A Post of Two Headlines

In an earlier post. I highlighted the pernicious effects of naive or cynical reporting, to wit- the AP article. Well, the Miami Herald, which newspaper more than any other in the world should be aware of the trampling of human rights in Cuba, picked up the Anita Snow story online… with headline intact:
Foreign Minister: Cuba can be Proud of its Rights Record
Contrast that to the AFP story posted on NASDAQ:
Cuba Defends Rights Records; Opposition Denounces Arrests
Now which of the two is more accurate? It is bad enough that the AP chooses to produce this tripe, but that the Miami Herald should propagate it is beyond all belief. One is left to surmise that A) the Miami Herald believes that the hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles who came to these shores with only the shirts of their backs are liars or lunatics, B) the management of the Miami Herald dislikes Cubans so much that it is willing to perpetuate what it knows to be a misleading story, or C) the organization is so slipshod in its journalism that it publishes said misleading story. As far as I can see, their is no alternative.

6 thoughts on “A Post of Two Headlines”

  1. As an adviser to student journalists, I can tell you that effective headlines reflect content while taking into account available space. Reporters don’t write them; copy editors, who correct grammar and content, do. The two headlines you cite are accurate. The Nasdaq edition is probably MORE accurate, but you’re looking at an online story. I don’t think Nasdaq has a print edition, therefore copy editors could afford to include more letters.
    Headline writing is a pain in the ass. I tell my students at least once a week that readers won’t read an excellent story if the headline is dull or inaccurate (remember the Sun-Sentinel story last week with a misspelled word?).

  2. I’m no fan of the Herald, but to be fair, their editorial board has consistently shown that they do understand and side with dissidents in Cuba. I just think this article is a case of lazy journalism where some editor decided to run the story without much thought.
    The Herald can be justly blamed for many things, including being a crappy newspaper. But being against human rights in Cuba isn’t one of their faults.

  3. Believe it or not, I do understand much of what has been written here. But I still have a problem with it. Okay, ostensibly Snow was not just covering what the minister said. The headline, however, did not reflect same. With that headline and with Roque as the lead in, he is instantly being granted more credibility. The selection and presentation of fact skews the story.
    How is it not the AP’s duty to provide an accurate picture of what was going on that day? I am not saying they should wave a flag, but it is apparent that there is a clash between what the regime is saying and what they are doing. That is the story. I used the NASDAQ headline simply to point out what the difference is in terms of effect.
    And yeah it was some harried editor who chose the original headline. The problem is that words matter, that the American public is bombarded with the like and that it has an effect. That’s just my opinion.

  4. The only thing that still surprises me about the Herald is that any presumably self-respecting Cuban-American of normal intelligence would still in any way support it. If this were about Israel instead of Cuba, and we were Jews, you’d better believe things would be very different.
    The main reason the Herald has repeatedly treated the Cuban exile community like shit is that far too many of us have put up with such treatment far too long. Of course, that still leaves the Herald’s motivation, but wanting to do something is one thing, and being able to do it and get away with it is something else.
    The Herald may chew on Cuban-Americans, but it can’t swallow them. It would like to simply spit them out of its mouth for good, but there are certain business considerations that get in the way. The pattern of more or less thinly veiled disdain and disrespect is much too old and well established to allow for the benefit of the doubt.

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