"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.