This Week in Florida
Sorry I went Earl Sweatshirt on you for a few months. But I’m back.
You haven’t missed much. We had another humiliating presidential election, but this time, fortunately for the rest of the country, our results didn’t matter. As I was quoted in the New York Times, “After this, Florida is worse than a laughingstock. We’re now an irrelevant laughingstock.”
We also learned that a “Tampa socialite” named Jill Kelley was the person behind the David Petraeus scandal. We also learned that there is such a thing as a “Tampa socialite” (for some reference: Tampa is whereMagic Mike takes place).
But perhaps even more embarrassing is the ongoing debacle of the Miami Marlins baseball franchise, which is playing out on the national stage. Basically, the Marlins gulled the city of Miami and the state of Florida in to paying for a $500 million fancy new stadium. Then, after a few rough months, the team purged itself of every decent player on its roster. Needless to say, people are pissed. But most disturbingly, and least covered, is how the city paper, the Miami Herald, abdicated its responsibility to ask tough questions and instead served as the Marlins’ Ministry of Propaganda. You can’t fault owner Jeffrey Loria for trying to negotiate the best deal for his organization. But you can fault the local media when they run headlines like “NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO BUILD A STADIUM,” instead of investigating the Marlins management’s claims about the benefits of a new baseball park.
The Miami Herald spent years misleading the community by publishing an endless stream of pro-Marlins and public financing bile. Now they are flaccidly climbing aboard the anti-Marlins bandwagon. OneHerald columnist, aptly named Fred Grimm (considering his paper’s future prospects), hobbled together a laughable piece of hindsight. In the article, he explains that anyone who knew anything about these deals would have known Miami-Dade was agreeing to, what the Miami New Times called, the “worst deal for taxpayers of any stadium in America.”
Grimm essentially confesses the abject failure of the Herald by quoting from a 1997 Brookings Institution study that found, “no recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues… The economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimis” How could the Herald fail to report information like this prior to the Marlins Park public financing vote?
Grimm also cites a letter from an unidentified Marlins vice president who wrote the Herald, “back when the County Commission was debating the stadium deal… describing how baseball stadiums transform urban areas ‘into major entertainment districts.’” This was exactly the kind of false information furnished by the team that theHerald published verbatim, while failing to task their reporters merely fact-checking the information.
Grimm’s column fails to address his paper’s role as a co-conspirator in the scheme to transmit misinformation to an unwitting public. No wonder the Herald is going the way of the Costa Concordia.n This is the kind of “journalism” the Herald expects readers to pay for when their paywall goes up at the end of this year? Perhaps traded Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle summed it up best: “Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions.”
Welcome to This Week in Florida.
- Once again a Miami pro sports team and their venue made national news for the wrong reason after thesprinklers went off in the middle of the Dolphins-Seahawks game at the Sun Life Stadium last Sunday. I suppose it’s nothing a publicly financed retractable roof can’t fix.
- Also back this week is the Pine Hills Chinese restaurant China Wok, rechristened China Chef. Back in September, an employee was shot and killed by robbers because he couldn’t understand their demands. Their haul was less than $100. In addition to the new name, Chine Chef also now has friendly security bars and guards to welcome customers.