"The Herald acted valiantly and correct  in firing DeFede"

                                     por John Perez-Sampedro





hen a public servant  brakes the law  the public uproar  is  felt without delay, and   appropriate   punishments   are  implemented  fully and  swiftly. 

And  that is the fair thing to do because  a public servant, whether  a police officer or  a   building inspector,  should not be  above the law  that he has   sworn  to uphold, and  his being a public servant  entails the   moral responsibility of setting an example  with his daily behaviour.

 The same  should be said about journalists;  specially if they have been extended  the privilege and indeed the responsibility of a column  in a newspaper like  The Herald,    who for decades  have  strived to uphold the law and  the principles of  journalism.

 For many years I have read  Jim  DeFede’s  column.    Sometimes I agreed with his opinionated issues   others I did not, but  most of  his writings  contained a degree of arrogance and  moral judgment towards the failings of other, which I  always found unprofessional and  of poor taste.

 I have read many articles  regarding  Jim DeFede’s firing, most of them  in his defence,   many   of them subscribed to the  conspiracy theory and some of them, irresponsibly   mentioned    it  as a viable possibility. 

 The Cubans  had nothing to do with its firing, it would be presumptuous to credit such power to a minority.    Ideology had nothing to do with its firing,  irrespective of how far to the left he was.    There is no conspiracy  and   Jim  DeFede  knows it and  admits it.   The  fact is that  The Herald  fired  DeFede because with his actions, he broke at the same time  two cardinal laws of journalism.  First    he  violated  Art Teele’s trust and  secondly he   broke the law when  he taped his  last conversation without his permission period. 

Most critics of DeFede’s firing  not being able to  question the irrefutable facts,   chose  instead to   accuse   The Herald of  having been to quick in firing DeFede. 

Lets examine the facts:     We live in a World of  anxiety  cussed in some degree   by the post  9-11 syndrome,   but also in  a world of  mistrust of the  press,  cussed  among others reasons, by  ABC’s cover ups and  delays in firing  Dan Rather.    

When The Herald acted  swiftly and valiantly to fire Jim DeFede, they  did so fairly  and responsibly, and  did it with the full knowledge that their actions  would  provoke a great deal  of criticism; which it did.     But they had no choice, they had to do it  to protect the integrity and good name of  their  organization.

I have  not always  agreed with  The Herald,   God knows that we  have had our differences, but  one thing that we can all agree on,  is that The Herald has been a credible and respected newspaper, one that  has been   a guardian of truth and fair play  and a moral guidance to the ever changing community of South Florida.