Nowhere in her 15-paragraph March 11 obituary of Melba Hernandez did Associated Press writer Andrea Rodriguez find space to cite a critic of the late Cuban Communist revolutionary.
In her story -- headlined "'Heroine of the Cuban Revolution' was lifelong Castro loyalist" in the Washington Post -- Ms. Rodriguez paid significant attention to the role Hernandez played in aiding Castro's rise to power as well as to the "human rights awards" she received in 1997 from that great humanitarian Col. MoammarGaddafi, all the while using gauzy language to describe her exploits (emphasis mine):
They say tragedy plus time equals comedy. But is 27 years enough time? And what if the product isn’t comedy but another run-of-the-mill pop song about sex?
At the beginning of the song “XO” from her eponymous new album, pop star Beyoncé includes an odd sample: a few seconds of audio from the immediate wake of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. On Jan. 28, 1986, the Challenger exploded in mid air just 73 seconds into its flight, killing seven astronauts. The tragedy played out on live TV. Video after the break.
After Brian Williams touted President Obama's handshake with Cuban dictator Raul Castro as "one of the better moments" at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela, correspondent Lester Holt went further on Wednesday's NBC Today, hailing the encounter as "a true Mandela moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
A sound bite followed of Democratic Congressman John Lewis gushing: "It's the power of Nelson Mandela to bring President Barack Obama together and Raul Castro together here in South Africa." Prior to Williams on Tuesday, Holt had similarly declared that "the measure of Mandela [was] so great" that "America's presidents shared a stage" with Castro.
Alan Gross, political prisoner. Those were four words missing from Emma Margolin's December 10 MSNBC.com story hailing the handshake between President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro earlier today at Nelson Mandela's memorial service in Soweto, South Africa. Gross, a State Department contractor, has been languishing in a Cuban prison for five years.
There was a reference to "genocide" in the story, but that was from a quote from a Cuban official railing against the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba (emphasis mine):
View journalist Barbara Walters on Tuesday used Nelson Mandela’s funeral as a way to push for normalization of relations with Cuba. Absolutely struck by the fact that Barack Obama shook hands with President Raul Castro, Walters lectured, “The significance is that maybe this may change our relations with Cuba after 50 years, because it seems a little ridiculous to me that we recognize China and our relationship but we still do not have a relationship with Cuba.” [See video below.]
She enthused that the footage of Obama and Castro was “old enemies…shaking hands.” The host hyped, “It’s historic.” Walters has a history of touting communist leaders.
Reporting from South Africa on Tuesday's NBC Today about the memorial ceremony for Nelson Mandela, Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted how the "dignitary section has some criminals, some thieves, some kings, some presidents" and that "Several have been life-long sworn enemies." He then proclaimed that President Obama's "handshake with [Cuban leader] Raul Castro was one of the better moments." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Williams gushed that oppressive dictators sitting side by side with democratically elected leaders of the free world was somehow part of Mandela's legacy: "What would Nelson Mandela say to all of them and say to all of this? Most of the speakers have urged the crowd, 'Go on, behave like him, live like him, be infused with his spirit going forward and maybe we could get some place.'"
At the Daily Beast, Michael Moynihan attempted to overcome the tendency of journalists and celebrities to make Nelson Mandela a secular saint. Moynihan recalled that when Margaret Thatcher died, these same people denounced her for here "indulgence" of right-wing dictators like Agosto Pinochet in Chile, who allowed his country to become a democracy.
ABC called her reign an “elective dictatorship.” NBC reported several times that “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” became a popular iTune after she passed away, and CBS predicted the funeral would be a "tense and controversial affair." It's safe to guess these networks wouldn't dream of recalling Mandela’s associations with despots like Fidel Castro and Muammar Qaddafi, as Moynihan insisted they should:
Rapper Armando Pérez, better known by his stage name Pitbull, used the recent dust-up over liberal celebrities Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Beyoncé Knowles traveling to Cuba to call attention to the awful conditions faced by people in his homeland.
Responding to an earlier “open letter” by Carter in which he defended his trip to the communist dictatorship, Pérez did not condemn the musical couple. Instead, he called attention to the suffering of the Cuban people and how so many have died trying to come to freedom in America.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) had some harsh words Sunday for Jay-Z and Beyoncé's recent trip to Cuba.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Rubio said, "I think it’s hypocritical of the people who took that trip because they didn't go down there and meet with some of the people that are actually in trouble today" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When music superstars Jay-Z -- whose real name is Shawn Carter -- and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter celebrated their fifth anniversary with a vacation to Cuba, the couple was criticized on Twitter by Stacey Dash, who asked: “Do you care that The Jay Z"s have taken the capital you have given them and funded a communist oppressive regime?”
The African-American actress's question drew many angry responses, ranging from suggestions that she “go die” to calling her “a modern day slave girl whore 4 white men.”
Okay, Cuban dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who is now on a three month world tour, no more called for the release of five spies for the Castro government than Rush Limbaugh actually purchased a can opener for his mother so she could eat dog food. Let me explain:
The Miami Herald reported that ironic comments by Sanchez, currently in Brazil, were misunderstood to mean she supported the release of five agents sent by Cuba to spy on anti-Castro groups in Miami:
Reuters somehow can't recognize a 100% tax rate even when it is right under their noses in their own article. Reporter Marc Frank apparently thinks that going to a 35% tax rate would somehow be more of a burden for Cubans than their current tax rate which is 100%. Frank even wrote about the 100% tax rate but absurdly didn't recognize the fact that total confiscation of revenue is the same thing:
Under the old system, large and small state-run companies, which accounted for more than 90 percent of economic activity, simply handed over all their revenues to the government, which then allocated resources to them.
At the end of Thursday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams touted an "unexpected moment" with the widow of Robert F. Kennedy when he asked "what she remembered about Fidel Castro, who, it turns out, she's met several times." Kennedy fondly remembered: "He was very warm, very emotional. He clearly would have liked to have been friends with President Kennedy and with Bobby."
Williams lamented the friendship that never was: "It certainly didn't work out that way. And of the three men, only Castro survives."
NewsBusters continues to showcase the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala one week from tonight.
Click here for blog posts recounting the worst of 1988 through 2005. Today, the worst bias of 2006: ABC’s Terry Moran gets a thrill for Barack Obama (“Is he the one?”); AP touts the “comforts” of Castro’s communist dictatorship; and daytime talk show host Rosie O’Donnell declares: “Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
For the past two weeks, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27.
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 2001, they are here. Today, the worst bias of 2002: Bill Moyers gets the vapors after Republicans win control of Congress; ABC’s Barbara Walters champions Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s dedication to “freedom;” and Reuters charges that “human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. ‘war on terror.’” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Each morning, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27.
If you’ve missed a previous blog, recounting the worst of 1988 through 1999, you can find them here. Today, the worst bias of 2000: Amid the custody battle over 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez, Newsweek touts life under the Castro dictatorship (“The boy will nestle again in a more peaceable society that treasures its children”), while PBS host Bonnie Erbe rudely slams conservative guest Linda Chavez during a gun control debate. [Quotes and video below the jump.]
On Saturday's Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC, after recounting some of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Cuban government against its citizens, host Harris-Perry praised the efforts of Fidel Castro's niece, Mariela Castro, in securing sex change surgery as one of the medical services covered by the government-run health care system of the communist country as a promising development.
Playing off on a guest last week who compared Harris-Perry to Fidel Castro for supporting more regulations, the MSNBC host declared while holding a cigar: (Video at end)
McNeil also downplayed concerns about the sanitarium prisons for AIDS patients ("life inside was not brutal"), a policy the Times would no doubt find dangerous and repellent if done in America. He also praised Cuba's "universal health care" and free condoms and credited "socialism" for Cuba's success.
Forget the fact that Cuba is a one-party totalitarian state where leadership is entirely dependent on how closely related one is to a certain Fidel Castro rather than any electoral process. The good news is that "Cuba may be the most feminist country in Latin America." That laughable premise has been published by New York Times blogger Luisita Lopez Torregrosa. Of course, that revelation would be news to the best known female group in Cuba, the Ladies In White (photo) who have been oppressed by the Communist regime and their thugs. Ms Torregrosa bases much of her analysis on the leftwing pro-Castro Center for Democracy in the Americas which helps explain her complete divorce from reality in her paean to one party feminism:
In sheer numbers and percentages, Cuban women’s advance is notable. Cuba has a high number of female professional and technical workers (60 percent of the total work force in those areas) and in Parliament (43 percent), as well as high levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education enrollment, according to the Gender Gap report.
Catching up with Bryant Gumbel from a couple of weeks ago, on the April edition of his Real Sports show on HBO, the NBC News and CBS News veteran came to the defense of Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who caused outrage amongst Cuban-Americans when he declared “I love Fidel Castro.” In an end of the program commentary, Gumbel couldn’t resist taking a jab at conservatives, charging:
Whipping up a frenzy over slights real and imagined is a play straight out of a far right handbook and Florida’s electoral cloud has often given Fidel’s critics far more leverage than their arguments merit.
As the broadcast network evening newscasts recounted Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Cuba, ABC's Christiane Amanpour on World News and NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the NBC Nightly News both noted reports that dissidents had been detained and prevented from meeting the Catholic leader, while the CBS Evening News failed to mention their plight.
In a piece of propaganda that would make Cuba's Castro regime proud, on her Tuesday MSNBC program, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell cheered the communist state's "highly regarded" health care system, "and especially one of Fidel Castro's signature projects, which is training doctors, doctors who then provide free medical care throughout Latin America."
Mitchell proclaimed: "As the U.S. debates health care....We went back to the Latin American medical school here to talk to American medical students about what they're learning about medicine, about Cuba, and about themselves." That soon became disturbingly apparent as student Cynthia Aguilera gushed: "...after graduating with no debt, no worries about paying off loans and having to get a high-paying job, we can return to our communities [in the U.S.] and work in them and try to uplift them the same way that Cuba uplifted us."
The New York Times coverage of the Pope's trip to the dictatorship of Cuba has a strange, cheap-shot emphasis on how the Cuban people are coerced to attend such rallies, an authoritarian power play, but one the paper rarely if ever bothers to address during Cuban May Day rallies held in celebration of communism. A nytimes.com search suggests the Times has never previously used the words "orchestrated" or "intimidation" to describe the Cuban government coercing people to attend May Day parades.
So why use that explanation for the crowds surrounding the Pope, but leave that obvious explanation off when talking about crowds listening to dictator Fidel Castro's latest multi-hour-drone-a-thon of a speech?
First it was New York Times reporters who were quoting unelected Cuban dictator Fidel Castro insulting the “idiocy and ignorance” of the two lead candidates for the GOP nomination, in a January 26 story. Now columnist Thomas Friedman gets in on the act, quoting Castro approvingly in Sunday’s “Made in the World.”
Who cares what an unelected dictator thinks about the U.S. presidential campaign? Well, New York Times reporters do. Michael Shear and Trip Gabriel were in Miami following the campaign in the runup to next Tuesday’s Florida primary and quoted Fidel Castro in Thursday’s “Candidates Scramble to Win Hispanic Voters in Florida.”
They even suggested the dictator (who they merely called “the retired Cuban leader”) “had reason to be annoyed” at threats voiced by Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
A disgusted Andrea Mitchell on Thursday decried the "anti-Castro vitriol" coming from Republican presidential candidates in Florida, sneering that they are "pander bears" to the Cuban community. [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Teasing a discussion with Chuck Todd, Mitchell dismissed the GOP contenders: "And as Romney and Gingrich try to outdo each other with their anti-Castro vitriol, appealing to Florida voters, they think, Fidel weighed in today with his view of them." Todd lectured that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney "ought to be careful, because it doesn't sound believable."
Divers all over South Florida were probably drooling last night while watching the huge lionfish that appeared in the 60 Minutes broadcast about Cuba's Jardines de la Reina coral reef off that island's southern shore. The reason is that the state of Florida has declared open season on the invasive lionfish, introduced from Asia, which is known to devastate marine life on coral reefs. Fortunately lionfish flesh is quite tasty and its population has been kept in check in Florida by hungry divers with spearguns.
Not so in Cuba. As you can see in the video at the 15 second mark and later in their full broadcast, the lionfish at the Jardines de la Reina are both quite large and numerous. Why? It seems that Anderson Cooper shied away from asking the question that would have a politically very uncomfortable answer.
Say, Al Sharpton: if Herman Cain lacks "intelligence" for colloquially referring to "Cuban" as a language, how about Barack Obama . . . who did precisely the same thing when it came to "Austrian"?
On his MSNBC show tonight, Sharpton mocked Cain for asking in an aside while munching on a Cuban delicacy during a campaign stop: "how do you say 'delicious' in Cuban?" Does Sharpton not know that Barack Obama, in a much more formal setting, addressing a NATO audience, said something virtually identical, wondering how a certain phrase was said "in Austrian"? Video after the jump.
Despite all the huffing and puffing over Florida Senator Marco Rubio's alleged "embellishing" at the Washington Post, the fact is that his parents were Cuban exiles (meaning number 5 at link: "anyone separated from his or her country or home voluntarily or by force of circumstances"). That fact essentially undercuts everything about the WaPo article except the problem with the opening sentence of the biography at Rubio's Senate web site, which has been corrected.
That didn't stop two Associated Press writers, Brendan Farrington and Laura Wides-Munoz from doing quite a bit of embellishing of their own (a better word would be "mischaracterizing") in an item currently time-stamped early Saturday morning, while pretending that the rebuttal to the Post written by Mark Caputo at the Miami Herald doesn't exist. The AP pair's pathetic prose has two particular howlers which simply must be debunked.
Tuesday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), yours truly noted an email from the Associated Press's Images Group which encouraged subscribing outlets to use its "iconic images and videos" to promote the 85th birthday of Fidel Castro, the "Legendary Cuban revolutionary and longtime leader."
Today, writing what may be the wire service's last calendar-driven excuse to heap praise on him while he is still alive, the AP's Peter Orsi described Cuban dictator Castro as a "revolutionary icon" with an "outsize persona," who in his prime was "a gregarious public speaker," and while in retirement remains a "prolific writer."