Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Criticizes Informant in Huge Corruption Scandal
There is currently a huge corruption scandal involving public officials in Broward County Florida that is being investigated by the FBI. The local Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper, which has been dragging its feet until recently on reporting this scandal, has finally gotten around to criticizing someone involved in the scandal investigation...the informant who helped break the case. I kid you not.
First let us look at the background on the Sun-Sentinel's reluctance to do what it is supposed to do, namely investigating local corruption. The reporter who has actually been writing about the breaking scandals in depth for weeks doesn't even work for the Sun-Sentinel. He is Bob Norman of the Broward Palm Beach New Times free newspaper who describes the Sun-Sentinel foot-dragging in his Daily Pulp blog:
One of the great joys of watching the greatest corruption story in Broward County history begin to unfold during this past month has been watching the Sun-Sentinel play catch-up.
...The Sentinel, you have to understand, is what I call an "official" newspaper. In general, it listens to local bigwigs and does what it's told, paying short shrift to those who would challenge those same officials. Yes, it's the exact opposite of what a good newspaper is supposed to do, but it paid the bills for years and years.
But now that the FBI has basically confirmed that Broward is about as corrupt a place as there ever has been, the newspaper is running all over itself trying to pretend that it's on top of the game.
The latest catch-up front-page splash about the FBI probe came this morning about prosecutor and Sunrise Commissioner Sheila Alu, who was the topic of a mudfest here on the Pulp yesterday after I called her a hero for her undercover assist of the feds in the investigation.
So what did the Sun-Sentinel say about Sheila Alu working undercover for the feds? As you can see in this editorial, they are not pleased:
...Alu, who said she was approached by the FBI, said she secretly recorded conversations during the course of the investigation. She disclosed her cooperation after her involvement became Internet fodder. She wanted to make it clear she was not a target of the investigation, but did not reveal who she record or other details of investigation.
That's an understandable reason for making her involvement public.
On the surface, Alu's help in rooting out corruption is admirable. But it does raise an important caveat. Namely, whether public officials should be used in sensitive situations like the one Alu was involved in.
Going forward, you have to wonder if the trust level will still be there with Alu among people she comes in contact with who might have business dealings with the city. Will other public officials she has contact with be wondering if they have to watch every word they say around her?
Alu, who is also a prosecutor in the Broward State Attorney's Office, has been a vocal public corruption fighter since being elected to the commission in 2001, and was a community activist before that. She is not someone who sits on the sidelines, and indeed, she is advocating the public get more involved in community affairs, and learn more about the people asking for their trust in elections.
Good messages, all. But public officials also need the trust of those they come into contact with each day, those they work with. Whether or not that trust has now been compromised remains to be seen.
BOTTOM LINE: Informant role raises sensitive questions.
Here is Bob Norman's hilarious take on the Sun-Sentinel's criticism of the informant in this corruption investigation:
Is it any wonder that the Sun-Sentinel circulation numbers are on a steep decline? Why pay 75 cents for the daily paper to drag its feet on reporting a massive local scandal when a resident of Broward County can find out what is really going on for free by reading Bob Norman at The Daily Pulp. Your humble correspondent doesn't always agree with Norman's politics but he does appreciate his shoe leather in-depth reporting on local issues. He goes where the Sun-Sentinel follows...reluctantly.
Exactly. I mean, it's getting so politicians can't even trust other politicians when they talk about their bribes and extortion attempts. And who else could an elected official trust when they wanted to unburden themselves about the guilt of selling out their public office? What is Broward County coming to?That is one of the most outrageously stupid things ever printed in the Sun-Sentinel, which has a long and storied history of idiotic editorials.