Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg will continue to cover the U.S. military following an investigation into allegations by a Navy public affairs officer that she verbally abused and sexually harassed him at Guantánamo Bay.
In a letter Monday to the Pentagon, Miami Herald Vice President of Human Resources Elissa Vanaver wrote that the newspaper's internal investigation ‘‘did not find corroboration'' for the complaint of sexual harassment and abusive behavior made last month by Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon.
Herald executives interviewed military officials and journalists from other news outlets, some of whom had witnessed the incidents Gordon cited in his complaint. "We found some inconsistencies in [Gordon's] version of events," said Miami Herald Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal.
Rosenberg, a veteran military affairs writer with a reputation for aggressive reporting, said, "I have been heartened by an outpouring of support by both the uniformed military who have followed my coverage, and journalists who covered the story."
Gordon did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
Col. David Lapan, Gordon's superior, said in an e-mail to The Miami Herald: "From the beginning, we have considered this a personnel matter, and it's unfortunate that it has become a news story."
On July 22, Gordon sent Gyllenhaal a formal complaint claiming Rosenberg had repeatedly degraded him in front of others. Gordon also complained that Rosenberg had insinuated that he is gay.
Her "vile and repulsive comments were not made in a lighthearted joking tone, but rather were delivered with harsh invective," Gordon wrote.
The written complaint, which is available on the Internet and has been a hot topic on blogs that follow the Guantánamo story, prompted dozens of people familiar with the sometimes-contentious relationship between Gordon and Rosenberg to contact The Herald in support of Rosenberg,
"We even heard from generals," he added.
After weighing the evidence, Gyllenhaal said, "we could not help but conclude that this is a relationship between two people that has gotten off track."
Personality conflicts between government officials and the reporters assigned to ask them tough questions are not uncommon. News organizations rarely discipline reporters or take them off their beats under such circumstances.
In Monday's letter, Vanaver acknowledged that Rosenberg was guilty of ‘‘unnecessary profanity'' but promised "as she continues this assignment, she will place an emphasis on professionalism."
- Naval commander files complaint against Miami Herald reporter for verbally harassing him over supposed Gitmo abuses
Hat tip: Romenesko