he saved First Amendment, journalistic ethics and the honor of the Miami Herald with his story. The deluded boy actually did think this article was going to net him a Pulitzer. And why not? Walter Duranty covered-up the Stalinist terror for The New York Times and got a Pulitzer. Why shouldn't Henry get a Pulitzer for a little lie in an age when the big lie is almost impossible to pass off?

But seriously, why shouldn't the instigator of this debacle answer for it? And for that matter, why not his four co-writers (who have gone largely unmentioned)? The malicious intent of Corral's article is obvious to anyone: the selective attack, the innuendos in place of facts, the dishonest comparison to Armstrong Williams, the anonymous ethics experts who are summoned to stick their knifes too in the 3 journalists' backs. Who but an idiot—or the Miami Herald editors—could fail to spot such an obvious hatchet job? Should reporters who write with a hatchet be allowed to keep their jobs?

Corral's source for this non-story was Castro apologist (or worse) Max Lesniak, who weeks before raved in his newsletter about the upcoming purge of the 3 Cuban-American journalists. He obviously informed Havana, which also announced the story on Cuban tv weeks before its publication.

Oscar Corral was the willing tool of a Castro sympathizer and the Cuban bashers at the Herald (Fiedler and Diaz, among many). When Diaz recognized the enormity of what he had done and tried to backtrack, Carl Hiaasen went over his back to the McClatchy corporation and forced Diaz's resignation. A Cuban basher was acceptable as Herald publisher even if he was himself Cuban; but the moment he tried to control the maelstrom that he had abetted and continued to defend, Diaz was out.

So, yes, Corral has done irreparable damage to the reputations of 11 honorable journalists; he has set the Miami Herald against the Nuevo Herald (in effect creating a two-newspaper town within the same newspaper); he has pitted editors against journalists and columnists against editors; he has made the Herald a national joke (or a bigger national joke); he has furthered the cause of Castroism and damaged the credibility of independent journalists on the island.

Yes, you are right, he didn't act in isolation or operate in a vaccuum. But that hardly excuses his own conduct or negates his own responsibility for the story. Or is every journalist of Corral's ilk to get a pass because his editors ultimately had to sign off on his story? In that case, there would never be any accountability from journalists.

Manuel A. Tellechea said...

Correction:

"Why shouldn't Oscar get a Pulitzer for a little lie in an age when the big lie is almost impossible to pass off?"

Henry, of course, should be the one to get the first bloggers' Pulitzer (and how long will it be before the media elites institute that prize?) But I will desist from praising Henry further on this blog because he doesn't like it.


Ziva:

Thank-you for your kind support, which is much appreciated.


And To All:

A happy and proud "Grito de Yara."

Anonymous said...

If you really believe Herald management who allow the reporting of what you suggest is pro Castro news should be fired, aren't you as guilty as they are of censorship?

I doubt that anyone questions that Castro should go. And I've read that opinion in the Herald. But what's wrong with them reporting other parts to the Cuba/Castro story?

There has to be room for multiple opinions. If not, you can't accuse the Herald of printing the wrong opinions.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Anonymous, if you have followed the story (if you haven't just go back in the archives of this blog) you would know that it's not about opinion pieces in the Herald but rather the smear job that was done on 11 journalists including 3 of MHPC's own. It was a shoddy reporting job, a shoddy editing job, a shoddy human resources job, just shoddy all the way around.

Also as I have documented on this blog, The Miami Herald has only begrudgingly reported on the other side of the story after El Nuevo Herald took the lead in that aspect. Miami Herald readers have not had the benefit of countless columns, letters and editorials that have come out in the last 4 weeks in the pages of the Spanish paper that may have given some balance to the coverage.