Friday, March 27, 2009

That was then, this is now

On September 8, 2006 a Miami Herald reporter named Oscar Corral wrote an article about several south Florida journalists that were moonlighting at Radio Martí and TV Martí (two U.S. government sponsored information outlets that target Cuba like the Voice of America targeted eastern Europe during the cold war). Some of the journalists named in the article were Corral's colleagues at the Miami Herald Media Company, they worked for the Spanish language sister of the paper, El Nuevo Herald. Those journalists were fired as a result.

The Herald justified the firings by claiming that such moonlighting violated journalistic ethics. An excerpt from the Corral article:

Journalism ethics experts called the payments a fundamental conflict of interest. Such violations undermine the credibility of reporters to objectively cover key issues affecting U.S. policy toward Cuba, they said.

The episode was embarrassing for the Herald because it turns out that at least one of the fired journalists had obtained permission to do the moonlighting work from a previous editor and another one of the fired journalists had been featured in a Herald article several years earlier that mentioned the fact that she contributed to Radio and TV Martí.

The point is that the Herald went to great lengths to cleanse itself of perceived ethics violations by some of its employees. The sin the journalists committed was to be on the U.S. government payroll.

If we take the Herald's pronouncements from that time seriously then what are we to make of posting entire items from a Cuban government information agency as if it were coming from a legitimate independent news organization like Reuters or the Associated Press?

Is the Herald actually telling us between the lines that the U.S. government can't be trusted but the Cuban government can?

The Miami Herald was listed as number 3 on Time Magazine's list of The 10 Most Endangered Newspapers in America. I can't imagine why.


Oscar Acorralado said...

I am no longer at the Herald. Have mercy on your fellow Belen alumni. Quit picking on me.

Realpolitik said...

Maybe the Herald is telling us that, since it's in a major financial bind, it will save on resources by simply borrowing its Cuba-related content from Cuba itself. Yes, we're talking about propaganda from a 50-year-old dictatorship, but hey, it's still Cuba "news," in a manner of speaking.

Let's face it, nobody really gives a damn about Cuba except Cubans themselves (and not even all Cubans, either). Also, it's not as if this involves a right-wing regime; the media has been giving leftist tyrannies the benefit of the doubt for ages (just ask the New York Times).

So maybe we should just give the Herald the credit for finally coming "clean." It has always had, uh, issues with the Cuban-American community, albeit thinly veiled, and since the paper might be going under anyway, it may no longer feel a need for a veil.

It might help if El Nuevo Herald, which is supposedly a totally separate and independent entity, would investigate this matter, but I'm not holding my breath. Official statements are one thing; reality is often another. If Nuevo Herald didn't say a word about Oscar Corral's arrest for soliciting a prostitute, I doubt it's going to put Big Brother on the spot now.

Anyway, it's a sordid business, but so it goes.

Fed Up said...

So the equivalent of the Voice of America or Radio Free Europe is unethical "propaganda" if aimed at Cuba, but it's OK for the Herald to run REAL propaganda from Castro, Inc. word for word without any real indication as to its source. Now that's what I call moral rectitude. I trust the Herald more every day. I feel the same about Bernie Madoff.

Inbreeding said...

Has Nuevo Herald said anything at all about this outrage? Such as comparing the ethics (or lack thereof) of the Herald in this instance with the Marti moonlighters business? Talk about blatant inconsistency. And then some.

Thomas said...

Nuevo Herald has a brand new head editor. I seriously doubt he's going after this in any substantial fashion. Wouldn't want to look like he's not a team player and so on.

Jobie Steppe said...

Think human rights in Cuba is bad! Jobie Steppe, an artist in Coconut Grove, Florida was cited by the Miami Code Enforcement Department and the City of Miami Attorney's Office-----NOW GET THIS, they have stipulated in writing, in court documents that when Mr. Steppe shows his art to anyone, Mr. Steppe is engaged in the business of displaying emotions and has been found guilty and a lien of $23,100.00, has been placed on his home in Coconut Grove, Florida in March of 2009 and every 3 months an additional lien of $13,500.00, shall be added until the value of the liens exceed the value of his home and his home shall be forclosed upon and Mr. & Mrs. Steppe shall be arrested. To fantastic to be true? Just type in the name JOBIE STEPPE into your search engine and read the facts as printed by The Miami Herald, FOX news and numerous other media outlets. However, when they printed this story back in June & July of 2008, no one knew that Mr. Steppe was engaged in the business of exchanging emotions, everyone thought he was operating some kind of profitable business out of his home in Coconut Grove. If you're attorney wanting a good case this is it. 305-447-6526

Marti said...

I have a bunch of cocoNUTS and BANANAS for you.

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