Phantom Cartwheels -- UPDATED
Okay, about that "Pat" story in the Miami Herald: It's pretty clear that reporter Roberto Santiago should have credited the original New Times story. In fact, it's verging on a journalistic crime that the Herald didn't cite Julia Reischel's article. From Santiago's story:
"The soon-to-be kindergartner looks quite feminine, cartwheeling around the yard and playing with dolls. Pat says he hates his penis, and he refuses to wear boys' clothing."
Okay, Santiago obviously saw "Pat" cartwheeling around the yard and playing with dolls, right? And surely the little boy told the reporter that he hated his own penis.
The family refused to talk with the reporter on the record and Santiago never even laid eyes on the child. NT editor Tony Ortega asked Santiago where he got the information. Santiago replied that he did talk with the family, only on background, so he respected their wishes and didn't use their name.
Fine, he talked to the family. But that doesn't change the fact that he'd never seen the child, so he couldn't have watched him doing cartwheels or playing with the dolls.
Or yes, I suppose he has. Included in the original NT story, there's a picture taken by staff photographer Colby Katz of the little boy/girl doing a cartwheel in the backyard and playing in his room amid dolls. And the boy said in Reischel's company, in no uncertain terms, that he was far less than thrilled about having a male member.
So Santiago got the information from the New Times story, plain and simple. And the Herald should have credited the NT story, damn straight.
UPDATED: Here's Santiago's response:
"All the detail in the story comes directly from the parents and others I interviewed -- cartwheels and dolls and dresses and all.
I honored the parents' wishes not to be quoted. I also honored the parents' wishes not to include certain identifying factors. They did not want a repeat of the harassment that followed the New Times story.
The news is that the child is entering kindergarten - and that there is full support from the school system and DCF.
That should provide some relief for the child's parents - and parents of other transgendered children in South Florida."
I'm going to leave it stand. I think we both stand by what we wrote.
More on Dozier
One thing I failed to mention about the Herald's coverage of Rev. O'Neal Dozier's remarks about Islam: They left out Charlie Crist. As a friend pointed out, getting comment from Jeb Bush is one thing, but Jeb is a lame duck. Crist has made Dozier an integral part of his current campaign for governor. So what the hell does he think?
Republican activist and Tom Gallagher supporter Elaine Vasquez wrote to the Herald:
"Will Charlie Christ condemn these statements from his biggest Broward
spokesman...the Reverend Dozier?
Let's be fair in our news coverage of the gubernatorial candidates."
She's got a point.
A few coverage highlights from today:
-- By far the best story of the day is the Daily Business Review's ditty about BSO deputies shooting a 40-something Coral Gables lawyer named Elizabeth Ritter with foam bullets and then gloating and laughing about it the next day. And the beautiful thing: It's all on video tape . Click here to read law editor Harris Meyer's outrageous story and then click onto the streaming video. (Ritter's crime: She was a protester at the Free Trade Area of the Americas conference in Miami).
-- Joan Fleischman, who has a knack for breaking bakery fresh news, uncovers the story Miami Dolphins' Pro-Bowl defensive end Jason Taylor's impending divorce. His wife, Katina Thomas, filed the papers. She's Miami Dolphins' Pro-Bowl middle linebacker Zach Thomas's sister. Can't be good for team chemistry.
-- Been talking a lot about Leonard Pitts recently -- and he's got another column today about rap music. And it's so right it can't be wrong.