Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Miami Herald covers First lady's visit to Miami but omits a big part of the story

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Miami Herald, page 1A, Feb. 26, 2014.
First Lady Michelle Obama was in Miami yesterday.

Here's how the Miami Herald's David Smiley reported her visit:
First lady Michelle Obama, campaigning in South Florida Tuesday for her “Let’s Move!” healthy kids program, unveiled a widespread expansion of after-school exercise and snack programs.

Her late-afternoon visit to Miami-Dade County’s Gwen Cherry Park followed announcements in Washington, D.C., that the federal government wants to ban advertising of junk food and soft drinks in schools and expand free lunches to millions more students.

“That’s not just good for kids. It’s also good for parents. They’ll know all their hard work isn’t being undermined every time [their kids] head off to school,” Obama told a small crowd at the Gladeview park’s recreation center.


In her Miami stop — during which she danced a Zumba routine with Miami Heat executive Alonzo Mourning and a group of kids — Obama celebrated what she said are the successes of her program, which has been adopted in every Miami-Dade public school. When the first lady began her campaign, she aimed to reduce childhood obesity rates that had tripled during the past 30 years to the point that one in three children and adolescents was overweight or obese.
Smiley's story was very nice. But it was also one that read like it came straight from the First Lady's press office.

What Smiley left out of his warm and fuzzy story was the fact that at almost the exact moment Mrs. Obama was making her opening remarks, other children - who hadn't been invited to see the First Lady - were running for their lives less than two miles from where she was speaking.

Shortly after 5 p.m., someone drove through the crime-ridden Pork and Beans projects and fired shots that struck a group of girls who were gathered outside a house at 1239 NW 65th Street.

Within minutes, local TV showed video of three girls arriving at the Ryder Trauma Center.

Click images to enlarge. 

But Herald editors, in their never-ending quest to keep unpleasant and upsetting news off page one, buried the story of the shooting on page 3B of this morning's paper.

First Lady Michelle Obama's Tuesday event at NW 22nd Ave.
in Miami was less two miles from a drive-by shooting
in the Pork and Beans project.

The First Lady, of course, was never in any danger yesterday.

But the irony of Mrs. Obama speaking to a group of inner-city kids about the benefits of staying healthy - while other inner-city kids were dodging bullets less than two miles away - wasn't lost on filmmaker Billy Corben.

As I wrote last December, crime happens far from the neighborhoods where the people in charge at the Herald live.

And until drive-by shootings become a part of everyday life on Belle Isle in Miami Beach and in Davie, coverage of crime in some sections of Miami will continue to occupy the inside pages of the Herald's B section.

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