AP's Woman-in-the-Street: 'Long Live Fidel And The Revolution!'

In an article on Fidel Castro, his health, and his visit from Venezuelan Fidel fan Hugo Chavez, the Associated Press noted that "birthday articles in state-run newspapers extolled his virtues." The implication is that state-controlled papers aren't apt to be truthful, much less objective.

So what's the AP's excuse? In the very same article, AP reporter Anita Snow informs us that:

"News of Castro's illness made Cubans uneasy about the future, but a series of upbeat statements from government officials have helped calm a public facing up to the mortality of the island's longtime leader. 'What happiness I received!' exclaimed resident Margot Gomez after seeing Sunday's newspaper during a morning walk in Havana. 'Long live Fidel and long live the revolution! He knows what to do to convert setbacks into victories!'

And later: "Dozens of children in an Old Havana neighborhood celebrated his birthday with games and a cake that read "Always With You Fidel." The boys and girls cheered and shouted 'Long live Fidel!' after singing 'Happy Birthday' for the Cuban leader.

And also: "'We wish him much happiness and that he gets well soon!' said a little girl in the group, named Maria Julia Rodriguez.'"

Snow didn't manage to find anything but the most avid of Fidel supporters. AP couldn't uncover one person who might have reason to celebrate the prospect of Castro shuffling off his communist coil. Does the AP consider this journalism, or was this story AP's way of sending its own birthday bouquet to El Comandante?

If AP is going to report only the comments of Castro lovers, should it not inform readers that expressing equally hearty anti-Fidel feelings could be very harmful to a Cuban's health?

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.