[Marxism] LA ALBORADA editorial: "Making up the news"

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Aug 30 12:00:51 MDT 2007

(LA ALBORADA is the highly informative daily bulletin from the Cuban-
American Alliance Education Fund in Washington, DC, perhaps the most
active Cuban-American lobbying group pressing for normalized relations.

(One can also observe that, after half a century of disinformational 
"reporting" against Cuba, the notion that the Cubans would support a
Clinton-Obama candidacy constitutes a kind of red-baiting attack on
Clinton and Obama. This becomes, effectively, a journalistic way of
endorsing their Republican and pro-blockade electoral competition.

(Even viewed from the viewpoint of an assumption of innocence and 
ignorance by the journalists, it's an example of the familiar and 
all-too-human trait of seeing what we want to see in events, and 
not what's actually being said. And their ability to do this, thus 
promoting a false image, that is called "freedom of the press.")

La Alborada

Making up the news
La Alborada - August 30
Only last week, a good number of news media and Web sites were
spreading the rumor that Fidel was dead. The rumors peaked last
Friday. When the Cuban news media on Sunday published a column he had
written on Saturday, the reports developed a variant--that a small
group of apparatchiks were writing columns to make it appear that he
was still alive. US reporters in Cuba saw nothing happening, and even
the State Department said it had no information of the asserted
death, but the media were not countering the rumors.

On Tuesday, Fidel wrote again. This time, he noted that out of all
the US presidents whom he had met, only one, James Carter, "for
ethical-religious reasons, was not an accomplice to the brutal
terrorism against Cuba." He wrote of the many candidates currently
pursuing the Florida vote, and observed that "Today, talk is about
the seemingly invincible ticket that might be created with Hillary
for President and Obama for Vice President." He did not take them
very seriously, however, for immediately afterwards he wrote that
"They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a
Sunday afternoon."

On cue, led by CNN and Fox, a slew of major newspapers and news
services ran headlines to the effect that "Castro Supports
Clinton-Obama Ticket," and other marginal sites further spread the
same nonsense. Whether or not one likes the Cuban president, he had
said nothing of the sort. No matter, it made a good banner to draw
readers. Here is a sample from August 28:
CNN --  Castro: Clinton-Obama ticket 'invincible'
Houston Chronicle -- Castro: Clinton-Obama ticket a winner
Concord Monitor -- Castro likes Clinton-Obama ticket's odds
Telegraph.co.uk (UK) -- Fidel Castro tips Clinton-Obama as winning team
Hollywood Today Newsmagazine -- Castro's Ghost Picks Clinton & Obama as
Running Mates?
Stop the ACLU -- Castro Endorses Clinton-Obama Ticket
It took a a Middle Eastern site to properly interpret the column:
Peninsula On-line (Qatar) - Castro rebukes Hillary, Obama over comments
The frenzy continued on the 29th:
NEWS.com.au, Australia : Castro backs Hillary Clinton
New York Times -- Castro: Clinton-Obama "Invincible"
USA Religious News -- Why Castro Picks Clinton-Obama
(This extremist outfit claimed that the column did not mention 
Dwight Einsehower, a sign that no one there had actually read the column.)

Investor's Business Daily -- Castro's Endorsement
Judicial Watch, DC -- Fidel Castro Wants Clinton-Obama White House
New York Post: CASTRO: HILLARY WILL WIN (In caps, of course.)
Lawrence Journal World, KS  -- Castro predicts victory for Clinton-Obama
Reuters -- Castro's tip: Clinton-Obama the winning ticket
And so on.  Guess who got it right this time?
PRESS TV (Iran) -- Cuban leader slams Hillary, Obama

Some columnists were upset that Fidel was intervening in US politics,
without noting that the US was trying to not only intervene in Cuban
politics, but to overthrow the government.

To be fair, a report from AP's Anita Snow did get a correct headline
in some quarters:

ABC News -- Castro Essay Criticizes 2008 Candidates

PensacolaNewsJournal.com -- Castro essay criticizes '08 candidates

But those were the exceptions. From Murdoch's News in Australia and
his NY Post to the NY Times, from Reuters to the Houston Chronicle,
the headlines were the same.

The news here is that the news establishment in the US--and the
English-speaking world--can be as out of touch with the realities of
Cuba as President Bush's commission to annex Cuba, but still they
serve to mold public opinion on a significant aspect of foreign
relations for the US.

Misreading, or purposefully twisting, the words of another nation's
president is no laughing matter. In the case of US-Cuba relations, 11
million Cubans face every day the US blockade meant to strangle their
economy. Cuban-Americans in the US are kept apart from their families
on the island. Academics are limited in the extreme in their on-site
visits to study the realities of life in Cuba. And trade with Cuba,
of course, is hampered by such regulations as the Bush administration
can order without having to consult with Congress. This is the
official policy of the US government.

Readers and viewers in the US--and, by extension, the
English-speaking world--deserve better.

More information about the Marxism mailing list