July 28, 2004

Another Proud, DAMNED Proud Moment for the Press

miamisuicide.jpg
Letter to the Editor

AH YES, THE POWER OF THE PRESS. NUMBER ONE WITH A BULLET: Ex-Miami Official Kills Self at Paper's Office

A former Miami city commissioner shot himself to death Wednesday inside the lobby of the Miami Herald newspaper, one day before a rival publication was set to publish a lengthy report detailing allegations of corruption, drug use and liaisons with male prostitutes.
The Herald was quick to

distance itself from the blood and brain matter in its lobby with a note to the "Readers"

We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of former Miami Commissioner Arthur E. Teele Jr.

Mr. Teele served South Florida for more than two decades in public life at the federal and local levels. He played a crucial role in many significant South Florida projects that continue to benefit our community. -- Herald.

And the sacking of a columnist who may well have had more than a light role to play in the suicide
The Herald fired columnist Jim DeFede Wednesday because he tape-recorded a phone conversation with Arthur E. Teele Jr. without his knowledge.

Teele had killed himself in The Herald's lobby earlier in the day without ever knowing that the columnist recorded their conversation.

Both Publisher Jesus Diaz, Jr. and Executive Editor Tom Fiedler said they fired the popular Metro writer because it is illegal for anyone to tape a conversation with another person without that individual's consent in Florida.

DeFede told them that during his interview with Teele, he turned on a tape machine to record his conversation as the politician confided in him about his public corruption charges, financial problems and other sensitive issues, according to Diaz.

At one point, Teele told the columnist that he was not speaking on the record -- but DeFede continued to record him anyway without his knowledge, Diaz said.
...
''Jim has been a strong and valued voice at The Miami Herald and his departure will leave a significant void,'' Fiedler said in a statement. ``I am personally heartsick about this. But we must hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity if we are to maintain the trust of our readers and those with whom we deal.''-- Herald

Meanwhile, the local breast enhancement and sex ads weekly had no such compunctions about integrity and, true to its 1960s underground press roots, went right ahead and slandered the dead. The lead story in this rag was reported to be the final straw that drove Teele to suicide.
Former Miami city commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., the subject of this week's Miami New Times feature "Tales of Teele: Sleaze Stories," killed himself in the lobby of the Miami Herald this past Wednesday. Teele, a fixture for years in city and county politics recently indicted on corruption charges, was revealed through police surveillance reports to lead a bizarre secret life. The following are stories the New Times has published about Teele over the past decade. -- Miami New Times | Alternative News Weekly
I think I can recall, vaguely and only in shadows, the time when journalism was a decent profession. Now it seems to be mainly the refuge of demented columnists, aging Pulitzer puffers, latter-day traitors, and scum cast off from hapless and hopeless liberal arts colleges.

Of course, its only a small step from a suicide in the lobby to someone going postal in the news room. That's clearly on schedule these days. And we'll all read all about it.

On the web.

And all the newspapers will wonder, "Why? What did we ever do to you?"

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Posted by Vanderleun at July 28, 2004 1:36 PM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.
I think I can recall, vaguely and only in shadows, the time when journalism was a decent profession. Now it seems to be mainly the refuge of demented columnists, aging Pulitzer puffers, latter-day traitors, and scum cast off from hapless and hopeless liberal arts colleges.
If you keep holding back like that you may do yourself a mischief. Posted by: Dave Schuler at July 29, 2005 6:57 AM

And of course the writer was quick to disavow any responsibility or moral culpability in the matter. Hey, I was just doing my job!

Posted by: Patricia at July 30, 2005 12:44 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.










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