Thursday, September 05, 2013

Trayvon Martin's death was the subject of 459 Miami Herald stories, while the vicious murder of 71-yr.-old Miguel Pilotos was covered with just 70 words

In a photo you'll never see in the Miami Herald, the killer of
71-year-old  Miguel Pilotos strolls through an Opa-Locka
supermarket on Aug. 21, 2013. 

This was a tragic shooting, by any standard. An unarmed teen who had no police record was walking back to his father’s home one quiet, rainy evening to watch basketball on TV with his dad. He was shot to death by a neighborhood watch patrolman. Why?

Trayvon Martin did not deserve to die. His family deserves answers. So do the people of Florida. -Miami Herald editorial, March 19, 2012

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman on the night of Feb. 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida. He had just bought candy and a cold drink at a nearby store and was walking back to the apartment of his father's fiancee.

On March 2, five days after Martin died, the Miami Herald published a short story on his killing.

On March 13, a little more than two weeks after Martin's death - and before many of the facts in the case were fully-known - the Herald's morals watchdog, Fabiola Santiago, had already made up her mind: "Trayvon Martin’s family deserves answers, and so does a community rightfully outraged in the aftermath of his killing. How can the 17-year-old Miami teenager, who was simply walking back to the townhouse he was visiting in the central Florida town of Sanford, end up shot dead with no consequences for his killer?"

(Santiago likes to use the word "outrage" often her in, "The death of a budding 18-year-old student artist at the hands of Miami Beach police — a law enforcement agency with a shameful history of misconduct and excessive use of force — has triggered rightful outrage in the arts community.")

A search of Herald archives shows that by the end of March 2012 - a little more than a month after his death - Trayvon Martin had already been the subject of, or mentioned in, at least 95 stories.

In a March 31 column about her paper's coverage of the case, Herald executive editor Mindy Marqués wrote, "When we are dealing with a topic that is sensitive and emotional, readers take sides. We cannot."

The Herald may not have "taken sides," but in the days following Martin's death, the paper's coverage of the story became super-heated and obsessive.

During a one-week period in March 2012, the Herald featured the 
Trayvon Martin story on six section front pages. 
(Click here to enlarge graphic.)

A search of Herald archives reveals that Trayvon Martin's name shows up in more than 450 stories published in 2012 and 2013. The Martin case was also the subject of at least 8 editorials in 2012 and 2013.

But more than a year after Martin's killing, and less than 8 weeks after George Zimmerman's acquittal, no one at the Miami Herald has felt compelled to explain in detail to the paper's readers why a single random, unpremeditated act of violence occurring more than 200 miles away, was covered like it was The Crime of the Century.

Especially when there are many more horrific killings occurring every week in South Florida, but that barely rate a mention in Miami's dying daily newspaper.

Case in point: Seventy-one year-old Miguel Pilotos was murdered in broad daylight in the parking lot of an Opa-Locka supermarket last Aug. 21. The Miami Herald devoted just two paragraphs - or about 70 words - to his cold-blooded killing.

Yesterday, Miami-Dade police released a chilling video (below) that shows just how cold-blooded Pilotos' murder was.

Today, in a press conference at Miami-Dade Police headquarters, Pilotos' devastated family pleaded for the public's help in finding his killer. 

And while police headquarters is just a 4-minute drive from the Herald's new building, no one from the paper bothered to cover the press conference. (The same paper, by the way, that has an entire page on its website devoted to the Trayvon Martin case.)

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Miguel Pilotos' killing was as brutal, cold-blooded and shocking as any murder I've covered in 30 years as a journalist in this town, but I'm sure it won't get a fraction of the coverage the Herald devoted to Trayvon Martin's death.

Certainly not anywhere near 450 stories.

Doesn't Miguel Pilotos' family deserve the same "answers" the Herald said that Trayvon Martin's family deserved? And at least a thoughtful editorial or two from the paper demanding the swift arrest and trial of Pilotos' killer?

Also, Miguel Pilotos was a Cuban refugee who came to the U.S. to "live the American dream;" so, let's see how long it takes the Herald's resident Cuban scholar, Fabiola Santiago, to summon some "outrage" over his death.

No, the Miami Herald will do its best to ignore Miguel Pilotos' murder.

And we all know why.


  1. This is a tourist and real estate based economy. Herald shouldn't and doesn't report most crime.

    1. Quite possibly the most idiotic comment anyone has ever left on this blog.

  2. Herald used to have a Neighbors section with a police blotter to list lower level neighborhood crime reports. This was reported weekly. The police reports in the Neighbors section used to show very good highlights of what was going on in Miami Beach and Miami.
    Anonymous said...

    I like Neighbors because it highlights good and bad happenings in my neighborhood. It's great for areas that lack community newspapers to provide local information. After reading Issues and Ideas in Sunday's Herald, I jump immediately to Neighbors to find information about activities and people in my area. So leave my Neighbors alone!
    November 12, 2007

  3. Miguel was a "White Hispanic" which is the newly minted term of the Leftist press. If he had been killed by a "White White" perhaps that could have fit into the mainstream's press ideological discourse (Whites racist and killing non-whites). But that wasn't the case so no need to cover it. Trayvon Martin was "African-American", killed by a White Hispanic, the perfect storyline for the Herald. As to Fabiola she is a well-known Leftist ideologue, she wouldn't be hired by the Herald otherwise. The good news is that the Herald is increasingly irrelevant. It's legacy media forced to abandon it's perch on the bay to move to a warehouse west of the airport. Enough said.

  4. If you look at the coverage of the Martin case overall most major newspapers wrote about the case a similar amount of times (NYT: 457, WP: 650, etc.) It was a big national story.


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