Sunday, February 15, 2009

Schizophrenic Herald on Marlins Ballpark

Jorge Costales notes the negative article the Herald published about the Marlins ballpark deal and shows how the same data could have been spun more realistically by comparing the Marlins to other smaller market teams. It would have made sense to do so given the fact that the editorial board is in FAVOR of the stadium. Makes one wonder who the hell is really running things, if anyone.


David G. Smith said...

The fact that the editorial board is for the stadium should have nothing to do with the stories that run,pro or con, in the rest of the paper. It is journalistically responsible that they run expositions contrary to the board's opinion, not schizophrenic.

Henry Louis Gomez said...

Did you read the Costales post I linked to? The data shows that when you look at the Marlins deal in the context of other markets similar to Miami that it's not that bad. Comparisons cannot be made to markets like new york where the cost of the stadium will exceed $1 billion and where the teams have considerably more revenue than the Marlins.

And believe me, when the Herald wants something, it advocates for it in its "straight" reporting. The PAC is a perfect example.

And don't EVER believe there's such a thing as an objective news outlet, especially a newspaper.

David G. Smith said...

So what you're saying is that because the editorial board is for the stadium, there can be no articles in the rest of the paper that may be negative about the deal? And, you want them to shrink the sample size so the story can be more positive? Silly. This has a little to do with objectivity, but more to do with to do with responsibility.
You're cautioning me that when the Herald wants something, it uses the news pages to push it. That's exactly the opposite of what's happening here, but you're calling the paper schizophrenic. Wait, why am I defending The Herald...?
Yes, I've read all the links, articles, and editorials. Bottom line: the Marlins are getting a hell of a deal, any way it's spun. I love baseball and I'd love to see the stadium get built, but it's getting tough to find examples in Miami-Dade where the taxpayer doesn't get hammered (PAC, MIA, Metro-Rail, transit tax, etc.)

Jorge Costales CPA said...


If I read your response closely, I am left to wonder what you mean by 'expositions contrary.' I would agree that if a newspaper runs an article which reflects negatively on something which is endorsed on the editorial page, it can be seen as a sign of independence. The Wall Street Journal is the best example of that.

But does your 'expositions contrary' encompass a week long series which is consistently negative leading up to a close vote by both local governments? If your 'expositions contrary' can encompass that, I would suggest that it is too broad a definition to have any usefulness.

What I tried to highlight and Henry agreed with, is that the Miami Herald took a position on this issue on their supposed 'news' coverage pages. What this issue points out is that there were two voices on this issue at the Miami Herald.

But what is the reporting side of the Herald doing by taking sides on an issue anyways? Isn't the 'taking sides' role, reserved for the Editorial page? Is it journalistically responsible for a series of news articles to be pro or con?

I know my answer and I think I know Henry's, but I'm curious how far your defense of them goes. Did you think they took sides in their reporting and are you OK with that?

David G. Smith said...

No, I don't want the reporting side to have an agenda. That's why I don't want them to shrink the sample size so the stadium deal looks better. If the story is negative, fine, that's the story. It should never be spun for any reason, even if we know it does happen. You ask if they've taken sides with this reporting? There have been the negative pieces you site, but also many more positive stories. So, in this case, I don't think so. However, I'm still waiting to see one negative piece about the tunnel.

Henry Louis Gomez said...


I responded but I guess I didn't save my response.

1. The Herald routinely manipulates data to make the points it wants to make. One of the reasons I created this blog was because of an Ana Menendez column where she cited poverty stats for the city of Miami to make broad generalizations about the whole south florida area. Link

2. I think the Herald really doesn't want the ballpark. The editorial is political cover so they can say "we endorsed it on the back page" all while undermining it on the front page.

3. The article states that "Stadium deals are complex transactions that can be difficult to compare." then they go on to do exactly that. The situation of the Yankees, which was the richest revenue team in baseball BEFORE the construction of their new stadium cannot possibly be compared to that of the Marlins that are wanting this ballpark built precisely because they are one of the poorest revenue teams.

4. The Herald's analysis goes back only to 2000, why? Perhaps because the Marlins Ballpark deal looks pretty good when compared to:

Camden Yards opened in 1992 with 96% public financing.

Tropicana Field opened for MLB play in 1996 100% publicly financed.

U.S. Cellular field opened in 1991 with 100% public financing.

Safeco Field opened in 1999 with 72% public financing.

The Ballpark at Arlington opened in 1994 with 80% public financing.

Coors field opened in 1995 with 75% public financing.

Turner Field opened in 1995 with 100% public financing.

So the Marlins are competing with a significant number of teams that have more resources than they do and that at same time received more help in building their ballparks. When the Herald arbitrarily chose 2000 as a cut-off it distorted the picture.

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

-Mark Twain