"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
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
If he were alive today and living in Miami and a Herald reader he'd no doubt include Miami's Gossip Maven Extraordinaire in that category.
This morning Joanie offers up yet another tale of Miami rich people we've never heard of suing other Miami rich people we've never heard of.
But it's vintage Joanie doing what she loves, writing about lawsuits.
Joan's been writing her column for exactly 16 years and last month I revealed that she's written well over 200 items about lawsuits since her column debuted in August 1992.
Of course most of us have figured out a long time ago that wealthy people love to file lawsuits. It's part of who they are. It's not news.
I also have a hard time believing that readers of the Herald in some of Miami's more depressed neighborhoods find stories of petty squabbles among Miami's millionaires fascinating. Does anyone?
This morning's item is about an 81 year-old potty-mouthed, ill-tempered Fisher Island condo association president named Irwin Potash who has two lawsuits pending against him. Nothing new there. Condos throughout Miami-Dade and Broward are full of jerks like him.
In the last paragraph of Joanie's item on the lawsuit she writes that the condo association attorney says that disputes among Fisher Island's multi-millionaires are "nothing new." Indeed; so my question Joan is: why is this lawsuit news? The answer, of course, is it's not.
Why does Joanie keep covering the same ground over and over? No one knows and it's a conundrum that would probably stump even Einstein.
UPDATE: Last Wednesday I reported that Joan has written at least 35 items in 10 years on two Miami Beach Realtors who call themselves "The Jills." It seemed to me, and a lot of other people I've heard from, that these two were getting more than their share of favorable ink from the Herald.
I also heard from a Herald editor who wrote: "Joan writes a lot about celebrities buying homes, and that is their specialty. Names are news. You also see Nelson Gonzalez in her column a lot; he's in the same biz.
"If you think Joan is doing anything more than crediting a source, you really don't know Joan."
Oh, I think I do!