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Was Police Shooting Justified?

The Sun-Sentinel's front page was dominated by a Jeb Bush presidential campaign ad. Or was it a news story? It had to do with FCAT scores. The huge headline over the picture of jubilant teachers: "Lots of A's, No F's." The deck: "Grades for Broward County schools rise sharply; governor calls statewide results 'historic gains'."

You have to read the story by Jamie Malernee, Douane D. James and Linda Kleindienst before you realize that Florida schools are struggling mightily under federal standards.

Contrast that to the Palm Beach Post's more sober -- and informative -- front page presentation. The reporters are evenly matched here. It's the newsroom leaders at the Sentinel who fell behind.

(10:52 A.M. UPDATE: The Sentinel just swapped its own coverage of the FCAT scores story on its home page with that of the St. Pete Times. New headline: "Progress on FCAT comes with federal caveat." Hey, say what you will about the Sentinel, but it's adaptable.)

Carjacker Gunned Down In an example of a web special gone awry, the Miami Herald's Idy Fernandez reports on a Fort Lauderdale police shooting of a carjacker. Look, I know the Internet is fluid and we bust news on it on the fly, but this little ditty shouldn't have seen the light of day. When it comes to cops shooting and killing someone, reporting that the dead man tried to run over police, with no qualification other than the fact that CBS-4 said so, is just heinous. Anybody that's covered cops for any length of time knows that police often claim a suspect was trying to run them over when, in fact, the victim was just trying to get away. It makes it a justified shooting. Of course, I'm not saying that this was an unwarranted shooting -- it may have been beautiful police work. But with no facts, the Herald should be more responsible. (The Sentinel, by the way, had a different version from NBC-6 which said the suspect rammed police cars before police opened fire).

Be Afraid Speaking of the Miami newspaper, great Dan Le Batard column today:

Were you afraid, Dwyane?

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade lets the question sit there for a second and stares at you in silence.

Did you ask something stupid? Have you insulted him? Trying to recover, you stammer something about the season collapsing all around him. You replace the word ''fear'' with the word ''doubt.'' He interrupts quickly this time, saying, ''Not doubt. Never doubt. Never, ever doubt.''

But then he stops.

Stops and goes back to your original question.

Goes back to being afraid.

''Yeah, you fear,'' Wade said of Tuesday's deficit against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. ''I was afraid. There's something wrong with you if you aren't afraid. The building was quiet. Our season was slipping. I was afraid.''

That's an example of great sportswriting. We all know what's happening on the court because we're watching it. Here Le Batard gets inside Wade's head, with an incisive question, and captures a rare, off-the-cuff, totally honest response from a sports superstar.

My little meaningless prediction: The Heat will win tonight. Gary Payton said it today in the Sentinel -- they haven't played good ball the entire series. Tonight I have the feeling they will. Game 5 is the big question.

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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