Miami Herald Dolphins reporter Armando Salguero sure is mighty pissed that the paper dared report on news from the National Enquirer that an upcoming biography about Sarah Palin includes claims she once boofed Miami Heat star Glen Rice in the '80s. According to Random Pixels, Salguero was so irate he sent out a 1,000-word missive to the entire newsroom. The veteran scribe wonders why the paper ran with the story and not material about Obama's alleged gay affair or athletes from space. Updated.
You can read the full thing at Random Pixels, but here are the money shots:
- "Is it now OK to repeat any 'report' from the National Enquirer on the front page of the Herald's website without actually reporting even one fact independently? The blog calls the Enquirer's sources 'solid.' How do we know the Enquirer's sources -- plural? And if we know the Enquirer's sources, can't we work them ourselves to see if they're truly solid?"
- "There have been a couple of good Enquirer stories on athletes coming from other planets. Those are in bounds now?"
- "So we put this story on our website and conservatives that read us ask why The Herald didn't report the stories of President Obama being gay in 2007 and 2008? Those stories were in the Globe, a competitor to the Enquirer [ed note: The Globe is actually owned by the same company as the Enquirer, and not a direct competitor.] The allegations were brought by the person who said he had a drug-crazed, gay affair with the President."
Listen up, Armando. Here's the difference between this particular Enquirer story and other tabloid fodder: The information apparently comes from Joe McGinnis's highly anticipated biography about Palin. McGinnis is a controversial writer to be sure, but he has penned several best-selling political tomes. It should also be noted that so far nobody -- not Palin, Rice, McGinnis, nor his publishing company -- has denied the report.
Meanwhile, the Obama gay-affair rumors are based on the assertions of one very strange man and not an investigative journalist. The Globe also makes the bizarre assertion that President Bush was on cocaine in the White House, The more solid National Enquirer was the first to report on news of John Edward's out-of-wedlock child. So there is a bit of a credibility gap between the sister papers.
Any alien-sports-star stories could probably best be attributed to LSD and most likely showed up in the Weekly World News.
The allegations also carry some significance. Palin is a noted critic of "the lamestream media." Yet while working as a sports reporter, she's alleged to have slept with a student athlete she met at a basketball tournament she was covering. "Don't sleep with the people you're covering" is a golden rule of journalism. Just ask Tania deLuzuriaga. The rumors that Palin seemed to have an active sex life before marriage also seem hypocritical in light of her support for abstinence-only sex education.
One could still make the case that the Herald shouldn't be publishing such rumors. However, that's nothing new for the daily. The paper reported on and gave the same front-page prominence a few weeks ago to rumors that Will Smith and his wife Jada had broken up. When that turned out to be false, the paper didn't bother to update the information in the story. In light of her reality show and movie, is there much of a difference now between the careers of Palin and the Smiths? Salguero didn't seem too bothered then.
In fact, in today's fast-paced media landscape, sometimes you can't wait for confirmation. People will hear the news somewhere, and unless it seems totally baseless, sometimes it's hard to ignore the story. Herald political reporter Marc Caputo pointed out in a response letter, also obtained by Random Pixels: "For instance, we don't 'know' if all the allegations vs. the Miami Hurricanes are true. But we posted the information and worked from there. When the Yahoo! story broke, we had very little by way of original reporting. Yet we credited Yahoo and continued on."
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Update: Salguero apparently has something of a reputation in the newsroom as a Palin backer and even came to her defense in a column about the Dolphins. He was upset that Jennifer Lopez, then married to Marc Anthony, who owns a small stake in the team, slighted Palin on a talk show. The column is no longer online, but here's the passage:
Then Jennifer Lopez, the wife of Dolphins ownership partner Marc Anthony, went on the George Lopez show and called former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin " La cabrona ,'' which is Spanish for a female bastard or the B-word, depending on what dialect one is speaking.
It was an unwarranted personal attack that, at worst, proved Lopez to be classless, tactless and just plain hateful of another woman and mother.
At best, Lopez failed to recognize that she's no longer just Jenny from the block and is, like it or not, representing a fine NFL franchise with a very good name every time she steps in public.
Interestingly, however, Salguero isn't above forwarding stories from tabloid sources. Earlier this year, he took Dolphins QB Chad Henne to task for, get this, being caught by the gossipy site TMZ with a balloon stuffed in his shirt.