Monday, June 09, 2014

Fabi Watch

In a column that appeared in the paper last Wednesday, the Miami Herald's most fraudulent columnist, Fabiola Santiago, calls Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a "serial bride" and scolds her for using "sanctimonious arguments to try to convince a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union [...] on behalf of gay and lesbian couples seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Florida."

In making her case against Bondi, Santiago writes "Her marriages, divorces, and out-of-wedlock relationships are her business."

For the record, Bondi has been married three times and divorced twice.

The irony here is that Herald editors allowed their habitually Pecksniffian columnist to slip the word "sanctimonious" into a column. Fabi's columns are textbook examples of sanctimony.

As a friend likes to say, "If it weren't for hypocritical and sanctimonious arguments, Fabiola wouldn't have a column."

Halfway through her column Santiago writes, "But nothing is more hypocritical than Bondi passing judgment where she has failed."

Really, Fabi, you went there? Hypocritical? Failings?

Let's look at some examples of Santiago's own hypocrisy and failings.

Carlos Verdecia
Back in the early 90s, when the 34-year-old Santiago was managing editor of El Nuevo Herald, the Herald's Spanish language daily, she was involved in a relationship with a man 24 years her senior, who also happened to be her boss at the paper, 58-year-old El Nuevo editor Carlos Verdecia

At the time, Miami New Times called her a "close Verdecia ally."

But Herald sources tell me the two were more than just "allies," and that their relationship involved more than games of footsie played under the conference table during news meetings.

But on the evening of Nov. 9, 1993, the arrangement between Santiago and Verdecia came to an end.

From Miami New Times:
More than a few El Nuevo Herald staff members were impatient. Publisher Roberto Suarez, accompanied by editor Carlos Verdecia and Herald publisher Dave Lawrence, had called together about 60 staffers for a hastily arranged meeting.

Granted the news was significant: After more than five years at the editorial helm, Verdecia would be leaving El Nuevo. But why take this particular moment to make the dramatic announcement? It was the evening of Tuesday, November 9. Election day. And people were busy. "This was just laid down on us at 6:00 p.m. on an election night," says one employee who was present at the meeting. "If they wanted to prevent any questioning or reflection by the staff, they couldn't have picked a better time. We could only listen and then go right back to work."

The next day El Nuevo and the Herald published identical notices of Verdecia's departure: He was leaving immediately on "sabbatical" through the end of the year. Then he would seek "new career opportunities."

Turns out Santiago's relationship with Verdecia had so poisoned the atmosphere at El Nuevo that "an internal survey [in September] showed that a substantial majority of the editorial staff did not approve of [Verdecia's] job performance," New Times reported.

And, according to New Times, it was Santiago who "encouraged the cliquish [newsroom] favoritism" that led to Verdecia's downfall.

But Santiago wasn't around for any of the drama that November night.

From New Times:
Just three months earlier El Nuevo's managing editor, Fabiola Santiago, left the paper on a sabbatical in order to teach the fall semester at University of Florida in Gainesville. Santiago, a close Verdecia ally who reportedly encouraged the cliquish favoritism plaguing El Nuevo, will not return to her management job. (She has been replaced by Barbara Gutierrez.) The Miami Herald has hired Santiago as a writer on the paper's enterprise team. "At El Nuevo Herald people don't get fired," quips one employee. "They just go on leave forever."
Last night I posed this question to a veteran Herald staffer: "If a columnist is going to write a column that mentions a public figure's "out-of-wedlock relationships," shouldn't the columnist be squeaky-clean herself in that respect?"

"Yes," the staffer replied, adding, "Or at the very least, transparent."

In 1993 Herald editors went to great lengths to cover up and whitewash the relationship between Santiago and her boss.

Twenty-one years later not much has changed.

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