Oscar Corral has been deleting comments like a madman at Miami's Cuban Connection, his Herald blog. His blog, which he abandoned long ago and now resembles a ghost town, yesterday experienced a brief resurgence in traffic and comments when the news broke that he had been arrested for soliciting the services of a teenage prostitute on Friday night in a police sweep of a crime-ridden Miami neighborhood.
What always distinguished Corral in the past was his absolute indifference to his blog; for a time, he even allowed it to become a covert for NAMBLA; nothing was ever too outrageous for him because he never bothered to read his own blog. Every month or so he would throw a bone (post, that is) at his readers, but that was the extent of his involvement with it. In the aftermath of his libellous "Miami Moonlighters" story, Corral instituted moderation to shield himself from the avalanche of criticism which his flawed reportage merited. When the storm had finally subsided, he got rid of preemptive censorship (i.e. moderation) and forget again that he hosted a blog for The Herald.
He remembered yesterday, as did a lot of other people.
The only comment that he did not dare to delete was a letter from Paul Crespo, one of the journalists fired because of Corral's lies. Here it is (before he thinks better of it and deletes it, too):
I was amazed (but not surprised) by your coverage of the arrest of Oscar Corral, one of your "intrepid" and controversial reporters. As the self-styled sole arbiters of professional ethics in Miami, The Herald is displaying its own lack of ethics and professionalism in this case. In contrast to the ridiculous front-page coverage you provided Mr. Corral's thoroughly flawed smear against me, and several other journalists in 2006, your microscopic coverage of Corral's recent arrest for soliciting a prostitute was hidden on page three of the Metro section. That small-type, one-paragraph note was in a small sidebar just above a one-paragraph story about some dogs. Worse yet, the tiny headline made no mention that the reporter arrested was from The Miami Herald. You should be ashamed. You couldn't have done a better job of covering it up, other than by ignoring it totally.
Regarding the front-page hit-piece by Mr. Corral about our free-lancing for TV Marti, your own Ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, found numerous flaws in Corral's reporting. Among the many critiques in his scathing report on Corral's article, Mr. Hoyt stated that Mr. Corral's story's "hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported." What a difference between your piece against us and this minimalist coverage of your reporter who wrote that smear.
In the TV Marti story case The Herald also immediately fired two Nuevo Herald journalists mentioned in the story without any due process, or chance for explanation, for allegedly violating Herald policy and some debatable ethical norms regarding conflicts of interest. Those reporters were quickly rehired when it was discovered they had done nothing wrong and had been treated harshly and unfairly by The Herald.
Oscar Corral hasn't just violated ethical and moral norms by soliciting prostitutes, he clearly broke the law. While legally he may be innocent till proven guilty, he already is a disgrace to The Herald and the profession of journalism. Will The Herald fire him as quickly as it fired the others? Judging from your coverage it seems you hope not to, and hope no one notices as you sweep the tawdry affair under the rug in the Metro section. But Mr. Corral is not fit to cover this community. He needs to be fired.
The [Chicago] Tribune Company visited the RCAB at 1:32:04am. My readers will recall that The Miami Herald just barely managed to beat out the Chicago Tribune on the Moonlighters' story. In fact, it was because The Herald feared that it would be scooped that it rushed the story to press back on Sept. 8, 2006 without verifying a single item in it. I guess payback is coming from that quarter as well.
A desperate Oscar Corral, overwhelmed by criticism of him, has re-instituted moderation on his Herald blog, Miami's Cuban Connection. Since he is allowed to do so, we must presume that The Herald is content to authorize all means fair or foul that will contain this story and protect their reporter from obloquy. The Herald has thus far published no "Letters to the Editor" critical of Corral, though doubtless it has been flooded with them. Apparently, the newspaper is in crises mode and all the wagons have encircled Corral for his protection.
A heavily edited (read censored) version of Paul Crespo's letter was published in The Miami Herald today (9 August). It is remarkable that Oscar Corral did not dare to delete Crespo's letter from his Herald blog, much less re-write it, but The Herald itself had no compulsion about doing so. To libel and try to silence Crespo last year was not enough. Now, when he complains of that treatment and contrasts it to that accorded to The Herald's meretricious Oscar Corral, Crespo is again denied his full say.
Here is Paul Crespo's letter to the editor as printed in The Herald:
"I was amazed -- but not surprised -- by your coverage of the arrest of Miami Herald reporter Oscar Corral. As the self-styled arbiter of ethics in Miami, The Miami Herald is displaying its own lack of ethics and professionalism in this case. In contrast to your front-page coverage of several Cuban-American journalists (including me) in 2006, your microscopic coverage of Corral's recent arrest for allegedly soliciting a prostitute was hidden on page three of the Metro section.
Regarding the front-page story by Corral about our freelancing for TV Marti, your own ombudsman, Clark Hoyt, found numerous flaws in Corral's reporting. Among the many critiques in his report on Corral's article, Hoyt stated that the story's ''hard and accusatory tone and the large and breathless headline suggested something more sinister than the story actually reported.'' What a difference between your piece against us and this minimal coverage of your reporter who wrote it."
So far, Crespo's letter is the only one to be printed in The Herald on this subject, although this was the most important and popular story of the week, despite being limited to 90 words and relegated to the most inconspicuous place in the newspaper.