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Miami Herald Rights Sentinel's Wrong

-- I know this story from the Palm Beach Post's Brian E. Crowley is old, but Robert Wexler is such a boob. Stephen Colbert's interviews with congressional members are consistently the best part of the show and the Boca Democrat didn't disappoint him. Hey, he's a veteran politician. He knows how to pander.

-- Speaking of pandering, did you see where Miami Herald political writer Beth Reinhard knocked Democratic Congressman and Florida gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis for failing to pander properly? (I know this is old, too, but I'm still catching up). She made fun of Davis for missing a meaningless Congressional vote last Thursday to condemn the attacks on Israel (yeah, for some reason they failed to condemn the attacks on Lebanon, where ten times more people have been killed). Reinhard also brought up an old Howard Stern crony. Her lede: "Remember Stuttering John, the verbally challenged comic on the Howard Stern show who would put celebrities on the spot with painfully blunt questions?" Yeah, we remember him -- and know that he's now an announcer on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The misfired e-mail from the Davis camp was sort of funny, though, so the column wasn't a complete waste of time.

-- The corruption at the Plantation Acres Improvement District was pretty grotesque. I wrote about it in December. The key to the story was that elected PAID supervisors had steered a $125,000 federal grant for Hurricane Wilma clean-up to their buddies. Last Thursday, the Sentinel's Lisa Huriash tackled the subject after Lee Hillier, the former PAID manager who was fired after he started raising questions about the corruption, sued for his job back. It was a pathetic and lazy attempt at journalism. She quotes elected PAID supervisor Ron Davis, who was knee-deep in the wrongdoing at the district, to say that Hillier was fired for "incompetence" and "gross mismanagement" -- but doesn't mention that he was actually fired without cause and that Davis made no such claims at the meeting during which he was terminated. Davis, in fact, manages to dominate Huriash's half-ass little story. It's a bunch of lip-smacking. The reporter utterly fails to do what reporters are supposed to do: Find the truth. Instead she reads a lawsuit, interviews two people, and calls it a story. It's classic Huriash -- she has a long history of bending over backward to protect and coddle the politicians she covers, beginning in Pompano.

On Saturday, the Miami Herald's Karin Dryhurst tackled the PAID story. She fared much better. Dryhurst at least mentioned the contract-rigging allegations and Sunshine Law allegations. She cited the NT story, which was the journalistically sound thing to do. And she noted that Hillier was fired without cause. Basically she cleaned up Huriash's mess.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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