Thursday, October 05, 2006

At Least He Didn't Call Them Macacas: Tom (Chiahuahua) Fiedler Says He's Sorry

Learning To Hate Castro At The Miami Herald Without Being Politically Incorrect
Here's how the news business works nowadays. First, Miami Herald editor Tom Fiedler gets into a lather about charges from his own reporters that the paper caved into anti-Castro forces because the paper's Spanish-language version El Nuevo Herald, rehired journalists who also just happened to be on the Radio Marti payroll.
Fiedler's idea of a retort quickly bit him in the ass, as yesterday's Herald reported:

In staff meetings Tuesday, Miami Herald reporters asked whether the paper was caving to critics. Editor Tom Fiedler dismissed that notion, saying the ''22 people who listen to Cuban radio'' were being stirred up by ''little chihuahuas nipping at our heels.'' He later apologized for his choice of words.

Ay, caramba.

Today, Fiedler put on his ashes and sackcloth to apologize. At least he didn't say his own staff quoted him out of context.

I used an unfortunate term, intending only to refer to the persistence and sharpness of the commentary. My intent was not to offend anyone, although I now realize that I did.

Miami New Times provides the context Fiedler left out of his three-paragraph sorrow saga. That includes a denial that the Monday resignation of Herald publisher Jesus Diaz Jr. was due to community pressure over the Radio Marti fiasco and a critical column by Carl Hiaasen that Diaz was on the verge of killing until his bosses at McClatchy intervened at Hiaasen's behest and threat to quit.

Bottom line: Fiedler, a Herald institution, has been doing everything but somersaults to show he's contrite. Time to move on. The anti-Castro faction will bray regardless of what the paper does. For now, the Herald, which has been nothing if not beleaguered in recent years, needs the steady hand of a seasoned leader rather than the turmoil that making him walk the plank would bring.

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