"The stuff that Joan digs up can be funny, especially when it's not about you. It's usually a scoop. And, as many among the powerful can attest, it can be embarrassing. But you can always believe it; this isn't gossip; it's journalism." -- Tom Fiedler writing about Joan Fleischman in The Herald, June 14, 2002
Some of my favorite cable TV shows are the "Lock Up" prison documentaries that MSNBC runs on weekends.
The show visits some of the nation’s bleakest hellholes, otherwise known as prisons.
I can’t explain why I like these documentaries so much. Just attribute it to schadenfreude.
Some of the more dramatic moments on these shows occur when the corrections officers have to do a “cell extraction” on an inmate.
Cell extractions are performed when an inmate becomes unruly, unmanageable or refuses to obey orders such as coming out of his cell to be searched.
The prison staff suits up in riot gear and charges the cell, usually after pumping tear gas into the unfortunate inmate’s cell.
So what does all this have to do with Joan Fleischman?
I think the time has come for the bosses at the Herald to order a cell extraction on the Herald’s gossip maven extraordinaire.
In the past few weeks it’s become evident that Joan doesn’t answer to anyone in charge at the Herald, much less an editor.
Just like those hardened criminals at Pelican Bay or San Quentin in California, Joan's become unruly, unmanageable and incorrigible.
Last night I ran into a cop who I’ve known for over ten years. He’s an occasional reader of this blog, but hardly ever comments on anything I write. When he saw me the first words out of his mouth were: “Did you see Joan’s column this morning? Boring! Why would she write about someone no one knows or cares about?”
And those were my thoughts exactly when I read Joan’s 400+ word opus on the divorce of former Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver and wife Cirenia ''Cire'' Andino-Shiver.
Who? Or to be more precise: who cares? Does anyone in charge at the Herald read this crap? Does she have an editor?
What would drive her to write a column about some county bureaucrat that most Herald readers probably couldn’t name when he was in office and even fewer can name now that he’s gone?
Don’t any of the career journalists and editors at the Herald recognize boring copy when they see it? A career cop with no journalism experience sure does. What’s wrong with this picture?
Joan’s item on Shiver was peppered with sycophantic lines like this:
I’d post more, but just those lines above have caused my gag reflex to go into overdrive.
Joan’s job at the Herald, ostensibly, is to write gossipy and INTERESTING items about people who live in or have roots in South Florida.
The Herald doesn't require Joan to do anything heroic or extraordinary. They pay her to write readable, compelling and informative copy. Just like the rest of the writers who work there.
I'm just wondering when Joan's going to start.
A Random Pixels investigation has revealed that Joan has been scamming the Herald for years and producing drivel.
How’s that you ask?
In the past few months I’ve written about:
Joan has never been one to make a liar out of me. Look at some of her items from just the past few weeks.
Attention Herald honchos: It’s time to send the SWAT team in to Joanie’s home office for a “cell extraction” that’s way past due. I hope no one gets hurt!
The point here is that if you guys at the Herald want to win over a younger generation of newspaper readers, then you might want to think about hiring someone to write a gossip column about people in South Florida who are younger than 30.
Just in case you haven't heard, we're loaded with them.
And maybe you can find someone to write about celebs who’ve produced something more recent than 30 years ago. And someone who won’t rely on court dockets. And who won’t write about their friends. And who will pledge not to rewrite press releases.
I hate to say but it looks like it’s time to stick a fork in Joan; she’s done!
But you don’t have to believe me. I know a cop here on Miami Beach who will be glad to explain to anyone willing to listen what he finds boring in a newspaper.