What Is Going on With a Major Metropolitan Newspaper Having Charges of Racism?!

Clouds cover the Miami skyline as the outer bands of Hurricane Irma reached South Florida early Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017 in Miami. Gov. Rick Scott is urging anyone living in an evacuation zone in southwest Florida to leave by noon as the threat of Hurricane Irma has shifted west. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP)

 

Maybe the lack of national outrage is a sign of how bad newspapers are performing…

In any other city, this would be considered huge news, but this being South Florida it becomes another story comprising background noise. The area’s largest newspaper, The Miami Herald, is coming under fire for a series of issues with racially-charged elements, one even leading to the dismissal of one managing editor. It is actually not shocking in this region where psychosis and political distemper are considered normal, after all.

Just to set the stage for those not residing in this psych-ward waiting room we call The Sunshine State, a recent occurrence was seen with The Herald’s sister publication in Broward County, The Sun-Sentinel. Leading up to the primary elections the paper endorsed its slew of candidates, a not-surprising batch of Democrats but one name did stand out — Scott Israel. He was the deposed county sheriff who was removed by Governor Ron DeSantis following the revelations of incompetence by his department following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

While it was odd enough for that paper to endorse a shamed political figure, what was truly bizarre was that that same newspaper won The Pulitzer Prize for its extensive coverage of the school shooting and many of the details that emerged after, including the ways the Broward Sheriff’s Officers and its department bungled the affair.

So it is in this climate that The Miami Herald has been under fire for a string of racial incidents, the first involving an endorsement of their own. The paper backed Katherine Fernandez Rundle as the incumbent State Attorney. Rundle was under fire herself for allegedly hiding evidence about a case involving a mentally-challenged individual who was scalded to death while under police custody. She was viewed as being toxic enough that the Democratic Party asked her to not run for reelection.

All of these details were covered by The Herald, yet the editorial staff endorsed Rundle. Next came an ongoing issue from the Sports section. Longtime Miami Dolphins beat reporter Armondo Salguero took issue with the recent ridiculousness seen when pro football teams announced they were fighting racism by not going to practice. Salguero responded to a video made by former Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Understand that Salguero is a former Cuban citizen, and he knows of this issue well. He famously had a verbal sparring match with Colin Kaepernick when he played a game in town and wore a shirt with Fidel Castro’s image at a press conference. His non-controversial comments are made controversial in 2020, so the paper was being hectored to respond to the supposedly inflammatory words. Then things turned odder when another sportswriter, longtime staffer Greg Cote, addressed the issue on a Herald podcast. However, before the episode aired the paper’s editor’s expunged the segment with those comments from the show.

 

A newspaper silencing a writer is never going to be a good look.

Then, the most recent involves the Spanish Language version of the paper, El Nuevo Herald. In that edition, there has been a constant insert to the paper on Fridays, a paid 40-page supplement. It was brought to the attention of the editors that this addition — called Libre — frequently included content of a racist and anti-Semitic nature. The owner of The Miami Herald, McClatchy investigated the matter and found that the editing staff included Libre without ever overseeing the content. 

This led to a severe shakeup in management, with a managing editor fired, a complete restructuring of the advertising staff, and even greater changes in upper management. ”The company will hire a new president for both newspapers and a managing editor for el Nuevo Herald. The president will oversee advertising and other areas.’’

All of this has led to a move being made by local documentary filmmaker Billy Corbin, famous for ”Cocaine Cowboys’’ and ”The U’’, the popular documentary on ESPN about the University of Miami football program. Corbin is teaming with other local independent publications to soon offer up a news portal dubbed ”Because Miami’’. Said to be a long-in-the-works project, they say the recent calamities at The Herald have forced an earlier rollout to take place.

The ad copy compelling those to receive updates states, ”Sign up now and we’ll let you know about our official launch and how you can help save Miami from itself.’’

As a longtime resident in this area, let me just stipulate that this is an extremely massive undertaking. You are talking about generations of entrenched behavior that has been outlandish and self-inflicted.