[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Fiedler's Foot in Mouth Problem

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fiedler's Foot in Mouth Problem

Let me get straight to the point:

I don't think Fiedler directed his "chihuahua" comment directly at all Cuban-Americans. I did not take it personally as an insult. By only focusing on this, however, we're missing the point which is Fiedler's flippant attitude in this case.

Fiedler, because of his important position as executive editor of a major newspaper, ought to be held to higher standards. He's upset because Radio Mambi, which undoubtedly has much more than 22 listeners, thinks the Herald is in cahoots with the Cuban regime. The hosts of Mambi are probably full of it for all I know, but why did Fiedler have to react the way he did? Mambi feels that they have a reason to believe that the Herald and the Cuban regime acted jointly in this story. Fiedler definitely has a right to be bothered by that accusation, so why doesn't he lift his head above the muck and debate these points with said radio station instead of brushing them aside.

So he was talking shop with his crew in the newsroom. He was using "locker-room talk" in his speech to his employees. Still, he needs to be much more careful with his choice of words. He apologized, which is good, but is it enough? In an e-mail to a Babalu reader which was posted in the comments here, Fiedler writes the following:

I want to repeat my sincere apologies for my ill-chosen metaphor and hyperbolic comments characterizing our critics who take their cues from a particular Spanish-language radio station. I understood the question to be a reference to Radio Mambi, which has relentlessly attacked this newsroom for the past several weeks and stoked the ridiculous charge that we are in league with the Cuban government.

The metaphor I groped for was that these critics should bother us no more than pesky little dogs that yip and nip at ankles. Next time I'll use Boston terriers.

I wasn't aware that when I spoke I would be giving insult to Hispanics.

Respectfully,

Tom Fiedler

Here's a chance for Fiedler to make good with a concerned citizen, but instead makes the comment about "using Boston Terriers instead". I don't care if he was being sarcastic (which is a thinly veiled disguise of someone's true feelings) or humorous, it was stupid nonetheless.

By reacting this way, Fiedler is actually giving a certain amount of credence to Mambi's charges.

I know many Cuban-Americans dislike Mambi with a passion (you know, "typical hard-line rhetoric"), and that station isn't exactly my cup of tea either. However, if we brush them aside just as Fiedler is trying to do, we're falling into the same arrogant trap Fiedler seems to revel in. They have hosts who happen to be very intelligent, and even if you don't agree with them or their accusations, I don't think referring to them as Chihuahuas or any other canine species is exactly the smart thing to do.

Remember, Fiedler is in a position in which his editorial decisions, choice of words, etc., shape the impression and perception of a major newspaper that represents an entire community.

8 Comments:

Blogger Henry "Conductor" Gomez said...

Ninoska Perez Castellon in addition to being a Mambi host was one of the 11 journalists smeared in the Corral article. She has explained again and again that the Herald has a right to do what it wants with its employees but it has no right to apply their ethical standards (which we now know were nebulous) to people that don't work there.

And the question of how Cuban state TV scooped the Herald on its own story is very serious indeed. Either they are getting story ideas from Cuba or someone is leaking information to Cuba. Neither is a pleasant thought for Fiedler and the Herald.

Instead of attacking the messenger, he should launch an investigation as to how this happened.

3:06 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Steve ("Klotz" As In "Blood") said...

I'm still gagging over his front-page mea culpa in today's Hurled. "Words are important," he begins. Poignant, memorable, and deep, yes?

6:46 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

Absolutely ironic and deep indeed!

9:51 PM, October 05, 2006  
Blogger La Ventanita said...

Robert I couldn't have said it better myself. And the Boston Terrier comment makes it worse - it shows he truly does not care about having offended people and this is all a big joke to him.

7:12 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

I think youre being much too kind, Robert.

8:17 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Robert said...

Believe me Val, I'm not letting Fiedler off the hook here. I just think that his stupid, idiotic comment wasn't directed at the entire community. It may even be possible that the chihuahua comment wasn't meant as an ethnic slur, although I myself am not convinced that it wasn't.

Fielder's arrogance in brushing off what he erroneously feels is an insignificant and unintelligent part of the community is what really bothers me here. If he only knew of the many talented, even non-Cuban, people out there who are deeply dissapointed by his remarks.

Of course, I'm sure Fielder sees himself as way above those folks.

10:08 AM, October 06, 2006  
Blogger Val Prieto said...

Ive met Fiedler twice before, and my impression was that he was an arrogant pompous ass. With this week's chihuahua and the subsequent bullshit statements, he's proven it rather perfectly.

11:29 AM, October 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fiedler speaks the truth!

3:50 PM, October 15, 2006  

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