The big investigation among this week's Big Three newspapers was the Palm Beach Post's look at abuse of the federal government's food stamp program after Wilma. Good work by Kathleen Chapman, but I don't know about the headline "Real need or unchecked greed?" Anybody who would wait in ridiculous lines for several hours to receive a few hundred dollars in food stamps probably could use the money. And poor and working-class folks were hammered by the hurricane a lot harder than the upper middle class. Chapman's hook was the anecdotal evidence that some people showed up in Jaguars, Land Rovers and Hummers. Well, of course those people can't afford food -- they're spending all their money on their vehicles. Somebody's got to feed them. Have some heart.
You want to know about greed? Look at the oil companies record $100 billion-plus profits and the $400 million parachute given to Exxon chairman Lee Raymond. If you saw Meet the Press yesterday, you saw Illiniois Senator Dick Durbin -- who SHOULD be the favorite for the 2008 Democratic nomination over Hillary -- steal the show about that one.
But at least Chapman's work is a real investigation. The Sentinel's Sunday special on an apparently fraudulent carpet cleaning company. Don't get me wrong -- it's an excellent story by Jon Burstein. I just don't think it meets "South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation" standards as is purported in the story, which is loaded with Sentinel self-referencing. Looks like this company cheated and numerous customers filed complaints and lawsuits and Burstein reporting it. Superb article, yes. Investigation, no.
In the same newspaper -- the Saturday Sentinel gave the Pulp a wealth of material -- there's another bothersome self-reference to the newspaper. Anthony Man looks at campaign contributions for Ron Klein, specifically the ones from lawyers. Fine. Good. But the newspaper had to call it a "South Florida Sun-Sentinel analysis." C'mon. He went to the state campaign database and listed the attorneys. Let's not get all fancy here.
In other newspaper news, I'm sad to say that Sentinel reporters Shannon O'Boye and Kevin Smith are heading off to Chicago. Both husband and wife are leaving journalism, Smith as a spokesman for the City of Chicago and O'Boye to attend law school at Northwestern. It's a loss to the Sentinel, which is always in need of smart and capable reporters like those two. Wish them the best.
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New Times music editor Jonathan Zwickel is heading back to San Francisco to work for music seller rhapsody.com, where he'll be a "content producer." One could argue that he, too, is leaving journalism, but he'll still be doing freelance for NT papers and various magazines. Good thing, since he' s the real deal. Congratulations, JZ, and don't forget the people you left behind on y0ur road to writing (and/or content-producing) glory.
The Miami New Times is still shaking and settling after a number of momentous changes during the past year (Chuck Strouse replacing Jim Mullin as editor, staff turnover, etc). It was announced that Jean Carey, who compiles the Bitch column, is being moved from managing editor to a combo music editor/Bitch column position. The newspaper is advertising for an associate editor and there's no word on whether the managing editor position will be refilled.
There's a couple of Herald departures I'm going to confirm for you and have tomorrow, hopefully.
Last thing: Just saw a Fox News headline on the immigrant rallies being held today. It appeared under footage of the huge crowds: "Illegals trying to cripple America's economy." Say what you will about Fox, but it's damn funny sometimes.