Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Herald Exec: It was an apology

Tonight Cesar Pizarro, a vice president of the MHMC, and Humberto Castelló, executive editor of ENH, appeared on the news analysis program "A Mano Limpia" with Oscar Haza.

When Haza, the Dominican journalist, asked Pizarro why the Herald simply didn't issue an apology to various journalists implicated in its September 8th story about the Martí Moonlighters, Pizarro said that Clark Hoyt's review of the matter was that apology.

But that argument doesn't stand up to serious scrutiny. Clark Hoyt's review was supposed to be (and I believe was) and independent and impartial analysis of the events leading up and including the publishing of that now infamous story. Hoyt judged the piece to be "heavy-handed and one-sided". So the judge ruled but no restitution has been paid.

Hoyt is not the publisher nor the executive editor of the paper, therefore he can not apologize on behalf of the paper. I wonder if Tom Fiedler believes the Hoyt Review was an apology. Somehow I doubt it. Pablo Alfonso, one of the fired/re-hired ENH journalists, didn't feel that it was an apology and promptly tendered his resignation.

Pizarro also claimed that of the 1,900 subscribers lost in the aftermath of the story some 200 have re-subscribed. It should be noted that El Nuevo Herald is also airing TV commercials on at least one TV station that caters to the Cuban-American community.


heraldphobe said...

It was not an apology, certainly not from the people behind and responsible for this affair. Hoyt is not one of those people. What he personally thinks or feels is a separate issue. No matter how hard he had come down on the Herald, the Herald itself would have had to acknowledge wrongdoing and apologize for it, explicitly.

So what did we get? In response to the Hoyt report, Fiedler officially declares to Editor & Publisher (11/17) that "There is nothing that suggests the need for a correction, clarification or retraction." If that's an apology, I'm Mother Teresa.

In addition to that (as if more were needed), in the wake of the Hoyt report Fiedler explicitly praised Oscar Corral and his editor Myriam Marquez in a memo posted on this blog. There has been no known disciplinary action taken against Corral, Marquez or anybody else at the Miami Herald involved in this affair.

I didn't see the TV show and don't know what exactly Pizarro said, but it sounds clear enough. It's a laughably inept attempt at damage control. It's also counterproductive, because not only will nobody buy it, but it's an insult to people's intelligence.

Pablo Alfonso, whose job was riding on whether or not the Herald apologized, and who chose to resign when that didn't happen, would seem to agree with the above.

heraldphobe said...

What else (if anything) of substance did Castello say? Did he discuss Alfonso's resignation, for instance? Did he discuss the Nicolas Perez column that made Fiedler go ballistic and his (Castello's) response to that? What was the general impression he gave as to how he stands in all this now?

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

They talked about Varela. I didn't get a chance to watch the whole program in its entirety because I was being interviewed on Canadian radio about Cuba.

Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

There is a possibility that the show will be repeated tomorrow since they usually repeat a show from earlier in the week on Saturday.

heraldphobe said...

The Hoyt business looks more and more like a tactical ploy to me, a way to give the appearance of "balance" or of somehow "making amends." In effect, however, for all practical purposes, Hoyt's report has changed nothing. Fiedler's statement to Editor & Publisher (among various other things) makes that very clear, but I expect most members of the public don't know what he told E & P.

It seems rather telling that Nuevo Herald, which surely must know, has made no issue of it. I don't think NH even mentioned it, despite the fact that it's clearly relevant, clearly significant and clearly of interest to its readers. Diario las Americas, which is much less directly involved, did allude to it almost immediately.

Presumably, those Herald readers who canceled subscriptions but have reportedly re-subscribed (roughly 10% of those who canceled) took the Hoyt report as an apology, or close enough. Sadly, even if they don't realize it, it's no such thing. Even if Hoyt had gone the ashes-and-sackcloth route, that would only apply to him, and he's not one of the parties responsible.

Those parties, to my knowledge, have yet to say a single official word to the effect that they're in any way sorry or that they've learned any lessons from this (except, perhaps, to think twice before calling people Chihuahuas).