Saturday, October 06, 2007

Herald Watch in the Herald?

I have been contacted by the Miami Herald about the letter I sent to the new Ombudsman. They usually contact the authors of letters when they intend to print them to verify that the writer is a real person and lives in South Florida. I was told that my letter would run tomorrow (Sunday) if they decide to go with it. I am unsure if it will be accompanied by a response from the Ombudsman or not. It sounded as if it simply was simply going to appear in the letters section. In any case, since the Herald doesn't have a very good track record on letters to the editor, I have decided to post my unedited letter here. Please note the typo I made in my original email which I have corrected by adding the word "not" in brackets below.

Dear Mr. Schumacher Matos,

One of the things that has concerned me in the past is how the Herald covers itself and its own scandals. As you probably know, one year ago an investigative piece was published by the Herald that many including Clark Hoyt, your predecessor of sorts, found lacking in terms of accuracy and balance. The piece questioned the journalistic integrity of several journalists of Cuban origin. Three of them were employed by El Nuevo Herald.

But when that article's author, Oscar Corral, was recently arrested for soliciting a prostitute, the Herald buried a short, unsigned, police blotter item in the paper several days after the fact. Similarly the Herald came to the defense of Ana Veciana Suarez, a Miami Herald columnist, when she lied during jury selection in federal court, by omitting several facts pertinent to her case. It seems that the Miami Herald had no compunction about throwing its El Nuevo Herald colleagues to the wolves while going out its way to protect its own.

But forgetting the double standard, Oscar Corral had become quite the public figure in his own right as a result of his many articles which rightly or wrongly were perceived by many as hatchet jobs against the anti-Castro exile community. Did his arrest not merit more substantial coverage? One can only imagine the type of coverage the Herald would have dedicated had it been a leader of that exile community and [not] Corral who was busted.

It seems to me the Herald's coverage of itself should be at the top of the list of topics for its new ombudsman.

Most sincerely,

Henry Louis Gomez

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