Earlier this year the bosses at the Miami Herald made a decision to eliminate a column written by long-time freelance food writer Linda Cicero. The savings? $100 per column.
Exactly one year ago, the paper decided it could no longer afford the services of veteran outdoors writer Sue Cocking.
And in an effort to cut even more costs, the Herald recently offered buyouts to a handful of staffers, including photographer Walt Michot, and also photo editor Roman Lyskowski who joined the paper in 1988.
But for for some unknown reason, the Herald continues to pay a bloated salary to Fabiola Santiago, the paper's most fraudulent columnist.
To borrow a phrase from New York Times columnist David Brooks, "Santiago doesn’t know what she doesn’t know and she’s uninterested in finding out."
A little more than a week ago, filmmaker Alfred Spellman caught Santiago re-writing history.
In a column that discussed whether or not Cuban-American voters might punish Hillary Clinton over her husband's role - and that of his Attorney General, Janet Reno - in the April 2000 raid that reunited Elian Gonzalez with his father, Santiago dishonestly wrote: "The violent seizure was too much and carried out without exhausting other avenues — an affront to the freedom-loving, loyal Cuban-American community."
Santiago apparently never bothered to check the Pulitzer Prize winning reporting of her colleagues before writing that sentence.
The official line at the Herald is that all of Santiago's columns are looked at by an editor, but one Herald insider tells me that "if she wrote a column in Swahili, it would probably make it into the paper, untouched."
And just today, the Herald printed one of Santiago's more fraudulent and intellectually dishonest columns, ever.
The Herald, the paper that can't afford to pay a $100 freelance fee, apparently ponied up the money to send Santiago up to Jacksonville to listen to conservative talk radio hosts.
JACKSONVILLE - Drive into Florida’s most conservative city – and hear an alternative reality emerge from the airwaves.
Radio show host Sean Hannity is discussing with callers the presidential election, but if it weren’t for the name Donald Trump, whose questionable conservatism is being swept under the rug as Republicans are urged to support him, you’d think it was the 1990s.
This is only one talk show on a Wednesday afternoon. Northeast Florida is also pounded daily with different approaches to the same narrative by Herman Cain and Rush Limbaugh. Besides the election, the topic of obsession at the moment is transgender bathrooms.
In making her case that conservative Jacksonville listens to conservative talk radio, Santiago conveniently omits the fact that the very same nationally syndicated shows can be heard on Miami radio station WIOD...or on the Internet.
In a post on FloridaPolitics.com, blogger A.G. Gancarski writes:
To read Santiago, you would think that as soon as you cross over the Duval County line, we all get Hannitized.
It’s a cheap, facile reference to sum up a place about which she clearly knows nothing.
With the word "facile," Gancarski succinctly describes everything Santiago has ever written for the Herald.
Gancarski concludes: "There’s no sense of place in [Santiago's] column. She writes it like someone passing through, with no depth, and no perspective, beyond that gleaned from a frolic through Google News. The Miami Herald should be able to do better."
Yes, A.G., the Miami Herald should be able to "do better."
But the "leadership" at the paper - from the publisher on down - is a gutless, morally bankrupt lot.
And that's too bad. Because there are dozens of hard working people who still care deeply about the work they do.
But by printing Santiago's garbage twice a week, the Herald bosses not only cheapen their product, they disrespect those at the paper who are doing great work and who bust their asses every day to produce quality journalism.