Letters for August 25, 2005
Finding Bob Norman
A credit to news: I would like to publicly commend Bob Norman on his excellent, in-depth investigative series "Finding Gary."
This truly is a masterpiece in all of its facets: tenacious interviews, research into official records, and understanding of the subject matter. His analytical style of reporting allows the reader to relive and understand the story. Also, his desire to get the facts correct brings credit to your newspaper and to his investigative news reporting.
Spontaneous credit: The "Finding Gary" series is Bob Norman's best effort yet. I cannot wait for the last installment. From the photo credits, it looks like he made the trip to Nassau as well. That place is the anus of the Bahamas... but good for him for making that trip.
Awesome story, which makes me wonder: As a child of South Florida, just how many more Garys are there out there? I'll bet there are plenty on or around Norman's Cay (no pun intended). Tremendous work on his part. If your readers were all grouped together in one sitting, Bob would get a standing ovation.
As it is, though, he'll just have to settle for small pockets of spontaneous applause.
Lester P. Behan
Via the Internet
The DeFede feed: Kudos to Bob Norman for an excellent in-depth story ("Knight Riddance," August 11) regarding the firing of one of the few honest voices left in this section of the woods. Jim DeFede deserved better, and so do the many people who revered him for his tell-it-like-it-is style of reporting.
How many of us have the backbone to slap our employers around when they need to be taken to the woodshed? Norman's article was a fascinating piece of journalism, with no stone left unturned. I enjoyed it immensely.
Let's keep the pressure on that weasel Tom Fiedler and his buddy Tony Ridder. Thanks, Norman, for a job well done!
Sucking up to the exiles? What more can I add to the many reasons that Miami Herald columnist Jim DeFede should not have been fired? Nothing that has not been stated already. Now, what can I add to Bob Norman's piece "Knight Riddance"?
On Sunday, August 7, columnist and news personality Michael Putney devoted his entire program, This Week in South Florida, to an interview with DeFede. Herald Publisher Jesus Diaz and Executive Editor Tom Fiedler were "out of town" and could not go on with DeFede. Diaz and Fiedler were offered their say the following Sunday. Both declined.
Perhaps most telling was Putney's op-ed piece in the Herald of August 10. He wrote: "Diaz had been the Herald publisher for only a week and a half and had no newsroom experience... Another factor is a possible predisposition against DeFede. I've learned on good authority... that shortly before he was named publisher, Diaz criticized columns by DeFede that he found offensive."
What could have pissed off Jesus Diaz? Recently, DeFede has written much about Cuba and about the Posada affair. Many of the older Cuban-American émigrés did not speak kindly of these columns. I understand DeFede had been subjected to a good amount of trashing on Spanish-language radio and in the press. Instead of taking issue with his writings, he has been attacked personally, and his firing has been called for.
Once upon a time, there was David Lawrence, a professional newsperson and Herald publisher. He answered his readers' letters and faxes. He even spoke to us on the phone. Then came Alberto Ibarguen. He not only reported the news but, during the Elián Gonzalez affair, became the news. And he ignored his readers as Lawrence had not. Now we have Diaz. Is it possible that the new Miami Herald publisher is sucking up to a very vocal and influential group here in Miami-land? Ya think?
Alan W. Rigerman
But Monty deserves it: I read with some interest the article regarding Bob Montgomery in your April 28 issue ("Bullet Bob," Eric Alan Barton). In the Green case, there were some things that need to be cleared up. Montgomery said he felt that his nastiness toward Lisa Sanchez was the reason this case convinced her supervisors to settle. I can tell you that as the attorney representing [Souren] Karagosian, nothing can be further from the truth. He also stated that we feared him after that and that that is why we would not face him in the courtroom. What Montgomery conveniently left out in his comments was that the case was tried in front of Judge Maass on the issue of settlement. It was only after an adverse ruling by her and a subsequent appeal that the matter was resolved. It had nothing to do with us fearing Montgomery. Our firm does not fear anyone.
I should also point out that where the article describes the North Carolina vacation -- Montgomery interrupted not only my vacation but that of my three small children, who were all under the age of 7. I had to explain to them why the family vacation that had been planned for months was coming to an end because another lawyer would not extend the courtesy of explaining to the judge that days earlier, his colleague had already excused me from trial for that week. Your article also left out the fact that the jury in that case returned a verdict for my client and rejected Montgomery's claim that his cardiologist was entitled to $5 million.
Last, your article mentioned I look at Bob Montgomery as an enemy. I never told your reporter that. I look at him as a worthy adversary whose tactics and lack of professional courtesy I have questioned in the past. That doesn't make him my enemy, just someone I don't trust. Based on the rest of your article, it doesn't appear I am alone in that assessment.
Michael A. Robb
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