Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Here's why people groan at the mere mention of the Miami Herald

On October 26, 2010, Aminda "Mindy" Marqués Gonzalez was named executive editor of the Miami Herald.

Shortly before noon on Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010 - a mere two and half weeks after Marqués became the Herald's new boss - a video camera outside the Brotherhood Market in Liberty City captured images of 20 year-old Michael Beatty being chased down the street by a man brandishing some sort of automatic weapon.

The gunman chased Beatty into an alley and fired his weapon ending the 20 year-old's life.

Beatty had just turned 20 two weeks before.

Every TV station in Miami covered the cold-blooded murder of Michael Beatty.

But his death didn't even rate a mention in Marqués' newspaper.

Fast forward to last August 11.

A Miami police officer on a routine call spots a car traveling the wrong way on a one-way street.
Today, at approximately 7:30 AM, a Miami Police officer was working a car fire at NW 3rd Avenue and 11 Street, when he witnessed a vehicle go the wrong way on Northwest 11 Street. The driver and passenger exited the vehicle and walked towards the officers. The officer asked the driver for his license.

Shortly after, the driver, Jovens Esperance, D.O.B. 3/4/92, was placed under arrest and charged with one count of no valid driver license. The passenger remained on the scene.

Once Esperance was arrested for the traffic violation, the officer began to search the silver 2002 Pontiac Bonneville and found a loaded 45 caliber Glock handgun with an extended magazine, a loaded AK-47 assault rifle on the rear passenger seat and a 45 caliber Ruger handgun on the front passenger floorboard of the car. Immediately, officers placed Christopher Jaime Sealy, D.O.B. 10/24/92, under arrest.
A story with a happy ending.

Cop takes a couple of potentially dangerous men off the streets without firing a shot.

The Miami Police Department sent out a press release to all Miami media outlets. including the Miami Herald. Not one word of the arrests made it to the pages of the Herald.

There's no disputing the fact that both of the incidents described above involve firearms in the possession of those who can best be described as irresponsible.

Even the most jaded observer would have to admit that both incidents were newsworthy.

Except the jaded observers at the Herald.

But, some random displays of firearms are apparently considered newsworthy by the Herald's newshounds.

Thursday's paper will carry a story by Herald courts reporter David Ovalle, who curiously strays off his beat to cover an incident involving Miami-Dade Schools police chief Charles Hurley.

Here's how Ovalle describes the incident:
During a staff meeting last week, Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Charles Hurley pulled out his .40 Glock pistol, unloaded the magazine, and placed the bullets on a meeting room table.

He says it was an impromptu demonstration to stress the dangers facing officers and students during a recent spate of shootings. Some in the room, however, say they felt it was a display meant to intimidate.

The episode happened Sept. 22 at the Miami-Dade Schools Police headquarters, 6100 NW 2nd Ave. The meeting, attended by more than a dozen command officers and civilian employees, was to discuss staff issues.

Hurley insisted that the pistol was just a prop meant to underscore the need to step up policing. About an hour earlier, a gunman had emptied a high-powered magazine in an incident near Northwestern High, rattling the neighborhood.
The Sept. 22 incident was recounted in detail this week in an anonymous e-mail sent to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office, the county ethics commission and the county inspector general’s office. It was unclear Wednesday whether the matter will be reviewed.
Presumably this incident might have gone unreported had an email not been sent and subsequently leaked.

Ovalle got a hold of the email, whipped out his notebook and voila! We've got instant controversy, all conveniently manufactured by the Herald.

The Herald is obviously trying to show that Chief Hurley engaged in some kind of reckless "gunplay."

Fair enough.

But here's a question for you Mindy.

How can you justify giving space to Ovalle's story, but make no mention in the paper of the other two incidents? Chief Hurley's behavior may or may not have been a lapse of judgment. But it certainly wasn't criminal.

A few weeks ago, one of your reporters Tweeted that people at a Miami city commission meeting groaned at the mere mention of the Herald.

Perhaps now, you have a better understanding of why that happened and why the Herald is steadily losing what little credibility it has left.

It pains me to watch you and others take part in the destruction of a paper I've read for almost half a century.

Why am I telling you this Mindy? Because your name is on the masthead.

But, hopefully not much longer.

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