Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sarah Palin / Glen Rice sex story divides Miami Herald newsroom

The Miami Herald's Dolphins beat reporter Armando Salguero is pissed!

He's not happy with the Herald's decision this morning to post a story about an alleged 1987 tryst between Sarah Palin and former Miami Heat guard/forward Glen Rice when Rice was a college player and Palin a TV sports anchor in Alaska.

(Miami New Times blogger Kyle Munzenrieder summed up Salguero's anger this afternoon: "Herald Reporter Angry Paper Reported on Sarah Palin-Glen Rice Rumors and Not Obama's Gay Affair and Martian Athletes."

Salguero voiced his objections in an email to the entire Miami Herald newsroom this morning.

His colleagues have responded with their own emails.

First, here's Salguero's missive.
From: Salguero, Armando []
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 09:57 AM
To: MIA Newsroom
Subject: Palin and Glenn Rice

The Naked Politics blog is repeating the "reporting" of the National Enquirer about Sarah Palin having an affair with former Miami Heat basketball player Glenn Rice.

It is on the FRONT PAGE of The Herald website.

So as a journalist, I ask:

Do we know this story to be TRUE? Are we certain it is TRUE because we've done the work or have a reasonable certainty that is TRUE?

Did anyone actually try to confirm this story before giving it Herald front page credibility? Did anyone call Glenn Rice to get independent confirmation? He lives in Miami, you know.

Is it now OK to repeat any "report" from the National Enquirer on the front page of the Herald's website without actually reporting even one fact independently? The blog calls The Enquirer's sources "solid." How do we know the Enquirer's sources -- plural? And if we know the Enquirer's sources, can't we work them ourselves to see if they're truly solid?

Question: Can I repeat on my blog any allegation made by the Enquirer culled from any book just because, well, if it's in a book or in the Enquirer, Herald policy is now to assume it must be true?

There have been a couple of good Enquirer stories on athletes coming from other planets. Those are in bounds now?

If this Rice story, unconfirmed and unreported by us, can be published on our site, do the alien stories not meet the same standards?

These, by the way, are my questions relative to journalism. But there are other things at play here. The Herald, like it or not, admit it or not, is widely viewed as a liberal newspaper. Palin is a conservative.

So we put this story on our website and conservatives that read us ask why The Herald didn't report the stories of President Obama being gay in 2007 and 2008? Those stories were in the Globe, a competitor to the Enquirer. The allegations were brought by the person who said he had a drug-crazed, gay affair with the President.

Obviously this is tabloid fodder. And we rightly never gave the Obama stuff any play because, I suppose, there was no confirmation or independent reporting done on the story.

So why is it OK to do the right thing on behalf of one presidential candidate having an unconfirmed affair but not on behalf of another potential presidential candidate having an unconfirmed affair?

We ignored the one back in 2008 and continue to do so to this day. But we run out and repeat the other first chance we get? They call that a double standard in my country.

And that also is bad journalism.

I remember when the Herald broke the Gary Hart affair story. I've been proud to work at a paper that did that kind of work. But this cutting and pasting and unprincipled gossiping we're doing on this National Enquirer story is a journalistic embarrassment at best and comparative agenda writing at worst.

Just my opinion,
Armando Salguero
Forty minutes after Salguero sent out his email, Herald political reporter Marc Caputo responded:
From: Caputo, Marc []
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:37 AM
To: Salguero, Armando
Cc: MIA Newsroom
Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

There's a lot here to respond to, and hopefully future correspondences will be strictly made to the reporter/editor who has blogged/posted the topic that has drawn your attention. Though I'm neither the reporter/editor involved in those decisions, I feel it incumbent upon me as a political reporter to weigh in.

To answer your question: I don't think we "know" this story about Palin to be true. We do know it has been reported and it is a topic of political conversation. So we have displayed what we "know" so far. This is common in newsrooms. Even in your department, sports. For instance, we don't "know" if all the allegations vs. the Miami Hurricanes are true. But we posted the information and worked from there. When the Yahoo! story broke, we had very little by way of original reporting. Yet we credited Yahoo and continued on.

I find it curious you didn't raise this as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

I do think this is different from an alien story. Yes, it appears to be from/tied to the Enquirer, which also broke the John Edwards baby-story. I remember at the time that we posted this information as well. Edwards, as you know, is a Democrat.

I find it curious you didn't raise this as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

As for the perception issue of liberal vs. conservative, I think you might be betraying your own potential biases rather than dispassionately presenting evidence. Since you've noted the Naked Politics blog, I'd invite you to peruse it and come up with an objective measurement showing political bias. Today's post by me on Rick Perry is pretty straightforward and for the last few weeks I've posted poll after poll showing Barack Obama is in dire straights. There's very little Democrat-happy/liberal-leaning stuff here.

I find it curious you didn't raise this bad-news-for-Obama theme as a newsroom wide-issue at the time, but I digress somewhat.

As for the gay-Obama vs. Rice-Palin affair, I'll confess to having little knowledge of either. So I'm open to some criticism here on the particulars. Yet, I do think there's a difference between the frequency of gay affairs and straight affairs, making the Obama tale statistically less likely. The Obama affair also was claimed by an unknown person. In this case, there's a known sports star who allegedly claimed he had an affair with Palin. Also, that sports star has a close association with Miami, as you know, so that also differentiates the two stories. It's worth a blog post.

Also, please know that there is a man in Austin right now, whom I know, who has told the Daily Kos that he had a gay affair with Rick Perry. The story has yet to run. I mentioned this to my editor because I'm extremely uncomfortable running that story. So, if the Perry affair matter comes up (more of an apples-to-apples comparison), we're not likely to run it.

I'm not sure if you're being absurd about the Enquirer athletes/aliens story (sure that's not the Weekly World News?), but I'd be curious to see them. Still, there's a difference between martians and affairs.

As for this being a "double-standard," I hope the above points (the difference between the qualities of the alleged affairs, the differences in the quality of the sources, the differences in the provenance of the sources) shows that there's a qualitative difference.

Lastly, though I haven't checked your registration, I'd imagine you're a conservative who therefore has certain biases of his own. Please understand that the failure to share your biases, doesn't mean we're biased. The failure to see unrelated news stories as related isn't a double standard and isn't. And the failure to share your arguments isn't bad journalism.

Beam me up, Scotty.

Marc Caputo
Miami Herald Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas jumps in with her 2 cents:
From: Mary Ellen Klas []
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 10:54 AM
To: Erika - McClatchy DC Bolstad ; Sergio Bustos ; Marc Caputo
Cc: MIA Newsroom
Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

As Marc point outs in his response to Armando, we do our share of strong, original reporting on presidential candidates to hold our own. For that reason, I don't really see the need to post the work of a news organization whose standards we know to be often far below ours.

However, Erika's post put their reporting into context. That is new and that is newsworthy. I vote to modify the post and focus on the McGinness book. We should also give him a call, if we haven't, to see how he feels about this and to tell us if the Enquirer had it right. If he says so, then we can say it.
And finally, the Herald's TV critic Glenn Garvin weighs in:
From: Garvin, Glenn []
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 11:09 AM
To: Caputo, Marc
Cc: Salguero, Armando ; MIA Newsroom

Subject: Re: Palin and Glenn Rice

I'm not entirely ready to sign onto Armando's argument. But I think he raises serious questions about the standards we apply to this type of story -- questions that deserve a more intelligent response than "beam me up, Scotty."

A few weeks ago, a website called Gawker -- which, I'd venture to say, is at least as reputable as the National Enquirer -- ran a long story alleging that a cabal of homosexuals had taken over the Miami archdiocese of the Roman Catholic church and were turning the place into a kind of frontier town for priestly misbehavior.

Outraged parishioners, the story said, had compiled evidence into a report "Miami Vice: A Preliminary Report on the Financial, Spiritual, and Sexual Improprieties of the Clergy of the Miami Archdiocese" so damning that the church ordered a crackdown by senior officials.

The story relied mostly on on-the-record sources, bolstered in several cases by legal documentation. The Herald was aware of the Gawker story, which caused an enormous buzz on the web, but as far as I know never reported it.

Now we ARE reporting that the National Enquirer says a new book -- which we haven't seen -- quotes anonymous sources saying Sarah Palin, decades ago and before her marriage, had sex with a basketball player.

The degree of documentation seems considerably less than the Gawker story, and the degree of relevance considerably less. I would be very interested in an explanation from a senior editor of what considerations went into these decisions.

I'm also interested in what other newsroom people think, but without a lot of snide remarks sprinkled in. Armando presented his argument straightforwardly and without gratuitous insult. It would be nice if those who oppose him could do the same.

Glenn Garvin


  1. There are a LOT more revelations coming out in Joe McGuiness's book. Yeah, she had a 1 night stand with Glen Rice. He confirmed it to Joe and a few other people over the years. Why would he lie? He sure doesn't need the publicity! And I doubt he considers nailing her a great accomplishment anyway.

    But the leak has also said that she was seen snorting coke off of a 55 gallon drum while snowmobling with friends. Gotta admire her ruggedness. Most "elitists" use mirrors.

    And that she smoked pot with a professor in college who happened to be her friend's dad. Actually, that makes her kinda cool in my book.

    Oh, and Joe is an INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER. That means, he won't print what he can't PROVE. His sources are verified and he's not going to risk getting sued. And when PALIN doesn't threaten to sue him, you'll have your proof that it's ALL true. That woman sure knows how to play the victim card doesn't she? When was the last time she DIDN'T defend herself via facebook or Twitter almost IMMEDIATELY after story breaks!?!

    For those of us that are sick to death of hearing her spout her garbage about EVERYTHING under the sun, when she is the STUPIDEST creature alive, this is interesting stuff. Especially since most see her as the 2-faced, hypocritical, vindictive, pathological liar she is.

    We pity you for your blind devotion to such a blatant fraud and pray that she runs so she can be exposed for the idiot she truly is.

    Funny thing is...just yesterday her SarahPac sent out an e-mail begging for money again.

    Maybe she knows the end is near???

    I know you will never post this because you will continue to worship at her altar long after she is exposed for the liar she is. Matter of fact, I dare you to!

    But I will come back to see your reactions when she announces she's NOT running or she QUITS her campaign.

    Because it WILL happen. I promise you.

    You were warned.

  2. It has been many years since my civics class in which we learned about "yellow journalism." What a concept. And evidently one that has gone the way of many other principles and mores of bygone years. I am glad to see that writers are discussing such ancient traditions. GB

  3. The porn star(Palin),love the big bamboo.

  4. All you want to focus on is the Glen Rice story.What is more interesting to me is the snorting coke off of an overturned empty 55 gallon fuel drum.How desperate for coke must one be to inhale it from a filthy,fuel ridden surface ?

  5. As a Palin supporter my reaction is-

    Who gives a crap? If the Rice story is true she's probably won an extra ten percent of the black vote, if the coke story is true she's won the votes of ten percent of white trash Democrats who won't let Obama's own coke-snorting days disrupt their own racist view of him, and if the creepy college professor story is true she's won the vote of the entire academic staff of Georgetown University.

    Win Win.

  6. Do I read Anonymous No 1 (“There are a LOT more revelations coming..”) right? You think this blogger is a Palin fan? You actually wrote, “I know you will never post this because you will continue to worship at her altar.” (italics added).
    That might explain your use of “STUPIDEST” as a word. It is not. Try “most stupid” next time.
    By the way, if you drive, bike or walk in traffic, try not to think of Palin at the same time. Such an obsessive distraction could lead to a bad end. Chewing gum and thinking of Palin at the same time is OK.

  7. None of the stories seem plausible, which would seem fairly obvious.

  8. Mr. Garvin is right, Reply to the reporter, if you can, without gratuitous insults. Besides, there is a great deal of difference between the allegations against Palin and the allegations against the Miami Hurricane football team. There have been confirmations about the Hurricane investigations. This doesn't mean the allegations are true but there is ample evidence that the allegations are not simply lies made for profit. An editor of the Miami Herald should realize that. The fact that one doesn't shows the sad state of journalism today

  9. The obvious question for Marc Caputo would be: The National Enquirer initially reported the John Edwards story in October of 2007 -- was that also when the Miami Herald published their first story about Edwards' tryst, or did they not mention it until after he had dropped out of the presidential race in 2008?

  10. Hey Anonymous #1 who posted 9/15 at 4:48: - you're either Joe or some loser friend of his but to set the record straight. - McGinniss is NOT an investigative reporter; His sources are NOT verified - in fact- like you- they are anonymous, with the exception of four deadbeats who had a bone to pick with Palin; AND he HAS risked being sued in the past and in fact WAS accused of plagiarism by author William Manchester and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin . His publisher settled a dispute over his book Fatal Vision rather than continuing in court. Oh and here's another bit of truth about McGinniss- this man you hold in such high esteem:

    Per the NY Times:

    "Mr. McGinniss — a best-selling author who has been involved in controversy before — interviewed neither Senator Kennedy nor Mrs. Shriver. Although “The Last Brother” is called nonfiction, much of the dialogue and internal monologues are compelling enough to be fictional — and they are."

    Joe McGinniss is a serial liar, a classless fictional writer with little credibility. I can't tell which is greater with you Anonymous#1 - your hatred for Palin or your hard-on for McGinniss.

  11. ...I think DangerGirl just about sums it up.
    As for the two responders to Salguero's e-mail, their defense of the Herald wasn't really a defense at all; rather, all they did was highlight the other areas where their judgment has been uneven. Yes, they are seen as a liberal paper; the fact that they dispute what is common knowledge by most freelance journalists serves only to show their responses not as honest opinions, but rather as defenses of the indefensible. Their points regarding what they do and don't report show not that they are unbiased, but rather that they know how to be cautious in their bias. They know that a story about a gay tryst with Obama would be too much, so they don't do it. Vice-versa, if someone had alleged a heroin-addled lesbian love affair with Sarah Palin, I doubt the Herald would have printed that, either. Now, when the Enquirer writes a story about Obama having a HETEROsexual affair with someone, does the Miami Herals report it? But when the same Enquirer prints a story about Palin having a HETEROsexual affair with someone, does the Herald report THAT? ...oh, yes.
    ...and now we see the bias. It's not that the Herald and so many other papers don't have a liberal bias.. it's that they're SNEAKY about it. What's worse is, some people are addlebrained and stupid enough to buy their crap.



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