Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Corral's Hummergate

Adding some details to the story about Oscar Corral's arrest, Riptide 2.0 reported yesterday that the alleged prostitute is a woman named Yamilet Lopez and that Corral was heard by police making a deal for her to fellate him for the sum of $50.

The latest post on Corral's non-blog blog (which was made after he was arrested but before the Herald "reported" it) has been sanitized of comments, even those that had nothing to do with the arrest but were related to the content of his post. The only thing that remains is a copy and paste of an email which I also received. It's an email that Paul Crespo, one of the 11 journalists that was implicated in Oscar Corral's controversial news story about Radio and TV Marti, sent to the editors of the Miami Herald. It reads:

I was amazed (but not surprised) by your coverage of the arrest of Oscar Corral, one of your "intrepid" and controversial reporters. As the self-styled sole arbiters of professional ethics in Miami, The Herald is displaying its own lack of ethics and professionalism in this case. In contrast to the ridiculous front-page coverage you provided Mr. Corral's thoroughly flawed smear against me, and several other journalists in 2006, your microscopic coverage of Corral's recent arrest for soliciting a prostitute was hidden on page three of the Metro section. That small-type, one-paragraph note was in a small sidebar just above a one-paragraph story about some dogs. Worse yet, the tiny headline made no mention that the reporter arrested was from The Miami Herald. You should be ashamed. You couldn't have done a better job of covering it up, other than by ignoring it totally.

Regarding the front-page hit-piece by Mr. Corral about our fee-lancing [sic] for TV Marti, your own Ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, found numerous flaws in Corral's reporting. Among the many critiques in his scathing report on Corral's article, Mr. Hoyt stated that Mr. Corral's story's "hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported." What a difference between your piece against us and this minimalist coverage of your reporter who wrote that smear.

In the TV Marti story case The Herald also immediately fired two Nuevo Herald journalists mentioned in the story without any due process, or chance for explanation, for allegedly violating Herald policy and some debatable ethical norms regarding conflicts of interest. Those reporters were quickly rehired when it was discovered they had done nothing wrong and had been treated harshly and unfairly by The Herald.

Oscar Corral hasn't just violated ethical and moral norms by soliciting prostitutes, he clearly broke the law. While legally he may be innocent till proven guilty, he already is a disgrace to The Herald and the profession of journalism. Will The Herald fire him as quickly as it fired the others? Judging from your coverage it seems you hope not to, and hope no one notices as you sweep the tawdry affair under the rug in the Metro section. But Mr. Corral is not fit to cover this community. He needs to be fired.

Paul Crespo
Coral Gables


Anonymous said...

As of Thursday 8/9, I cannot find Crespo's letter in the Miami Herald or Nuevo Herald, and I assume he sent it electronically. I can find nothing more on the story in either paper beyond the initial brief note. So far, the New Times Riptide 2.0 blog has reported significantly more details than the Herald. What gives?

asombra said...

This may sound off-topic but it's relevant, certainly to the Corral-Herald mess last year.

Question: Would the Herald have canned Jim DeFede for his slip-up with Arthur Teele if circumstances had been essentially the same EXCEPT that, instead of Teele, the suicide had been a local Cuban-American politician?

In other words, if the situation, instead of being potentially objectionable or offensive to the black community, had involved the Cuban community, would the Herald have fired DeFede over it? At the very least, I think that is open to significant doubt, and the obvious question is, Why?

The answer, I think, has much to do with how the Herald handled (or mangled) the Corral mess last year. Even after the Hoyt report came out saying what it did, Fiedler still went on record (at Editor & Publisher) basically stating the Herald had no cause to apologize, and indeed, no real apology ever materialized.

If Corral (or any reporter) had offended the black community or the Jewish community like he did the Cuban community, does anybody believe the Herald would have responded the same way? Of course it would NOT have. Again, the inescapable question is, Why?

So, is it any surprise if Corral now gets the kid-gloves treatment, since the Herald is heavily invested in his presumed integrity and worth, and his disgrace or fall would reflect badly on the paper that has championed him?

Anonymous said...

Crespo's letter was in the Herald today on the Letters to the Editor page.

Anonymous said...

When I wrote I couldn't find Crespo's letter, I meant in the online Herald. I checked again and the "Letters" section still didn't show it, but when I clicked on an unrelated letter, I was taken to a different screen that showed additional letters, including an abridged version of the one by Crespo posted here.

I don't normally visit the Herald website; it seems like it could be better designed.