For our friend from South Beach

The other day, in the comments of a post about Herald coverage I became embroiled in a debate with a reader who uses a South Beach zip code as his user name. The debate was about the Martí Moonlighters. Mr. SoBe thought it was a clear cut case of conflict of interest. I stated that he was ignoring the facts of the case. I then listed all of the facts because I’ve been covering the story on Herald Watch since it first broke.

Well yesterday Editor & Publisher published a preview of Clark Hoyt’s review of the affair. Clark Hoyt was hired by the Herald in the wake of the scandal to work as sort of an ombudsman. In the review, which will be published in Sunday’s Herald, Hoyt echoes many of the same criticisms that I’ve been making. These include:

* Its placement [the Sept. 8th article] at the top of Page One, its hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported. The subjects of the story said they felt treated as though they were criminals. Some especially objected to a set of “rogues’ gallery” photographs that appeared on Page 2A with the continuation of the story. Those photos, several of them smiling, most flattering, were within a box under the headline, ”The Journalists’ Response.” The box contained quotes from most of the journalists named in the story and seemed an appropriate way to highlight their points of view.

* The story failed to note that The Miami Herald had already reported in 2002 that one of the journalists on the list of 10, a free-lance writer for El Nuevo Herald, was on the Radio Martí payroll. A similar story ran at the same time in El Nuevo Herald. And a column in 2002 in El Nuevo Herald alluded to another of the El Nuevo Herald journalists in a way that made it clear that he had an ongoing relationship with Radio Martí. These references raised an obvious question: If the Herald publishing company frowned on Radio Martí payments to its journalists, why didn’t management investigate and respond in some way in 2002? And what was so new in 2006?

* The story lacked cultural context. On Wednesday, October 4, a story by Christina Hoag on Page 8A of The Miami Herald said that Herald Executive Editor Fiedler believed it was never proper for his journalists to appear on Radio and TV Martí, even without pay, while El Nuevo Herald Executive Editor Humberto Castello Castelló believed it was fine if no pay was involved. The story then said their disagreement illustrated the “differing roles of journalism in Latin America and the United States. American journalism today, unlike decades ago, prizes objectivity, while Latin American journal-ism may advocate for change.” Had those words appeared in the original story, it would have been immeasurably fairer. It would have suggested the possibility of a motive other than personal gain on the part of journalists accepting payments from Radio and TV Martí.

* The story failed to distinguish between different types of journalists and to acknowledge the possibility that different types of media companies might adopt different ethical standards. Thus, a news reporter for El Nuevo Herald, a mainstream Spanish language newspaper, is lumped with a commentator for an AM radio station known for its consistently anti-Castro programming. The story also didn’t distinguish between journalists collecting substantial amounts and those receiving small payments. The radio commentator, who received $2,775 from Radio Martí over five years, an average of $462.50 a year, was listed with a journalist for El Nuevo Herald who received $174,753 over six years.

* The story said two ethics experts, who were not named, compared taking money from Radio and TV Martí to the 2005 Armstrong Williams case. The comparison is a stretch, and not identifying the ethics experts, whose names were inadvertently deleted in the editing process, is itself a breach of good journalistic ethics, in my view. Williams, a well-known conservative pundit, signed a contract with the Bush Administration to promote its education policy, No Child Left Behind, on his nationally syndicated television program. The Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan investigative arm of Congress, found that the Williams contract ran afoul of a federal ban on government “propaganda” within the United States. Williams was paid to promote administration policy in the mainstream U.S. news media. The journalists appearing on Radio and TV Marti, whose government-funded broadcasts aren’t beamed within this country, were commenting on a variety of subjects and, they say, sometimes criticized U.S. policy.

So I’ll leave it to the readers to determine who has more credibility, our cranky reader who comments on stories, the details of which he’s not familiar with (or perhaps is familar with but just conveniently omits in an effort to discredit Cuban-Americans) or me.

Read the entire Editor & Publisher piece here.

Hat tip to Enrique at Abajo Fidel.

52 thoughts on “For our friend from South Beach”

  1. Mr. Gomez:

    I have heard rumors that Oscar Corral’s father stopped speaking to him after that Herald article that embarrased his family. Can you tell me if they are back on speaking terms?

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha …

    You talk about “credibility” but then failed to reprint the KEY CONCLUSIONS of the review:

    “Hoyt makes clear that Corral committed no errors, taking editors more to task for their guidance of the coverage. … Miami Herald Executive editor Tom Fiedler commented on the controversy, saying he welcomed the review but noted that Hoyt had found no extensive problems that would require a correction or retraction.” — Editor & Publisher

    “‘The story by Oscar Corral was factually accurate and raised a serious and legitimate issue. Journalists taking payment for appearing on government-run broadcast outlets put themselves in an inherently compromised position, because the credibility of independent news media depends on the public’s trust that we are free from outside influences, especially government influence.'” — Clark Hoyt, for the Miami Herald

    In other words, the story could have been presented better, but was still a perfectly legitimate story based on a journalistic principle — that reporters do NOT take money from the government — that has been generally accepted in the U.S. for over 100 years.

  3. And you fail to mention that put a nice convenient link to the full article so that anyone could read it. Also the point about about commentators and columnists nullifies the argument about objectivity for at least half of the mentioned journalists. And the supposed violations couldn’t have been that bad if at least some of the journalists had permission from their employers to do so and were re-hired. No, it’s you that ignores the facts even when they are right in front of your face. The only one laughing here is me, at you, idiot.

  4. conductor — For someone born in Philadelphia, you have a poor grasp of English. My point all along has been that people working in journalism should not EVER take money from the government, and these reviews you posted CAME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION.

    You cherry-picked parts of Hoyt’s work to make it look like the report bolstered your complaints, yet Hoyt’s report makes it PLAIN AS DAY he agrees with *MY* position, not yours.

    I asked about five days ago and I’ll ask again today: Please name five people in the media and/or media organizations who supported the “moonlighters” in taking payments from the government. If the Herald was wrong, as you keep stridently alleging, then it should be easy to find five media members/groups who came out in support of the “moonlighters.”

    I’m waiting …

  5. No, I don’t work for the Herald.

    How exactly is my brain fried? Don’t tell me you also believe this review was on the side of the “moonlighters”? I mean, what part of:

    “The story by Oscar Corral was factually accurate and raised a serious and legitimate issue …”

    … was unclear to you?

  6. 33139,

    How is this any different from all the reporters who appeared for VOA in Europe, people like Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow? They were paid for that and they appeared for decades.

    It strikes me that their case and the case of these journalists for El Nueva Herald are identical.

  7. The Miami Herald story was flawed in a number of respects.

    Its placement at the top of Page One, its hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported.

    The story failed to note that The Miami Herald had already reported in 2002 that one of the journalists on the list of 10, a freelance writer for El Nuevo Herald, was on the Radio Martí payroll.

    The story failed to distinguish between different types of journalists and to acknowledge the possibility that different types of media companies might adopt different ethical standards.

    The story said two ethics experts, who were not named, compared taking money from Radio and TV Martí to the 2005 Armstrong Williams case. The comparison is a stretch, and not identifying the ethics experts, whose names were inadvertently deleted in the editing process, is itself a breach of good journalistic ethics, in my view.

    Perhaps the Radio and TV Martí story’s biggest flaw is that it was rushed into print before the reporter and his editors had time to pursue every relevant angle, to get comment from several key figures and to reflect on how best to present a set of facts at once simple yet complex in nuance and meaning.

    We don’t want anyone to say we were burying something negative about ourselves, the reasoning went, a decision that, in my view, led to a distortion of a different kind: overplaying the story.

    Finally, with more time, the Herald might have broadened the perspective of the story to report, as El Nuevo Herald and then the Herald later did, that journalists in Washington have taken money from other U.S. government broadcasting outlets, such as the Voice of America.

    But the presentation and handling of the Herald’s story, in the end, was so heavy-handed and one-sided that it amounted to a missed opportunity to explore the issue with the sensitivity it demanded.

    Somebody here obviously can’t read.

  8. The Herald has every right to have whatever policies it wants to have. But when they produce a shoddy story it’s going to be called shoddy.

    Why don’t you answer this question. Why should it matter if radio talk show hosts work for Radio Marti in their spare time?

    Why should it matter if a culture reporter works for Radio Marti in her spare time?

    Why should it matter if a Syndicated Columnist works for Radio Marti in his spare time?

    Why should it matter if a sportscaster works for Radio Marti in his spare time.

    The review from Hoyt explicitly says these were mistakes in the coverage. A columnist or radio host does not have to be objective. In fact they are paid to give opinions.

    Hoyt says in his review shouldn’t be paid by the government if they cover the government. Olga Connor is a culture writer. She doesn’t cover the government and neither does Omar Claro the sportscaster. Yet all these people were tarnished with a fake conflict of interest.

    By the way you want to know media outlets that came out in favor of the Marti Moonlighters: Well El Nuevo Herald for one. Radio Mambi came out in support of Ninoska Perez Castellon. WQBA came out in favor of Paul Crespo. WJAN came out in favor of Juan Manuel Cao. None of these people faced any discipline nor were they reprimanded. Also The Hartford Courant asked David Lightman to stop contributing to VOA but came out with a statement that said that even though he worked for VOA and was paid that they believed his integrity was never compromised.

    Likewise Scripps Howard Newspaper columnist Martin Shchram wasn’t fired for his paid contributions to VOA. Others that were doing the same thing as the Marti Moonlighters are:

    Tom M. DeFrank, the Washington Bureau Chief of the New York Daily News, Georgie Anne Geyer who is a syndicated columnist published in 120 newspapers [and incidentally a biographer of Fidel Castro], and Helle Dale who is the former opinon page editor of The Washington Times.

    So please don’t make this into an issue of Cuban American journalists. Your bias is showing come pinga.

  9. 33139,

    Seriously now, please tell us, what exactly is your point? Do you have some type of personal interest at stake here that you so vehemently feel the need to defend the Herald? You claim not to work for them so if it’s not the Herald you’re defending, who or what is it that has you so riled up? And please, don’t insult the little intelligence your tone suggests we possess by saying you’re championing the truth.

    Something has you irritated…are you a friend of Corral or Fiedler? Are you secretly Corral or Fiedler? Are you such a dedicated fan of the Herald and its environmentally friendly vegetable based ink that you feel the need to stand up for it?

    What motivates you 33139? What is it about this issue that you feel the need to insult Conductor and claim he’s cherry picking information when you’ve obviously done the same? But I digress, the point of my post is not to argue with you but to ask you a simple question.

    Who or what are you defending? Corral’s story is obviously beneficial for some and obviously detrimental to others. You seem to side with the ones who are benefiting…so tell us, who is that?

    And one last thing, as I mentioned before, please spare us an idealistic essay on the virtues of freedom of the press, we are all quite aware of the premise, it is why we and/or our parents chose to live in this country. Come clean 33139, tell us who or what you’re defending.

  10. You guys are unbelievable. My point, for the 47th time, is that no journalist should EVER take money from the government FOR ANY REASON, and if any non-Cuban “journalists” have been doing so, they should be fired as well, not used as an excuse for the Cuban-Americans to continue doing so.

    Further, anyone who believes Hoyt’s review sided with the “moonlighters” is an absolute moron. Yes, there were flaws in the story and it was over-sensationalized, but this sentence sums it up:

    “The story by Oscar Corral was factually accurate and raised a serious and legitimate issue.”

    Oscar Corral was VINDICATED by Hoyt, not “blasted” as A.M. Mora y Leon just claimed. Some of you guys need Hooked on Phonics, because your reading skills are faulty as hell.

  11. 33139, your zeal in defending the undefensible has obviously reduced what few neurons you had to begin with to zero.

    Let me spell it out for you: the Herald’s story “outing” these journalists was ill-conceived, badly researched, hypocritical, and worst of all, it was written to further a specific agenda.

    You are an unapologetic defender of this agenda; any Cuban-American in Miami, with even a wee bit of common sense and brains, knows about the bird-cage liner we have that attempts to pass as serious journalism.

    That’s it for this post. Your screeds are getting tiresome.

  12. Yeah, right, everything is an anti-Cuban exile conspiracy. I’m sure Oliver Stone loves you guys.

    If this was just an anti-exile story by the (allegedly) anti-exile Miami Herald, then why was the Chicago Tribune working on the SAME STORY? Is the Chicago Tribune also anti-exile?

  13. 33139,

    What’s with the insults? Is your argument that weak that you are required to spice it up a bit with insults?

    I asked you a simple question, and you failed to answer it. What is your motivation? Who are you defending?

    And now that I think about it, if we’re all morons, and we all subscribe to the “every one is out to get the Cuban exiles” conspiracy, why are you here?

    Yes, I think that is a better question…why are you here 33139?

  14. First of all, what insults are you talking about? Other than saying anyone who believes yesterday’s review was a “bashing” of Oscar Corral is a moron — which is true; the review VINDICATED Corral — I don’t recall insulting anyone here.

    Second, I’m not here to “defend” anyone. The only thing I’m defending is the principle that media members should NEVER take money from the government. (I guess you guys believe there’s one set of principles for Miami and another set of principles for the rest of the U.S. media.)

  15. 33139,

    As I read your post(s) I have to wonder; are you actually being serious or are you just being ridiculous for the fun of it. You claim you have insulted no one and then proceed to call everyone who disagrees with you a “moron” in the next paragraph.

    Did you ever take into consideration that the integrity and the objectivity of a journalist is ultimately his/her responsibility? Are all the reporters that get to travel on Air Force One with the president compromised by accepting the free travel? Are all the left leaning NYC journalist that hob-nob (get free drinks, food, etc) with the elitist left establishment compromised? These are all rhetorical questions since your answer, based on the ridiculous assumptions you’ve made in the past, would most likely be inane.

    Yes 33139, we are all “morons”, because we disagree with your assumption. We would like to thank you for coming into our forum and enlightening us to the folly of our stupidity. Imagine the audacity we have exhibited to actually think we can have and defend an opinion against the likes of you. Clearly, we’re not all there. So, thank you once again and please, shut the door behind you as you leave.

  16. Not that facts ever get in the way of a good anti-exile conspiracy theory, but the journalists who fly on Air Force PAY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT for the travel costs. They do not get “free” travel.

    Anyway, if you really believe Clark Hoyt’s report was a “bashing” of Oscar Corral, then there’s no sense arguing with you. Hell, some people still think the Earth is flat.

  17. Why bother with 33139, the zip says it all.

    He/she/it is probably a member of the Argen-Colomb-Vene-Mex-Insert South/Central American nation here- axis of evil. You know, our unabashedly anti-Cuban exile “Latin American Brothers”. So essentially whatever he/she/it thinks, is utterly irrelevant.

    The Corral story was a “drive-by-media” hit piece orchestrated by the many enemies of the Cuban community. Of that there is little doubt.

    I’d like to reiterate a point that Carlos Alberto Montaner made which I find interesting:

    All U.S. college professors are defacto government employees. They are paid with federal funds (student financial aid) to be objective fact disseminators, yet we all know this not to be true. Most are instead key disseminators of socialist propaganda, writing leftist garbage books on tax-payer time. How is a herald employee moonlighting for Radio Marti any different?

  18. If the Corral piece was orchestrated by “enemies of the Cuban community,” then why was the Chicago Tribune working the same story? Is there a big anti-exile movement in Chicago?

  19. 33139:

    Assume no one is perfect. Just nod quietly if you agree…

    Now assume I said, “33139 doesn’t always wash his (my assumption) hands after he pees…”

    I have stated something that is “factually accurate.” I have also not researched the possibility that you prefer hand sanitizer to soap and water. My original statement remains “factually accurate.” You, however, are now a slob who walks around spreading staphylococci. No one likes you. You can’t get laid… And if you believe what you read in the paper, you won’t even do yourself.

    I read the report. Twice. I read for a living. It seems to me that Hoyt’s exoneration of Oscar came more in the form, “Don’t blame Oscar, he’s retarded, and his editors let him run around with scissors.”

    So, being “factually accurate” is vindication, now? And I know you know this already, but “Page One, above the fold” is an editorial decision. I knew a poodle named Fie-Fie once…

  20. Good God, you guys are unreal.

    YES — let me repeat — YES, being “factually accurate” *IS* vindication for a reporter.

    I love the double standards you guys have set up for yourselves. If a bunch of Los Angeles journalists were getting paid to appear on PBS and they said the embargo is stupid and we should talk to Castro, you guys would start a lynch mob. But if Cubans take money, hey, no problema, it’s a “cultural” thing.

  21. 33139,

    You’re still here???

    Let’s see, you want me to believe that the reporters that travel with the president on Air Force One, and the rest that follow along in a 757, are paying their fair share of the travel costs?

    As my name suggests, I am a pilot and airplanes and the cost associated with traveling on them might just be the only subject on this earth that I might…just might…know a little more about than you do. Unless each reporter is paying between $50K & $100K for each trans-continental trip (and I’m being extremely conservative here), they are not paying for their actual share of the travel.

    Now you can spin this any way you like, but it just so happens that the fact that you think that reporters actually “pay” to travel on Air Force One, even though it is ridiculously subsidized by the US Gov’t, illustrates the hypocrisy of your statements regarding Corral.

    You applaud the public lynching of reporters that had done nothing that hadn’t been done by other reporters before them, but you find nothing wrong with reporters traveling in the lap of luxury at an absurdly low price that is obviously subsidized by the gov’t.

    Of course, you probably did not know of the high costs involved with private jet travel and therefore, made a statement that was incorrect in its assumption.

    You know, now that I think of it, that’s probably what is happening to you with the whole Herald/Corral issue also.

    Now that makes sense!

  22. Why is it so difficult for you people to stay on-topic? Why not just debate the topic of journalists accepting money from the govt instead of going off on tangents about traveling with the president and college professors, etc.?

    Anyway, Air Force One is the most expensive private plane on Earth. Obviously, the reporters who travel on it are not paying the exact “cost” of their trips, but they do pay the equivalent first-class rates for the itinerary and there is no personal benefit to the reporters who fly on it (unlike the Marti Moonlighters who were pocketing govt cash). (Obviously, 98% of the costs of Air Force One are for moving and securing the president, and not some reporters from NBC and Univision.)

    But by the way, assuming there are 20 reporters on an average flight, your price of $50,000 to $100,000 each is *WAY* off. You can charter a huge jet for $10,000/hour, and even a 747 wouldn’t cost $2,000,000 for a simple D.C. to L.A. flight. If it did, there wouldn’t be a single commercial carrier left in America.

  23. 3313-nein:

    “… a bunch of Los Angeles journalists were getting paid to appear on PBS and they said the embargo is stupid and we should talk to Castro…”

    Is THAT where they all are? I need to write this down…

    Look, the fact is that the Herald editors wanted to make a big splash about something they should have known years ago. Oscar, who I don’t know (and so whose integrity I can’t call into question), was at best a willing dupe for the project. Had he done his homework like a good and diligent reporter, he would have discovered, still whole, the eggs that ultimately wound up on the Herald’s collective face. He could have made an omelet. He could have made merengue.

    Does the Herald have an absolute right to establish and enforce its employment policies? YES.

    But those policies have to be administered in a way somewhat consistent with fairness and in full light of the facts, which are to this day as uncontroverted as they were undiscovered at the height of their relevance.

    Did the Herald shoot first and ask questions later? YES. The subsequent actions in reinstating the journos is the best proof of that.

    The only accuracy reported in that article was that the Moonlighters were paid. Fair enough. Whether that was a breach of ethics is at most debatable in only a couple out of the ten cases.
    It is irrelevant in the rest.

    But to stop at that lone accuracy left too much to the implication created by the editorial decisions. That was either irresponsible or premeditated. Neither speaks well of the Herald.

    It is useful to point out that Hoyt’s report is not an assessment of the ethics of the situation. Rather that, despite what I believe to be compelling mitigating AND extenuating circumstances (is that even possible?), the perception of a conflict is not unreasonable on its face.

    Double standard, 331? Indeed. Show me where Murrow and Cronkite got fired for their VOA participation. Is that the way it is?

  24. 33139
    What part of the FACT that Radio and TV Marti are government sponsored stations, like Voice of the Americas, with the sole purpose to PROMOTE FREDOM OF INFORMATION and DEMOCRACY in Cuba. In other words, these reporters were getting paid for GIVING ACCURATE NEWS, having CULTURAL SHOWS, GIVING SPORTS COMENTARY, and GIVING THEIR OPINIONS on certain matters, which would NOT CHANGE THEIR PERSPECTIVE by getting PAID because since THEY ARE CUBAN EXILES they are already against Castro and against communism and in favor of democracy.

    THEY GOT PAID FOR THEIR TIME, that is all.
    AND YES they DO HAVE a special interest: they want to see a free and democratic Cuba. Is there something wrong with wanting Human Rights, private property, and individual freedom to be respected??? Is there anything wrong with wanting free multi-party elections and the release of political prisoners in Cuba???

    Pleeeeeease don’t change the subject. These reporters were PAID by the US GOVERNMENT TO PROMOTE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY IN CUBA, NOT to promote ANY OTHER type of agenda.

    Thus, since there is nothing UNETHICAL about upholding the values of the US Constitution (to which newspapers are subject) such as FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (free press) and DEMOCRACY, there was NO REASON to fire the Cuban-American reporters. And the Herald should give a real public apology.

  25. Obviously, I want the same things for Cuba that you just listed. But Radio/TV Marti is, by definition, a partisan operation, and there’s no reason for mainstream journalists to be appearing on those outlets FOR PAY. Whether they were paid “for their time” or paid for their opinions is irrelevant.

    I’ll ask again: If Cuban exiles in Miami found out the federal govt was paying for reporters to appear on PBS, and they said the embargo is stupid and we should re-start diplomatic relations with Castro, would that be okay with you guys?

  26. A “partisan operation”???? On what grounds do you claim this??? From what I know Radio and TV Marti were established with the PURPOSE of PROMOTING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY IN CUBA (please I dislike repeating myself). These are not partisan matters, or are you suggesting that the Democrats do not support Freedom of information and democracy??? Ooops I guess that backfired on you.

    33139, again the reporters were paid for their time in contributing to the PURPOSE that is stated above, there are no other agendas than the one stated above.

    look 33139 this is from the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and the Broadcasting Board of Governors:
    ” In accordance with the Broadcasting to Cuba Act of 1983 (Public Law 98-111), Radio Marti follows Voice of America journalistic standards and guidelines for presenting a variety of news and information in an accurate and objective manner. ”
    “TV Marti programming includes four-and-a-half hours of daily newscasts as well as programs about public affairs, culture, music, sports, and entertainment. The station broadcasts commentary and information about events in Cuba and elsewhere to promote the free flow of information and ideas in that country.”

  27. Yes, it’s a partisan operation. I’m pro-embargo, but if I called Radio/TV Marti and asked for some on-air time to talk about how the embargo is stupid, they would tell me to get lost.

    You think you’re being tricky with your answers but all you’re doing is proving my point. If Radio/TV Marti won’t discuss alternative points of view on Cuba (re: embargo, travel, diplomatic relations, etc.), then it’s a partisan/propaganda outlet, plain and simple. It obviously has great and admirable goals, but it is NOT an objective news outlet.

    There are a lot of Cubans who are anti-embargo; if Radio/TV Marti is “objective,” why don’t the anti-embargo folks get on-air time for their views?

    If only one set of views is allowed on air, then it doesn’t matter if the Moonlighters are getting paid for their time or for their views, because they are one and the same.

    Sure, today the Moonlighters might be taking money from the govt for a good cause, but if you don’t see and understand the slippery slope, then you are doomed to repeat the same ugly history you are (allegedly) trying to change.

  28. Also, I’ll ask for the third time: If Cuban exiles in Miami found out the federal govt was paying for reporters to appear on PBS to talk about how the embargo is stupid and the U.S. should re-start diplomatic relations with Castro, would that be okay with you guys?

  29. 33139
    AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. Radio and TV Marti have the PURPOSE OF PROMOTING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND DEMOCRACY IN CUBA, where is the “slippery slope” or the “partisanship” here.

    I give you links with facts, and you just give me your opinions, sorry but that doesn’t count if there is no proof. You say that Radio and TV Marti are biased and partisanship but you have no proof of that. The ONLY interest of Radio and TV Marti were stated in the Board of Governors Broadcast website, do I have to repeat it for the 1000th time, jeez.

    You keep wanting to change the subject with your question so, to get you back on track I am posting Henry’s message of FACTS from another thread:

    FACT: The Herald article on the Marti Moonlighters implicated 11 journalists of which several including Ninoska Perez Castellon, Paul Crespo, and Carlos Alberto Montaner are commentators and columnists and therefore not subject to the same objectivity rules as reporters.

    Fact: Olga Connor was freelance culture reporter for the Herald who was implicated in the story. She does not write about politics or US Cuba relations. She hosted a show about art and culture on Radio Marti. How is her objectivity compromised?

    Fact: Two years prior to the article that smeared Olga Connor the Herald published articles about Radio Marti that mentioned that she was a host and even how much she got paid. How is that good research, when they didn’t even look at their own archives?

    Fact: Omar Claro is sportscaster and does not cover politics or US-Cuba relations. He was working part-time for Radio Marti also as a sportscaster. He was also smeared as having violated journalistic ethics. How could his integrity as a SPORTSCASTER be in jeopardy? Does he read the scores wrong on purpose?

    Fact: The issue of journalists working for government-funded media is not new. Professional journalists are hired by VOA, Radi Marti, and the other stations to bring up the level of professionalism in their broadcasts, not as an inducement to sell a particular point of view.

    Fact: The Herald article equated the moonlighting gigs to the case of Armstrong Williams, a talk show host who was paid to ENDORSE A SPECIFIC POLICY OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION to his audience IN THE UNITED STATES. Radio Marti is NOT PERMITTED TO BROADCAST IN THE US.

    FACT: Not one incident of bias in any domestic article or broadcast by any of the implicated journalists has been reported.

    FACT: Several of the Marti Moonlighters have been critical of the Bush administration. They were in effect being paid by the government while they were criticizing the government.

    Fact: The parent organization of all of these government-funded broadcasters has set up a firewall between them and the government. The same type of firewall that separates NPR and PBS from the government.

    FACT: By federal law Radio Marti must adhere to the same journalistic code of ethics that VOA (Radio Marti’s Sister Broadcaster) aheres to. A code of ethics that is public record.

    FACT: In the aftermath of the Herald article, it was made public that high ranking journalists from media around the country were working on similar moonlighting gigs with VOA. These journalists included David Lightman who was the Washington Bureau chief of a major metropolitan newspaper.

    FACT: The payments made to the journalists ranged from $100 to $440 dollars per appearance (pre-tax). Nobody got rich from their participation. The Herald puposely aggregated several years worth of payments to make the sums look larger.

    FACT: Voice of America, Radio Marti, et al are subscribers to the Associated Press along with almost every other mainstream media outlet in the world. The Associated Press therefore receives government funds yet nobody questions their objectivity as a result.

    If you are going to IGNORE the FACTS again then there is no point in discussing with you since you refuse to see the facts.

  30. FACT: An “objective” news outlet does not and CANNOT have an agenda.

    FACT: Radio/TV Marti does not EVER discuss alternative points of view re: the Cuban embargo, travel regulations, wet foot/dry foot, diplomatic relations, etc.

    FACT: If Cuban exiles found out journalists were being paid by the govt to appear on PBS and talk about how the embargo should end and diplomatic relations restored, Cuban exiles would go berserk.

  31. 33139,

    FACT: If you actually think the Miami Herald is an objective news outlet, then you are a fucking moron.

    FACT: Radio/TV Marti is not there to spout your commie party line; it’s there to promote freedom in Cuba. You know, like, no communists running the government.

    FACT: I am getting pretty fucking tired of your bullshit.

  32. FACT: I have probably done more to help Cubans than all of the tough talkers on this page added together.

    FACT: For people who are (allegedly) so enlightened, you have serious problems debating without hurling insults, profanity and allegations of being a “commie.”

  33. Why do you assume I’m a lefty? Just because I disagree with the knee-jerk, 47-year-old Cuban exile party line you guys spout like a chorus of wind-up dolls?

    I’m a conservative, and nothing I’ve ever posted here has betrayed that fact.

    It’s hysterical how you guys claim to be fighting for freedom, then call anyone who disagrees a “lefty” or a “commie.”

  34. 33139,

    Have to call you out on your hilariously idiotic PBS example.

    You wrote:

    “I’ll ask again: If Cuban exiles in Miami found out the federal govt was paying for reporters to appear on PBS, and they said the embargo is stupid and we should re-start diplomatic relations with Castro, would that be okay with you guys??”

    You see, PBS IS A PARTISAN OPERATION, to argue otherwise would be a blatant lie. The federal government in great part funds PBS. Right? This a network that features staunch leftists like Bill Moyers, the embodiment of a hypocrite limousine liberal, and as one another blogger once put it “The Biggest Media Whore of All Time”. Moyers has definitely not been shy about expressing his anti-Bush, anti-Republican and anti-war views on PBS programming.

    Again, the federal government is paying Bill Moyers and other liberal journalists to appear on PBS and express their OPINIONS on issues, not to state objective facts.

    Since you did not respond to my direct question the first time, I again ask you, how is this different from Herald journalists expressing their take on Cuba via Radio Marti? Do you even have a coherent answer?

    Secondly, you claim to have done wonders for the Cuban community, yet your anti-Cuban bias clearly shows; only a Cuban hating leftist of the Michael Moore variety would defend the Herald’s indefensible position on the Radio Marti debacle.

    I’d like for you to elaborate on what exactly you’ve done to help Cuban exiles.

  35. Hey knucklehead: There are over 40 Cubans living in freedom in the U.S. or elsewhere as a direct result of my efforts.

    How many Cubans have *YOU* freed?

    My guess is ZERO … but, hey, at least you have a big mouth and can spout the same old tired party line.

    Your garbage hasn’t worked for 47 years. I guess you believe Year 48 will be different. Good luck.

  36. Wow,

    You still haven’t even made an attempt to refute any of my points.

    Like a typical leftist, you’ve had to resort to name calling when unable to defend your point. I for one, am more than glad to partake in name calling.

    What a pathetic intellectual farce you are. The South Beach lifestyle has not done your neurons any good.

    If you’re going to make such lofty claims about saving Cubans, at least back it up with some proof. Not that you have any and not that I really care.

    Stick to the issue at hand, try and refute my point about PBS. Bet you can’t.

    You sad piece of caca.

  37. What do you want me to do, post names and addresses?

    What a joke.

    Let me ask again: How many Cubans have *YOU* helped get out of Cuba?

    I’m sure the answer is ZERO or else you would have answered.

    I guess you really think your stupid PBS analogy and your defense of the Moonlighters is making life better for Cubans.

    Keep on with the stupid party line beliefs. 47 years and you people still haven’t learned anything.

    Typical big-mouth Miami exile: All talk and no action.

  38. 33139
    the way you change the subject is amazing, NO ONE ASKED YOU TO NAME ANYONE
    We simply ask that YOU refute the FACTS with FACTS and not OPINIONS. Prove your point with FACTS not by asking questions or by saying what you think or what you have done, that doesn’t prove anything.

    You keep offending cuban exiles and saying they are “garbage”, that their “47-year party line” is “big mouth” and that they are “all talk no action”

    Guess what, I have another FACT for you: the Bay of Pigs Invasion was carried out by Cuban Exiles. They did not succeed because JFK refused to give them back up, and then JFK signed a treaty with Kruschev that stated we couldn’t invade Cuba. IS this not an action by the Cuban Exiles??? Yes it is, so your point is refuted.

    Back to the Herald issue, I look forward to your discussion of FACTS

    Radio and TV Marti were established with the PURPOSE of PROMOTING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION and DEMOCRACY IN CUBA (this is a FACT and I already showed you the link). As you can see PROMOTING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION obviously makes it an objective station.

    If you have any VALID PROOF (which is not YOUR opinion) that Radio and TV Marti are not OBJECTIVE then SHOW IT (with a link please) otherwise YOUR POINTS ARE NOT VALID.

  39. I guess you can’t read very well. Every time I answer a question, you claim I haven’t answered the question. I also never called Cuban people “garbage”; I said the party line is garbage since it’s accomplished almost nada in 47 years.

    As I’ve discussed above, you keep saying Radio/TV Marti is “objective,” yet Radio/TV Marti *NEVER* talks about alternative approaches to giving freedom to Cuba. They NEVER talk about ending the embargo, they NEVER talk about the travel restrictions, they NEVER talk about diplomatic relations.

    If Radio/TV Marti is dedicated to “promoting freedom of information,” then why don’t they allow freedom of information ON THEIR OWN AIR?

    And if you want to talk about dodging questions, how many people have *YOU* helped get out of Cuba? It’s hilarious for you people to call me a “lefty” and a “commie” after I’ve helped 40-plus people escape Castro’s Cuba. Talk is cheap. What have you guys done to advance your cause other than come here, talk tough and hurl insults at people who disagree with your tired party line?

  40. Andres Reynaldo is an El Nuevo Herald columnist who was not mentioned in Corral’s September 8th article but who outed himself as a Marti Moonlighter in a column on September 20th. He said:

    …whenever the occasion was pertinent, the directors of the station allowed me to express with absolute freedom my opinions against the embargo and the government of George W. Bush. I can say, then, that I received money from the Bush administration to speak ill of the Bush administration.


    So there you have it, an anti-embargo Cuban-American who criticized the embargo and the Bush administration on Radio Marti.

    Game over. Loser.

    Now shut the fuck up and get lost.

  41. Ah, yes, more of that free flow of information from a big-mouth, no-action, Philadelphia-born “exile.”

    Henry, I hope someone buys you some anger management therapy for Christmas. I don’t understand why you always take such a strident attitude. I’ve met former Cuban political prisoners who are a lot happier and a lot more pleasant than you.

  42. Keep talking douchebag, you’re doing nothing but discrediting yourself. You make a sweeping allegation about what Radio Marti does and does not cover (as if you spend any time listening to it, Please!) and when I blow your allegation completely out of the water it’s my anger management that becomes the issue.

    Don’t worry I know what you are trying to do. Just being a troll and trying to get people upset. But here’s the thing, I could give a flying fuck what you think because you are a complete moron. And everybody that’s reading this thread thinks you are a moron.

    Oh, but you “helped more than 40 Cubans escape” and I’m supposed to believe that because….?

    No, you didn’t help anyone escape anything because you’re not willing to say how, and under what circumstances. You talk a big game but you are full of shit. Pussy.

    If there’s any truth to what you say I bet it was in a smuggling operation 33139 (or should I call you smeb? Mr. Narcissistic?). 40 people at $10,000 per person makes a tidy profit even after paying for the “go fast” boat.

    Keep talking, douchebag and FBI will be knocking at your door before long.

  43. Uh, so the only way Cubans leave Cuba is by smuggling operation? That’s interesting.

    Let’s see: 1 million Cuban exiles in the world divided by 30 people per boat. That would be 33,000 smuggling trips.

    Hmm … I don’t think so.

    Have you ever heard of visas? NGO sponsorships? Third-country assistance? Family reunification via third countries? Helping Cuban workers/medical personnel defect in foreign countries?

    Again, you need to get some anger management, buddy. Your blood pressure must be through the roof. It’s not healthy.

    Speaking of the FBI, they should investigate you for fraud. You take this strident, know-it-all, oppressed-Cuban-exile tone towards everyone, and then it turns out you were born in Philadelphia and have probably never even stepped foot in Cuba. It must be nice to have all the answers on a topic you’ve only learned about second-hand.

    What a fraud. If you’re a Cuba expert, I’m the Queen of England.

  44. Que clase de come mierda eres. Oh you have the dirt on me! You are so smart.

    The fact I was born in Philadelphia is public knowledge, it’s on my bio on the internet for all to see. The fact that I’ve never been to Cuba is also public knowledge, I’ve posted many times about my desire to visit Cuba but my refusal to do so under the current circumstances. In fact all of my opinions are out there. I don’t have to hide behind a screen name because I’m not trying to make people think I’m something I’m not. You’re not just a guy I happen to disagree with on the Martí Moonlighters, you are liar with unknown motives. And a lousy debater because every time someone pins you down on something you quickly change the subject.

    As for who is happy and who is not, who is the one that spends most of his time reading a web site written by people he vehemently disagrees with? That’s you buddy. Keep it coming. Keep on displaying how much of a come pinga and a maricon you are. Tapon. Eres un Tapon. 5’9″ with those ridiculous legs. Dude no matter how much you work out, it ain’t gonna make you taller, Tapon.

  45. I really don’t spend that much time here … I just think it’s funny how Val made a public request for lurkers to start posting — especially people with a different point of view — and then as soon as lurkers started to post, they’re personally attacked by you, George and the other editors of this site as “idiots” and “commies”.

    It’s like a perfect microcosm of the Cuban exile community: If you don’t agree with the same 47-year-old party line, you need to keep quiet or else be labeled a “commie.”

    It’s exactly why mainstream America thinks of Miami as a banana republic full of kooks, and why so many under-40 Cuban exiles ignore politics (and don’t bother to vote).

    It’s been 47 years of the same party line without any progress, but somehow *I’m* an idiot. Typical Miami logic.

  46. Tapon,

    You’re still hanging around here? Don’t you have some leg presses to do or something. Parading around in you little bikini like the maricon that you are. What kind of a dad are you going to be to that kid in Cuba? Man, poor kid. I don’t know what I’d do if my dad was such a maricon. Oh but your woman there in Cuba loves you, for your DOLLARS. You’re just a puto maricon.

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