Tuesday, May 29, 2007

[An Addendum to "Mr. Gomez"]

While still on the topic, let me add another point about the faulty analysis of Mr. Gomez.

On April 7, 2007, Mr. Gomez actually responded to one of my queries at the Stuck on the Palmetto blog. In the comments section of that day, Mr. Gomez indentified FIU sociologist
Lisandro Perez as "one of [Miami Herald's] 'go to' experts."

Confounded at the description, I challenged Mr. Gomez: "I have never seen the Miami Herald interview or quote Lisandro Perez with any consistency. I can't recall the last time, before this [topic in question], that he appeared in the Herald. What are your remarks based on?"

Mr. Gomez responded with utmost clarity and simplicity. To my astonishment, he actually presented evidence! It seems that Mr. Gomez went to his internet news database (looks like NewsBank) and did a simple search on "Lisandro Perez" for the Miami Herald, and cut and pasted the first-page results of his search (identical to the first page of my NewsBank search). He posted 9 stories. I quickly saw his reason.

But, looking back, there seems to be something that Mr. Gomez left out in his response, and it questions whether calling Perez a "go-to" expert really means anything at all. Let's examine.

Mr. Gomez, who also posts for the Herald Watch blog, definitely enlightened me on how often Lisandro Perez is mentioned in the Herald. When one does a search on NewsBank for "Lisandro Perez" in the Herald for 2006, you get 14 matches (excluding two who are for Lisandro Perez-Rey). Only14 matches for the entire year! And, Mr. Gomez posted eight of them in his reply. Does 14 mentions in the Miami Herald make Lisandro Perez a "go-to" expert? Let's compare with other Cuba experts.

When one does a NewsBank search for "Brian Latell" in the Herald for 2006 you get 17 matches. I guess Latell is also one of Miami Herald's "go-to" experts. When one does a search for "Jaime Suchlicki" you get 19 matches. We can add Suchlicki to the list too I guess.

When you search for UM's "Institute of Cuban and Cuban American Studies" (where Latell and Suchlicki work) you get 32 matches. But, a search for FIU's "Cuban Research Institute" yields only 19 matches.

So who's really The Miami Herald's "go-to" experts? Let's do a deeper search.

A search for the "Cuban Research Institute" in the Herald from 2001 to 2006 yields 65 matches. But, a search for the "Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies" yields 119 matches!

A search for "Lisandro Perez" from 2001 to 2006 yields 64 matches, but "Jaime Suchlicki" yields 80 matches.

Who are the Herald's "go-to" experts now?

Finally, when I do a separate search for "Jaime Suchlicki" and "Lisandro Perez" from 1996 to 2006, I get equal matches! One hundred and eleven results for both.

I don't know what methods Mr. Gomez used to describe Lisandro Perez as a "go-to" expert, but there seems to be little justification in using such a description. So why did he use it?

I think Mr. Gomez's bias is showing.

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