Conflict of interest
The South Florida MSM isn't without controversy. Here is the latest episode.
At least 10 South Florida journalists, including three from El Nuevo Herald, received regular payments from the U.S. government for programs on Radio Martí and TV Martí, two broadcasters aimed at undermining the communist government of Fidel Castro. The payments totaled thousands of dollars over several years.Rick at Stuck on the Palmetto writes an excellent post about this story. I suggest you go and read it.
Those who were paid the most were veteran reporters and a freelance contributor for El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language newspaper published by the corporate parent of The Miami Herald. Pablo Alfonso, who reports on Cuba and writes an opinion column, was paid almost $175,000 since 2001 to host shows on Radio Martí and TV Martí. El Nuevo Herald freelance reporter Olga Connor, who writes about Cuban culture, received about $71,000, and staff reporter Wilfredo Cancio Isla, who covers the Cuban exile community and politics, was paid almost $15,000 in the last five years.
Alfonso and Cancio were dismissed after The Miami Herald questioned editors at El Nuevo Herald about the payments. Connor's freelance relationship with the newspaper also was severed.
Reporters working for multiple media outlets is nothing new. Look at blogger Michelle Malkin, she has a nationally syndicated column plus is a Fox News commentator.
Except in this case the second outlet is owned and run by the government. Is this any different than what Michelle does or is Freedom of the Press being endangered?
''This is such an obvious textbook case,'' said University of Florida journalism professor Jon Roosenraad. 'This is exactly like a business reporter during the day going out and moonlighting as a PR [public relations] person for a local company at night and then going back to the paper the next day and writing about `his' company.''And Rick agrees.
You can be assured that when these journalists and commentators were plying their craft on the air or in the papers, somewhere in the back of their minds they wanted to make sure that they didn't say or write anything that might jeopardize that next paycheck from Uncle Sam. Because it's just human nature.How independent is the press? Government and the MSM have a symbiotic relationship, they are both dependent on one another. The media's reporting doesn't start from just nowhere. The day to day affairs of governing America by elected officials is much of what the MSM writes about, at the same time government or namely needs the MSM to get their message across. Nobody is paying the other for what they're doing(At least we hope no one is) but both parties need the other.
But even if the money didn't have that effect, the appearance of such influence runs totally contradictory to our idea of a free and independent press.
The reporters mistake here wasn't letting their employers know what they were doing. Then Rick also asks, why did it take five years for everyone to figure all this out? Good question.
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