Late yesterday I posted an item about how CNN instructed its anchors/reporters to talk about fidel. Click here for those missed it.
In short, an email went out from CNN to many of the employees giving “castro guidance”. This is probably SOP for any big story where the people talking about the story generally don’t know jack about it. So they send out a Cliffs Notes version of what to say. In this case the Cliffs Notes made sure to instruct those who might be talking about fidel to not simply portray him as the murderous totalitarian dictator that he’s been for FIVE DECADES but to add “balance” to the story by making sure to mention the “accomplishments” of castro’s Revolution. Also notable is the mention that “some people” blame the U.S. for Cuba’s failure. Of course we all know that the most of the traditional media is part of the blame America first crowd. Such talking points in the hands of an already predisposed journalist quickly take the story from the objective to the subjective.
Now, here’s some other developments that have come to my attention. The Astute Bloggers astutely point out that the CNN talking points are in some places eerily similar to an item that appeared in the New York Times yesterday morning.
Here’s a bullet point from the CNN email:
* Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba – namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration. in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech.
And here’s a paragraph from the NYT piece that was first posted in the early A.M. hours of the 19th:
His record has been a mix of great social achievements, but a dismal economic performance that has mired most Cubans in poverty.
He succeeded in establishing universal health care, providing free education through college and largely rooting out racism.
Former CBS journalist, Bernard Goldberg, explains in his book Bias that the T.V. News generally takes most of its cues from the New York Times and The Washington Post. This would seem to be a possible example of that. I suspect that Ms. Flexner, the CNN employee who sent out the castro guidance email, did a quick read of the material she could find on castro’s “resignation” and turned into an actionable memo.
Another curious thing is how the castro regime’s talking points always come through loud and clear in the media, as if someone were at the reporter’s side telling him/her what to write or say. Well Babalu commenter Ray left this note that might shed a little light on it:
Several years ago, I had a short article in my hands that was either from the New York Times or the Washington Post–I’ve since lost it and can’t find it– that would probably explain why CNN and other news agencies would send out a memo like that.
The article examined a day in the life of the Cuban mission to the UN in New York City. For those that don’t know, the Cuban Mission to the UN is on 38th Street and Lexington Avenue in NY and its a large building inhabited by 300 Cuban families. The article explained that the Cubans inside have very busy days. They routinely meet with the editorial staff of local newspapers and instruct them on how they want to be reported on, this is especially the case whenever any paper reports negatively about Cuba [READ THIS AS WHEN ANY PAPER REPORTS THE TRUTH ABOUT CUBA]. Not only that, but they, also, routinely meet with university presidents, heads of cultural institutions, heads of television stations, etc.. Of course, as cultural attaches and diplomats, they have the access that you and I don’t have. If we were to ask to meet with the editiorial staff at CNN because we don’t like how they report on Cuba, their initial reaction would be laughter, and then they would quickly turn around and continue whatever they were doing without giving it another nano-minute’s thought.
So, basically, the Cuban diplomats in the USA spend day after day spindoctoring what the American public hears about Cuba. It’s an enormous propaganda machinery right here under our noses. I’m sure that this is one of the reasons–aside from the threat that their agency in Cuba will be expelled–that they always shill for Castro.
By the way, all the news agencies are repeating:
and I paraphrase: AND HE LEFT ON HIS OWN TERMS.
This seems to be a very important soundbyte–force fed no doubt by the Cuban regime– that they keep on repeating over and over again.
God Forbid that the public think that Castro was defeated by anything at all EVEN SICKNESS, EVEN DEATH! No, he is fully cognizant, alive and well and resigned on his own terms. Yea right!!
Yes, folks watch for the “he left on his own terms” line. Of course biology had something to do with it too.
UPDATE: Forgot to add this link to a great resource brought to us by the Media Research Center. It’s a recap of all of the favorable coverage the castro regime has gotten in recent years from the mainstream media.