Thursday, February 1, 2007

Miami Herald's Misplaced Priorities

While recently doing research for tomorrow's BIG blog post, I ran into another example of how our local media gives uneven and biased coverage to Cuba-related issues. Now, I'm sure many would say that since we live in Miami, where the Cuban-American population outnumbers other ethnic groups, that the public is entitled to a larger coverage of Cuba-related news. Well, I agree on that point. Where I disagree is on the biased coverage of Cuba-related stories, and unfair coverage in comparison to much more important national news.

This seems like a personal grievance, but allow me to present a clear example.

I was recently shocked to see that on December 6, 2006, the Miami Herald devoted only 433 words to the latest report on health in the US, while on January 17, 2007, the Herald devoted 1120 words to continued speculation on Fidel Castro's health.

This is an astonishing example of how priorities at the Miami Herald are gravely misplaced.

John Dorschner, health reporter for the Herald, essentially wrote a very brief summary of the annual report titled "America's Health Ranking's." This report, compiled by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association, Partnership for Prevention and other collaborations, is perhaps the most detailed report on the nation's health. Dorschner's piece titled "Florida drops a spot to No. 41 for healthcare", which appeared nicely on top of page 6A, but dominated by the presence of New York's ban on trans fat, saved only the last few paragraphs to describe the real impact of the report: that the nation's health has "stagnated" since 2000, obesity levels are "alarming", and that the US has fallen behind international health standards among the industrialized nations.

Yet, on January 17, 2007, John Dorschner and Nancy San Martin devoted 1120 words to a story on Fidel Castro's intestines, based on anonymous sources from Spain of course. This is tragic. Why couldn't it have been the other way around, with the nation's health receiving 1120 words instead of 433?

Why hadn't the nation's health appear on the front page that day, while a piece on how Hugo Chavez uses Jesus Christ as a socialist inspiration does? Actually, what should have happened was that the Chavez piece, which was 336 words, should have been scrapped, and the nation's health should have been given its appropriate space on the front, and with 769 words total to better summarize the health report.

There's no excuse for such unfair coverage.

1 comment:

raul said...

What, do you not want to have Chavez known for what he is? Trying to hide Chavez from the American public? The guy is a lunatic bully with delusions of talking with Bolivar, San Martin, and the Castro semi dead cadaver. Chavez has to be known to the American public. He now has Hezbollah terrorists in Venezuela, and Cuban police/army everywhere in the country. Why is Chavez building a factory for AK-47s with Russian help? Why the Sukhov supersonic jets? Does he intend to engage the Raptors in air combat? Does he plan to eventually work with Cuba to release biochemical weapons into the USA. Are you interested in this? Do you know about the Hezbollah terrorists in the corner where Paraguay, Brasil, and Argentina meet, at the Iguazu Falls? Or do you not want to know these things? Misplaced priorities? I don't think so. A great many Cubans in Miami, and the Herald has a constituency. If anything they have betrayed and attacked the exiles through people like Ana Menendez, Armengol, Corral, and that most precious jewel of journalistic wonderment, the writer who was with Gramma---the only newspaper in Cuba---until recently and now attends the tertulias at Tinta y Cafe, or whatever the name of that rats nest on Calle 8. Are you one of the regular attendees or are you watching this in full contemplation from a high place atop the clouds?