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More on the Mary Ellen Klaas Syndrome and its negative effect on Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald readers: Fact-checking the Tallahassee bureau reporter, due to her sheer lack of curiosity and fairness about facts and context, is a full-time job; Her calling John Couriel a "sleeper" a month before FL Senate 35 race against Gwen Margolis is proof of how little attention she pays to what's going on, and her editors' sleepwalking ways
In a state that is, literally, drowning in them, Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau reporter Mary Ellen Klaas is consistently one of the best (and therefore among the worst) examples of a print reporter who reveals so much more than they think about their own views and notions about public policy, simply by the patterns that emerge by the facts they choose NOT to include, by whom she chooses NOT to interview or quote, and by what she conveniently forgets to mention to readers or remind them of.
More often than should be the case in a state this large -the fourth largest in the country I remind you- and whose capital is so poorly misunderstood by the great majority of its own citizens, so many of whom have NEVER been to Tallahassee...
It's the closest thing we have in the Southeast United States to the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea.
Is there any state in the United States with a larger percentage of its full-time residents who have NEVER been to its state capital than Florida's?
Having grown-up in South Florida after being born in San Antonio and living for a few years in Memphis before my family moved here when I was seven, this odd-yet-true fact about the people who live in this state has always been my reality and one of the reasons I believe this state has always been so much less than what it ought to be.
Look at how it's laid out, like it's still 1845.
In the same way that all those years of my being at Indiana University in Bloomington showed me that Indianapolis was the most perfectly-centered state capital in the country, because it was almost impossible to ever find anyone who'd lived in the state for more than a year who not only hadn't been there, but who also knew where a lot of places were located, like good restaurants, good parks and good people-watching spots..
It's their particular reality like this dubious fact is ours and here's why I bring this up.
For those of you reading this far from South Florida who don't ever think about it, the Florida state capital is actually at roughly the same longitude as Cincinnati, Ohio and is actually farther west in the country than Detroit in the Midwest
I take it for granted but...
Well, getting back to Klaas, an example of the sort of thing I've written about in emails to friends, acquaintances and others "in the loop" in the past because her articles are so consistently and objectively ridiculous, both the first time you read them and in retrospect months or years later.
I would say that, conservatively, I have probably written about her in similar emails about 25 times in the past 5 years.
But I seldom mentioned them here.
On Tuesday the Miami Herald endorsed a candidate for the Florida state Senate, John Couriel -a Miami native, Harvard Law School grad and currently an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Miami- whose first name they never mention -or anything else about him in their endorsement as it appears online!
So what the hell kind of endorsement is that?
John Couriel in FL Senate District 35 http://www.miamiherald.com/
More evidence of the very low state the Herald has fallen to before our eyes.
In this article from last week, the first time the Herald mentioned John Couriel since he announced he was running, their reporter, rather ironically considering their poor coverage of local news and politics, chose to start the article thusly: "In what may be the sleeper legislative campaign of the season..."
Actually, it seems more like the reporter, Mary Ellen Klaas, is the one who is playing Rip Van Winkle, since she reported last week that four weeks before the election, a first-time candidate has out-raised and out-spent a forty-year career politician with very high name recognition, and who was formerly the President of the Florida State Senate and after that, a Miami-Dade Commissioner.
(Margolis is someone whom I met a lot while growing-up in NMB and being very involved in county Dem politics and campaigns, including at functions in North Miami circa mid-1970's that my mother attended when I was Junior High age.
She's the very same woman who, while I was living and working for 15 years in Washington, D.C., before it was finally built decades after it was needed, strongly considering making the William Lehman Causeway Bridge, that connects Aventura to Sunny Isles, a toll bridge, unless she got her way on something involving tax revenues!
Imagine traffic on glacial U.S.-1/Biscayne Blvd. now next to Aventura Mall if there was a toll road next door -actually worse than it is now if possible, which IS very hard to imagine, given how many times I've felt like I was going to run out of gas (and patience) while creeping along one block at a time in the afternoon. You remember, don't you Aventura, Sunny Isles and Hallandale Beach? Imagine if she had had her way!)
The new district is so enormous and obtuse that on the north it goes from west of the Florida Turnpike in Hollywood, down to an area in Miami-Dade County where I lived in the early 1980's when back from IU for the summer, many miles south of downtown Miami, back before they were calling it Pinecrest. Plus, that district as currently drawn also includes Key Biscayne!
See for yourself: http://maps.
Key Biscayne?That's f-ing preposterous!!!Hollywood to Key Biscayne? Why?
Why do you think -so that Hispanics can vote for Hispanics, Blacks can vote for blacks and Jews can... and some reporter somewhere in the future can opine about why it's hard to find someone with voter wide appeal in South Florida who is not a demagogue.
In South Florida politics, outside of municipal races, you don't need to be smart, savvy, hard-working, conciliatory or even have good ideas that can make it possible for you to get positive things done, you simply need to be one of three favored ethnic demographics -that's it!
So given Couriel's not-insignificant accomplishment, why did Klaas and the newspapers NEVER write anything about him and his efforts all year, before last week?
Like how he managed to accomplish all this?
Why the apathy and indifference?
That's the media landscape we live in in the year 2012 in South Florida.
It's forever the dog that doesn't bark!
Yeah, plus everyone's an expert after the fact!
Not a sheep dog or a watch dog but rather a lapdog!