Thursday, September 29, 2016

U.S.-Cuba Journalism

Which is the most honest??
{Friday: September 30th, 2016}
       The question posed at the top of this post is actually a legitimate one. That's how much in recent years the mainstream U. S. media has descended toward becoming a billionaire-owned propaganda machine. At the same time, according to Cuba's brilliant young broadcast journalist Cristina Escobar, the Cuban media has become "more honest" than the U. S. media. It was a theme Ms. Escobar stressed, in both English and Spanish, when she grabbed some headlines...and the admiration of veteran U. S. broadcasters such as NBC's Andrea Mitchell, when she was in Washington to cover the last Vidal-Jacobson diplomatic session. After dominating a televised White House news conference with six key questions, Ms. Escobar engaged in a plethora of speeches and interviews around the U. S. capital. More than once, with emphasis, she made this statement: "Journalists in Cuba, like me, have more freedom to tell the truth about the United States than journalists in the U. S. have to tell the truth about Cuba." If that statement does not agree with your upbringing, I can understand; the Cuban narrative in the U. S. has been dictated by anti-revolutionary zealots since 1959. Yet, Ms. Escobar believes her statement is true and if she did not she probably would have accepted some of the million-dollar offers to defect to Miami. In interviews posted on YouTube, Ms. Escobar firmly says, "Cuba's fate is up to Cubans on the island, not Cubans in Miami and Washington." 
      I am not suggesting that Cristina Escobar is the only up-close expert on the relative merits on the quality or current status of the U.S. and/or Cuban media. Nor am I suggesting that you share her passion for Cubans on the island. But I am suggesting that she has a point. As a prime anchor on Cuban television, she has criticized her government on behalf of "the everyday Cubans who have gained the most from the revolution but tonight I will show how pockets of them have been left behind." After making that point, the next day Granma, the island's main newspaper, published Letters-to-the-Editor supporting Ms. Escobar's stance and criticizing the government, which indeed responded in a positive manner to the situation she chronicled. Ms. Escobar, a perspicacious student of U.S.-Cuban relations, doesn't believe the U. S. media has similar courage or integrity to "tell the truth about Cuba or, as a matter of fact, to tell the truth about the vast disparity in dealing with the massive crimes of rich people vs. the lesser crimes of non-rich Americans." When I saw that quote...Wow!...I said..."Darn. She must study the best American editorial cartoonists."
     The great Editorial Cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for his superb talent. His name is Jack Ohman and that's him in the above photo working on another gem. Both the print and electronic media in the U. S. have dissolved into propaganda machines with billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Sheldon Edelson buying up the once-unbiased top newspapers in Washington and Nevada, etc. Additionally, all the television network "news" operations are owned by billionaires who saturate the airways with Talking Head propagandists bent on making sure their money controls Washington. Thus, the last gasp of media integrity in the U. S. lies in the hands and minds of the great Editorial Cartoonists.
      Study the above masterpiece by Jack Ohman. What he is saying parallels what Cristina Escobar said about how rich criminals in the United States are treated as opposed to non-rich criminals. Jack Ohman on the left is reminding us that back in the Old West, Wells Fargo stage coaches were routinely robbed by criminals known as outlaws. On the right Mr. Ohman is reminding us that in modern America the rich executives at Wells Fargo are now routinely robbing the American people...and getting away with it because, unlike the non-rich, they can buy-off the three branches of the U. S. government -- Congress quite easily but also the Executive and Judicial branches. Thus executives like those at Wells Fargo can concoct schemes that steal, say, $200 billion and then merely pay, say, an $8 billion fine to the U. S. government. After eagerly writing that check to pay the fine, those executives happily divvy up the $192 billion profit that goes to their obscene salaries and bonuses. On the other hand, as both Jack Ohman and Cristina Escobar seem to comprehend, a single mom working three jobs in a West Virginia town was jailed when she shop-lifted a loaf of bread and three cans of Pork 'n Beans to feed her two hungry kids because baby-sitters, gas, rent, and a broken-down old car had left her unable to buy food that month for her children. Jack Ohman at the Sacramento Bee and Cristina Escobar in Cuba seem to believe that the vast disparity between the Wells Fargo criminals and that mother in West Virginia should be corrected.
And speaking of Jack Ohman, his gem above flashed from Sacramento across America on December 18, 2014. That was the day after Presidents Obama in Washington and Castro in Havana made simultaneous telecasts to announce their plans to normalize relations for the first time in over half-a-century. On the left Mr. Ohman is reminding us that Fidel Castro's pugnacious revolution was still, incredibly, succeeding in keeping the Batistianos and the Mafiosi off the island but...alas...Cuba was finally ready to embrace some capitalism, ala China and Vietnam. So study CASTRO and COSTCO in the Ohman masterpiece above and you'll see that his few words say a lot more than a thousand propaganda words.
        And don't forget Cristina Escobar when she says, "Cuban journalists have more freedom to tell the true about the U. S. than U. S. journalists have to tell the truth about Cuba." Her comment is a reminder that Emilio Milian, the top Cuban-American broadcast journalist in Miami, was car-bombed after he criticized Cuban extremists for such unpunished things as blowing up a child-laden Cuban civilian airplane known to history, if you care to Google it, as Cubana Flight 455. Her comment is also a reminder that Jim DeFede, the top columnist at the Miami Herald, was fired shortly after he excoriated three Miami members of the U. S. Congress for helping free four well-known Cuban extremists from a Latin American prison to reside as heralded free citizens in the safe haven of Miami. Ms. Escobar points out that, on the other hand, she criticized the Cuban government "on behalf of everyday Cubans" and the Cuban government responded by correcting the situation, and she was neither car-bombed nor fired. Go figure, and don't start with the premise that I'm pro-Cuban and anti-American. I'm no more pro-Cuban than I am pro-Jamaican. But I am pro-American and I think Cuba says more about America than it says about Cuba. Also, I think Cubans on the island, like Cristina Escobar, have as much right and as much insight to express opinions as Cubans in Miami or the United States Congress. If, by chance, Ms. Escobar is right about journalists in Cuba having more freedom to tell the truth about the U. S. than journalists in the U. S. have to tell the truth about Cuba, Americans should, perhaps, be concerned about it...just as Americans from 1952 till 1959 should, perhaps, have been concerned about the United States teaming with the Mafia to support the brutal Batista dictatorship in Cuba; or about the U. S. supporting the Batistiano regrouping on U. S. soil.
And please:
        Don't get the erudite Cristina Escobar started on whether Revolutionary Cuba or Batista's Cuba is/was the best for Cuba. Because if you do you might not like either her answers or her astute documentations.

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