The email arrived at the Miami Herald yesterday with some choice words about the paper's Oscar coverage. It came from Bob Ingram, a folk singer who has lived in Coconut Grove since the '60s. Here's an excerpt from the letter, which was never published:
"When the Miami Herald reported on the recent Academy Award show, it failed to mention and salute Miami's own animal rights activist Ric O'Barry's role in the award winning Best Documentary film The Cove. This was not an oversight. It was deliberate."
If you haven't seen it, The Cove is an environmental film about dolphin slaughter in Japan that feels more like a bank heist than a PBS special. It stars a 70-year-old South Miami animal rights activist named Ric O'Barry, who people in South Florida seem to either love or hate. (Read more about him here.)
Ingram and other supporters say the paper has continually ignored O'Barry's accomplishments for two reasons: (1) Editors long ago brushed him off as a nut job. (2) They depend on advertising dollars from Miami Seaquarium, which O'Barry has protested for years.
O'Barry tells Riptide: "This [cause] is not going away, and the Herald will continue to ignore it... Seaworld is their client."
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A clip search shows the Herald did run a piece about The Cove in August and that his name was mentioned -- in one sentence, and in the last paragraph -- of the paper's Oscar coverage. And, like most respected papers, there is a newsroom understanding that editorial content should not be effected by advertising dollars.
Still, Ingram's letter concludes:
"We believe that the revenue from attendance at places like Seaquarium and Seaworld is ill gotten and immoral... By ignoring [O'Barry's] achievement the Miami Herald places itself on the side of corporations that continue to profit from the abuse of whales and dolphins."