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Miami Herald Substitutes Spin for Journalism
Ed Rudd

And they say they are just calling it as they see it -- this is in spite of the evidence and regardless of the consequences.

When the Miami Herald came out Wednesday with the much-anticipated story about the Florida vote count, I was again hoping against hope that some major media outlet in this country would start covering the Florida Presidential Election in a fair and even handed manner. I was again disappointed.

When I saw the headlines and the first few sentences of the story, I knew the fix was in. It did not matter what facts the story contained. The headline, "Ballot review shows Bush retaining lead," was the story. I felt our once proud and independent media had again betrayed the American people and democracy. By dawn yesterday, most major papers were parroting that headline.

A fair and evenhanded story should have been written. It could have used the very same facts. It is one thing to report the facts as you see them. It is an entirely different thing to use how you report the story to shape public perception. This is not journalism but political activism by a newspaper.

I decided to question the author of the article, Martin Merzer, about my concerns. I asked him why such an important story was reported in such a prejudiced manner.

I pointed out that even if the story was technically correct from a narrow point of view, the headline should have been more balanced. I told him the headline would be trumpeted around the world. I told him this slanted story would appear to give finality to an election that is anything but settled. I hoped to get a response to my assertion that there are problems inherent in a newspaper choosing to spin the news instead of reporting it.

I asked him to please try and right this wrong. I asked him to help us in our efforts to get our democracy back.

He did respond. But only very simply and superficially. He did not seem to care about the inaccurate impression his article left. He apparently seems to think spin is part of journalism at the Miami Herald.

He said...

"Thanks for your note, ...
As for the ballot review, we call them as we see them, and the results produced by our survey dictate how we see them and how we call them.
marty merzer"

He didn't address anything I said. He apparently can't separate Republican Spin from Journalism.

If you feel as I do, why don't you drop Marty a note: MMerzer@herald.com

Ed Rudd, Gadsden, Alabama