Nobody ever wants to be on the losing end of an $800 million competitive construction bid. Nobody, that is, except the Miami Herald. In this new era of “fake news,” the Herald has made a grand entrance with a series of slanted and error-filled news stories used to underpin a sanctimonious opinion piece written by the newspaper’s editorial board. The coverage exposes the Herald’s clear editorial slant against the winning bidder on a”signature bridge” project slated to begin construction in downtown Miami.
Nevermind that the winning bidder scored the highest overall among all competitors based on aesthetics, price, technical proposal and time to build. The Miami Herald would have you believe the company proposed the lowest-scoring bid.
Nevermind that the Florida Department of Transportation has made every single document about the project publicly available online. The Miami Herald would have you believe the process was secretive.
Nevermind that there were nine different public hearings just to discuss the aesthetics of the project and the meeting minutes from every meeting are available here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The Miami Herald would have you believe there is lack of local input.
Nevermind all of that, and so much more. Because the Miami Herald Editorial Board has decided to stick its collective nose in the middle of what is now a disputed contract award. Oh, sure, the Herald’s editors go out of their way to allege this was a “back room deal” but that they are unconcerned about that, only about the selection process, which they argue was “far from transparent or inclusive.” How the Herald’s editors reach that conclusion can be better understood once some light is shed on the Herald’s previous coverage of the bridge project.
The Herald falsely reported on May 16th that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) “selected the proposal that received lower scores from the local panel.”
This is simply not true. The winning bidder, Archer Western – De Moya JV, set the record straight in a letter to the editorial board:
“…the Herald does not have the right to present an inaccurate picture of the selection process or impugn the integrity of the people running it.”
And then there’s the Herald’s “attack dog” coverage, awash with headlines falsely claiming “Public is Shut Out” or worse, asking a loaded question in another headline: “Did FDOT skew selection of contractor for I-395 reconstruction and signature bridge?”
Those aren’t going to win the Herald any awards for fairness and impartiality.
The Florida Department of Transportation went to great lengths to seek public input on the project over the many years it’s dragged on. That’s why it’s bizarre that the Miami Herald would so blatantly squander any perception of objectivity by taking sides in what amounts to a simple protest, all because the losing side didn’t like the score they got.
And make no mistake, despite the Herald’s hollow protestations to the contrary, that’s exactly what’s going on here.