Andrea Agrees - Cubans Support Fidel, Roker's Fresh Air on Global Warming
The uniformed Cuban military officer pictured here barks commands at a smallish crowd in Havana that responds with pro-Fidel chants. Imagine you're an objective journalist. How would you report it? "The Castro regime orchestrates a public show of support," perhaps? Not Andrea Mitchell. Appearing on this morning's Today show, here's how NBC News' Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent characterized what you have to imagine was a less-than-spontaneous event:
"In Havana, Cubans turn out to show support for their long-time leader."
Andrea managed to get through her segment without mentioning Communism, repression or anything else that would cast aspersions on Los Hermanos Castro. She even obligingly passed along this bit of Castro propaganda: "He [Fidel] is calling on Cubans to remain calm, and they seem to be." Despite all the conjecture as to the state of his health Fidel hasn't made any public appearances. How can Mitchell know that it was indeed the great leader who was 'calling on' the Cuban people? And was it Fidel's reassuring words, or living in a police state, that had that calming effect on the Cuban people?
The closest Mitchell came to suggesting that things weren't all sweetness and light in Cuba was her description of designated dictator Raul as 'politically hard-line.' Not a 'hard-line Communist.' Just passionate about his politics, that scamp Raul.
Andrea also expressed some curious ambiguity as to the US style of government. She mentioned that the Bush administration is planning to spend $80 million to broadcast and communicate to the Cuban people 'the American form of democracy.' The American form? In contrast to the Cuban form of democracy, Andrea? Mitchell mentioned that the Cuban government finds our efforts 'very provocative.' I bet.
If Andrea was showing exquisite sensitivity for the concerns of dictators abroad, Today weatherman Al Roker was a relative breath of fresh air at home. At the conclusion of the predictable segment on the hot weather gripping much of the nation, Matt Lauer raised the global-warming specter:
"You hear people put up with the heat, and then they say 'global warming, this is global warming.' What do you think?"
Roker's even-handed response:
"We get heat waves, this is not unusual. It's been five years since we've had one of this magnitude, but it happens. It doesn't support, nor negate, global warming."
Unintentional Humor Department: NBC's Lisa Daniels reported from Boston as part of the heat-wave coverage. As photo-ops go it didn't begin to approach Canoe-Gate magnitude, but at one point Daniels donned a hard hat to make a ceremonial shovel of steaming-hot asphalt. She later pointed to a tall construction crane and exclaimed, in sympathy with those working on it: "it's 250 feet closer to the sun!" And here I thought people go to the mountains in the summer because it's cooler!
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access TV show 'Right Angle.' Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org